1. Parris Goebel — dancer
Your video for Justin Bieber's hit Sorry has had a record 2.8 billion hits. What was it like when it went viral?
Justin gave me three weeks to produce 12 different videos, one for each track on the album. Somehow we just managed to finish on time but it was so rushed. We'd filmed Sorry that day and I stayed up all night to edit it. I didn't even have time to decide if I liked it, I just sent it in. None of us expected that kind of response. It will go down in history for sure. I think the things that made it successful were 1) Justin Bieber isn't in the video which makes it different. You can tell the ReQuest crew are not from LA. Everyone was thinking, "Who are these girls?" 2) It's visually really clean, just a white room with girls in colourful outfits; and 3) The choreography's really strong. Justin was really easy to work with. You get some divas but he's so chill and open to trying anything and being vulnerable which is really special.
2. Madeline Sami — actor
Are you a political person?
I grew up poor. My mum raised us on the DPB from when I was about 10. Every election cycle, certain parties like to make beneficiaries the scapegoats for everything. I was raised on a benefit and without it, who knows where I'd be. But it's not a fun or easy thing either. It wasn't enough money. It felt shameful at times for my mum; as soon as we were old enough she trained as a teacher. Poor people are easy to pick on, so I support any party that gives them a voice.
3. Indy Yelich — poet
The first half of your book Sticky Notes is set in Los Angeles and the second half in New York. Which do you prefer?
LA is very aesthetic-based. You have to have a car so I was stuck in my apartment a lot. The sun shines so much you feel like it's mocking you. New York is the place that helped me understand who I am; it solidified my persona. Sometimes you'll be walking down a New York street to get a coffee and it feels like you're living a song. I love being in places referred to by the musicians and artists who lived there, like Patti Smith, Robert Maplethorpe, Basquiat, Warhol and Frank O'Hara. I'm inspired by the confessional poets because they told things with the honesty and rawness that comes with being a messy human.
4. Karyn Hay — radio host
You wrote your first book Emerald Budgies on a houseboat in London. How did you find time to write while raising a small child? I sent him off to Gerdie, the child minder up the road. Some time later she confessed she'd been a member of Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany. She was really very nice and couldn't be held accountable for what she did as a girl. She was in her 70s and looking after a lot of children. I was quite shocked when she said to me: "Other people's children are like germs, Karyn." I thought I might be being a bit selfish trying to write a novel when I arrived to pick him up one day and he was drinking from a baby bottle with hot tea and three sugars in it. But she allowed me the time to write that book.
5. Jess Quinn — social media star
We're often told to love our bodies as they are but that can be hard in practice, can't it?
Yes, you don't have to love your stretchmarks, you just have to live with them. I don't think my leg is the most beautiful in the world but I love it for what it allows me to do and the fact it's given me a life. It's about putting your worth in something aside from your physical appearance. Our bodies are literally just the house we live in. We should focus on the things that we can achieve instead of allowing our insecurities to hold us back.
6. Roseanne Liang — director
Your web series Friday Night Bites follows three young Asian Kiwi flatmates. Does a lot of the humour play on stereotypes?
That was definitely what we were interested in when we started as Flat 3. It's interesting how much the paradigm has changed in the six years we've been making it. At the time we were inspired by Girls but we started falling out of love with that show as people questioned the exclusion of people of colour. Then we showed Flat 3 at the San Francisco Asian American film festival. A guy stood up and asked, "Why are all your love interests white?" I'm ashamed to say it had never crossed my mind. We were making it on the cheap so we just cast our friends who happened to be white.
7. Carlos Spencer — sportsman
How did 'that' Toffee Pops ad come about in 1999?
Back then I had agents. I think DOJ (David Jones) approached me. I knew I'd have to walk downstairs in a robe. I was a bit uncertain, but I came around and thought, "I'll give it a go" and the rest is history. Even now I have women coming up to me asking if I've got a Toffee Pop. I got a lot of crap from my rugby mates. The worst thing was they put a huge poster of me on the side of a building at SkyCity and every time we pulled in on the bus there would be a bit of banter.
8. David Seymour — politician
If you're so serious about politics, why do Dancing with the Stars?
I've written two books on public policy and no one gave a shit about them. Then I watched Jacinda Ardern become leader and get a 20-point bump in the polls for Labour on exactly the same policies, and I thought "Jesus Christ, obviously all my effort is not paying off". I've been able to connect with more people in three months of DWTS than in four years of banging away about regulatory reform. If you look at the show's format, I get to spend at least twice as much time talking as I do dancing. Most people see it for what it is — an entertainment show — and frankly I played the game pretty well.
9. Jehan Casinader — journalist
Why are male friendships important?
A lot of men really struggle to talk. Guys need to get better about doing friendship and being there for each other. The conversations guys have with each other are quite unique. They're direct, unfiltered and they can be quite funny, even if they're about serious topics. I've been really lucky to have a best mate, Tommy, who I can be honest, vulnerable and 100 per cent myself with. We'll text message each other most days and get together once a week for a drink or a meal and debrief on our experiences, hopes and dreams. Everyone deserves to have a best mate who can look after them.
10. Erik Thomson — actor
You played the dad in Packed to the Rafters and 800 Words. Have your TV roles informed the way you parent in real life?
My daughter was 1 month old when we shot Rafters so they've kind of gone together. I don't think I fully understood the box of emotions that opens up inside you until I became a parent. It's very humbling. As a conscientious parent you're probably your own worst critic. You don't want to harm these little beings but you're learning as you go. I fail probably on a daily basis but hopefully I've done okay overall. The most successful times I have with my children, the times I really connect, are when I do what they want to do. If my son wants to play Lego, I'll play Lego with him, rather than saying, "It's a beautiful day you should be outside."
11. Rhys Mathewson — comedian
Do you have any hobbies?
I love pro wrestling. A startling number of comedians are deeply into it — too deep probably. We've got a long Facebook thread that's constantly ticking over. It's very similar to our art form in the sense that the crowd's reaction — approval or disapproval — is very immediate and you play to that. WWF used to be the only pro wrestling show you could watch on TV in New Zealand. The community's really blown up in the past few years thanks to internet streaming services. If I wasn't a comedian I'd probably be a pro wrestler.
12. Richard Babor — surgeon in TV2's The Big Ward
Will things like sugar taxes address the obesity epidemic?
They have a cumulative effect but it needs a multi-pronged approach. It's a massive job and our Government doesn't seem to have the appetite to take it on. Partly it's because the food lobby has such a stranglehold on how food is marketed and sold. Our food supply is controlled by massive multinational corporations that make their biggest profits by selling carbohydrates because they're cheapest to produce and humans are unable to stop eating them. We're biologically wired to love carbs, particularly sugar. We've become like those feedlot cattle, standing in a bleak square up to our ankles in mud being pump-fed cornfeed to fatten us up. That's how we're treating the human population now and nobody's prepared to say stop. Industry lobby groups spend billions influencing Governments not to interfere. The public health advocates on the other side like Boyd Swinburn and Robyn Toomath are working on grants of tens of thousands of dollars. Robyn quit in exasperation and I don't blame her.