Mamamia editor Jamila, takes us for a drive.

Editor-in-Chief, Jamila.

Have you ever met a woman who hasn’t apologised for the state of her car before you step into it?

We definitely haven’t.

It’s often said that a woman’s car is just an extension of her handbag. And just like a handbag, you can tell a lot about a person by what’s in their car.

So today, just for fun, we’re giving you a small insight into what life is like on the road with Editor-in-Chief Jamila.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Nissan Qashqai.

MM: Thanks for taking us for a drive, Jam!

JAM: You’re most welcome, I’m sorry about the mess.

MM: There actually isn’t a woman I know who DOESN’T say that when I get into their car for the first time.

JAM: Ah yes, but in my case it’s actually true. I’m a messy person who is embarrassed by mess. The result is that whenever someone is coming to my house, or I’m giving them a lift in my car, there is ferocious activity immediately before where I try and disguise all the clutter. My boyfriend calls it squirrelling. I don’t clean, I just hide things. So, yes, welcome to my car but please don’t open the glove compartment without preparing for a minor explosion of tic tax boxes, post-it notes, textas and single earrings.

MM: Noted. Now to get us started, tell us about your relationship with cars, are you a fast car kinda person?

JAM: I am the opposite. Literally the opposite. I am a very cautious driver who is not that interested in engine size or acceleration or any of those things that people get excited about when they buy a new car. I just like something that is going to get me safely from A to B and is going to look really, really, pretty.

Jamila wants her car to look good.

MM: So a Barbie car!

JAM: No. Yes! Okay, you got me. Yes. For me a car is all about the cosmetic. Obviously I want it to be a good car but I am someone who is completely carried away by pretty trim on the leather, or Jetson-era features like heated seats (slightly ridiculous but I’m someone who gets really cold alright!) or an elegantly crafted cup holder.

MM: Cup holder?

JAM: Yes. People don’t pay enough attention to the detail that goes into a fine cup holder. My first ever car didn’t have cup holders and that was a tragedy because I was 18, living out of home for the first time and getting a lot of drive through Maccas. It would have been super handy.

MM: You never forget your first car, do you?

JAM: Well, mine was probably best forgotten.

But the first car I ever bought that was brand new? Now that was special. I’d gotten a job working in then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s office. It was my first full time job and there was a proper salary, which I promptly sacrificed to buy a Nissan Micra. It was such a great little girly car, perfect for driving around Canberra and I remember feeling so grown-up that I was driving something brand new, that I’d bought myself.

MM: And how about today? What does your car represent to you now? Is it still about being grown-up?


JAM: For me, a car has always represented stages in my life. I’ve had the car that I needed at the time. Five years ago that was something indulgent and girly and little and cute – easy to park!

Today, my car is more about the trips I’ll take with my partner, something I’ll drive the Great Ocean Road in, waving my arms out the sun roof or travel back to my home town, to see my parents (where it is always freezing and there is never any need for a sun roof).

Then in another few years I’ll hopefully be calculating the bend factor for putting kids in booster seats. What you need from a car changes as you change.

MM: Time for some snooping. What’s lying around in this thing that you haven’t shown us?

JAM: Well, a gym bag for a start. I’m like one of those women who posts #fitspo instagram pictures, in that I absolutely always have my gym bag packed ready to go to a fitness class of some sort. But I’m NOT like one of those women who posts #fitspo instagram pictures because I rarely actually go to the class.

I am very much committed to the IDEA of being fit and so am always prepared in case the mood to exercise should suddenly strike.

MM: And what else?

JAM: Well, I live on the run. I spend half my week in Sydney because that’s where I work and half my week in Melbourne because that’s where my life is. So it means I am always spilling out of small suitcases and big handbags. And for me, a car is like another big handbag. You’ll find lots of make-up, hairbrushes, and quite possibly 10,000 missing bobby pins in this car – they’ve got to be somewhere, right?

I have a phone charger, iPod charger, lap-top charger, all the chargers really. Plus wireless internet sticks because part of working for Mamamia means that news can break any time and I often need to be working at a moment’s notice. There are old newspapers, magazines and endless notes everywhere. Although I work online, I am a committed note-taker because the act of writing something with a pen helps me remember better. I usually have six or seven notepads on the go at once.

MM: Is your car in good condition?

JAM: My cars have always been in loved condition. I’m a terrible parker. Okay, I’m not a particularly good driver full stop because my spatial skills leave a lot to be desired. But parking is where I really struggle. I once went three years without ever reverse parallel parking because I would drive around for hours, until I found something diagonal and achievable.

And while cars these days have super smart parking assist functions – which have been a total game-changer for me – there is still the odd… accident. So my car has a few scratches and scrapes but that just shows it’s lived in. Gives it some character. Otherwise, how would I know it was mine in the carpark?

Here’s a taste of what it looks like inside a car when a Jamila-style tornado of destruction has blown through. Mind the bobby pins…

What kind of things do you keep in your car?

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