Comedian, broadcaster, actor and pole-dancer, Bianka Ismailovski is Australia’s #1 ethically non-monogamous sober bisexual divorcée comedian.
Her sharp wit, bite-sized sketches and sassy, sex-, sobriety- and body-positive clips have viewers and listeners flocking to her social media platforms and podcast Damsel Undistressed.
A prominent figure in Australia’s sober community, Bianka’s advocacy began when she documented her struggle with alcohol addiction and her subsequent sobriety on her hugely popular, impressively researched Alcohol Miniseries, in which she interviewed scientists, researchers, sexperts, marketing gurus, alcohol researchers, addicts and more.
Bianka is kind, witty, funny and relatable in a confidently vulnerable and authentic way - it’s hard to not love her!
Sip & Savour
What does sobriety mean to you?
Sobriety is easily the most important thing I ever did for myself. It’s been the most intense life-changing world-altering experience. It’s crazy! I did not expect it. You know, sobriety often starts off as you just wanting to not deal with hangovers or hangxiety, or post-booze blues, but then it ends up becoming this complete overhaul of your entire life and your identity, and your understanding of yourself and the world around you! I mean, it’s a gift really. It’s a gift you give to yourself - and it’s a beautiful, wonderful magical gift! It’s a gift of clarity, health, and capability. It helps you find joy and true fulfilment and happiness in life. It means authenticity, that’s what it means!
How has your relationship with alcohol evolved over the years?
I don’t think I ever had a healthy relationship with alcohol but I had always thought that it was fun! I look back on it now and while I don’t know that I was enjoying alcohol as much as I thought I did at the time… I can definitely say that by 26 onwards it had really started to take its toll. Shit got bleak. It wasn’t cute anymore! I was becoming less and less capable of taking care of myself, of trusting myself, and of being carefree when it came to booze. There was no bouncing back quite as easily from the hangovers, and those hangxiety blues hung around a lot longer. I was drinking but I was miserable. And that was hard because I knew booze wasn’t making me happy, and I often hated drinking it, but I also didn’t know how to exist without it.
My whole life I had thought that fun came from the bottle, so when it was no longer fun, I really didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to have fun without it any more! I felt so trapped and helpless.
And yeah, I grew to really hate alcohol. By the time I decided to quit, I f**ing hated it. It had become a really negative aspect of my life, more so than I had cared to admit at the time. But then I ended up just seeing it for exactly what it is - a socially accepted dangerous life-threatening drug.
Is there a particularly embarrassing drunk story you can share with us?
There are so many things! As someone who has two chronic illnesses, I have really had to take a huge overhaul of my health - mentally, physically and emotionally. I have learnt that your emotional health can have a massive impact on your health and well-being, so for me, being honest with myself about how I am feeling, and doing whatever I can to live more peacefully within myself, is the most important thing. Sometimes that means setting boundaries, removing toxic people from my life, and having difficult conversations - but ultimately it leads to a more peaceful, happy and healthy life. So for me, a non-negotiable is a daily practice of mindfulness. I journal each morning, meditate, and centre and ground myself. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day. And that’s why sobriety is so important, because it keeps me clear-minded and aligned with myself.
How do you cultivate balance in your life?
Having chronic illness means that my life is all about balance! It’s difficult because on one hand, I just want to be active and to do everything all at once and be productive and energised and be out there seizing the day every day - but, unfortunately, I just can’t do that because I have a body with limitations. I used to hate the fact that I was sick - I’ve often felt like a prisoner in my own body - so for a really long time I just chose to ignore that I was unwell. I would just go about living my life to the fullest, saying yes to everything, doing all the exercise and all the socialising, and all the working… but then I burnt out.
It’s been a long road but I’ve finally just had to accept the fact I am sick and that I will likely be sick for my entire life. Now, instead of fighting against my body, I’m now working with my body. That means finding a balance between doing the things I love but also ensuring I am not overdoing it. I think a really important part of that is setting boundaries - both with others and myself. I am really kind to myself now and listen to my body and I do the things I love but in small doses! I don’t push myself further than what I am capable of. Also, I am honest with people about what I can and can’t do. I used to say yes to every social event because I didn’t want to let anyone down, but now I just tell my friends outright if I am too tired or not up to seeing them because my body needs a break.
If you were a drink what would you be and why?
A soy iced latte, hands down (I think I am slowly turning into one at this stage). I’d be one because I’m a morning person so naturally I think I’d be a coffee - and also because I’m refreshing. And delicious! I’m delicious.
Describe your drunk alter-ego in 3 words
Ughhh… the Aldi-Brand Bianka.
What is your favourite thing to spend money on at the moment?
Haha I am at that age now where spending an exorbitant amount on a scented candle is a completely reasonable thing to do… despite having many other exorbitantly-priced unused candles already in my home.
If you could share a drink with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
Miley Cyrus, easily. I am manifesting meeting her one day so I know it’s going to happen at some point (fingers crossed).
What is something that really energises you?
Making people laugh. Truly. It’s like Monster’s Inc, ya know, I literally get energy from people’s laughter. So when I’m on stage I feel like the Energiser bunny, I’m just straight up buzzing.
In your ideal adventure what would you be doing, where would it be, and who would it be with?
I’d love to have a really beautiful decked out converted van, travelling Australia with my boyfriend. Selling all my shit and just living out of a van for a year?! Ugh, bliss!
What is one thing that always cheers you up?
Hearing birdsong outside my window in the morning. Sunshine! A soy iced latte. Really good sex, hehe. Oh and a new expensive scented candle!
One song you can’t stop listening to at the moment?
Doja’s entire new album, ugh, I just love her.
A motto or quote to live by?
A) One of my favourite motto’s is Life is too long. It’s a fresh take, but I think it helps put things into perspective - any negative thing, a crap job, a bad habit, a toxic relationship - you know, life is too LONG to have that stretch out over a lifetime. That’s such a long time! Find things you want to do and people you want to be around for a long time, because we are actually gonna be here for a while babes - so, get comfortable!