MedTwos: Krystal Barter and Shelly Horton

By Megan Brodie 1 year ago | In People
  • 1 year ago

28 November 2022

Patient advocate and Pink Hope founder Krystal Barter recruited her friend, celebrity journalist and TV presenter Shelly Horton, to construct an online advocacy masterclass that will launch in 2023. With a friendship that stretches back a decade, these women tell MedNews what brought them together, and what the future holds for this powerhouse pair.

Shelly: I was working at Fairfax when I interviewed Kyrstal about Pink Hope at the very first Pink Lipstick Lunch 10 years ago. Krystal got up on the stage and when she spoke, I thought wow! Who is this dynamo? Krystal came over to me afterwards and we started chatting. It was an instant friendship.

For a while, I just relied on her for stories. If there was an issue I was writing about that had anything to do with breast cancer, I would always call Krystal. That grew into, ‘we should grab a drink’, and our friendship just blossomed.

Krystal later asked me to be an Ambassador for Pink Hope and we worked together on the breast density campaign. I had moved to Channel 9 so I used my contacts to get coverage – we got on the afternoon news; we got it out everywhere. It was amazing.

In 2019, Krystal rang me out of the blue and said I’ve got this idea, I don’t have any money, but I need your skills. You can’t say no to her! She has this magnetic personality and she’s so purpose-driven that you get sucked in and, all of a sudden, you’re in her vortex.

When she told me her idea for the advocacy masterclass, I pitched it to my husband, who is a cameraman and a sound editor, and I told him look, this is going to be a lot of work, but I believe in it and I think it’s going to make a big change. He was on board straight away. Then we had a few brainstorming sessions with wine, because that’s very important as well, and we mapped it out.

When you’ve got a project that goes over two years, there is a lot of trust that we are all doing our own bit. You need the friendship there as the base and then you put the business on top.

I am a journalist, but I also think of myself as an entrepreneur. I’ve got a couple of businesses and I like the way Krystal operates. I like the way she runs her businesses, and we’re just so aligned – there’s an incredible trust between us. Krystal’s a Boss Babe.

I’m childfree by choice. When I first spoke about it 15 years ago, I got trolled really badly and told I was a waste of a uterus, not a real woman, and selfish for not breeding future taxpayers. I did a story for Nine Honey just last year about being childfree by choice and got nothing but positive comments, so I can see the power of speaking out and sharing your story.

Our friendship will always be evolving. I want to work with someone and be friends with someone who is constantly evolving.

Krystal:   My first impression of Shelly was pretty much the same as everyone who meets her – she’s lively and fun, open and truthful around just being a woman and about life. I find that really refreshing, especially for someone who’s in the public landscape as they have more of a responsibility than others to reduce stigma and to talk about things that matter. Shelly does that really well and I’m really attracted to those types of people.

We’re really big on supporting each other. I think that’s where we meet. If you know good people and you have this supportive friendship where you are just there for each other, then you have a community of supportive people around you.

For the masterclass, we spoke to heaps of people in the sector and asked them, if you had your time again, what would you want to know? It was really interesting. Tracy Bevan from the McGrath Foundation told us of her challenges. You would think that because McGrath is such a powerful foundation it would be all smooth sailing, but it wasn’t. It was really tough.

In putting together the advocacy masterclass, you need to trust that there is equal shared responsibility, and you don’t get that with a lot of people. Shelly and I come from very differently worlds but it’s very cohesive.

You can’t be an advocate without the media. You can’t have your story heard or get your issues into the spotlight. Shelly has helped me to become a better speaker – not only me but so many organisations and advocates – to have their moment in the spotlight. I think it’s the responsibility of media and journalists to shine a light, to craft a narrative for people that’s fair. Shelly will always ask someone how they want their story to be told, and what they feel comfortable sharing.

Shelly was always that person I could trust in the media landscape. That’s just one of the reasons why I love her.

Shelly doesn’t have kids, but I’ve got enough for the both of us – I go to her place on the Gold Coast to escape my kids. She has a spare room and it’s named Krystal’s room already.

We’ve got things we want to do in the advocacy landscape to better support businesses, patients, advocates and organisations to become more effective. With my other girlfriends, if all you do is talk about your problems and your work, then you don’t have a friendship. When I’m with Shelly, we have time when we talk business, and we have time for our friendship.

When we’re old, we’ll still be friends. This is a friendship for life.

©MedNews 2022

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