SHIRALEE Coleman has always possessed burning ambition.
Once she has a dream she is determined to achieve it.
Whether it was obtaining a university degree in Business, with a double major in Marketing and Management or breaking into the cut-throat world of modelling and working with high-end fashion labels like Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Armani and Guess.
Coleman has also graced the pages of FHM and modelled for Palazzo Collezioni and Honey Birdette across her 20-year career.
The Rankin Park-raised beauty was also among the first models to see the marketing potential of Instagram and other social media channels.
It was vehicle she used to combine her twin loves of fashion and travel, which has resulted in Coleman developing more than 229,000 Instagram followers.
Over the past two years Coleman has refocused on another one of her passions - music. In particular, house music.
In December 2018 she threw herself into a DJ course at Newcastle's National Music Academy and six months later she was spinning the decks at the opening of cosmetics store MECCA at Westfield Kotara for her first gig.
Since then she's played Newcastle nightclub King Street Hotel, as well as Sydney's Seadeck and Café Del Mar, injecting feminine glamour into the traditionally male-dominated industry.
"I haven't let go of the modelling, to be fair, but I've just maneuvered a little," Coleman says. "I've always wanted to DJ.
"It just got to the point where I thought I'd head off to DJ school. I went to the National Music Academy and learnt to DJ and off I went.
"It's been an amazing experience for me. It's become front and centre for me now."
Earlier this month Coleman fulfilled another long-held ambition, by releasing her debut single Can You Feel It through recently-launched Newcastle dance label Pumping Records.
The track was co-written during COVID-19 lockdown with Pumping Records director George Petridis and labelmate John Ibrahim, plus former Australian Idol contestant Chris Luder and Ronny Haryanto.
The music was recorded at Pumping Records' Wallsend studio, before the vocals were added by Luder and Haryanto at 301 Studio in Sydney.
"I was feeling very disconnected with someone I was missing and that's where it was all coming from," Coleman says.
"All my plans had changed. I was really missing someone. I was wondering, 'Can you feel this too? This is crazy this year'.
"The song is really about this year and missing that someone and that disconnection and wanting to be back body to body.
"Now, everything is opening back up. So for me it's more of a celebration that we're able to do that."
The release of Can You Feel It, and it's accompanying mixed tape next week, has been a satisfying end to a chaotic year for Coleman.
When the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe in March, Coleman was a mere two weeks away from moving to Las Vegas to hopefully break into the Nevada city's hedonistic club scene.
I love inspiring and I want more girls out there.- Shiralee Coleman
She'd even found a house and purchased furniture.
"I had everything ready and then March 18 happened and I had to undo all that and stay in Newcastle," she says.
"You know what, I feel that was the best-case scenario after what happened."
Coleman's DJ career has obviously benefited from her vast social media reach as a fashion blogger.
After slowly building her Instagram account for three years, the pivotal moment came in 2015 when US celebrity Khloe Kardashian - who now boasts 123 million followers - reposted a picture of Coleman wearing an item from the Kardashian Kollection.
Coleman says that one post earned her 100,000 followers.
"I remember I was in a meeting and my phoned basically jumped across the desk with the amount of notifications that happened," she says.
Of course beauty and sex appeal helps open doors, but it can only carry you so far in the male-dominated world of DJing.
You need the chops to sustain yourself. Pretenders are quickly exposed.
"I've been really lucky in Newcastle that guys have really accepted me," she says. "We all lift each other in the Pumping Records group.
"But I can see if I didn't have those relationships I probably would have gotten a bit of resistance because I know of only one other female DJ in Newcastle.
"There's a couple in Sydney, but we always see the same ones like Jesabel and Tigerlily. We always play at the same venues. It's just us three."
As a pioneer, of sorts, in the Newcastle and Sydney club scenes, Coleman regularly receives direct messages on social media from young women asking how to become a DJ.
"I've had girls ask me, 'Which decks are you using' or 'Where did you learn to play, what should I do with this and what should I wear?' she says.
"I love helping them out. I love getting messages saying, 'I went and bought decks because of you'. That's unreal. I love inspiring and I want more girls out there."
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