my first feature story;

Ryder Jack Susman

 Ryder has just returned from Sydney; filming the “How To Be a Drag Queen” Vive Cool City episode when I meet with him.

Standing at 6’1/2” with shoulder length messy brown hair and an expressive face, Ryder Jack Susman exudes confidence through every stride.

No-one else is doing what VCC is doing. It is an online video magazine, is Ryders job, and also his “full time hobby.” He shares this colossal task with his business partners Kirk Docker and Bassett Dickson VIII.  They all share the filming; Bass and Kirk studied film at RMIT and have passed their skills onto Ryder. Bass, the oldest, is a professional editor full time and therefore does the majority of editing. Ryder organises music, and often hosts. Kirk is the leader; he “ties it all together. Very creative, he is the glue. He has a good business head.”

VCC was born, as there was so much discussion about “online media being the future.” They found an unexplored niche in the internet. “We cover stories we want to see but can’t find anywhere else.” Vive, is French for ‘long live’, so the title translates to ‘long live cool city.’ In July 2007 the first episode aired on their website; they set out to film a bordello but accidentally captured a drive by shooting. 140 episodes later; this has only been achieved because “we pull favours, pull resources, and have friends that help us. We know there is so much potential in what we do that it’s worth it.

“I want people to come together after watching an episode. I love thinking about the dorky kid at school who watches it, no one else watches it and he tells them about all this amazing stuff he’s seen.”

But Ryder is not without fear.

“The abortion one; took me a month to get to the abortion clinic and to talk to the protesters. It’s cold, it’s yucky. They get traumatised girls going there and I’m standing there with a camera, harassing them.”

Underneath Ryder’s humorous and “party boy” personality is a man who leads a balanced life.

Born in March 1987 to Jewish parents, he attended Bialik Jewish College in Hawthorn. His younger brother Tyrone studies fashion at RMIT, “he is ridiculously beautiful, and pretty. We look similar but I’m very messy and all over the place. He is kind of prissy with beautiful skin and beautiful hair.”

At school “I didn’t really find myself. I always felt a little different. Jewish people at Jewish schools only hang out with each other. I was never satisfied with that. I was listening to different music. They would say ‘listen to old man music!’…What the fuck does that mean?!”

Childhood friend Taylah Kleid speaks of Ryder, and his whole family, with fondness, along with the many others I have met who have come into contact with him. “They’re the loveliest family. Vered and Victor definitely raised their boys well. Victor was always the funny man…it’s no surprise that Ryder has the confidence and sense of humour that he does.”

Ryder studied theatre at Swinburne University, Prahran. Whilst studying a uni friend introduced him to Sunni Hart. He was dating a Sydney woman 5 years older, yet as Sunni and him began spending a lot of time together Ryder’s long distance relationship quickly ended. Sunni is tall, with long deep brown hair and a whole hearted grin which melts even the worst of moods.

With a look similar to Pete Doherty and Kate Moss, a relationship blossomed through Sunni and Ryders shared love of “Bowie, the 60’s and 70’s.” Eventually, through text message, Ryder admitted his crush on Sunni.

Sunni speaks of the strong influence those times have had on their relationship “Our first date was to see C.R.A.Z.Y which is a film about growing up in the 60’s through to the 80’s, I think that set the tone of us actually believing that we existed in one of these era’s. We remember certain moments of our relationship by the musician or band we were into at the time.”

“Last year Sunni and I got matching Bowie tattoos.” Ryder turns around and shows me the back of his neck; the blue and red Aladdin Sane lightning bolt.
“We didn’t want to get it on our face, as that would be a bit fucked up. We are so retarded for each other. It’s fucked up saying it, because I’m 21, but I know that I want to spend the restof my life and have lots of babies with her. We drive each other insane.”

2 years on and they still argue all the time, but it is this “love hard, play hard” attitude which keeps them together.

Youth work for Reach is one of the ways he spends his time. “It’s about getting kids to a point where they can express raw emotion…we help them see their greatness, it’s a feeling that every kid has greatness a lot of them just don’t see it yet, because of all the shit we have with growing up.”
Reach began 1994, they do big scale workshops in schools, and each term Ryder does a 5 week course; kids come 2 hours each week. They “take them on this journey, challenge them, scare the shit out of them. They learn pretty big things about themselves.”

Ryder works for Melbourne based agency Cameron’s Models. At fashion week last year, after modelling for Melbourne label Material Boys look book and various other jobs, he wasn’t picked for the catwalk. He spoke to one of the designers; “I go up to her in front of all models ‘hey, why didn’t you pick me this year?’ In front of everyone she says ‘Ryder, have you ever seen yourself walk?’”
He gets up out of his chair and demonstrates as he speaks. “When I walk my feet go out…I’ve got bad posture, my arms swing too much. I’m very lanky.
“But I’ve learnt that’s kind of my style and a lot of labels like that…that I’m a bit all over the place.”

Jumping unnaturally high is Ryders hidden talent; which has become his signature move. He discovered this at the theatre course when doing circus acrobatics. Each shoot he asks “ ‘Do you want me to jump? I’m happy to jump.’ Because when I do it I can have a really peaceful look on my face, I’m really relaxed.”

Long live cool city with Ryder as king.

New Vive Cool City episodes are streamed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 

8 Responses to “my first feature story;”

  1. full of surprises!
    i really enjoyed that chloe
    “We are so retarded for each other”.. keeper

  2. I really enjoyed that article!!
    i wish I had someone I was retarded for.
    You should definitely send this article to a mag or something. I’ll take a photo if you like. (and I dont mean that in a sleazy way!)


  3. awwww

    thanks bebe!

    im so scared it sounds shit, or boring. ryder is so interesting and accomplished i had so much trouble and was so scared that i just wouldnt do him justice!
    and the word limit, urghh. there was so much more i wanted to put in.

    ooohh i really hope i can get it published! that would be great 😀 where do you think?
    because ive had to write it for uni it is heaps different as to if, ie i was writing for vice from the start. i really wanted to put the poo story in that i told you about but thought i might freak my tutor out, whether if i tried for vice id put it in, haha.
    but yes, where do you think i should try for?


  4. hehe i know, its fucking adorable! 😀

    thank you, im glad you enjoyed it


  5. Re: awwww

    Vice all the way Chloe!!! If this was the way you wrote for your tutor, and I was captivated, then I can only imagine how you could project Ryder’s story to our medium. Obviously brilliant subject matter but a good story still requires a good telling 8) kudos kudos kudos by the bucketful

  6. i like it. the bit about the climbing of the trees though, what part did that relate to?

    very well written, really got ryders personality across 🙂


  7. Re: this is a joke

    first of all, this was an assignment for uni. i didnt just write it off my own back to be all stalkerlike or whatever you believe.

    secondly, i treat people right, i am not a slut, and i don’t cause trouble.
    i have done fuck all to warrant any of this hatred or shit that i’ve got purely from doing a journalism story on someone who i believe is interesting.

    and lastly;
    why is so hard for people to comprehend that some of us party to have fun? and not to be part of the fucking “scene.”

  8. i used to be retarded for ryder, but he wasn´t retarded for me… what a beautiful boy he is.
    great article, captured him very well with only words.
    keep up the good work!

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