Originally published by The Spinoff
It was the egg crack heard around the world. In 2019, after seeing Australian senator Fraser Anning's appalling remarks about the Muslim community following the Christchurch attacks, 17-year-old Will Connolly picked up a single egg that, although he didn't know it at the time, would change the course of his life. Phone in one hand, egg in the other, he confronted Anning at an event with a complimentary yolk-based hair treatment that quickly catapulted him to viral superstardom.
He only ever thought his 10 friends on SnapChat would see it.
Over two years later, Will Connolly still can't go out in public without someone yelling "Egg Boy" at him. Now 19, he's growing stubble in the hopes he might someday be considered an Egg Man, but in the meantime has raised over $100,000 for both the Muslim community in Christchurch and the people affected by the devastating bushfires in Australia last year. On the first day of the transtasman bubble, I gave him a call to see what he's up to, and if he's got any plans to visit.
Egg Boy, have you done anything special to mark this special transtasman bubble day?
It's just been another day for me to be honest, but it's pretty exciting. I've got friends who are travelling over to New Zealand, so I'm happy for them, but just a normal day for me.
And what's a normal day for you?
Get up, meditate, go to the gym, phone calls and stuff.
Do you have … a job?
I don't really have a job at the moment. I work with my stepdad doing odds and ends but I'm mainly working on this thing called Regeneration which came out of me raising a bunch of money after the bushfires. I linked up with Magda Szubanski and people from the University of Canberra who work with the military on these trauma and art programmes. We've used the money to train up local artists to run their own trauma workshops. It's really awesome.
Were you involved in this kind of charity work before the infamous egging?
Not really, nah. I was always pretty world-conscious – imbalances in the world always really annoyed me and I always wanted to make a difference. The egging definitely empowered me in that way, it gave me the opportunity to interact with a bunch of awesome people and amazing communities that I wouldn't have been able to if I hadn't cracked the egg.
Just over a year ago you were here visiting Christchurch. What do you remember about that experience?
Words can hardly explain it. It was just such a touching experience. It was incredible to actually meet these people and hear their stories, what they had been through and how they had been healing and rebuilding. It was a massive emotional cocktail of darkness and light, I was so grateful to be welcomed and have that experience. It actually feels like I've only just got back from New Zealand – the day I got home was the day that lockdown started.
So you came straight out of quarantine into Melbourne lockdown?
Yeah. The first couple of months really got to me actually, I feel like I was in a pretty shitty place – just like a lot of people were. It made me realise that I couldn't actually sit with my own thoughts as well as I thought I could, so I pretty much meditated in lockdown for hours a day for weeks. It changed everything for me, it was amazing.
It sounds like meditation is a pretty big part of your life.
A hundred per cent. I actually started way back in Year 10 when I was just looking through YouTube and watched something about the benefits of meditation – that it gives you better control over your emotions and control over your life. I gave it a try and it really, really helped me and gave me some pretty profound experiences.
What kind of profound experiences are we talking here?
Just cool stuff like looking beyond the surface level of the now. It's useful to look at yourself from a non-biased, third-person non-judgmental perspective – really allows you a greater awareness of who you are, what your purpose is. Definitely points you in the right direction.
Did meditation point you in the direction of egging Fraser Anning? It looked like a pretty mindful egging.
I suppose meditation allowed me to see through people's facade, which probably helped me to do it. Like, just because somebody wears a suit, it doesn't mean that they have any real authority, it's just perceived authority. It doesn't mean I have to respect him.
What do you think is the true message of the egging?
I wanted to embarrass and shame him. I wanted to send a message that Australians don't stand for the things he was saying. It was an Australian person that committed these crimes, and to have an Australian senator come out and say this stuff in support of him … I just wanted to give Australians the opportunity to get behind the opposite point of view and say "no, we are not about that". It was also a way of showing this accumulated into support for Islamic people who have been used as this "terrorist" ploy to go and fight a fake enemy and get everyone scared. I wanted to give them some light and show them that we are there for them.
Did you ever consider using anything aside from an egg?
No, although an ostrich egg would have been pretty funny in hindsight.
If you had to egg someone now in 2021, who would it be?
I've been saying that I have one egg left for someone special, I just don't know who it is yet.
New Zealand has a rich history of throwing things at the heads of politicians.
Including a lamington, mud and a large rubber penis.
I was not aware of that.
What do you think of that information?
Without any context, it just shows how pissed off people are with politicians and that they are bullshit. Not everyone – I have friends who are politicians – but just the whole vibe of them. It shows how much distrust there is in the whole system.
You've turned 18 since the egging – does that mean you are looking forward to voting?
I'm actually not looking forward to voting because I still don't see any change coming from either of the two main parties here, so I really don't know who I will vote for.
Was there anything else you'd like to say to the people of New Zealand on this special week?
Come on over to Australia, you'll bloody love it. Everyone that I have met from New Zealand has been awesome, the people seem so much more grounded and extra loving as a population. I'm grateful for all the support in New Zealand, and hopefully I get to come back soon.
We've got plenty of eggs here too if you need – Kiwi eggs are really big.
I definitely wouldn't need a Kiwi egg.