Daughter of a critic and an actress, Samela was a classic child of the theatre. Her first review was published when she was seven.
As editor of the Adelaide University newspaper, On Dit, she flexed her reviewing wings before taking the Murdoch Scholarship into NewsLtd where she was apprenticed to the legendary critic Cec de Boehm, taking on the News's senior reviewing load after his death.
Her journalism career took her to AAP/Reuter in Fleet Street and then The Evening News in Edinburgh - reviewing fringe shows for the underground press in Edinburgh. Back in Adelaide from 1980, she edited and reviewed for the provocative Mary's Own Paper and was commissioned to review opera and theatre for The Australian.
At The Advertiser from 1985, she worked four years as Arts Editor and ensuring decades as senior theatre critic.
Samela is a member of the Adelaide Critics Circle and Founding chair 1997 - 2009