When Petr came to the studio for her portrait session we chatted for over an hour before she even sat in the makeup chair. It was an hour of hysterical laughter, silliness… and lots of inappropriate jokes. I loved that when I asked her what music she liked to listen to she said “Nick Cave”. It was one of the first times that I had ever had someone so confidently and comfortably tell me exactly what she wanted to hear.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin. Beauty is best expressed when feeling strong and free to laugh unselfconsciously.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
Recognising myself in the mirror as a strong and confident woman.
What do you love about yourself?
That i have danced the hardest two-step with with grace and patience and lived to enjoy my life and family with an authentic perspective and appreciation.
Tell me your story
First born daughter to migrant parents. Things happened as they should. Good friends, university, poetry. Fell in and out of both love and marriage – had a son and a daughter years apart which kept me actively mothering for a couple of decades. Worked as a medico-legal interpreter for 28 years and in corporate training for almost as long. Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2014, underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, culminating in preventative removal of ovaries in 2015. Changed careers to work in Disability Services for a daily reminder of perspective. Diagnosed with Melanoma in 2016. Most recent surgery November 2. Feeling nauseous right at the moment, trying to juggle appropriate levels of painkillers with delicate digestion.
What do you think was the biggest turning point in your life?
Having my son at 24 years of age. Nothing like sole responsibility for another human being to invigorate a search for sense of self and meaningful choices.
What are you most grateful for?
My relative good health.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
For living an authentic life surrounded and supported by real relationships. The most humbling experience with my recent dance with cancer was the outpouring of support i received from my tribe and the maturity demonstrated by my children.
What is your most treasured memory?
Assuring my father on his death bed, that i would be ok and that is was time for him to go and rest.
What advice would you give to yourself when you were a teenager?
Don’t care so much what others think. Just do it.
What do you value most in a friendship?
Please finish the statement
“I am a person who…” tries to be true to myself. The difficulty arises when your sense/idea/image of ‘self’ is challenged and recalibration is required when you are at your most vulnerable.