This is a question I've asked myself alot lately.
In fact, it's one I've asked myself my WHOLE life.
When I was a kid, like, a little kid, all I ever wanted was for people to like me. I would go out of my way to be liked. It seemed, at least to me anyway, that I had to try so much harder than anyone else to make friends. I think realistically, it's a trait that I've not ever grown out of. I STILL really want people to like me!!
What I remember of primary school, is mainly my relationships with my teachers. I had friends here and there, but not anyone that stuck around year to year. I started dance classes when I was about 7 or 8, and same thing, I remember my teachers, my costumes, the songs I performed at the concert and even some of the choreography, but not really having any friends in the class...in fact I don't remember anyone from my class. I remember girls from other classes that I went to school with, but no one from my dance class.
I'm sure it was evident to my mum from much earlier, but as far as remembering the first time I realised it, I think it was definately Primary school that I knew I loved performing. The thrill of being onstage, the applause, perhaps the feeling of being liked is what attracted me, but from as early as the nativity play at kindy, I can remember thinking this performing thing is for me!!
In primary school, I LOVED music class!! I had many different teachers over the years, and I remember ALL of them. One teacher, Miss Mitchell, would teach us songs from the 50's and 60's, and I can remember loosing my mind with excitement every week when it was time for her class.......I would totally zone out everyone else in the room and sing those songs at the top of my 8 year old lungs!! To this day I still remember all the words to Teen Angel, He's a Rebel, and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow because of that class.
There werent a huge amount of opportunities to perform at my primary school, but I took every one I got! School Choir, Christmas concerts, school assembly's, there was even a talent quest held in the gymnasium at lunchtime once where students were encouraged to develop acts to enter. Kids grouped together and performed dance routines, re-enacted television commercials, even impersonated teachers an staged classroom scenes. I so desperately wanted to enter, but being that I didn't really have any friends, and wasn't invited into the other kids acts, I decided to do one on my own. I was a big fan of the Comedy Company and I re-enacted a skit from their weekly TV show. It was a massive flop I'm sure, but I do remember loving getting on stage in front of everyone.
High School was much the same. I did make friends with a girl in year 7 that I continued a friendship with right through to aduldhood. She was very popular, I was not, but our opposites attracted and we were wonderful friends. As we got older, we spent less and less time together at school as she became more and more popular, and I became more and more interested in Drama and performing, so at school I would hang out with the Drama crowd, and she would hang out with the popular crowd, then on weekends we would be joined at the hip.
In High School, I again pounced on every opportunity I got to perform. I auditiond for the School Production every single year I was there, I was an active, enthusiastic member of my Drama class, I sang in choirs, at schoool assembly's, even spending my lunchtimes putting together other performance opportunities with other like minded students.
I still didn't really have an idea of where I fit in in the world, as Drama was such a tiny small part of the school I went to. It was never pushed as an option in life more of a hobby, so as much as I adored it, I still felt like there was something else I was supposed to be doing.
When I was 11 or 12, my mum saw an ad in the local paper for auditions for a production with the local theatre group. I had no idea such a thing existed, but was of course more than keen to give it a try!! I auditioned, got cast and that was the beginning of my long time love affair with community theatre.
I did shows regularly throughout my school years, and for the first time in my existence I felt as though I BELONGED. Here were a group of misfit kids, all incredibly talented, that were likely all the loners at school. We would come together on weekends to rehearse, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say, that from after school Friday through to after rehearsals on Sunday afternoon, we all felt invinceable!! I HAD FRIENDS!!!!!!! ACTUAL FRIENDS!!!!!!! People LIKED me!!!! I had never felt more normal in my whole life.
This community meant everything tome, STILL means everything to me.
I started school quite young, so by the time I was finished I was only 16. I had NO IDEA of what I wanted to do in life other than get married and have babies. And at 16 this was a LONG way off, so had to find something to do in the meantime.
I threw myself into theatre.
I auditioned for EVERYTHING!!! I'd start rehearsing for shows before I'd finished performing for others. In my mind, there was absolutely nothing else that I wanted to do. The friendships that I'd made through theatre grew stronger as we all grew up together, and if I could have lived in that crazy colourful little imaginary world forever, I absolutely would have.
Reality however, is a bitch, and I needed to start making an income to support myself. Mine was not a situation where I could kick back and leave it to my parents. So at 17 I started working full time and by 20 had stumbled into a Hairdressing apprenticeship.
Hairdressing = working late nights and weekends.
Community Theartre = rehearsing nights and weekends
Something had to give, and being that one paid my bills and the other didn't, theatre had to go.
As much as it broke my heart to step away from performing, I think I always knew deep down that it wouldn't be forever, and because I now had real friends, stopping doing shows didn't mean I would loose conact with them....or so I thought!
I worked HARD during the 4 years of my apprenticeship, and although I wasn't performing anymore, I still maintained some strong friendships with the old crew and would party with them whenever I could.
Even from the beginning of my carreer, I never saw myself being a Hairdresser forever, yet had no other inclination of what I wanted to do with my life other than be a wife and a mum.
I started auditioning for shows again, as I had now changed employers and was working for someone that encouraged me to perform, and fell straight back into the fantasy land of Community Theatre. I performed as regularly as I could with different companies, and made new and real friendships, each as unique and full of love as the last. There were romances too, mostly fleeting but one in particular I will never forget.
Mine is a career however, that prevents me from doing one show after the next. The nature of Hairdressing is that performing at particular times of the year for me is impossible, and I could only audition for shows sporadically.
I needed more.
The thrill of performing had really and truly taken a hold on my soul, and treadding the boards once every couple of years just wasn't cutting it for me. I needed to do something else.
One of my closest friends and greatest role models in life, encouraged, fed and nurtured my love for rock music. By the time I was 23 I was ready to try my hand at being a Rockstar.
I sang in cover bands for most of my 20's and even into my 30's and loved absolutely every single second of it. Of course there was heartache involved. Bands would break up, or no longer want me to front them, people would devlop stronger feelings than necessary for one another, but I always managed to find my feet. Just as the door for one band would close, another would open up.
One band in particular, I sang with for a number of years. I made and maintained real, true, loving friendships with my bandmates. They had my back, and I had theirs. We were the very best of friends. My time onstage with that band is some of the greatest time in my life and I will be forever grateful for it. Although our popularity was limited to one venue, within the confines of that venue I felt like a GOD. A Rockstar in every sense of the word. The person I became when I stepped onstage with that band, was the absolute BEST version of me I had ever seen!! I had confidence, I had pride, I had a room full of people screaming my name. I had purpose, I BELONGED!!!
Being so content in my rockstar world opened up other doors that had seemed to this point to be slammed shut. I met and married my Husband, and all of my bandmates were in attendance. I continued to play with them, untill I got that feeling again...I wanted more.
I wanted children, a family of my own. For as long as I could remember I had always known I wanted to be a mother, and after a while of trying, I was convinced that it was my rockstar lifestyle that was standing in the way of my biggest dream coming true. I left the band, the band I adored, but being that our bond was so strong we remained friends for a long time after that.
For a long time I threw myself in to trying to start a family. It consumed my entire world. It got to a point where I didn't even know who I was anymore. I realised that I was no good as a mother if I was no good to myself, I needed an outlet....I needed more.
I had never in my life ever considered the possibility of moddeling. Always being a bigger girl than most, I would hear things like "You could be a supermodel if you lost weight" or "you have such a pretty face for a big girl" There was just never visible role models for the plus size community like there are now. Moddeling for me was like hairdressing.....I stumbled into it, but I'm so glad I did! It has given me a confidence I never thought possible, a true love for my body and what it prvides me. Moddeling has strengthened my mind, my outlook on life and on the whole, made me a better person than I was without it, because not only has it changed my mind and perceptions on body image, it has helped me to change others minds and perceptions as well. Moddeling has helped me to have a voice in a world that wants to keep us quiet.
My moddeling experience started in Pinup. When I discovered a community of women that had the same love and admiration for fashions of the 40's and 50's I felt like I had finally found my home!!! I felt like I belonged!! I threw myself into every aspect of the community from pageants to festivals and I loved it. I loved the voice that Pinup gave me, the message that I could send, but again, I wanted more.
I think the biggest hurdle I have with myself is that I hate to feel boxed in. I'm not only a Pinup. I'm not only a Rockstar. One day when I finally have children, I will not only be a mother.
I am all of those things.
All of them and more, and no doubt I will add a few more to the lst once my time is through! Already in the last 12 months I can add Blogger, and this year hopefully vlogger to the list.
I guess the answer to the question I've always asked myself, Where in the WORLD do I fit in?????? Is lots of places!! I am ALL of those things and so much more!! I am most comfortable when I am least contained, and yes, I can love each facet of who I am equally without neglecting another. The more I embrece the many different parts of me, the better I am as a whole and right now that is enough.
I AM ENOUGH... And so are you xx
Its no secret that I like to wear A LOT of makeup...
A LOT of the time!!
And wearing so much makeup, so often, can create HAVOC with my skin, So here, for your information is my tried and true routine for clear, healthy, glowing skin for perfect make up application every time!
Step 1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!!
What you put IN your body is always far more important than what you put ON your body. All the lotions and potions in the world will do no good if your insides are not hydrated and nourished. Amp up the H2o intake every single day, and incorporate green juice into your diet, at least once a week for a nutrient boost, that will have your insides (and your outsides) sparkling. I like to throw a bit of green apple, celery, cucumber, zucchini, kale, and lemon into the juicer and then add that juice to a high powered blender with some spinach and fresh mint and blitz until smooth. This can be stored in air tight mason jars in the fridge for up to a week or frozen in ice cube trays to put into smoothies.
Step 2. Never EVER wear your make up to bed!
Now I like to party like the best of them, and I know there are times when after a big night out the LAST thing you can be bothered with is washing your face...but believe me...IT IS SO IMPORTANT and SO WORTH IT!! If you can't stand the thought of a full cleanse, tone and moisturize, that's fine, but PLEASE!! Get that gunk off you face before you slumber, you, your face (and your pillowcases) will be glad you did! It is as simple as rubbing a small amount of coconut oil (food grade and organic is best, if you can't put it IN you, don't put it ON you) all over your face, your eyes, lips, brows, EVERYWHERE!! Massage this wonderful stuff into all the little crevices of your face for about a minute. Then wet a face washer (flannel or wash cloth, depending on what you call it where you are from!) with water as hot as you can stand from the tap. Wring out as much water as you can and cover your face with the hot, steamy cloth. This really is like heaven! A steam bath for your face!! Leave it there for 30 seconds or so, and then wipe away all of the coconut oil, you will see that all of your make up comes with it! Rinse and repeat this process at least once, the warmth of the cloth will draw out the oil from your face, which will have attached itself to any dirt squatting in your pores, clearing your skin of any unwelcome critters.
After this step you are welcome to proceed with the tone and moisturizing steps, but if you are just to spent from dancing the night away, you will be fine to jump fresh faced, into bed now! The difference in the way you feel getting into bed, as well as how you wake up is HUGE with a freshly cleansed face.
Step 3. Tone baby, TONE!!
Over the years, I have tried MANY different skincare products. Some cheap, some expensive, but none as effective as the one I'm about to share with you now...APPLE CIDER VINEGAR!!!!! Not neat!!!! Please don't put that stuff undiluted on your face!! But a dilution of 1 part ACV to 4 parts water will do the trick nicely. You will need the organic kind (found at your local health food shop) with the 'MOTHER' still in it (this will be clearly marked on the label) I like to use BRAGGS Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Make up a bottle (glass is best) of the 1:4 part dilution, and with a cotton pad, swipe this miracle potion all over your freshly cleansed face, avoiding your eyes. Concentrate on any problem areas (blackheads/acne) as this will help clear away any nasty bacteria playing house in your pores. Feel free to swipe it right down your neck and across your décolletage and over any pesky ingrown hairs you may have from waxing, since using this potion on ingrown's, I now have NONE!!
Step 4. Mmmmm Mmmmm Moisturize!!
The imperative ingredient to radiant skin is MOISTURE!! I've already covered the importance of moisture from the inside (up that H2o intake PRONTO!!) and moisture from the outside is equally important. Over the years I have tried a myriad of different moisturizers and spent plenty of money in the process. My favourite for a long time was Clinique's dramatically different Moisturizing Lotion, in fact I used their entire 3 step program for many years, but in the last couple of years I noticed my skin not responding to the way I was treating it anymore, so I LISTENED to my body and made the change.
I found with age, my skin has become much dryer than I was used to (having suffered terrible acne in my teens and early twenties) and even quite flaky in areas. With a bit of thought I made the connection that treating my skin with products that cleared out my overly oily acne prone skin in my 20's was too astringent for my now relatively normal skin type in my 30's. Over clearing this skin led to dryness, which I, in turn, over moisturized, this then resulted in pesky milia around my eyes.
After researching different options and trying and LOVING the methods I have shared with you today, I was still in need of a replacement moisturizer, which honestly, was the trickiest thing to find. I have always recommended Moo Goo products to my clients that suffer with sensitive scalps and psoriasis, and decided to take my own advice and try their moisturizer........BOY, am I GLAD I DID!! I use their FULL CREAM face and body lotion as a daily moisturizer on my face, as well as all over my body. I just adore it!! Not only does it give me the result I'm after, which I would happily part with the big bucks for, it comes in a huge pump pack that lasts for AGES and is ridiculously affordable! At less than a quarter of the price of my previous moisturizer, I can't help but feel like I have won the skincare lottery with this wonderful product. I have also found it to be a godsend for treating sunburn and my husband even finds relief from chafe and heat rash. I get mine from my local health food shop, check out their website for stockists near you www.moogoo.com.au
Step 5. Sleep
Seems like a bit of a no brainer right?? I honestly can't place enough importance on this issue though! Your skin is not a robot, it cannot produce miracles, all the fancy lotions and potions in the world won't work if you aren't properly rested, the same way the best, most expensive concealers and foundations in the world wont cover up over tired eyes. I get that we live in a busy society, I understand it is a normal thing for one to over commit. I guess I'm just posing the question of what is more important to you? If the answer is perfect skin, then get your tush into bed at a reasonable hour (make up free of course!) and enjoy some well deserved zzzzzzz's.
Obviously, like everything in life, we are all different and what works for me, won't necessarily work for you, some skin is oilier or dryer than others and we all have different areas of concern. The best way to find the perfect skin care regimen for YOU is through trial and error, and don't expect the same routine to work forever. As you age, so does your skin, and it requires different things, you can't expect to treat your 35 year old skin with the same routine and products that you used on your 20 year old skin, my point? LISTEN to your body, it will tell you when something needs to change.
Further to that, try not to stress about your skin. I know its hard, believe me, but one of the biggest contributing factors to troubled skin is stress levels. If you are experiencing a high stress situation and your skin is suffering from it, be kind to yourself and rest assured that with time, this will pass. Stressing over your skin in a time when you are already stressed out will only exacerbate the problem and then its just a vicious cycle.
Have you ever had the feeling that you are doing EXACTLY what you were put on this Earth to do??
Well that’s how I feel about Pinup…………..I know that the whole ‘scene’ is super popular right now, and that’s great…..it keeps me in a job…….but once upon a time those obsessed with things from decades past, those that teamed red lipstick with false eyelashes IN PUBLIC, those that trawled op-shops for original glo-mesh clutches and nanna’s old girdles, were put on the FREAK shelf along with the Goth’s, emo’s and punks. Now we are awash with ‘Vintage Emporiums’ and ‘Retro Bazaars’, where you can pay through the nose for an old tea cup or save for a month to purchase a rotary telephone.
It hasn’t always been that way……… yet my love for the era from 1940 to 1969 has never wavered. I remember as a child, WISHING to dance in black and white movies, DREAMING of wearing red lipstick and fur, HOPING that one day I would grow up to be as glamorous as Judy Garland, as beautiful as Doris Day or as charming as Lucille Ball. I remember rather than reading magazines as a teenager, I much preferred to admire my grandmother’s old photo albums, meticulously studying the fashion, hairstyles and Make Up. I remember choosing the midday movie over cartoons, imagining myself as the leading lady opposite Gene Kelly or Elvis Presley. I would play my Grandfathers old Sammy Davis Jr records over and over, pretending I was one of his tap dancers, and put on shows in the lounge room to audiences of no one. My friends were not into such things, and I found myself struggle to fit in through my entire childhood and well into my teenage years.
For as long as I have been wearing Make Up (maybe 15 or 16 years old) I have worn black liquid winged eyeliner……ALWAYS. It was not in fashion then, and yet I saw it as the absolute image of beauty. People labelled me as ‘dramatic’ and ‘over the top’, yet I continued to do so…..it has just always felt RIGHT to me. As I grew older and into a career in Hair and Make Up, it was hard for me to comprehend that not everyone saw the beauty in vintage inspired styling, quite often I would have clients look at themselves in horror after I had transformed them into a Hollywood starlet of times past. It took me a long time to open my creative eyes to more modern styling and broaden my repertoire to include ‘now’ looks and stay in touch with the latest trends. I developed quite a reputation for myself and became a Hair and Make Up specialist…..I enjoyed it…….I wasn’t unhappy…..but it didn’t make me sparkle.
I have always known that Pinup existed……..I just had absolutely NO idea of how to get involved. Before the internet it was almost impossible to buy clothing unless you came across a gem in Vinnie’s, and for a girl that grew up on the Mornington Peninsula and never left, the world of pinup seemed forever out of my reach. For my 21st birthday, I decided I would have a girlfriend take photographs of me for my party invitations. I spent the morning setting my hair and applying my make up, and had her take head shots of me wrapped in a white feather boa……I had them printed in black and white and created an invitation to resemble an old playbill featuring me as the star attraction……..I guess that was my first ever Pinup shoot…….I had never had photos of myself that I liked...........but I LOVED these.
It was a LONG time between those first photographs, and me actually taking the step to become a ‘Pinup’…..almost 10 years!! But my infatuation for such things never calmed. I never really enjoyed shopping….I would spend hours dragging myself through store after store, looking for things that simply did not exist…….so I taught myself to sew…….now I would go shopping for fabric and create beautiful circle dresses……and THAT was when my issues with body image disappeared…..instead of feeling wrong for not fitting into the fashions that were available in stores, I felt BEAUTIFUL and for the first time the BEST version of ME I could be!!
People noticed the change in me and I guess it just sparked a chain reaction…….the more positive feedback I received the more confident I became in my own ‘look’ and I just ran with it!! I also discovered that there was a market for my skills in vintage styling……there were other women out there JUST LIKE ME……..maybe not committed to supporting the look on a daily basis, but certainly desiring to step back in time for a day in front of the camera, and they needed MY help……all those years of watching old movies and studying my Grandmothers photographs were about to pay off!! No one my age in my industry knew victory rolls or pompadours or marcel wave sets like I did…..and if they knew what they were hey CERTAINLY had no idea of how to achieve them, add to that the fact that I am also a Make Up artist that has a broader repertoire than a ‘smoky eye’ with a ‘nude lip’ and all the ingredients were there…….I HAD to find a way to make a career out of this!!
It was as if by magic, right around the time I had made the decision to really crack this market, I came across an add on Gumtree of all places, seeking models to pose pinup for a photographer that was trying to establish herself as a Pinup Photographer. At first I contacted her to offer her my services in the line of styling……without the right hair and Make Up, a Pinup shoot is not a Pinup shoot……..one thing led to another and I ended up modelling for her…….well that was it!! From then on I KNEW that this is what I NEEDED to be doing……for the next year I established myself as a Pinup model and grew my reputation for my skills in Vintage styling……….and all of THAT has lead me to THIS…………………..I am a self-employed vintage Hair and Make Up specialist, who owns her own full service Salon…………WHO WOULDDA BELIEVED IT!!!!!! I honestly believe that when you allow yourself to do whatever it is that truly makes you sparkle, the powers that be will allow everything to fall into place as it should……..There is not a single thing in the UNIVERSE that I can imagine enjoying more than this……unless of course I could co-star opposite Elvis with Anne Margaret???!!!!!!
Photo Credits: Photography - Derrierre by JLP, HMUA - Jessi Leigh's Hair and Make Up Artistry, Wardrobe - Handmade creations by yours truly!