Wisdom From Wonderful Women.

Wisdom From Wonderful Women.

Not a day goes by that I don’t marvel at the power and wisdom of the women that surround me and beyond. Whether it’s a chat with a friend, a check-in from my Mum, the words of an incredible female-authored book or a podcast about women. There is infinite value in the stories of women, particularly those of resilience and passion.

This years theme is #ChooseToChallenge... I love this notion of encouraging women to speak up and take action. I feel lucky to say the list of inspirational women I’ve come across in my lifetime is extensive and too long to list. But today, I want to introduce you to a few of them and share some of their best life learnings. I admire their uniqueness, their work & their kindness wholeheartedly.

International Women's Day

Fiona Killackey @mydailybusinesscoach - Business Consultant.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

I am the founder of My Daily Business Coach. I mainly help small business owners understand their brand, marketing and business structures through 1:1 and group coaching, workshops & online courses, my book (which you sell! thanks sooo much for your support!) and my twice-weekly podcast. I genuinely believe that life should be enjoyable (at least most of the time) and our work is a HUGE part of that. I'm passionate about helping people either create and start their own business and control their time/income or scale the business they already have, in a way that aligns with their values and beliefs. 

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

My late mum used to always say "you can do anything you put your mind to". She genuinely believed that and she led by example. In the 1960s she travelled the world, living and working (and championing change) in Europe, New York and San Francisco. She moved four kids (3-9yo) across from the UK to Australia (where she knew no one but dad who had moved earlier) in the early 1980s with no help. She raised us, along with dad, taking us camping and travelling as much as possible, while working a job she was passionate about (women's mental health in relation to motherhood), went back to Uni in her late 40s and became a bereavement counsellor to parents of terminally ill children. She fought for justice and stood up to racism, sexism and discrimination. She did all of this while also playing golf as often as she could, maintaining close friendships and being an incredible mum. She not only spoke those words, she lived up to them too. 

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

Speak up. In all situations - personal and professional. Speak up for yourself, for other women coming up and for women in countries who don't have the same freedoms that we enjoy here in Australia. When I feel stressed or nervous about something, I think about women in generations before me who did everything they could to get me the freedoms I take for granted now. Also, by speaking up you are showing your own worth; that you are valuable and important enough to be heard and appreciated. So many great things happen when you stand firm in your belief that you are worthy of taking up space, of being at the table, of being part of conversations. This could be as simple as sending off an email to someone, striking up a conversation via IG DM, or just asking "can you tell me more, I want to learn about this?" to your manager, teacher or other educators and leaders in your life. For way too long women have been taught to stay small and I hope the next generation of women know it's time to take up and own the same space as men. 

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

Ah, 3 is so hard! Can I have five? :) There are SOOOOO many others I'd love to include. 

  1. My sister, Sinead de Gooyer. She's on IG but never posts (#TotalLurker). She works for herself as a regional GP, she has three kids who she's very hands-on with, she runs a dairy farm with her husband and she's just a real optimist. She's not one to dwell in negative thoughts, very practical and go-getter attitude. She is a huge influence in my life, in the lives of regional women and of her patients. 
  2. Melody Ehsani - just great insights, style and realness. 
  3. Sage x Clare - Honestly, not just saying that! Really love Phoebe's way of conversing and her humour. So many posts make me laugh or think about something, plus lovely pieces for the eye too. 
  4. Lesley Has Many Hats - I found this women first via Advanced Style and I just LOVE her energy and attitude towards style, life and living. She is my style icon. Her posts make me smile. 
  5. Jolinda Johnson - I met Jolinda about 3 or 4 years ago now, right after mum died and when I was TTC again. She was, and is, one of the warmest, realest people I've known and she helped me so much on my health / life journey. She is always sharing really thought-provoking tips and ideas and she walks the talk. 

There are sooo many others too - I'm lucky to have some incredible women in my life of all ages and backgrounds. 

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it?

Genuine equality for women and a massive decrease in domestic violence and murders of women in Australia. The levels of domestic violence continues to be something we should be incredibly ashamed of as a nation. As I write, yet another woman has been murdered at the hands of her partner and our own PM is debating when he heard about someone in his team being allegedly raped at work. It starts when kids are young - we have thrown out so many kids books in our house that STILL, in 2021, show women in the domestic role and "Daddy" as the "strong, brave" one who brings in the income and is all-powerful. Boys are taught very early on that it's OK to play rough, fight and smash things up and girls are taught to stay small, not be too loud or aggressive and play "nicely". TV shows, books, media, policies at work (or lack thereof) all feed into this idea of inequality between the sexes. In my own work, I donate regularly (both time and money) to domestic violence prevention causes, I also work with teams on ensuring their brand values are aligned internally (i.e. female empowerment isn't just about a nice social media post, it's having domestic violence leave policies in place, a locked  and comfortable place to pump milk, genuine return to work after maternity leave processes, flexibility for working parents, procedures for dealing with gossip in the workplace etc). I speak up when consulting with teams when I think women are not being heard or given opportunities and I try as a mum of two boys, to ensure they know women are just as capable as men. I also always offer up to 3 spaces in my courses and workshops for those running a NFP/Charity that aligns with the value of equality and have some pro bono 1:1 coaching for people from specific causes. 

International Women's Day 2021

Armelle Habib @armellehabib - Photographer.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

Work for me is photography;  Lifestyle, interiors, people, food, advertising, and travel photography. With COVID shutting down international travel I have collaborated on a personal project which we will announce very soon, stay tuned! 

My work is fun (most of the time) and also what I'm passionate about, I consider myself very fortunate to work with like minded women I hold in high regard. 90% of the crew I work with, my clients, artists, designers, creatives, stylists, retouchers, assistants, are women. They work incredibly hard and many of them are mothers too and balance their work life with parenting. 

These women are my heroes.

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

An important person in my life taught me that sometimes 95% finished is ok.(and it is hard to let go … being a perfectionist, attention to detail is great for business but not all the time with everything). It is hard to get it all done, tick all the boxes, get that instagram post uploaded on a Sunday morning with a 5 year old shooting you with a nerf gun, a vacuum in one hand and flipping pancakes with the other.

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

Persistence is key. More than often the big things feel out of reach but with small steps and persistence goals can be achieved.

Balance. Schedule in time for yourself which is easier said than done.Shoot days are long and deadlines constant. I often start ‘night shift’ (editing, admin) when everyone else is asleep to meet the demands.To keep afloat mentally I give myself an hour, even if it means getting up at 5.30am to cycle to the ocean, which is what I do.

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

1. Lidia Thorpe @lidiathorpegunnaigunditj  First Aboriginal senator for Victoria and Aboriginal woman in Victorian parliament. 

2. Clementine Ford  @clementine_ford - hardline feminist.

3. Julia Busuttil Nishimura @juliaostro - cookbook author and food writer.

We are about to start shooting Julias’ 3rd cook book, which I'm very excited about. They are all mothers who do great work.

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it?

Equality. You would think we have this nailed by now but no.  

I would like to see more working women supported, I couldn’t work on location as I do, put in the hours I do without my partner Bruno managing the house, shopping, cooking, cleaning, school dropoff/pickup etc...

It is our intention to educate our son Wilfred in gender equality, that we both work in jobs and at home, the workload is shared. As it is in our community of friends, I hope all our kids grow up with this understanding.

International Women's Day

Vy Costen @stayhungry_studio - Founder of Stay Hungry Studio.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

My name is Vy Costen and I'm the designer and maker behind Stay Hungry Studio in Melbourne.  Stay Hungry is essentially a small studio playing with old crafts and natural fibres and this is also what I do for fun. I love playing with different fibres such as wool, cotton and jute and manipulating them through old crafts such as knitting, weaving and macrame. 

Fun for me also involves long walks, gardening and drinking tea. (Gosh I sound like an old lady, right?? I think I need to start up kick boxing after reading this!!). I'm also becoming more aware of and passionate about our environment and finding ways to slow down our consumption. This passion is a strong driver behind the ethos of Stay Hungry.

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

My maternal grandmother has been a key figure in my life. I didn't know her in my early years as she was in Vietnam and I grew up in Australia but I could tell how much she was loved by her 14 children (yes,14!) by the stories my family told. Someone that loved is a result of the kindness they bestowed. 

My grandmother eventually came to Australia and lived with my family for a time when I was in my twenties and I too was showered with her gentle kindness. This legendary kindness showed itself at her funeral three years ago as her life was retold by different people.

One of those people was a gentleman who grew up in abject poverty in Vietnam. He proudly told strangers how through an act of charity my grandmother had paid for him to learn a trade. He chose to learn sewing and from this trade he was able to start a small business and lift himself out of poverty. He eventually migrated to Australia and his entrepreneurial spirit saw him build successful businesses here in Melbourne. 

Financial stability was a bonus but it was the first act of kindness from my grandmother that he never forgot. He never stopped searching for her and was so excited to reunite when he found her to be based in Melbourne. To him she had become a mother figure and her small act of kindness unknowingly changed his life.

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

I'm the daughter of a refugee family. We fled a war torn Vietnam by boat and came here with nothing. My parents built a life here; they built something from nothing. From this, I would say imagine a life that is worthy of working towards. Chip away slowly and build that life. Be kind along this journey - to yourself and to others.

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

I have taken a loooong hiatus from Instagram but two women I LOVE on the 'gram are Iris Apfel (@iris.apfel). Amazing style, legendary clotheshorse but it's her zest for life (that has not diminished with age) that is inspiring. 

Also LOVE Laerke Bagger (@laerkebagger). My idol for showing the crazy, funny, snotty life of being a mum, a knitter and a general badass who doesn't let her technical skills get in the way of letting loose with crazy creative ideas.

Third is off the 'gram and involves my amazing tribe of mum friends. They are an eclectic bunch of women that include business owners, teachers, health professionals and designers but all have amazing built into their DNA. Life would be a struggle without them.

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it?

To place a higher value on kindness. We all need more kindness in our lives and it should be more valued than other things such as material success. 

I try to contribute to this by asking my children who they felt was kind to them at school and what acts of kindness they can do for others. This comes before asking what they are learning and how they are tracking academically. 

International Women's Day

Bobbi Lockyer @bobbilockyer - Photographer & Artist.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

I am a baby photographer by day and artist by night, I also have my own little storefront shop in town where I sell my photography prints and artworks. I regularly do commercial and fashion photography as well but my heart definitely lies with capturing motherhood photography and I love to explore my own cultural traditions within my photography. I love to paint and create and spend time at the beach with my four sons. Anything related to the ocean inspires me from the coral reef to the seashells we collect.   

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

My mum has always been the biggest inspiration in my life and she taught me from a young age to follow my dreams and to do what makes me happy. She showed me that you could be a single mother and still have a career and happy work home balance. It isn't easy being a single mother myself but I know if my mum could do it with 6 children then I can do it with my four. My mum taught me how to sew and paint  as a child, she always encouraged my creative endeavours,  and she taught me how to set goals in my personal and career life as an adult. 

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

To not listen to the voice of those who don't believe in you, those who tell you you can't do this or that for whatever reasons they have for not wanting to see you succeed. My whole life I was told I would just be another 'starving artist' and nobody makes money in art but I never gave up. It was quite often men who told me I couldn't do these things. I knew what I was passionate about and wanted to pursue it because I would rather do something I love every day than something I hated.

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to?

Clementine Ford is an amazing advocate for women and she is very real online which is so refreshing and relatable. I also adore Meissa Mason as she is an excellent advocate for Indigenous people and educates us on serious issues in a relatable and often fun way about the issues Aboriginal people face, plus she does some killer makeup looks which always make me happy. Fallon Gregory is also an inspiration to me because she is stepping into the limelight as a representative for us and freely educates the greater public and shares many resources.

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it?

I want to see positive visibility for women, in particular women of colour, POC and Indigenous women and I will conscientiously forge my way to break those negative perceptions and dismantle stereotypes promoting our positive achievements and visibility through my photography and artwork. 

International Women's Day 2021

 

Erin Mellington @melior.interiors - Operations Manager at Sage x Clare.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

I am the Operations Manager at Sage x Clare, but it took a few twists & turns in my professional life to find my way here.  After 16 years working in corporate HR in the US & Australia, I decided it was time for a change and to pursue something that I was passionate about - interior design & styling. I quit my management job and went back to study, eventually finding my way onto the Sage x Clare Terra Collection photoshoot as a Styling Assistant. Over the couple days on set I was so impressed with Phoebe and her genuine nature and interest in those around her. I knew that any opportunity that came up to work with her again, I was going to jump on it. And that came soon after in the form of helping out in the warehouse, and that then led to my current position which is a really lovely combination of my past experience with my love of interiors & beautiful things.

I get to flex both my business & creative experiences in an exciting organisation, alongside the loveliest team. How lucky am I? Outside of work, I dream of travel & exploring new places - I have never lived in one place for as long as I have in Melbourne (almost 8 years now!), most of my life I have moved every 2-4 years - so the itch to roam is strong! I can’t wait to be able to safely travel overseas again, I really get so much inspiration both personally & professionally from traveling. I still dream of my trip in late 2019/early 2020 to Germany, Belgium & Luxembourg. In particular, the architecture in Ghent (Belgium) truly blew my mind!

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life?

I don’t know if there is a particular moment but my mom has always modelled the importance of hard work, commitment & resilience. I watched her find her own way and build an amazing career as a single mom to two teenage girls and the struggles she went through to do this. I appreciate how this has influenced my own work ethic and resilience, and helped lead me down my own amazing career journey. 

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women? 

Always have a perspective and don’t be afraid to share it. You won’t always have the right answer, your input may not always be taken on board - but always be part of the discussion.

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

@leannefordinteriors for a bit of interiors inspo & she seems so grounded; @mydailybusinesscoach for biz tips that are meaningful and actionable; @jillian.harris for a mix of business, interiors, puppies, family, laughs

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it? 

I believe strongly in equality in every way, shape & form but I also acknowledge that I don’t have a lived experience in all areas of equality that people unfortunately have to continue to fight for around the world. The last year has pushed me to look internally first to learn and understand my own blind spots before I take action externally to ensure my contributions are thoughtful, educated and are worthy. My first step is challenging myself so that I can holistically and confidently contribute to these vital conversations to help push change. Bringing this to my current role, we are also working on integrating programs focused on inclusion, diversity and more opportunity for our team to learn together. The change I want to see is equality in every way. 

International Women's Day

Pip Brett @jumbledonline - Founder of JUMBLED.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

I own a homewares and fashion store called JUMBLED, so I spend every day surrounded by colour and beautiful things. I love the simple things in life, like a good walk and a glass of bubbles.

What is a moment or lesson you'll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

My Mum, Kezz Brett, has a pearl of wisdom for everything. She has always taught me to trust my gut, but above all she has taught me to love myself. You've gotta love yourself because you can't expect anyone else to - happy people are attracted to happy people!

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

Luck is made, so go out and find your own magic.

Who are some women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you're not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

I love following Mia Freedman - I love how she champions other women in business! Oh and my friend Rachel Castle - she is pure joy and happiness.

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it?

I would love to see the breakdown of gender inequality. As a mum of boys, I want to teach them to be the best humans ever and to treat everyone with respect and kindness. I want them to challenge the status quo, and question stereotypes. It's so amazing though, that as much as I try to guide them, they are their own people and I'm endlessly proud of the incredible little people they have grown into. 

International Women's Day 2021

Amy Pearson @mother.other - Photographer & Podcast Host. 

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

I am a Photographer & Web-Designer by trade, I also host a podcast called Mother / other – exploring the challenges of Motherhood, and I read a lot of books in my spare time. I am passionate about delving into deep conversations about society's expectations of Mothers and shedding some light on the experiences of Motherhood to help others feel less alone.

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

This isn’t a woman I know personally, but once I had a book signed by the brilliant Feminist force Roxane Gay, and she inscribed “Dear Amy, Be Difficult, Love Roxane”. That line has stuck with me – it’s about how women are often labelled as “difficult” when they ask for what they want or don’t succumb to the expectations of others. I always remind myself of this when I need to hold strong to my own decisions or boundaries and other people are expecting me to bend for their benefit. 

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

Understand, truly, that every single person is different, and comparing yourself to others will never get you where you need to be. Push against anyone that is trying to mould you into something, work out what you want and who you are and as long as you do it with kindness, be unapologetic about it.

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

@Rudyjude - Julie O’Rourke, @Ashedavenport – Ashe Davenport, @Candicebrathwaite – Candice Brathwaite.

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it?

For society to hear an honest and open dialogue about the struggles of Motherhood and the strain still being felt by Mothers who choose to pursue their own interests or careers outside of caring for their children. In heteronormative relationships, this is still a major issue in most cases, and the birthing parents (most often being women) are still expected to take on not only the role of the primary carer but also to manage the endless, mundane household tasks – whether they’re contributing financially or not. I intend to contribute to seeing this shift by sharing these conversations on the podcast Mother / other and by sharing my own journey through postpartum & beyond via social media at @mother.other & on the journal.

International Women's Day 2021

 

Heather Nette King @heathernetteking - Interior Stylist & Writer. 

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

I am a photographic stylist specialising in interiors, so I work with brands and magazines to create imagery of homes and interior products - everything from paint to pillows to porcelain.  I also write editorial stories for loads of interior titles and then squeeze in some copywriting to create marketing words for some very beautiful Australian products and brands.

For fun, you will find me in my gumboots in the garden. I live in an incredible, historic apartment block with stunning communal gardens and I love nothing better than hanging with a few like-minded residents and weeding, planting, composting, mulching and watching our garden grow.  It is where I chill, dream, and restore my heart if ever anything is not going too well.

I am most passionate about spending time with my family, including our pets. I live with my husband Jeremy, who I utterly lucked out with when we started dating in first year uni, and my daughters Annebelle, 23, and Alexandra 21.  Annebelle has just moved back home after studying in Canberra for five years so I can’t leave her alone for five seconds and Allie is at uni and also lives with us so she’s very happy to have her big sister home and is probably secretly enjoying sharing the load of my overly-attentive mothering. We have two pets who are best friends – Dougal, the sweetest ever 11 year old Golden Retriever and Sugar the 17 year old ginger cat, who is considerably less sweet but nonetheless very much loved.

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

About two nights after having Annebelle I was utterly overwhelmed and feeling very shaky and unprepared for motherhood. I had one of those 3am conversations in the hospital nursery with a midwife who had a heap of kids and was doing all sorts of interesting things with her life - as well as working nights. I asked her how she possibly did it all and her words have always stuck with me. She told me how she has always known she had to be responsible for herself, and to rely on herself before anyone else, in order to get what she wanted from life. Her motto was “if it is to be, it’s up to me”. Sadly, I have no idea what her name is, as I’d like to thank her, but I have called on that piece of inspo and wisdom a few times over the years.

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

Just trust your instincts, always, and have the courage to back yourself. Whether it be with career choices, friendships, mothering decisions, boyfriends, business, the colours to paint your house, whatever. I think we all know when things don’t sit right with us, so really listen to that tightness you get in your stomach, or throat, or heart or wherever, and stick to your guns.

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

Right now, like so many others, I am obsessed with US politics, so I love to watch how so many incredible women are making great changes there, from Vice President Kamala Harris, to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. I see their feeds first thing each morning and never fail to be inspired.

On a very local note, I am a big fan our own Phoebe Bell of Sage x Clare for her honest and often hilarious voice on Instagram. So many brands don’t find their authentic social media voice, and it really shows, but Phoebe has nailed it.

That’s more than three sorry!

International Women's Day 2021

Shani Lycett @happysociety_ - Founder of Happy Society.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun & what are you most passionate about?

I own and run Happy Society, a collection of natural home fragrances & lifestyle products made from scratch by me & sourced from some talented makers to bring calm and good smells to you and your space. For fun I make impulsive decisions, rearrange the house (its as a good as a holiday) and love camping with my partner and our two boys, the perfect opportunity to be completely present and unplugged. I started studying my bachelor of Complimentary Medicine mid way through last year and it has really ignited a new passion in me and has taught me a lot about my own health and well being & where it might lead Happy Society in the future. 

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

This is a tricky one! I’m always learning lessons from the amazing women in my life. A specific moment isn’t coming to mind right now but by being around some incredibly strong & wise women I’ve learnt to always be open minded, be ready to learn from my mistakes, be comfortable with myself & to be content with exactly where I am. 

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women? 

Don’t conform to the bullshit ideals our society keeps forcing on us, forge your own path, think for yourself (especially when the internet & social media has such an influence over us), critically analyse the information out there and question it, be curious and challenge the so called normal. 

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

I’m not very present on the gram these days but I’ve been feeling inspired by some books I’ve recently read by female authors. Body Full of Stars by Molly Caro May - if you’re a mother, this book spoke volumes to me. I’ve also been loving Ottessa Moshfegh’s otherworldly fiction, her novels are completely different to the books I usually pick up & expose some uncomfortable truths about women’s subjective experiences. I’ve been binging on Alison Rice’s podcast Get Offline while I work, she has some open and honest conversations with authentic & empowering women with some interesting stories. 

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it? 

I want to see more people challenging old ideals and standing up for injustices they witness or experience, equal rights, equal pay, more women in government and more support for women wanting to start small businesses. Some of my goals for 2021 are to find and support more local women run charities as well as taking on the responsibility of being a mother of two boys and breaking the cycle of toxic masculinity. 

International Women's Day 2021

Nadine Artemis @nadineartemisofficial - Founder of Living Libations beauty products.

What do you do for work, what do you do for fun, and what are you most passionate about?

I am so fortunate that my intuition, passion, and creativity are intimately intermingled as the creator, formulator, and founder of Living Libations. My hands and my heart serve at the pleasure of plants, and I love mixing and melding the beauty of botanicals into elegantly effective skin care serums, optimal oral care as well as poetic perfumes and radiant remedies for mind and body. 

Nature is a life-long passion, and I love to walk on our land and admire the abundance of life in the forest and the lake and in the swampy places in between. I love to capture photos of wildflowers and creatures that I encounter. Enjoying a beautiful sunrise and basking in the sun to dry off after a swim in the lake revives my being. In quiet, restful moments, I soak my spirit in the wisdom and beauty of the great poets. I especially love to read mystic poets like Rumi, Hafiz, Sanai, Attar, and Lalla.

What is a moment or lesson you’ll never forget from an important woman in your life? 

Mrs. Murray, my sixth-grade teacher, asked me one day during recess, “What if, in lieu of being the class clown, you used your leadership for good?” I spent much energy in Mrs. Murray’s class generating giggles, which she understandably saw as disruptive. She thoughtfully recommended that I take the innate energy that I had been using for fun and turn it into something that could benefit both myself and others

I received the same advice from my stoic and glamorous high school principle. My frequent forays into fashion activism and class clownism provided me with plenty of opportunities to sort things out with her in her office. Their guidance helped me channel my energy, passions, and sense of fun into benefitting the lives of others. 

Taking your past experiences into consideration, what advice would you give to the future generation of women?

Rose-colored glasses are an essential life-accessory. A few years ago, our home and business headquarters burned to the ground in the middle of the night. My family escaped the fire, yet we lost everything. It was deeply overwhelming to experience so much loss. While beyond devastating, it was amazing to witness the strength of our Living Libations team. We were amazed that we could rise out of the ashes with agility and fortitude. Through all of this, deeper insight into trusting life, the grace of gratitude, and counting your blessings blossomed. And, going through something so momentous makes mundane stressors feel less relevant. 

Yet, the very best advice I ever receive regarding family, business, recreation and avocation always comes from the wisdom within, from the inner intuition anchored into the compass of the mind/heart connection. Tuning in, the best advice always comes from the wisdom within.

Who are 3 women you love to follow on Instagram for a daily dose of happiness & inspiration? OR if you’re not on the gram (go you!) who are 3 women you look up to? 

My mother, Deidre, was my first and most foundational role model. She lived with grace and elegance— and she was daring! She taught color theory and art history at a university, and she had her pilot’s license! As a child, she blessed me with the freedom and the fertile ground to pursue my plant-passions. She set me out in the sun and let me thrive, mixing mud potions and flower concoctions. In eighth grade, she helped to track down and drive all over town to sniff out actual essential oils to recreate L’Air du Temps, which was my science fair project. And, as an award-winning interior designer, she inspired me with her ever-flowing creativity and boldness as we laid out my first brick and mortar store, Osmosis. Seeing her confidence about my passions coming to life made me feel deeply anchored and preparedly poised for the future. 

I appreciate Saint Hildegard of Bingen, who was a Benedictine abbess polymath of the High Middle Ages. She was one of a handful of people who practiced and advanced botanical arts and herbalism in the Dark Ages when the use of perfumed preparations, medicants for the mind, and sensual scents were largely snuffed out. I am also fascinated by her spiritual relationship with plants. She coined the phrase, veriditas, and it was a guiding image for her. Veriditas expresses the greening energy or vitality of the Divine as a fresh and creative power of life that sustains and heals. I love that word and I love the imagery.

Poetry is a harp for my heart, and Mary Oliver’s experience of nature as a sacred space, and how elegantly she portrays this in her poetry, elegantly inspires. I know many of her verses by heart, and they echo through me as I wander in wonder in the forests and lush lowlands around my home. Ms. Oliver intuitively knew what science is now discovering; the sun and stars, oaks and pines, and wildflower and fern lined streams really will revive us. 

The theme for IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge, what change do you want to see in the world and how do you intend to contribute to it?

Our present-day perception of beauty is parched, I #ChooseToChallenge the “beauty” industry props up unrealistic perfection and excessive ideals even though the standards are unreal. I feel honored that women from all over the world come to us with their beauty questions. These women are distraught with dilemmas, and the nature of their questions is complex – and “beauty” has led us astray into this dangerous terrain.  It’s time to pause this pressing paradigm and reconsider the cultural creeds that cause us harm. I hope to set alight a renegade vision of beauty and this is why I wrote a book on it called Renegade Beauty. 

Renegade Beauty surrenders to the seduction of doing less and allows the elements and the life force of nature to revive the body, skin, and spirit. True beauty, healthy and lasting beauty, is expressed from within when we are nurtured by nature. When everything artificial and synthetic falls away, the breathability and the beauty of our own nature can shine through.

Any time I'm feeling a little down in the dumps I'm coming straight back to this journal. These answers filled my heart with pride & bliss. Do you see why I love these women so. dang. muchhhh?! Marvellous feels inadequate, inspirational feels better, a gift to the world feels just right.

I hope you take this array of beautiful advice and jot it down in your mind to carry with you wherever you go! Don’t ever forget what you’re capable of, to keep sharing your insights with others and to always support each other. 

With love, 

Xx

 


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