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I’m so excited to be a contributor - their lifestyle articles fit me like a glove (as you can probably gather I’ve been a subscriber for some time). This one hit a little closer to home, and a must read for any girl out there who finds themselves in a vicious cycle of doubting their self worth. Read my published article here…
How I learned to love what makes me, me
Behind the scenes with my hair/makeup stylist (one of my first fashion shoots - I was a little nervous throughout the day. This was the real deal!) Vs. the finished product by international photographer Peter Collie.
When I began my journey as Mrs. Australia through the Mrs. International organisation, I decided to focus my energies on a platform close to my heart: building body confidence and tackling self-esteem issues amongst teens. As a long-term youth instructor with the Australian Air Force Cadets, and a professional model and model tutor for the last few years, I’ve seen firsthand how the industry can misrepresent beauty to our youth.
Flash back to teenage Kate: I had very poor self-esteem when I was young. At the time I struggled to see how I would ever move past the braces, the acne and the wild frizzy hair. I was more comfortable as a tomboy and having guy friends (they were far less complicated) and was never one to take centre stage – even to the extent that I was a quiet achiever with my grades.
I eventually grew out of my awkward teenage phase. Phew! My insecurities, however, took a lot longer to move past. I was in a relationship that wasn’t working for me and found myself being compared to the girls in FHM and Ralph magazines daily, something that always hurt. I envied their bodies and was insanely jealous of their confidence to put themselves out there like that. And how do they know how to pose, and just generally look so amazing!? Urgh. It wasn’t until I left that relationship behind that I was in a position to finally start focusing on my own journey, starting with establishing my self-worth.
Given that I hated the constant comparison to the girls in the magazines, it might seem strange that I decided to move into the world of professional modelling. That part came quite by accident. What I found was an environment where I finally started feeling comfortable in my own skin. Also, for the first time in years I had a group of girlfriends I loved hanging out with.
Before, during & after: Kevin McKenzie Hair London campaign with the man himself (during prep in the salon), onset with Natalie Roser Photography, and the campaign image (aka post production).
My first on stage experience was a lingerie parade for the ‘Go Pink’ National Breast Cancer Foundation event. I was so nervous and felt like I was almost going to pass out. Afterwards, I had a huge rush of adrenalin and I was excited to have pushed myself to do something I didn’t think I was capable of – and for charity! I dabbled in a couple of national bikini competitions and the more I got into it, the more I was astounded to find out that these girls were just like me! They had pimples, dimpled skin, stretch marks and stringy hair. I eventually learned the array of tricks that they used – a lot of which comes down to makeup, good lighting and specific posing techniques – and now I use them too.
I moved into professional modelling in 2010 when I moved back to Sydney and haven’t looked back. I’ve grown so much into myself and have learned so much. I know that there are countless professionals involved in doing my make-up, setting my hair, organising lighting and arranging sets. You wouldn’t recognise me if you saw what I actually look like exercising – just like I’m sure my personal trainer, Blake Worrall-Thompson, wouldn’t recognise me all dolled up! Models aren’t as different as you think.
As Mrs. Australia, I’m working with the Touch of Goodness Foundation to try and bring awareness to the young girls of today that modelling is an artificial reality created for advertising. Even I look at the Libra ads and think, ‘There’s no way I’m that happy during my period,’ though I know how it all works. My graphic design background has given me an understanding of marketing and advertising, and working as a model and going through pageants, I know the tricks of the trade turn me into the seemingly perfect-looking human – despite not waking up looking anything like it. Educating my audience about how it all works is an important obligation I feel I owe to my 15-year-old self, which is why I created my lifestyle and model blog CHIC NATION. It’s an educational resource hub to help and inspire others in leading their own happy and healthy life.
Know that self-esteem and being hung up on your looks aren’t age-related, but how long you choose to let them affect you is. I’ve found with age and life experience I’m in a content headspace. I now own my past, my demons and my flaws. Love what makes you, you. Own your flaws, develop from the negatives, and live life like you’re on stage the entire time. Nobody in this world is perfect; surround yourself with good people, take pride in what you do and focus on living a happy and fulfilling life. That’s the secret to good self-esteem.
That’s it ladies - love what makes you, YOU!
Your Mrs Australia International 2014
***Original image by Natalie Roser Photography
for Kevin McKenzie Hair London.