Meet Cynthia. A woman filled with joy, Cynthia’s journey has taken her to places of both light and darkness. Just weeks before her 17th birthday, Cynthia endured a traumatic labor and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Unfortunately due to family circumstances and the shame brought upon her household, she was forced into having her son adopted. Transitioning back into a normal life, post-baby, Cynthia lived a life of mediocrity— riddled with low self-esteem and deep sadness. A few years later, Cynthia was married and had a daughter; during this time she was also able to reconnect with her son. Despite finding closure, the emotional scarring remained, and she still felt broken. Her emptiness and worthlessness grew and Cynthia was at breaking point. One night whilst getting ready for her husband’s industry event, Cynthia stood in front of her mirror, unhappy with what she saw. After years of the same feeling toward her reflection, something in her changed and she decided enough was enough. The following morning, she drafted a 12-week health and fitness plan, vowing to take control of every aspect of her life. After making the choice to live her life differently after so many years of heartache, Cynthia kept up the momentum. After the first 12 weeks, she proceeded to tackle another 12 weeks— this time developing a business plan and logo. Cynthia knew that her journey wasn’t just for herself— she was going to inspire other people to take charge of their lives too. Now a Transformation Coach and the director of ‘My Breakthrough Body’, she assists men and women in reclaiming their lives. Despite her rocky start, Cynthia managed to turn her life into something beautiful and continues to strive for goodness. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Melanie. Always having a passion for helping people, Melanie has been a physiotherapist for over ten years. A couple of years in, she noticed a lot of women pre and post-natal, not knowing how they could help themselves during, and after the physical transformation of pregnancy. Starting to do research of her own, Melanie felt that there wasn’t enough information available to these women— specifically in the areas of pregnancy and exercise. She wanted to inspire women to look after themselves, so she created Perfect Pelvic Floor; an online program to assist women in the prevention of incontinence. Melanie knew that female incontinence isn’t something freely discussed amongst women, so wanted to develop a platform to allow discussions and education. Melanie's passion lies in self-care, and helping people to look after themselves— her bold step to open conversation continues to inspire women from all corners. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Candace. 27 year old fashion enthusiast and Los Angeles native, Candace has always had a flare for business and creativity. After graduating with a marketing degree, she decided to dive into a blend of fashion and business-- being a fashion buyer. In October 2015, Candace felt the need to start a 'small' women's empowerment platform online: taking her surprise, it exploded Female Collective is feminist brand and online community designed to celebrate, empower, support and uplift women. After only a year running this page, it has grown in popularity and has allowed her to meet amazing women from all over the world. Her love of female empowerment is one close to PSW's heart, and she continues to inspire thousands. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Madelein. A lover of travel, Madelein has been on the go since she was young.
Realising it made no sense to work a 9-5 job, biding time until her next vacation, Madelein decided to blend the two! Starting out in a tour company and then moving to an airport job, she has had many opportunities to travel and get to know people from all over the world. Today she works at Amtrak (has been there for 11 years) and spends her days sharing experiences and ideas with people who travel by rail across America. She lives for new sights, new conversations, and loves to see the world through new eyes. Madelein's kind smile is a beautiful addition to the tracks. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Alex. At 23 years of age, Alex is a very talented florist based in Sydney. Recently, Alex started a blog with her sister (called Miranda Hhart), showcasing the alternative art medium of flowers and foliage. Born with Mycrotia, Alex is deaf in one ear, and recognises that people often take their hearing for granted. In the same way, we are surrounded by flowers and greenery, however, we often tend to overlook their beauty. Wanting to be a jeweller from a very young age, Alex only took a job at a florist because she was desperate for work. Now eight years later, Alex loves what she does and plans on opening her own shop one day. She is a Strong Woman
Meet Snezna. A powerhouse of a woman, Snezna started her career as a journalist, moved onto owning her own PR company, and then jumped straight into developing her own teen girl skincare range. After having worked in health and beauty, and with a daughter who was about to start her own skincare journey, Snezna found a gap in the market and quickly ran to fill it. Last year Snezna moved on to becoming Director of Health and Wellness at Edelman Australia-- a high intensity position, perfect for this dynamic and driven woman. Despite the success of her carreer, Snezna is very intentional about investing time into her family. With a daughter and husband, she admits that being successful in the corporate world can be demanding, however never lets the passion for her family be overtaken by her career. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Georgette. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Georgette followed in the footsteps of people around her and graduated from college with a Degree in Business. Once graduated, Georgette gained employment in marketing at NBC, and although she thought the job sounded glamorous, she worked from a tiny cubical in a large office. Disappointed that her expectations were not met, Georgette left her job after only four months. Deciding she wanted to be around people, she worked for seven years doing developmental assessments for children with intellectual disabilities. However after years of working in this job, there was no way to progress so Georgette was looking for another change. One weekend Georgette did make-up for a friend's wedding, and after receiving so many compliments, she decided to try it full time. Returning to study to become a qualified make-up artist, Georgette's first week as a MUA was on an independent film. Since discovering her passion was indeed make-up and beauty, Georgette has been able to travel the world and pursue what she loves. Instead of believing she was locked into her career in marketing, Georgette decided to take a leap of faith and do what she loves-- today this has paid off, and she fills her days beautifying people both locally and internationally. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Toni. A joyous spirit, Toni’s contagious laugh overflows with happiness; however this wasn’t always the case. For most of her adult life, Toni felt bound by expectations and low self-esteem. Hesitant to be herself, she feared she wasn’t good enough and focused on suppressing her laughter and feelings in an attempt to ‘fit in’. In an abusive relationship, Toni thought that she had to stay with her boyfriend, fearing if she left, no one else would love her. Depressed, isolated and overcome with a sense of worthlessness, she started to self-harm, hoping that it would relieve her aching. After intentional self-care and meditation, today Toni takes pride in her beautiful body and her loud laugh-- snort and all! Her new lease on life is invigorating; her positive energy spreading to everyone she meets. Toni continues to surround herself with people who pour into her life and lift her up. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Victoria. A stay-at-home mum, Victoria spent 17 years raising her only daughter, taking the time to be present in her life as she grew. Following her daughter's college departure, Victoria decided it was time to re-enter the workforce. A carer and nurturer at her core, she worked as a nanny- because you don't need an education to love and care for children. Craving a change of pace, she recently started working for Lyft, driving passengers all over Los Angeles. With a love of people and creating new connections, Victoria spends her days talking and smiling to each person her path crosses. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Mary-Lou. The eldest of five children, Mary-Lou has always been a nurturer. From a very young age, she knew she wanted to be a nurse, and saw herself having a large family. After marriage and a few years of nursing, Mary-Lou and her husband Ralph decided to start a family. For years they tried to fall pregnant but were not successful. Being a nurse, Mary-Lou was constantly surrounded by new life, which increased her desire to be a mother. Driving around the streets of her home town, Mary-Lou would even check boxes and bags dumped on the side of the road, hoping she would discover an abandoned child needing a home and a mother. Following eight years of various treatments and heartache, Mary-Lou and her husband welcomed their only child- a daughter- into the world. Now some 30 years on, Mary-Lou is the very proud grandmother of three little ones, and continues to love and nurture everyone she meets. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Cindy. Born and raised in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Cindy has always loved being by the water and leads a very active lifestyle both on and off the beach. After completing high school, she decided to pursue her lifelong passion of dance, completing her studies at the end of 2015. Unfortunately shortly after her graduation, Cindy injured her hip, which required surgery and a lengthy recovery time. While pausing to allow a full recovery, she continues to keep busy, picking up modelling and acting work as well as being an assistant in a community magic show. With a stunning combination of passion and sheer persistence, Cindy continues to wait until her body is well enough to perform and encourage teens and young people once more. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Kate. Originally from Adelaide, South Australia, and now living in Melbourne, Kate is a self-confessed bibliophile - a person who collects or has a great love of books. After completing a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Communication, Kate found she wanted more from her career. She sought a way to combine her love for writing, editing and social media with her life-long obsession with books and reading. Voila! Kate created Lillytales; a book review micro-blog on Instagram.
These days Lillytales is much more than an Instagram page; Lillytales is a website, YouTube channel and bookish merchandise brand. Kate and her fiancé Simone are the owners of an online shop, Nook & Burrow, which is a creative collective of handmade bookish homewares and accessories. Kate now splits her time between working as a publishing assistant, studying a Masters in Publishing and Communication and working to grow Nook & Burrow, and all of this stems from her love of literature. With Lillytales, Kate enjoys connecting with bookish folk from around the world and feels extremely lucky to have customers and friends who buy Lillytales handmade wooden bookmarks from all corners of the globe including Sweden, The Middle East, The US, The UK, Singapore, Germany and of course in her home country of Australia. Most of all, Kate hopes to create excitement and passion around books and reading and aims to inspire followers of her blog to pick up a book, hear a story from a voice they wouldn't usually come across and enjoy all the benefits of fantastic literature. She is a Strong Woman.
You can read Kate's book reviews at www.lillytales.com or at @lillytales on Instagram.
Watch Kate's videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ00evi_BOhY41Og-mkxahw.
If you'd like to shop her handmade bookish merchandise head over to www.nookandburrow.com
Meet Meg. I thought it fitting to introduce this Strong Woman on Mother's Day, because this is my mother. Raising five children is no easy feat, but doing so as a single mum can be intense. As a small child I remember her resilience and grit as she worked multiple jobs to send us to a private school. Always putting her children first, Meg's heart is constantly invested in the happiness of others- this passion overflowing into her work as a carer in a nursing home. Despite raising five children on her own, mental illness crept in and Meg never seemed to recognise her own strength. I couldn't wrap my head around such a remarkable woman being so unaware of her worth and phenomenal contribution to the people around her. A mother and carer to her core, Meg is my original Strong Woman.
Meet Kirbanu. Originally from Adelaide, South Australia, this singer/songwriter had no intention of venturing down a path of music or creative expression. After completing university degrees in zoology and environmental conservation, Kirbanu came to the end of her study and despite having the head of a scientist, found her heart simply wasn’t invested. Realising she was meant to be a musician, she picked up her guitar and started travelling. Several years and 33 countries later, today Kirbanu is based in Germany and concentrates on cultivating her unique musical identity. Acknowledging that money dictates a lot of the mainstream music industry, Kirbanu parades a refreshing opposite. Pushing honest music and authenticity, Kirbanu uses social media and conversation to build authentic connections, creating a loyal supporter base with the goal of building a sustainable, independent music career. Coming from the old Pahlavi language meaning “a lady of power, strength and fortune”, even Kirbanu’s name is a reflection of her passion-filled spirit. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Susan. At fifteen years old, Susan was on a fishing trip with her parents and brother when their boat suddenly sank. After four hours of struggling through darkness and rough sea, Susan eventually made it to shore-- but her family did not. Such trauma took its toll on Susan, leading her down a path of self-destruction. Becoming a mother at 20, Susan’s life continued to test her, having to face domestic violence, single motherhood and cancer. In the years following, Susan started the healing process and used motorbike riding to do so. Whilst writing her book “The Girl Who Lived”, she rode her motorbike throughout South East Asia, immersing herself in the diverse cultures and learning more about herself along the way. Susan now puts her energy into WOW Motorcycle Tours, an organisation she started with her son that runs motorbike tours across Victoria, Australia. Susan encourages women to rediscover themselves and build confidence with just two wheels and an open road. In January 2017 Susan will be facing her fear of swimming, and taking part in the Lorne Pier to Pub-- hoping to raise $100,000 for the McAuley Community Services for Women. Despite trauma and grief, Susan continues to face life head-on and inspires countless others along the way. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Paula. At the age of 15, Paula met the man of her dreams, and 10 years later they were married. Starting a family was always a goal for both Paula and her husband, and 16 years ago, their baby daughter was born at 25 weeks. Despite being severely premature, the baby grew into a lively little girl however at the age of 7 she was diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis-- this lead to a total colectomy (removal of the large bowel). With the pressure of raising a sick child, Paula’s resilience and strength shone. In the meantime, Paula’s husband developed a serious health issue which resulted in him being diagnosed with kidney failure. Following years of dialysis, her husband then developed a tumor on his pancreas which had to be removed. 2015 saw Paula’s husband receive a kidney transplant however 12 days later his body rejected it and they were back to square one. Early December he received another transplant and he has since reached the three-month milestone. After years of battling for her husband and daughter, Paula finally has some relief. Although there are still regular hospital visits for her husband and daughter, there is so much she is thankful for. Juggling a full time job as the head of a primary school, supporting sick family members and managing a household, Paula encourages anyone she meets to not give up. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Bianca. Spending her early working years in hospitality, Bianca knew she wasn’t destined to be the Drive-Thru Crew Captain at McDonald’s forever. As a teenager, Bianca was expelled from high school but then worked toward being school dux and started University. However during her studies, Bianca quit and joined the Great Moscow Circus as Ringmaster. Following her circus stint, Bianca showed interest in journalism, however a self-confessed show-off, Bianca’s personality would’ve been restricted as a news journo. Bianca then found herself in radio and fell in love. Paying her dues, she went on and worked in country radio before returning to the coast to work in Sydney and Wollongong. Her hard work has paid off and Bianca continues to maintain her title of only female radio announcer to win Best Music Personality- back to back. Despite countless setbacks, Bianca never gave up- she knew she was meant to be a broadcaster. With over 20 years of broadcasting experience, she has manifested her career and surrounds herself with people who add value to what she does. One of Bianca’s recent projects is @anxietyfree-- a social media platform where she strives to inspire people and help them feel good about themselves, in a world that so often does the opposite. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Anjuli. Born in Australia to two eccentric, musical and artistic parents, Anjuli grew up in Glastonbury, UK with her sister and mother, after her parents separated when she was 3. During her early childhood, they lived in a B&B attic room and attended nearly every festival in the land. Involved in countless community plays, dance performances, alternative events and celebrations for every reason possible, her upbringing was colourful and she had an amazing group of friends.
Despite this, life was burdened by an unhealthy relationship with her mother, which worsened into her late teens. Feeling emotionally burnt out and unmotivated to do University, Anjuli spent a few years travelling and working, to help find her purpose, and began a relationship with a life long friend. They later married and, after the birth of their daughter, migrated to Australia in 2008. Unfortunately a sense of displacement and depression took hold of her. Eager to shake it off and desperate for a creative outlet, Anjuli would make art, including painting their appliances. In 2013 she finally found and enrolled in an online surface pattern design course which has led to her starting her own business - JeliRAD Designs. Finding the balance between motherhood and designing, Anjuli continues to do what she loves and focuses on one day having her own homewares range, and also joining a design studio! She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Bryn. For as long as she can remember, Bryn has been fortunate enough to travel all over the world, visiting coconut plantations in both The Pacific and Asia. Spending time at government-funded coconut research centres, working on aid projects in Fiji and growing up with a family who runs Banaban Virgin Coconut Oil, it was no surprise when Bryn wanted to venture down the coconut path too. Soaking in as much as she could from people along the way, Bryn has fine-tuned her passion and now works with farmers and chemists to produce world first and innovative coconut products. Working at Banaban, Bryn is able to assist in empowering indigenous communities through education and scholarship programs. In her spare time, Bryn’s passion for coconuts continues, where she writes a food blog -coconuts of course- and is working on the completion of her book and app. Bryn spends every waking moment ‘going coconuts’ and inspiring people to pursue their passions. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Carol. Growing up in a suburban middle-class home, horses were never a part of Carol’s family. However from a very young age, Carol developed a deep fascination. At the earliest possible opportunity, she started working with horses. Starting off with working for free as a pooper-scooper, Carol was determined to work with these beautiful animals. By fifteen, she had lay-byed her horse and paid it off over two years by collecting and selling bottles. Working her way up the professional ladder, Carol ended up grooming, riding, training horses-- even judging and commentating for equestrian events. With competing successfully at 34 Royal shows and then commentating for the past six years, she has made a successful name for herself. But when her only son was killed in a skiing accident in New Zealand, Carol’s career stood still. A way of dealing with this shock was through poetry; and this opened a door to a whole new adventure. Carol threw herself one hundred percent into poetry and through hard work, dedication and her outrageous talent, has emerged as the cream of Australian Bush Poetry today. From this, she has had the opportunity to travel all over Australia and internationally, performing and sharing the unique art of Bush Poetry. Carol believes that when life seems as though there is no light in the tunnel, we need to go in, find the switch and turn it on ourselves. She is a Strong Woman.