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What is life really about?

What is life really about? Walking on the beach this morning I had a sort-of epiphany, an experience of what I interpreted to be the two worlds created by the left and right brain. I realised there really are two distinctly different ways I can be in the world:

One way I could be in the world, as I walked along the beach, was to let my mind think  about various things in my life: the targets to be met with my thesis, my plans to get to the end of the beach and tick off my day’s exercise checkbox. I walked enjoying the background beauty of the ocean, feeling happy about how good the fresh salty air is for my lungs, with a view to feeling healthy and being able to better achieve the next thing on my list.

Another way I could be in the world was to walk with a less-purposive, open focus on beauty of my surroundings. As I switched into this mode, I found myself pondering some deep questions: What does it really mean for human beings to be the “universe getting to know itself”? How does thinking of ourselves in this way change the way we, as a species, live? I felt a tear in my eye, I wasn’t sure why.

I looked at the apartments with views of the magnificent ocean, do the people that live there appreciate their privilege? Do they experience it in the kind of way that I had been walking, enjoying the beautiful background as they work to fulfil life’s requirements, ticking off checkboxes needed to maintain that life, to pay the mortgage, to feed their family, be successful at their jobs, and so on? How would a more balanced-brain affect that experience? I think it would be a subtle difference – it would be in moments like the one I was starting to have.

I began to really take in the beauty of the beach, smiling at the sea gulls pecking at bluebottles. I thought about the idea that I, myself, was expressed in the gulls, in the sand, in the stormy clouds that were appearing.

I decided to stop walking, and sit on the sandbank instead. I gazed out toward the horizon.

I closed my eyes and let an orange haze overcome by being. I felt the boundaries of my body’s skin fade into the background and a sense of unity come to the forefront. I am at once separate and connected—to everything around me, everything before me, and everything after me.

I felt myself observe and be in “the moment”—not as a singular thing—but as a flow, the continuous moment in the movement of time.

Time flows like the sea, a sustained present, inseparable from the past and future. Like the ocean’s mighty waves, time has no beginning and no end, it does not pause, it moves in and out, an expression of its own depths, of the atmosphere, and what lies beyond.

These two different ways that I could “be” as I walked along the beach correlated with the processes that Iain McGilchrist discusses in terms of our left and right brain hemispheres.

As I walked along the beach with my left hemisphere in charge, I was abstracted from the real world, using my time to tick boxes, calculate income, expenses, and the costs vs benefits of possible decisions, trade-offs between walking, eating brownies, working on my thesis, looking after my son, spending time with friends and family, renting vs trying to buy an apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world. All these things that are important to our lives, but which are not actually real—they are not what life is actually about.

As I walked along the beach with my right hemisphere dominating, I had a sense of broad openness, allowing a spontaneity of thoughts and actions, letting the world’s true beauty touch my innermost essence of being. This is real, it is what life is all about.

I almost skipped the walk and went straight to the library, to make the most out of the few hours I had baby-free. If I had done so I’d have missed out on this experience of earth’s beauty, missed out on this epiphany, and I wouldn’t have known what I’d missed. I could have done the walk with a view to getting my day’s exercise, and again I wouldn’t have known what I’d missed in this experience and reflection upon what I see to be the real significance of life.

Letting myself walk without purpose had provided a space for development and understanding of myself, the world, and even my thesis and McGilchrist’s work, in a whole new and much deeper way.

The right hemisphere presents the world that is real and the left hemisphere represents abstracted parts of that world, the right hemisphere open and the left focuses on achievement within predefined bounds.

We need both hemispheres. We need our left hemisphere to help us organise, to give us things like the checkboxes that we use to hold ourselves accountable and achieve aims that we set out to achieve. Even more importantly, we need our right hemisphere to provide the context for these aims and actions, and to allow us to experience the joys that life offers us. 

I suppose what I learned in this epiphany was how to switch into a more right brain mode of being, and the value of doing this.

If we spend our life letting our left brain tick boxes then we will keep ticking until the last checkbox “death” is ticked. Complete!

Instead if we switch into right brain mode we can cultivate the art of living, sensing, experiencing, being conscious, reflexive, truly appreciating the beauty, valuing the connections, and being the flow of the continuous present.

Perhaps in a balanced brain mode, the work of our left brain can be in the service of the right brain, the abstract working for the real, parts working for the whole, instead of the other way around. For that is what life is really about.

I’ve gone organic, and this is why…

I’ve gone organic, well, where an easy enough choice is available for not a completely unaffordable price. I’m trying to go to the Marrickville farmers markets on Sundays, to buy a box of ethical vegies, fruits, meats, and other products and support more local farmers and small business.

Why? It is a stretch to say that buying locally grown organic food can save the world, but from what I can tell it is an important part of moving toward a sustainable society. It saves CO2 emissions involved in transporting good from “developing” countries to the supermarket. Organic farming promotes biodiversity, maintains top soil quality, and hence is more nutritious than mono-crop farming.

If you think that the quality of our apples is getting worse, you are right. So are the varieties.

This video by Upworthy exposes three myths that we are told about industrial agriculture:

  • Myth #1: We need technology like genetic engineering and pesticides to grow more food.
  • Myth #2 : Food corporations are working hand in hand with farmers.
  • Myth #3: We need to double food production in order to feed the planet by 2050.

Upworthy - exposing agriculture fallacies

Dr Vandana Shiva is doing great work on “seed sovereignty”, encouraging a return to traditional farming methods that care for the people who produce and eat the food, as well the soil, the planet and future generations:

On the other hand…

My friend who did a PhD in food security begged to differ with at least part of the points made  about GM foods above. He believes that GMO foods in themselves are not necessarily bad (though they could do with more testing) but that the patenting of them is. He suggested I read a book called Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food by  Pamela C. Ronald and R. W. Adamchak.

I haven’t read it yet, but when I’ll do I’ll let you know what I think…

Otherwise please add your comments below – interested in the different perspectives on the personal health and global implications for organic vs genetically modified, locally vs mass produced and transported foods…

Accidentally on Purpose

Stumbled across this poem by Robert Frost and thought I would share. It’s called “Accidentally on Purpose”:

The Universe is but the Thing of things,
The things but balls all going round in rings.
Some mighty huge, some mighty tiny,
All of them radiant and mighty shiny.

They mean to tell us all was rolling blind
Till accidentally it hit on mind
In an albino monkey in the jungle,
And even then it had to grope and bungle,

Till Darwin came to earth upon a year
To show the evolution how to steer.
They mean to tell us, though, the Omnibus
Had no real purpose until it got to us.

Never believe it. At the very worst
It must have had the purpose from the first
To produce purpose as the fitter bred:
We were just purpose coming to a head.

Whose purpose was it, His or Hers or Its?
Let’s leave that to the scientific wits.
Grant me intention, purpose and design –
That’s near enough for me to the devine.

And yet with all this help of head and brain,
How happily instinctive we remain.
Our best guide upward farther to the light:
Passionate preference such as love at sight.


Robert Frost, In the Clearing, 1962


Global wealth pyramid – Credit Suisse

If your total wealth is over 1 million dollars you are in the top 0.5% of the global wealth pyramid.

If you have between 100k and 1m, you are in the top 7.5%.

If you have somewhere between 10k and 100k, you are still in the top third of the global pyramid.

If you own over 50 million dollars worth of assets, you are one of only 81,000 people on this planet.

If over 10 million you are still one of the richest 1 million people out of 7 billion people.

Not to say I know many people with over 10 million dollars, or any, but I do know people with over 1 million. I thought maybe they would be in the top 5%. But the top 0.5%? Wow.

Of course, living costs vary so it’s not completely accurate to say that someone owning $USD10k of assets in Australia is as wealthy as someone owning $USD10k worth of assets in Kenya, for example.

The Global Wealth Pyramid – putting things in perspective…

global wealth pyramid

At the top of the pyramid:Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 5.15.27 PM

Numerically this computes to:

wealth range million adults % people trillion $ % wealth
>1miillion 24.2 0.5 69.2 35.6
100,000-1m 334 7.5 85 43.7
10,000-100,000 1045 23.5 32.1 16.5
<10,000 3038 68.4 8.2 4.2
4441.2 99.9 194.5 100

Mapped across various countries and continents it looks like this:

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 5.13.23 PM

I’m analysing the PDF of the full Credit Suisse global wealth report here as part of my MPhil research.

I’m trying to understand how we can let such vast inequality persist. It gets worse…

Put another way, the most wealthy 300 people own the same as the poorest 3 billion people. This 3 min clip on global wealth inequality explains the distribution:


Is it fair that 300 people own the same as 3 billion??? How can we change the rules so that the system is more fair?

300 people own same as 3 billion


Also may be of interest to check out the perceived, desired and actual wealth inequality in the United States:


Or learn more on the global wealth pyramid here.

Now that’s perspective.

Is colour real? Reality and rainbows.

DSC_1070 copy‘Extensive studies of colour perception over several decades have made it clear that there are no colours in the external world, independent of the process of perception.’[1]

Since I was a child I’ve wondered if what I see to be green is the same as what you see to be green. I wondered if I were to switch places with someone would I be horrified by everyone walking around with green faces or green hair.

That’s not the kind of un-real we are talking about here. I think we’re safe to assume our eyes have evolved to see things in at least somewhat similar tones – though we do tend to draw the boundaries differently. Lime and aqua are examples of contested colours…. what I call a limey green, someone else calls limey yellow. Same goes for aqua – is it green or is it blue?

Nit picking aside, the quote above points to an interesting phenomenon: colour, in fact, does not exist external to human perception.

The entire structure of our colour categories come from our neural structures – wave lengths reflected in interaction with colour cones in our retinas and the neural circuitry connected to them. Alan Watts illustrates this beautifully through a more easily understood example a rainbow.

A rainbow appears only when there is a certain triangular arrangement between: the sun, the moisture in the air, and an observer.

A rainbow is not an illusion – a number of observers can verify its existence. Yet it doesn’t exist external to our observation. Chase it and it disappears:

‘One could say that if the sun and a body of moisture were in the right relationship, say, over the ocean, any observer on a ship that sailed into line with them would see a rainbow. But one could also say that if an observer and the sun were correctly aligned there would be a rainbow if there were moisture in the air!’[2]

The observer is an essential part of this story.

Same story for colour.

Same story for reality.

There is no solid “external reality”. Watts asks: what if mountains and rocks and stars are also observed through a participatory observation?

In other words: what if, like the rainbow, mountains and rocks and stars also do not exist without an observer?

This points to the intrinsic connection between the observer and observed. Through our observation we participate in the creation of the universe as it is today. Through our actions we participate in the creation of the universe of tomorrow.

This is a central insight of “phenomenology”- the study of experience. It is also a central insight of “quantum mechanics” (although I admit to saying this with limited understanding).

Capra writes: ‘our bodies define a set of fundamental spatial relations that we use not only in orienting ourselves but in perceiving the relationship of one object to another.’[1]

Through limited senses we hear/see/smell/touch/feel/sense/act in an experienced world. Simultaneously other humans experience it differently, and other organisms experience it very differently.

Humans cannot know what it is like to be a dolphin in the sea, a bird in the air, an ancient oak tree, a rock deep in Earth’s ground, or a star in a galaxy far away. These entities have their own internal realities – absorbing from their environment, undertaking changes from within, and releasing something back out again. These entities have “intrinsic value” in and of themselves. They also have “utility value” to humans, even if only to appreciate their aesthetics. I’m getting side-tracked…

The point I’m trying to make here is that while each organism observes (and possibly co-creates) the “reality” of the environment that surrounds it, this cannot be seen as separate from everything else that exists. In this way the figure and the ground are one, and we are one with everything – as observers, participants, and the observed result.

Colour, rainbows and mountains exist – but they only exist in this way in relation to human perception.

[1]  Capra, Fritjof (2002). The Hidden Connections : Integrating the Biological, Cognitive, and Social Dimensions of Life into a Science of Sustainability. New York: Doubleday. p. 54.
[2] Alan Watts, The book : on the taboo against knowing who you are, 1969. p. 95.

Modeling Tips: Where to Begin

The way you answer the questions from my last post about the kind of modeling you might want to do, will largely determine the next steps you should take. Here are some tips on where to begin, and how to go about it…

Look for an agency:

Different motivations for modelling and different types of modelling require different approaches. In general you can google the type of modelling eg “fashion model” or “commercial model” or “swimsuit model” or “plus-size model” with the word “agency” and look through their websites for their processes re potential models joining their agency.

Agencies will have various open time casting calls and requirements. Often fashion agencies just want a very ordinary polaroid-like headshot and bodyshot emailed to them first. Try to be natural, with minimal makeup – a blank slate on which others can paint.

The top agencies won’t charge you to join their agency. If they really like you then they will pay for your portfolio, and take it out of your pay. If they are unsure they may test you out with their photographer, but out of your pocket. The more every-day agencies that get extras jobs might charge you an administration fee (I think, I didn’t join any except in Japan where they don’t charge).

I suggest start with the top agency in your city, and if they reject you they’ll give you a list of other respectable agencies to try.

Email or visit?

When I approached agencies in Paris I thought it would be best to visit in person rather than email, to “make a better impression”. It doesn’t really work like that. While the (many) agencies I visited took the time to look me up and down and flip through my portfolio, but the only agency that liked me was the one that had seen my polariods and asked me to come in. Save yourself the hassle of train rides and nerves – just email your shots. If they don’t like them, try a different agency. If that doesn’t work then try again in a year’s time with different hair and when you’ve had more practice in front of the camera. Even polaroids get better when you know your angles and how to use your eyes.

Taking Polaroids

Often fashion agencies just want a very ordinary headshot and bodyshot sent. This is what is often sent to potential jobs to see if they want you to go to their casting (along with a comp-card with your accurate and appropriate measurements).

Here’s an example of mine from 2006:







Sometimes polaroid shots are sent to potential jobs to see if they want you to go to their casting (along with a comp-card with your accurate and appropriate measurements). Take your point and shoot, find a plain wall and some natural lighting (the lighting in mine above isn’t really very good with the shadows, but hey, I was in Japan when my boyfriend took these.

Measurements and requirements

I think everyone has the potential to be a model, but there are industry norms that will limit the type of modelling you are likely to be successful at – for example if you’re 160cm there’s little chance you’ll be a runway model, and likewise if you’re overweight. Measurements are particularly important in fashion modeling because the designers need to know that you’ll fit their sample sizes. Have a look at the Comp Cards on Modelling Agency websites to check out how your measurements compare. Note that often these are fudged around 2 cm in one direction or the other, to fit the market (but no more than that)… On average fashion sizes are: bust 86-90cm, waist 58-64cm, hips 88-92cm. Proportions within those measurements are important too, and obviously in different markets different ideal measurements would apply… eg swimsuit bigger busts and hips; plus size bigger all over.

Tip #1 – Think outside the square.

Different countries have different definitions of beauty, and hence the models that designers and marketing people need will vary.

  1. Australia – international looks, extra young, more striking facial features, less willing to take a risk
  2. Japan – slightly shorter and smaller framed for high-fashion, they love “halfs” ie half Japanese half something else. Also lots of work for “gaigin” (foreigners) in TV, commercials etc.
  3. Paris – more androgynous looks, flat chests
  4. Italy – sexier looks with boobs and long hair
  5. Vienna/Berlin/Barcelona etc – more willing to take a risk, easier to find into agencies
  6. New York – the best of the best, exciting but it may eat you alive (I never tried)
  7. LA – more Californian looks, I think. I didn’t try but I went there to visit a friend and renew my Japanese visa and had a great time shooting with photographers from Model Mayhem.
  8. China? Thailand? South America? Outer-space? Shave your head? Stay around even when it seems dangerous. One of my friends got her big break – a Vogue editorial – in New York just after 911. Who knows what, when or how it will happen!

Maybe (like me) you’ll find an opportunity in a different country than your own, and in the most unlikely manner. I’d never have imagined hairdressers in Japan turning my hair green then purple, leading me to shave my head, might have been my “in” to modeling in Paris.

Tip #2 – Spend as much time as you can in front of the camera.

Have some fun with your camera, test out your abilities and see if you really do want to be a model.

Set up your own point-and-shoot, play with lighting and your expressions in the mirror, and take shots of yourself. Or get a friend to take some. Then connect with some amateur photographers to play with their SLRs with you. Copy poses and facial expressions from magazines. Learn your angles. Train your body to create shapes for the lens.

Do a Buddha: smile with all your organs, from the inside out. Or as they say: “smile with your eyes”. Try to think about something, or someone, to distract you from thinking about the camera. Look deep into the lens and think about your boyfriend, or your favourite food, or someone you hate. Channel a real feeling / emotion.

Act for the camera. Dance for the camera.

Then email your head shot and body shot to an agency you think you’d suit, or turn up to their open calls.

Be confident when you enter. Carefree confidence, not arrogant confident. Know deeply that you are worth everything you believe you are worth (no more, no less). If you don’t get chosen it’s water off a ducks back: shrug your shoulders and when you’re in the mood, try again. It’s all a show! Life’s a game, so play the characters you want to play.

Tip #3 – Network and play.

Models – photographers – makeup artists – stylists … all need to start somewhere to start.

“Test shoots” are practice shoots used to build up your portfolio and skills. Ask the photographer if you can look at the photos so you can study the relationship between you and the camera: what angles work and what don’t, which expressions work and which don’t, how you can create shapes with your body and the environment in relation to the angle of the camera.

A website I used to use a lot is Set up your profile, comment on others’ work, and get to it! I just checked and discovered my profiles are still online, though I haven’t checked my messages in forever (not a good idea if you want to succeed in the industry).

Make lots of friends and don’t burn your bridges – be polite and professional in every encounter. It’s a small industry and a small world – although we live a short life I assure you if you network through these sites one day you’ll run into these people on the street.

My old modelling port is still up: And my photography one: I’m very slack on checking mine so don’t take offense if people you contact do the same.

Do as many test shoots as you can. See if you like being in front of the camera, see if you like the surrounding creative process, and start developing your skills.

Tip #4 – Do your homework and keep your wits

Storm (a top agency in London) has some good tips for staying safe and not getting jibbed.

Look at the top model websites and study the models, the kind of work they are doing, and the shots being used to promote them. eg

Watch FTV and Victoria Secret Shows.

Study magazines and tear out the shots you like. Keep a file of your favourite photographers.

Have realistic expectations about modeling: it is like a never-ending series of job interviews. The jobs themselves tend to last a day or a week at best, and then it’s back to the interviews. Prepare for rejection. When selected as an “option” don’t get your hopes up. Jobs can be cancelled at any time until the day before, sometimes with a cancellation fee but all in all you will learn not to get too excited about anything until it actually materialises.

Most of all, while you might take the research seriously, don’t take yourself or the whole modelling thing too seriously. Keep a sense of humour about it all. Enjoy it for all it’s perks and quirks.

Tip #5 – Prepare an escape route.

If you can be very clear with yourself about what you want to get out of modelling, I think you can go in and get out in a way that it will work for you.

You don’t need to wait to lose weight to start your time in front of the camera. The sexier you feel in your body, regardless of your weight, the sexier you will appear to others (including the camera).

My advice: it’s better to regret something you did, then something you didn’t do. So.. just do it!!!

Best of luck. Feel free to write questions on here and I’ll do my best to answer them.


“I wanna be a model but…”

I wanna be a model but …  I don’t know if I’m beautiful enough / thin enough / how to go about it…

Modeling didn’t make me rich or famous, but it allow me to live in Paris, Vienna and Tokyo, meet inspiring people, discover my creative side through photography, fashion, and have a lot of fun. Those experiences have given me some understanding of the modelling world, and tips that might be useful to offer those aspiring to that dream.

From time to time I get calls and emails from young girls, generally friends of my younger sisters or cousins, asking me for advice on how to get started in the modeling world. This is recently email captures the position that I shared almost a decade ago…

Hi gorgeous

I’m not quite at my goal weight yet but my boyfriend and family seem to think that when i do i might have a chance at being good at modelling…

I was wondering if you could help me figure out how the HECK I go about getting into such a thing?!

I’ve got a photographer friend who was going to take photos with me anyway as I asked her to for when I lost all the weight so I’m hoping that might be enough for a small portfolio but I’m not sure whats needed.

I don’t think I’m “runway”material – clothing and bikinis type modelling is more my style. Photographic modelling?

Anyway, I know its totally out of the blue but if you could at least tell me what process I need to go through I would be super grateful!

Oh and please don’t tell anyone I’m looking into this – I have no idea whether I’m attractive enough for this so I don’t want to get laughed at.

By the way your photos are AMAZIIIINNNGGG… just quietly…

Thanks so much,

To answer Jessica and anyone in a similar position, let’s start with a few questions that will have a strong bearing on the advice to follow:

1. Why do you want to be a model? For money, for fame, for fun, for an archive of hot pics? The answer to this will have a strong bearing on the advice to follow.

a) for money?

If you want to model for money, then my first instinct is to say “forget it.” But just because I didn’t get rich from it but that doesn’t mean you won’t! There is money to be made in modelling, but in fashion modelling the good money is made by those at the top. From memory, agencies take 20% of your money, as well as the 20% they add on to charge the client. Other forms of modelling may be more lucrative, I’m not sure. Here’s the thing, fashion editorials, even magazine covers, often pay very little – from zilch to $1000, the latter if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow. People do this for the recognition and prestige. Runways pay big if you’re at the top, but anywhere between nuda and $500 if you’re not.

It takes an investment of at least a couple of years to get a working portfolio and start catching the well-paid jobs. After I got this far, with a few magazine tears and what-not, I quit to go back to uni. I do have friends that found a niche, for example hand modelling believe it or not, and make good money from it (although it’s still supplemented with other part-time work). I made enough to cover rent in Paris and Vienna, to repay my portfolio costs, and supplement a few holidays in Europe not to mention a free trip to Mallorca for a commercial job. If you are lucky the money you make from modelling will be enough to pay your rent and bills, but you do get lots of freebies and perks from living like a local in foreign countries to free travel, clothes, dinners, VIP parties etc. etc. it’s great but not a life-long career kinda thing.

b) for career?

In general modelling is a short career – girls start as young as 14, and so your competition keeps getting younger as you grow older and less employable. My stint somewhat started at 22 when I started building my portfolio in Japan and doing hair jobs (I arrived with long blonde hair), TV commercials and a lingerie show that was my dream come true. I was 23 when I went to Paris and started what I’d classify as “the real deal” ie fashion shows and test shoots with semi-famous photographers.

Just when my portfolio was filing up with tearsheets I stopped. I was 24 and a half. It was time to “get a real job” (said my Dad) and I after some time caring for my Opa I went back to uni in fear of getting to 30 and with forced retirement being left with a bunch of photos and memories but no sense of self outside of modelling. Now I’m almost 30 and have done a lot more with the last five years than I would have had I returned to Europe to keep on. It would have been a fun half-decade though!!! I digress.

The important thing for you to know is that when I was in the industry I heard whispers of models getting to 30 then turning to stripping or marrying someone rich – neither appealed to me so I thought better to quit while I was ahead. I’d gotten out of it what I wanted to, which was more about personal growth and a great way to travel than anything else.

c) for travel? fun?

Then for the reasons above, I highly recommend it! And definitely read the tips under the heading “Thinking outside the square” in my next post…

2. What kind of model do you think you could become? Look at magazines, TV, billboards etc, and then look at the type of modelling involved, for example:

1.    Fashion modelling (very skinny (approx stats of bust 88cm, waist 60cm, hips 90cm), tall (173cm+) – runway + fashion magazine editorials, fashion advertising, look books (showing the designer’s ranges) and show room (often week-long shifts modelling for a designer’s clients) – pay varies depending how well-known you are

2.    Swimwear/lingerie modelling – more toned/fit/sexy body, boobs and height are a plus; more smiles, not as much of this work around but pays better

3.    Catalogue modelling – pays better, more “pretty” girls than high fashion, think Target, Kmart

4.    FHM/Ralph/Sports Illustrated type modelling – more sexed up/raunchy – no idea how it pays

5.    Commercial – TVs and every day people kinda billboard ads; height and body weight not important – more important is your personality and charisma being captured on camera; uniqueness in appeal to broad audiences. Pays VERY well

6.    Plus-size modelling – bigger bodies but with striking features; no idea about pay

7.    Hair modelling; parts modelling – eg legs, hands, body, etc. more regular income can be good.

3. How much time, money and energy are you willing to invest? Starting out in modelling can be expensive. Expensive in time, money, self-esteem, and the opportunity costs of what other more long-term careers will be better for your pocket.

The more passionate you are about it, the more time and money you’ll be willing to invest, and the more likely you’ll get out of it what you want. Some girls are lucky: they’re 14, at a shopping mall and an agency approaches them, and they become the highest paid model for the next 20 years (Kate Moss).

It depends how much you want it. Imagine it happening, but be flexible about the way it happens.

Remember: there are exceptions to every rule. I like to think of life as a game – you can play by the rules, but someone made up those rules and they are always changing. Figure out what you want, go after it and have fun along the way otherwise it’s not worth it.

Now let’s consider the next step you might take… depending on the above answers. Click here for Part 2: Tips on Modelling and Where to Begin

Building more bridges… backbends in Europe

As I travelled Europe, my “bridge” art project was on my mind. As a result, some fun shots, some (of what I think are pretty) great shots, and some memorable stories that lie behind most of them (which I will have to tell some other day).

New Year, New Food Pyramid: eating for health, longeivity and a better future

Before I begin my rant about food, I would like to say a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! I hope it has kicked off to a better start than mine (7am New Years Day I was at the hospital having barnacles taken out of my feet) and that you had a great night celebrating (my night of swimming in the harbour and watching the fireworks was worth this pain the next day).

I thought this post better wait till after Christmas and New Years celebrations. Now is the time that, if you indulged in the delicious foods (as I did), you are probably sitting there (like me) considering how you are going to put some of those “get fit and healthy” new years resolutions into place.

I’m not one for diets. They are good in theory – lose weight fast – but in practice they mess up your metabolism and cause more long term damage than the short term gain.

I am also not one for rules. Tell me to do something, and I will probably do the opposite.

I like to have reasons to motivate my daily decisions.

The anti-aging pyramid above captures my general food habits (minus the vitamins/supplements – this pyramid must have been put out by a vitamin company lol).

But seeing this pyramid wouldn’t motivate me to follow it. The fact that free-range eggs are relatively  cheap, keep in the fridge for a long time, and very quick and easy to cook up, with a few vegetables, rice, and either some tofu or fish, it works for me, my taste buds, and my lifestyle.

I think it’s important to find a pyramid that suits you, your lifestyle and taste buds. If you can evolve it to be one that it also good for your mind, body, and has a more positive impact on the global system, then all the better for everyone.

When animals wake up they walk to the waterhole and fill up with water for the day. This image motivates me to do the same. Before breakfast go for a brief walk, even if it’s just around the block, then drink half your water intake for the day. I find this a very uplifting way to start the day.

Another motivating factor for food choices comes from thinking about what exactly it is I am putting into my mouth…

What is a cheeseburger? The traces of actual “food” in this processed pound of sugar is so little that it hardly draws an insect or microbe near it. Get it away from my digestive system!

What are jelly lollies? Pigs hoof. I recently learned this. Gelatin is pigs hoof. Ewww! No more lollies or jelly for me 🙁

What is chocolate made using unethical beans? The blood of chocolate slaves.

Having recently seen Food Inc I’m now choosing Lamb over Beef, free-range chickens only, and, well, I never liked pork anyway. If you haven’t seen it yet, then check it out on YouTube. This is the first part:


The documentary points out the disconnect between government regulation of the agriculture and health industries.

A few multinational corporations control most of our food production lines. In the CEO’s defined mission to maximise profit for shareholders, they are neglecting many elements of the system including the quality of what we eat.

I enjoy a juicy tender steak. I realise it sucks that we kill an animal to enjoy it, but such is the chain of life.

However, I cannot bring myself to eat a cow who has been fed so much corn (something they aren’t meant to eat), concrete (something they are definitely not supposed to eat), and growth hormones (to make them grow five times as fast) which put them in a state that they can’t even walk for their short miserable lives.

Now ever time I look at beef I think of images from Food Inc – of cows on a massive machine like fish in a net – their faces looking up as the moo toward their impending death. It’s so sad. If a cow lives its life on a farm eating grass and walking around the field in the sun, then in its final moment faces a quick slaughter – that’s one thing. I can handle it. But imposing a living hell on the animal – that’s too horrible for me to be a part of. At the very least I have to try to avoid being a part of it as much as I can.

Does anyone else see the irony in the new “shock factor” government campaigns against obesity:


I think it’s good to address obesity, but shouldn’t this be done from both ends of the spectrum?

As obesity numbers continue to rise, our food production system is on steroids, causing harm to more than just our bodies. From agriculture to animals, to government regulations, over-fishing and obesity… we are part of a food chain in which our consumption decisions directly impact on our quality of life, and the quality of the lives of many others in our ecosystem.

Questions to ponder:

  • What is the relationship between our food pyramid and our economic/societal capitalist pyramid?
  • Do our system’s rules that define CEO’s missions to gain “profit for shareholders” deprive us and even the shareholders themselves of good quality food?
  • What is the supply and food chain behind our supermarket purchases? How do our established systems impact on our lives and the lives of future generations?

What we eat directly affects more than just our body shape, our mental and physical health, and the speed at which we age…

Eating ethically helps you eat healthier and live longer. Everything is connected.

Choosing for nutritional value means avoiding foods produced by corporations who cheapen the quality of your food in order to make profit for shareholders.

Choose locally helps local farmers, and saves your planet from the pollution of transport mechanisms, and moves the power from the multinationals back into the hands of the people.

It’s not easy – I used to go to a farmers market but since I moved to the city I haven’t. It will take effort for me to source locally produced goods, but it will be worth it. And it won’t be easy to do it all the time. Step by step, I’ll try to make better choices. That’s where it starts.

The food we eat affects lives of many other people whose income is dependent on it, the lives of many animals who are produced for it, and the entire ecosystem which we are a part of. These are pretty good sources of motivation to help me make better choices and, as a by product, rid this year’s Christmas bulge.


Some helpful tips from the Australian government

“Swap it don’t stop it”  – big for small, often to sometimes, sitting for moving, watching for playing…


I got this picture from here – this website explains the anti-aging pyramid in detail.