Updated: Jun 24
In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Vanessa and what she thinks about perfect body image, positive changes, and challenges of 45+ women, what is it for her to feel good and look beautiful, and what advice she would give younger women and 30-year-old self!
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:
You can READ the interview transcript HERE
10 Facts About Vanessa
(at the time of the project)
1. 49 years old.
2. Vanessa has lived in three countries. She was born in Malaysia and moved to Australia as a child. So, she was raised in Australia.
3. Then she moved to England, where she met her husband, got married, worked in England, and had her first child in England. She lived there for 6 years.
3. Vanessa has three amazing children who are 16 and under.
4. Vanessa loves good food. She loves cooking as well as going out to a nice meal or having someone else cooking for her. Her favorite cuisine is Asian fusion. Vanessa loves Vietnamese and Thai food but with an Australian fusion touch. But she does love all food in general and seafood.
5. She also loves the outdoors, nature, bushwalking, and adventure. Vanessa has a thing for waterfalls.
6. Vanessa is a territory manager for the biopharma company, and she loves learning new things, to broaden her knowledge and study. Recently she completed studying life coaching, mentoring, hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, emotional intelligence, and personality.
7. Vanessa always wanted to be a little bit taller. She is five foot three and always wished she was a little bit taller. Just that when she buys clothing, she does not have to always get it altered.
8. Also, this year marks four years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer. So that was a really big defining moment for her.
9. Biggest challenge at this age – “My biggest challenge is my health. So I have to maintain my health.”
10. Positive change with age – “I think I'm the biggest positive change is just learning to be more content right here right now.”
Watch Vanessa's VIDEO interview HERE
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT :
Hi, you're listening to the My Body My Story podcast.
You are enough, you are 1000 times enough. And, you know take some time to get to know who you are and what you want.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on email@example.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Hi, everyone, Hi Vanessa, welcome to our studio and to our project. And while you're sitting in the makeup chair, and Chitra is doing makeup for you. I'll be asking you a few questions. So let's start. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, thanks, Alex. It's really lovely to be here. A little bit about myself. Okay, so I was born in Malaysia, and I moved to Australia as a child. So I was raised in Australia. And I moved to England. When I met my husband, I got married in England, I worked in England, I had my first child in England, so I've lived in three countries.
What else about myself, I love the outdoors nature bushwalking I love adventure not so much now with three kids. I love waterfalls, I have a thing for waterfalls. I have three amazing children who are 16 and under. And it's a nice age because they're still young enough to want to spend time with me, which is lovely. And I love good food. I love cooking as well as I will never say no to going out to a nice meal or someone else cooking. For me. That's always a definite bonus. I love learning new things. Always liking to broaden my knowledge and study. I don't like clutter and mess. So I've something I've been trying to be less of is a perfectionist. And I always wanted to be a little bit taller. I'm five foot three and always wished I was a little bit taller. Just that when I buy clothing, I don't have to always get it altered. And the last thing I guess, this year marks four years since I was I had breast cancer I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So I guess that was a really big defining moment for me. And I'm, I'm you know one of the lucky ones that are still here. So that's me in a nutshell. Yeah.
Well, it's a lot of things about you. And I want to ask what is your favorite cuisine because you said you like cooking and eating?
Okay, I thought about that when I was coming here. I think my favorite cuisine is Asian fusion. And I tend to love Vietnamese and Thai sort of type food but with the Australian sort of, you know, the Australian fusion that they do. Yes, so I think that's my favorite food but I do love all food in general seafood.
And yeah, so how long you've been living in London?
London, we lived for six years.
So did you prefer it here or there?
Good question. I loved it there for the travel. But I think once I had my daughter, we were a little bit more. You know, couldn't travel as much. And then I like it here for the weather. Although the last two months haven't been wonderful. I still like it here for the heat of the weather and the lifestyle.
Yeah, I asked you because I studied in London and I was thinking probably I would prefer to go there to study or travel, culture and just to live here because of the weather and more relaxed lifestyle.
That's so true, isn't it? Yes. If I could choose maybe both would be nice. Because the culture and just the access to Europe and being able to travel with It's just amazing. And just so wonderful, you know, just an opportunity that you don't have here.
So do you want to talk more about breast cancer or do you prefer not to touch the subject?
Oh, look, I'm more than happy to talk about it. I've always been big on wanting other people to know, because I was 45, when I was diagnosed, so I was still quite young, came as a big shock. No one in my family had had breast cancer before my children were still quite young, my youngest is only four at the time. And it was, it was a hard thing to go through one new roof of treatment, I lost all my hair, I had no hair, I was very sick, I spent a week in intensive care at one stage from, you know, immune related problems after the treatment. But it has, it has changed me, I think, I can definitely say that there are positives. There are positives that come from, you know, situations like this as well. And the fact that I'm still here means that I have an opportunity to, to improve on my life, and possibly change some of the things that that, you know, that weren't working for me before. Yeah, and, and be more be more grateful, I guess, more gratitude more, more.
My mom got diagnosed with cancer, breast cancer in 2005. And she's still around. So and me as her daughter, and like, a family member was also shocked, you know, to learn about that. And I know that she made some decisions for herself. But I want to ask you, how your family like, supported you? Or did you feel that support? Or what was more important for you, your family's support? Or something else? Like what helped you to go through? Or your own change of views?
That's a very good question. Actually, I think my family was just very shocked. My parents are older, and a lot of the focus has always been on their health issues, I don't think they expected to have, you know, the young, your daughter to, to to be sick, I did have a lot of support. My sister was very supportive. My best friend, who was also a nurse was incredibly supportive. So, she took me to a lot of the surgery and the treatment, and my husband was supportive too. But his way of dealing with that I think is more just get on with it. But he was very supportive, helping with the children.
It was a big change because I was the one that was very much involved with looking after the children. And he was very much involved with his work. So for him to have to come, you know, take on the role of worrying about the school and all the things that I was I was handling was a big change given for the dynamic in the family. But it has been really, really, I have to say it's been a good thing, in a way. I think if I continued in the way that I used to live as well, I don't think I really looked after myself very well. I definitely put myself last a lot. If I continued that way, I don't think I would be the person that I am now. And you know, I'm so much happier now and content. And you know, I live with the fear of that cancer sort of coming back on my knee. And not even four years out now from diagnosis. And it was very aggressive. It had already spread.
But there are always people worse off than I have friends that aren't here now. I was able to have surgery where I didn't lose my breasts. Even though I said to the doctor take it I don't care take everything but the doctors like that's not how we do it. Now we assessed and we decide what's you know what's best for you. But on the whole, I mean, I wouldn't wish that on anybody else. I wouldn't wish for anyone to have to go through it. But it's an experience that I'm just wanting to learn from and take as much as I can from it.
So what are you most passionate about?
This was a hard one up there and I thought about this. What am I passionate about?
I guess I am… Because I think what I've been through now I'm passionate about just living my best life. I'm passionate about time, I'm passionate about making the most of what I have. I'm passionate about knowledge. And after I was diagnosed and had finished my treatment, I actually went back to do some study, I'd always worked in corporate and business and so but I went back and studied, coaching life coaching, mentoring, I studied hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, emotional intelligence, personality, you know, I went back and I did all that and completed some certification, and qualifications around that. And so my perspective has shifted, I'm much more passionate now about life, mind and body, if there's something I want to do, I'll do it. For example, I'm here today. If I want to do a singing class, I'll go do a singing class. Now if I want to go do an art class, I'll do it.
And, and, yeah, so that I think that's what I'm more passionate about. Now I'm more passionate about just living in and yes, that's right, living a full life and, and making the most of time.
So everyone knows that with age we change. What is the positive side of this change? What are the positive changes you've experienced so far?
I have to say, I mean, this year, I'm turning 50. And as I was walking here, coming through the Queen Victoria building, I thought, I'm really happy with this age. And if I could press pause, now, I would, I would be very happy. I think for the rest of my life. It's taken a long time to get here, it's taken half a decade.
I didn't always have good self-confidence. I didn't have belief in myself. And I think I'm learning now to be, you know, to have more of that. And in terms of what positive changes have I experienced with age, I think it's learning to be more comfortable in my own skin. That was something that I definitely didn't have before being more content. And I think being I was always worried about becoming something always having to be, you know, somewhere that I wasn't at right now. So I think I'm the biggest positive change is just learning to be more content right here right now.
Definitely. And that's something that just comes with. For me, it came with age, and we came with wisdom. It came with a few hard lessons along the way. Some people are fortunate enough to have that at a younger age. I think they come to that at a younger age. But for me it took a longer time to get to. Yeah.
And what are the challenges, or the biggest challenge you experiencing with this age?
Okay, right now, there's my biggest challenge, I think is trying, always working to carve out some space for myself. I have three children that still that still need me and very reliant on me, I work full time. So I have a week off this week, and I did a yoga retreat, and I'm here that was yesterday and the day before today, I'm here doing this wonderful photoshoot.
So really, my biggest challenge is and my health, my health is still a big, big challenge. I still have to, you know, maintain my health and my fitness in order that there's been a few other health issues that have arisen, since, you know, my cancer treatment as a repercussion of the treatment I've had. So I have to maintain my health. But trying to do that while juggling three children, and you know, family and working full time is my biggest challenge right now, you know, but I am crafty, I find ways to, you know, to exercise I power walk the kids to school and run back and jump on meetings where there's will there's a way.
So what do you do?
Well, at the moment, I am back working for a biopharma company. So I am a territory manager for the company. And I'm looking after two states and New Zealand as well. So I'm looking after a lot of customers. It's a very small company, and we're very thin on the ground. So we are all incredibly busy wearing a lot of different hats. So it was very nice to put the phone on out of the office and the inbox computer email. I'm out of the office this week and just switch off for a little bit.
For yourself time it also.
So, what is your greatest accomplishment? So far?
That's another tricky one. What is my greatest accomplishment? I think my greatest accomplishment would have to be that I've never been a quitter. I have never given to defeat. I never believe that I, I can't.
People tell me, you know, I read I'm on different social groups for, for cancer and whatever else. And you know, because I've had cancer treatment or chemo and because I'm now in menopause, because I have osteoporosis, I can't do this, I can't do that. But I think my greatest accomplishment is, is really never believing that I can't do things and just keep keeping going.
That's a great one. So if you could go back in time, and meet your 30 year old self? What advice would you give her?
Oh, gosh, I think the first thing I do to my 30-year-old self is I'd give my 30-year-old self a big hug, I'd give my theory yourself a big, big hug. And I would, I would, I would say things like, you know, you are enough, you are 1000 times enough. And, you know, take some time to get to know who you are in what you want. Definitely stop trying to aim for perfection and trying to please others all the time and definitely it's okay to make yourself a priority. You know, you deserve to be a priority.
Also, I had sort of imperfections or things that I wasn't happy with myself about. I when I was a child, I had a bike accident and fell over and I had a bad sort of scarring on my forehead. And I hated that about myself, I wore a fringe I hid myself. And then when we moved to Australia, back in the 80s, you know that I was one of the only non-white children in school. So I felt that the color of my skin was not right.
And then when I was older, when I was pregnant with my daughter in England, I was just I was workaholic, I worked myself so hard that even in the pregnancy, I didn't rest and I ended up with Bell's Palsy. So half my face became paralysed at 33 weeks pregnant, so they couldn't do anything for me, they couldn't give me much. And that ended up being permanent. So I still suffer from paralysis on one side of my face. It's asymmetrical now when I smile, you know so and then a few years ago, I had breast cancer. So I had surgery and now I've got more scars to add to my collection. So there's been a lot of things about myself that I've had to learn to accept. And you know, now I see scars more as you know, interesting. And they tell a story, more so than anything else. And that's kind of I wish I had that when I was younger, you know was able to see it, but I think it took wisdom and it took ages to get there.
So what would you say to women who are younger now but they will eventually reach this age?
Oh gosh, you know, my daughter is 15 and it's a very hard age to be in now at this nowadays with social media and everything else and I can see that whole body image and body dysmorphia sort of happening. You know, you're either too skinny, you're too big, regardless of what it is they're always striving for perfection and you know, it's hard when they're influenced at school and everything else and their friends, what would I say? It's, it's all I try to instill in my child as well as my children. My sons are the same as well they say things and I'm like, where does this come from? You know, why are you saying that you're fat or you're ugly or you're this or you're that?
Just to accept you know, who you are and what inside sort of matters more if you're beautiful on the inside. If you look after yourself on the inside, then you will be more beautiful on the outside and you know, this is what I wish for more people to sort of understand.
So you touched this already. But regarding the Where do you think this body image comes from. You said, social media and your social circles. So what would it be a perfect body for you?
I think a perfect body would just be a healthy body, and whatever health and when I say healthy, I mean healthy mind, you know, healthy mind as well. But, but definitely a healthy body. And that's different for everybody. Some people are, it's genetic, you know, a lot of them are genetic, they can be slim, they can, they can be bigger boned. But I think as long as you are caring for yourself, in whatever way, and shape and form that is. And that doesn't mean you can't enjoy life. And I, after I had cancer, I wasn't sort of, I didn't drink I didn't do I, you know, even went vegan for a while. But now I've come back to a good sort of balance, I think in my life, I will go have a glass of wine if I wanted, I will eat that chocolate cake if I feel like it. But for the most part, I tried to live a clean, healthy life and get plenty of sunshine. To take care of your body. Let's see vitamin D.
So what does it mean to you feeling good? And looking good? What comes first?
I think you have to feel good to look good. Definitely. And I've, this is what I've learned. And interestingly enough, now, people say to me, gosh, you know, you look great, you're glowing your hair, your skin, and they tell me I look better now than I did before I was sick. And I think a lot of that comes from well, you know, looking after myself, and you know, drinking more water and just being a lot healthier. But it also comes from my mind, I think I just let go of imperfection and caring so much about what other people think and you know about norms and fitting into trying to fit into society, I've learned that being different, looking different. Is an asset. Not not a liability. Yeah, that's true. sad that we understand it later in life. While we already made some mistakes. So I'm sure we would not make That's right if he could go back. But then I think that and I think Well, I wouldn't be here. Now if I didn't go through all those processes of mistakes, you know, the tired I'm working to, to impart what I can on my kids, but they have to learn their own way to they have to go and make mistakes and, and learn for themselves. Sometimes they'll have to learn the hard way. That's all part of living, isn't it? And grow journey is a journey. That's right.
So what makes you feel the most beautiful?
There are a lot of things I think some of it is internal. So now I feel it in my mind. And some of it can even be external. I mean, I think I'm very much governed by nature and the weather. It's a sunny day I'll even today I was smiling away at any perfect stranger, and I was just happy. And you know, I came with I thought I'm no makeup, nothing didn't even do my hair. I just blow dried a little bit, but I actually felt beautiful. So simple things. Yeah.
And my last question, if you have any favourite quotes about being a woman, or saying or your own thoughts about that.
I thought about this one. And there was one that came back to me. And I wish I had this one when I was younger. And it was such a short and simple quote. And I wrote it down. It's she believed she could so she did. Oh, because I had a few others and they were really long. And you know that that sort of sums it up, I think.
Yeah. Yeah. Good one. She believes she could so she did.
Thank you, Vanessa, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and your story. And I hope you will enjoy the rest of the of the day and the photoshoot. And we wish you all the best and health in the future.
Thank you so much, and I can't wait to see my face and my hair. After all. This will be very exciting.
If you have an interesting story to share would love for you to participate. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, www.aleksandrawalker.com
This is the 45 over 45 chapter of MY BODY MY STORY podcast, where we celebrate rule breakers and role models - the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their SENSUALITY, BEAUTY, SOUL, and TRUE ESSENCE.
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