Mindfulness with Nicole Joy + #TheCollaborativeEffect

Nicole Joy is an inspirational foodie who passionately shares her story of rediscovering her love of food. Nicole believes in nourishing the body and soul with delicious, wholesome ingredients, and advocates that healthy eating does not mean compromising on flavour. Having grown up in an Italian family, she is also very adamant that there will always be a place for mum’s lasagne and good red wine! It’s about creating healthy habits not restrictions.


What form of meditation do you prefer and why?

Definitely guided meditations for me, and if it’s candle-lit – even better!


What are some changes you’ve noticed in your life since beginning your mindfulness journey and how have these helped you achieve your goals?

When faced with stressful situations (which is often when you run your own business!) I find I can return to a normal, relaxed state a lot quicker. I don’t stay stressed out for very long and can return to a productive and efficient workmode within minutes.


We all need some crazy powerful stress-busting tools and techniques – we would love to hear works for you!

Breathing! All it takes is exhalations that are longer than your inhalations. Dr Libby taught me that one and I have never forgotten it!


We would love to hear of a powerful experience you’ve had of people coming together for a cause -as a collective.

Just recently, I have started the group #TheCollaborateEffect – a place for like minded entrepreneurial women to connect and have the support that can often be missing when working alone. Just seeing the connections women are making through this small group, and the support they give each other give me the warm and fuzzies!


Have you always been into wellness or was there a light-bulb moment that sparked your health journey?

For the longest time, I just wanted to me a ‘skinny’ model and would try the latest fad diet or exercise regime to accomplish that. Of course, results are short-lived when what you are following is not sustainable for the long term and I quite literally crashed and burned. I was introduced to the concept of intuitive eating and mindfulness by a dear friend of mine and it was with her help that my relationship with myself and my body started to take a positive turn.


What is your secret nutrition weapon?



What’s your favourite daily health ritual, and why?

Meditation and walk with my dog Nobby


How do you express your creative self?

I sing! I think one day I might audition for The Voice or something


What’s your favourite way to treat yourself?

Nothing beats beautiful food in a gorgeous setting. My husband and I are foodies and wine-lovers so if there is a new restaurant to see – we are there!


How do you embrace yourself, flaws and all – even in self-critical times?

I picture myself as a little girl, about 5 or 6 years old and think how I might speak to her. That normally makes me re-think those harsh thoughts and negative thought patterns.


How do you manage to stay motivated both in your personal life and work life, even on those mediocre, flat days?

I let myself feel what I need to feel. Sometimes you need to feel a little blah and instead of pushing yourself, it can be better to give yourself more time and a little nurturing. Ignoring your true feelings is the fastest way to burn out!


What is your life vision for the next 5 years?

Continue speaking to teenage girls across the country, have my own cooking show on TV and a big fat published book deal! Would love to be living beachside with my husband and fur baby.


What advice would you love to give beautiful women just beginning their wellness journey?

The journey is YOUR journey and no one else’s. Don’t compare your start to someone else’s finish line. Find what works for you and what makes you feel the best. Note – this may not be the latest fad, or what all the ‘it’ people are following and you need to be ok with that. Not everything works for everyone.


Nicole, thank you so much for taking the time out to share your goodness. You’re a real life mindfulness champion! Checking out #TheCollaborativeEffect is an absolute must (Amy Kate is a very frequent flyer here) if you’re an entrepreneurial-minded soul. We actually have a #TheCollaborativeEffect event coming up shortly, hosted at the Better Life Centre.  Nicole has passed on her Snapchat detes: nicolejoy01. Oh and her two books, ‘Why it’s perfectly acceptable to eat dessert for breakfast’ and ‘Life’s too short for diets’ are available on her website – www.nicolejoyinspire.com – get on it!

Spirituality with Mindful Yogi & New Mama, Alanna

We are incredibly excited to introduce Alanna! Alanna is a certified Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher, experienced in the areas of asana, pranayama, meditation and relaxation. She completed her yoga teacher training in India in January, 2014.
Alanna’s yoga journey began more than eight years ago and has been an enlightening journey of self-exploration, expression and discovery. For Alanna, yoga has become a way of life, offering a deeper connection to herself, to others and to the world around her. Alanna offers yoga retreats in Byron Bay, Brisbane and Bali as well as open classes, groups, privates and corporate classes in Brisbane Australia. As a teacher, she is interested in the cultivation of inner peace, truth and love. Her classes are grounded in the awareness of breath, foundation and the Yamas and Niyamas. Alanna’s classes and retreats are open to all levels as she believes yoga is for everyone.

Alanna took some time to chat with us about her spiritual practice and perspectives!


What form of meditation do you prefer?

I practice different types of meditation, but daily I practice Transcendental Meditation.


What are some changes you’ve noticed in your life since beginning your mindfulness journey and how have these helped you achieve your goals?

Almost everything! I am more connected and aware of how my past and my future reflect in my present moment + that love is always the answer. Goals…I do my best to let life unfold as naturally as possible…something I haven’t always done! We all need some crazy powerful stress-busting tools and techniques – we would love to hear works for you!


Breathing! But also a daily ritual of something that makes you feel good. Whether that be yoga, meditation, kissing your partner, a walk, singing to your children or a quiet cup of tea…it’s commitment to daily practice that dissolves stress and grows love.


Have you had a delicious experience of mindful eating? If so, give us all the juicy details!

I don’t do diets. I am more interested in connecting with your food, as you do your body. Eating blindfold is a wonderful way to do this. You eat slower, are more aware of flavour and more connected with how the food makes you feel. I think mindful eating is simple…eat foods that make you feel good. We would love to hear of a powerful experience you’ve had of people coming together for a cause -as a collective. My partner and I attended Kumbh Mela in India in 2013. The festival runs for 55 days, attracts over 120 million pilgrims and only happens every 12 years. The faith, devotion and worship I experienced at Kumbh Mela is something I will hold with me always. However, giving birth was the most spiritual experience I have had. It was beautiful.


Have you always been into wellness or was there a light-bulb moment that sparked your health journey?

I have practiced yoga since 2003, however I did have a defining moment when I decided to leave my job in New York as a producer for New York Fashion Week and travel to India to study yoga. I have never looked back.

Run us through the typical day in the life of your wonderful self…

  • I wake early
  • Family cuddles in bed with my beautiful man Nigel, son Rumi and dog Blackie
  • Meditate while breastfeeding
  • Do some journaling/creative writing
  • Have breakfast
  • Sun bath in the backyard
  • Practice yoga
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon emails
  • Family walk… we try to walk barefoot on the grass (for grounding) and do a few inversions (for mindbody balance and perspective) everyday
  • Bath + massage and dress Rumi for bed
  • Meditate while breastfeeding Rumi
  • Put Rumi to bed
  • Dinner with Nigel
  • Read or watch a film
  • Bed as early as possible


What is your secret nutrition weapon?

Balance, sleep and greens.


What’s your favourite daily health ritual, and why?

My yoga and meditation practice – its gives me the energy to give more to others.


Do you have a quote you live your life by?

Look within.


How do you express your creative self?

I have a personal artist practice – I sing, I dance, I write. Art plays a huge role in my life.


What’s your favourite way to treat yourself?

A yoga class (on my own…a rare moment now that I am a mama!)


How do you embrace yourself, flaws and all – even in self-critical times?

I remember that it all begins with me – if I don’t love myself, how will I love others.


How do you manage to stay motivated both in your personal life and work life, even on those mediocre, flat days?

My son gives me good reason to get on my mat and practice every day.


Who inspires you and why?

My family, because I learn and grow with them everyday.


What is your life vision for the next 5 years?

To learn, to grow and to love.


What advice would you love to give beautiful women just beginning their wellness journey?

I think every journey starts with self worth. Saying to yourself, I am worthy of… Start there and the rest will flow.


Alanna, thank you so much for taking some time to chat with us about your life, your perspective and your beautiful family. For more gentle and kind inspiration, check out www.yogawithalanna.com (and if you’re heading to an upcoming retreat – Rochelle and I will probably see you there!) Alanna has kindly offered her email address: hello@yogawithalanna.com So if you would like to touch base with Alanna, you can slip through an email.

Unleash Fit Living with Alisha!

My name is Alisha, and my business is Unleash Clean Eating Fit Living! I’m a personal trainer and holistic health coach who loves empowering women to experience health from the inside out and live abundantly!


Let’s cut straight to the chase, have you always been into wellness or was there a light-bulb moment that sparked your health journey?

My love of fitness began in Year 12 when my PDHPE teacher arranged for our class to attend weekly Les Mills classes during one of our modules. Ever since then I’ve had a gym membership wherever I’ve lived, and fell in love with lifting weights. Over the years I’ve learnt A LOT from personal experience, various trainers and experts as to the different approaches to fitness. I will forever be a student, however I’ve come to believe that fitness is not the be-all and end-all of being healthy. It’s gotta start with how you think about yourself, and what you feed your body.


When it comes to healthy eating, I remember once upon a time I had a cat. And I named it Green Butter. I’m sure I’m probably the only person in the world to call their cat Green Butter. Why the weird name? Well, my parents brought us up pretty healthy, and we rarely used butter. Instead avocado was the favourite spread in the house – thus acquiring the name. And oh how I loved my green butter! So much that I named my first ginger cat – Green Butter


I was so blessed to be brought up in a family where health was a priority. As a child, my parents owned a local health food store, and we also had a huge veggie garden where we lived. Although those health principles stayed with me from an early age, I wasn’t always what you call ‘healthy.’


As a teenager I absolutely LOVED food! Especially bread, potato and pasta! Whenever I could eat, I ate! Luckily I was fairly active, as I played basketball all through high school, so the food didn’t pile on too excessively.


However looking back I remember I always had issues with bloating, pain and gassiness. It wasn’t until my early twenties when this continued to worsen that I had a sneaking suspicion I could be allergic to wheat, gluten or yeast. I got a blood test done and low and behold, I had a moderate intolerance to gluten, wheat, and yeast. Although this confirmed my suspicion, I didn’t eliminate these things straight away or completely from my diet. And I reaped the consequences. I started to not only have the previous symptoms mentioned, but began to get an eczema-type red rash around my eyes. Finally, I saw a naturopath who tested me for a candida (gut yeast infection) and put me on a strict protocol for one month. This was the BEST thing I ever did, because it forced me to eliminate the things that were hurting my body, and allowed me to break the cycle and develop new habits in my eating. I also began to avoid foods with refined sugars as well, because this was also not allowed during my month-long anti-candida diet.


I learnt a lot about different ways to sweeten foods naturally. I found a love for making raw vegan desserts! And I started to incorporate more organic produce, and less processed foods into my eating. I started to really believe and embrace the idea that my body is a temple. I’ve only got one body for this life, and so i better treat it with the best care possible!


These days, I rarely have anything that contains refined sugar, I try to avoid all gluten and wheat, and I am really picky about the animal products I eat (which is usually only eggs, and occasionally yogurt, halloumi cheese, and the odd fish). I eat heaps of fresh organic produce, make as much food from scratch as I can, and experiment all the time with new recipes and ways to create healthy and tasty food.


I also work out regularly, but I’ve learnt to trainer smarter not necessarily harder. I’ve realised weight gain and weight loss has more to do with the stress in my life, and the foods in my stomach than how much I’m doing cardio. I’ve finally found a career that I love, and have eliminated unnecessary stress from my life by doing what I love, and loving what I do – and that is helping change women’s lives through training, support and education on all things health & fitness!


Is there a form of meditation do you prefer and could you share why?

For me, my time of meditation involves connecting with my source of Life and Love (God), re-centering my mind on the intrinsic value placed on me as a daughter of God, reading scripture verses that speak into my heart as person of infinite worth and value, and focusing on what I believe is the reason I am on this planet (my purpose). I spend this time journalling, praying, reading, and reciting phrases out loud (wacky, I know)!

I endeavour to do these practices every day, morning and night. I also have begun to incorporate diaphragmatic breathing practices into this morning & evening ritual time, as I have learnt that the only way we can communicate to our bodies (specifically our Parasympathic Nervous System or our ‘rest and digest’ system) that we are not in danger is through our breathing.

I have found these practices keep my head above the waves that come in life, and help me to step back and remember the bigger picture of life, as I’m the kind of person that easily gets caught up in the nitty gritty details of life, business, relationships etc.


What are some changes you’ve noticed in your life since beginning your mindfulness journey and how have these helped you achieve your goals?

I have found that prioritising my devotional time every day has had a number of positive impacts:

  • I am less needy of my husband and friends for compliments and value.
  • I am more productive during my day after focusing on what my bigger picture/overall purpose is.
  • I am more patient and loving towards others.
  • I am generally less stressed throughout my day
  • I find I sleep better when I’ve spend time, particularly before bed, reflecting, re-centring and spending quiet time before going to sleep.

We all need some crazy powerful stress-busting tools and techniques – we would love to hear works for you!

A few stress-busting techniques that work for me:

  • Having someone “in my corner” (aka a coach, who luckily for me is my amazing husband) who I can download to, vent to, get stuff off my chest. I ALWAYS feel better after a good verbal download to him!
  • Definitely spending time breathing deeply, communicating to my body that I AM OK. The less stress hormones racing around my body: the better for my health!
  • Going and doing a killer workout always helps! I love high intensity training, or a good weights session to relieve stress!

Run us through the typical day in the life of your wonderful self…

My day actually starts the night before, with:

  • Making breakfast & a protein smoothie to take to work
  • Laying out my clothes for the next day
  • Ensuring I know what appointments I have the next day, and my to do list done
  • Doing my BEST to get to bed by 9:30pm (often a fail, but working on it)


  • Wake up at 4:45am
  • Drink of filtered water with squeeze of lemon. On cooler days, some grated ginger too, and warmer water. (Then keep on drinking water throughout the day, I am for minimum 2L)
  • Have a shower (to wake up some more)
  • Spend time in meditation/devotion and prayer
  • Maybe do my first Insta post for the day
  • Get to the gym with 5 minutes to spare before my first lovely lady client
  • Have fun training the awesome women I get to work with
  • When that’s done, I usually train myself. I like to lift weights, come up with new little workouts, and do some HIT training
  • Come home, spend time with my hubby, and make lunch (one of my favourite parts of the day – making food!!)
  • Spend the afternoon working on my business
  • Go back to the gym or park and train my ladies again or run a pump class at my gym – love pushing them, and seeing them achieve things they didn’t think they could week by week!
  • Come home and wind-down with my hubby (usually surf youtube)
  • Have some quiet reflection time before repeating the cycle and hitting the sack!


Who inspires you and why?

Dr Libby Weaver – oh my goodness! If you have not come across her books or speaking events, you are missing out! She has hugely impacted my approach to and outlook on women’s health, particularly the essential importance of the need to VALUE ourselves and LOVE ourselves in order to look after ourselves from the RIGHT place.

Chris & Heidi Powell – if you want to be inspired by amazing empowerment and people’s transformations: watch their USA series Extreme Weightloss or Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition! From a personal training/coaching point of view, for me they are up there! They completely engage in people’s lives, and help them make holistic changes, which are not short-term. I simply love their work.


What advice would you love to give beautiful women just beginning their wellness journey?

If you are just beginning your wellness journey here’s what I want you to do: Start thinking of yourself and your body as an amazing vessel. It really is! Once you start to love and value yourself and your body, you will find it easier to treat it with love and respect through the things you put into it and do with it. Once we get our mindset right, the rest will follow.


Alisha, thank you for being so open with us. We really appreciate the time you took to pass on your lessons, tips and tricks! And a cat named Green Butter – definitely original and so cute (haha)!


If you’re keen for more Unleash Fit Living information, check out Alisha’s website: www.unleashfitliving.com and send through any questions to her email: alisha@unleashfitliving.com. If you’re keen for some daily inspiration, follow her Facebook and Instagram pages! We have!

Book Review: The Happiness Project – by Gretchen Rubin

– Nicole Yarham

What do you truly want from your life?


Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling novel The Happiness Project asked herself this same straight forward question.  Her answer was simple.  Happiness. Without any hesitation she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project.  As a result this thoughtful and engaging piece of work emerged.


The Happiness Project carefully follows and tracks Rubin’s year-long pursuit to learn how to effectively enjoy and appreciate her current life and engage with happiness. She creates a set of twelve personal commandments including Be Gretchen, Let it go, Be polite and be fair and Enjoy the process that act as overarching principles to her happiness project and core values. With these in mind, Rubin tackles a different area of her life every month with a different set of well researched and scientific resolutions to create a happier life. She covers her physical well-being (go to the gym, sleep earlier), relationships (kiss in the morning, quit nagging), parenthood (take time for projects, treasure memories), work (enjoy the fun of failure, work smart) and various other areas of personal interest.


Rubin’s “Happiness Project” however is not just a book; it’s a movement.  Since the release of the book, Happiness Project groups have gathered together across the world to discuss the book, swap ideas, build enthusiasm and devise their own personal happiness projects.  With plenty of online resources available on The Happiness Project’s website, you will be able to identify your aims, make resolutions that are concrete and manageable and track your progress in no time.


These resources demonstrate Rubin’s yearning to encourage others to take responsibility for their own happiness and wellbeing.  Whether that’s through meeting with others, creating daily routines and goals or reflective thought, it’s taking responsibility for the journey that matters the most and the empowerment that comes as a result.


Sign up to her words of wisdom and happiness e-mails at: http://gretchenrubin.com and be sure to check out her weekly podcasts about happiness while you’re there.

The Inspiring Steph Carter: Living Mindfully

A huge, warm welcome to the wonderful Steph Carter! Steph is a qualified Personal Trainer, Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Holistic Health Coach. Her mission is to help women heal their relationships with their bodies and food and live their best life.


What form of meditation do you prefer and why?

Can I say all of them? Haha seriously though I LOVE LOVE LOVE meditation, I would be lost without it in my day. I love guided meditations the most though I think, in particular visualisation and manifestation techniques. Every morning after my yoga practice I will sit down and meditate for 20 minutes, sometimes that’s just a breath awareness meditation but most of the time I turn to my girls Gabriele Bernstein and Melissa Ambrosini for a beautiful guided medi!


We all need some crazy powerful stress busting tools & techniques – we would love to hear what works for you?

I’d like to say that I’m pretty lucky and I’m not actually that much of a stress head (don’t know if my boyfriend would agree there haha). When I do get stressed through my main go to’s to deal with it are meditation and pranayama, which are different breathing techniques. But above all my favourite way to remove stress is to simply focus on something else, and something FUN! I guess in a way it’s another form of meditation but I always do something that brings me back to the present moment. For example, I’m currently trying to learn to skateboard and trust me, if its not something that’s second nature to you, when you’re on that board your mind is nowhere else, it takes all of my concentration and attention and leaves me no room to stress or worry about anything else. Hiking is also such massive ‘bring me back to the present moment’ thing for me, being in nature, being grounded, having nothing else around me… stress be gone!


Have you had a delicious experience of mindful eating? If so give us all the juicy details. 

Mindful eating is such an important part of any healthy relationship with food and I could honestly go on for hours about this point alone haha, I will however just keep it to my experience 


I actually adapted this technique from another gorgeous soul on Instagram, I read it on her blog years ago. I have always struggled with binging on yummy but ‘not so nutritious’ foods and so with this technique what I do is whenever I go to eat something ‘naughty’ I sit with it in my hand, look at it, like really look at it, and ask myself if I really want it, and if the answer is yes then I enjoy every single moment of that food without guilt or regret, but most of the time after just taking those couple of minutes I find that my answer is no, I don’t really want it and I put it away. It has given me back so much control surrounding these ‘naughty’ foods, its such a powerful tool.


Have you always been into wellness or was there a lightbulb moment that sparked your health journey?

 No I definitely have not always been into health and wellness. Growing up I was of course always active as most kids are but it wasn’t for any health reasons, it was just something to do. Then in high school I developed anorexia (although I wouldn’t acknowledge it at the time), and then from beating anorexia I over corrected and developed a binge eating disorder….like I’m talking a pack of tim tams for breakfast. Long story short I had a very negative relationship with food and exercise (2 cardio sessions a week at the gym as punishment should fix it right?).


It wasn’t until I landed a job as a receptionist at local fitness centre that my attitude started to shift. I began incorporating strength training and group fitness as well as focusing on fuelling my body with the right foods to recover from my exercise. When I started to notice how much better I felt and looked and how much more energy I had, I fell in love with everything health and wellness. I began studying a certificate 3 and 4 in fitness and since then I haven’t looked back, health and wellness is now literally my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My passion for my own health has turned into a passion for helping others with theirs because everyone deserves to feel amazing and live their best life!


Run us through a typical day in the life of your wonderful self?

I usually wake up about 6:30/6:45 and start my day with a warm glass of lemon water and a shot of apple cider vinegar. From there I will grab my dogs and head out for a fat burner walk, this is my absolute favourite part of the day, I don’t take my phone so its just me time, in nature, with my puppies. Then when I get home it’s a shower followed by 20 mins of yoga and a meditation (often using my oracle cards). Then to fuel my body with a super nourishing brekky!!


After brekky I normally try and do a bit of work, either checking in with clients, working on my blog, answering emails etc. Or if none of the above I use this time to study. I usually start work at the gym at 11 so I head in there and see what the day brings, a mixture of sessions with clients, group fitness classes and of course my own training.


When I finish at 7pm, I head home, sometimes cook dinner (depending on who’s turn it is) and then chill out with my boyfriend and watch something on Netflix. Even though were not doing anything exciting I absolutely love this time together because its our time to relax with each other. Then it’s a cup of peppermint tea and a little reading before bed around 9:30/10pm.
*I guess I should mention that my days do actually vary quite a bit but I guess this is what you would call a ‘typical’ day for me.


Do you have a quote you live by?

Haha I have like 50! My 2 absolute favourite quotes to live by though are…


‘If you can you must’ and ‘In order to awaken the world to light, I must not be afraid to shine’

I’ll let you all find your own meaning in those.


What advice would you love to give beautiful women just beginning their health and wellness journey?

 This is a really tricky one because there is so much advice I want to give here. I think one of the main things, and because I see this so much. Don’t lose sight of yourself, and don’t get so focused on living a healthy life that you forget to live a life at all.


Instagram: @s_l_carter

International Junior Miss Australia 2015: Shakira Rush

Shakira is not your stereotypical pageant winner – there is much more to this beauty than meets the eye. Creative blood has always been flowing through her. She has been dancing her socks off since she was just 4 years old and was awarded a full scholarship for school because of her talent. One year later she began speech and drama lessons, and finally she started singing when she was 8 years old.


Performing wasn’t Shakira’s only creative outlet. A favourite pastime of hers was going to op shops, buying second-hand clothes and then creating something beautiful and new with them.


She is hardworking. Shakira has been working as a dental assistant for over 7 years and she specialises in assisting the dentist for oral surgery cases and paediatric cases. When she isn’t at work or practicing for pageants, Shakira relaxes by tuning out watching TV or walking her cute-as-a-button dog, Dommy.


Shakira has a beautiful relationship with her sister, Atarah. They are so close, Atarah could be mistaken as her surrogate pageant mum! They have been working together for almost two years.

We are thrilled that Shakira was able to take time out to answer our questions.


Shakira, thank you so much for taking time out for The Mindful Collective’s Mindful Moments! Would it be correct say you’ve always had a passion for wellness?

I would say yes, I have always been healthy. My parents have always provided me with healthy food but until recently I hadn’t realised the importance of eating healthily. You don’t get sick if you stick to a healthier diet! You have more energy, and your skin and hair just looks healthier compared to times when you have unhealthy binges.


What form of meditation do you prefer and why?

I would have to say my favourite form of meditation would have to be walking Meditation. I love spending time with my dog ‘dommy’ and just forgetting about my busy life and just enjoy the fresh air and time with my dog. Something about seeing my dog so happy just makes me forget about everything going on in life.


What are some changes you’ve noticed in your life since beginning your mindfulness journey and how have these helped you achieve your goals?

Spending months and months of practicing your walk, organising fundraisers and getting yourself bikini body ready just to show those judges and everyone else in those short few minutes on stage everything you have been working so hard to achieve. However if you’re not in the right mind set or your caught up thinking things like ‘am I good enough?’, ‘ have I done enough work?’,’ Am I going to embarrass myself?’ That time on stage can fly by all those months can go to waste and you won’t fully enjoy the moment. You have worked hard so you want to enjoy every second of it. I started my mindful journey to help me get in the right head space and to fully live in the moment and not worry about anyone else but me. Because I am doing this for me. You would say the changes I have seen i I am not caring about anyone else I am living in the moment. I don’t get caught up in negative thoughts. I just be me and enjoy being me.


We all need some crazy powerful stress-busting tools and techniques – we would love to hear works for you!


When I am about to have a stress attack I will go sit by myself somewhere quiet, listen to some relaxation music and just do deep breathing. If that doesn’t work I will just go for a little walk. It always clears my head.


Shakira, we have to know, what is your secret nutrition weapon?

It’s not really a secret, however I try to eat a balanced diet. I avoid processed foods as much as possible. My secret weapon would be buying fresh food from local sources (local famers, Rocklea Markets), they are also quite competitively priced.


How do you express your creative self during your busy life?

I have always loved being on stage since I was little competing in dancing, speech and singing. Nowadays I use pageants as a means of self -expression and creativity.

Pageants generally have been viewed negatively for creating bad body image in young girls. However, from my experiences with pageants I believe this to be untrue. I have witnessed and experienced the empowerment and self-confidence pageants can boost in young women. I feel pageants give us tools we need to express matters that are important to us.

Pageants teach us that in order to get others to respect us or matters which are passionate about, we first must respect ourselves.


Do you have a quote you live your life by?

“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” Pageant Academy


Who Inspires you and why?

I would say my biggest inspiration is Audrey Hepburn.


Today, Audrey is still regarded as one of the best female actress of all time. In Audrey’s later years she stopped making movies and started dedicating her life to working for UNICEF. She went to some of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. Hepburn’s first field mission for UNICEF was to Ethiopia in 1988.


She visited an orphanage in Mek’ele that housed 500 starving children and had UNICEF send food. On the trip, she said, “I have a broken heart. I feel desperate. I can’t stand the idea that two million people are in imminent danger of starving to death, many of them children.”


In October 1990, Hepburn went to Vietnam in an effort to collaborate with the government for national UNICEF-supported immunisation and clean water programmes. She is an inspiration and that is why I look up to here. She is true beauty inside and out.


To keep up with Shakira’s journey, follow her on Facebook!