It’s not really something I talk about, but… I was once a cover girl. Glamorous, you say? Ha! Just look at the picture! But I had once thought (as a teenager) that it would be cool to be a model, so I guess it was an achievement of a sort. It was definitely an experience.
For this Big Issue article (see Surf’s Up Story), I joined in some surfing lessons run by two-time Victorian Women’s Champion Surfer, Prue Latchford. She was able to make us feel comfortable on that cold grey beach; and she believed that everyone could give surfing a go, no matter their gender or abilities. She knew the exhilaration of the waves would suck them in.
She had taken out plenty of people with disabilities or issues, like kids in danger of being lost to drugs and anger. She knew that they could battle the ocean all they liked, but they could never win, only learn to go with it for survival’s sake.
My cousin Jason took the photos. He was amazed that I didn’t have the abdominal muscle strength to do the leap from lying face down to standing up on the board, all in one movement. I wasn’t amazed. I had a fair idea of my own non-abilities in the coordination/strength department.
But I did manage to stand on the board for a couple of seconds – yes, on the water, smart alecs, not just on the beach during the practice session. And Prue was right, it was such a rush. I could only begin to imagine what it would feel like to be blind or paralysed and to feel that speed and movement and energy.
And Jason’s photos made it to the front cover of the magazine. In typical writer-style (ie: full of self-doubt and occasional self-loathing) I blurted out that they couldn’t have had anything better to use. Jason didn’t think so – he knew the photos were good and he said so.
I learned a lot from the whole experience:
– surfing is hard work and scary but an awesome reward when it goes right;
– I needed to take up Pilates or similar;
– I shouldn’t let my lack of self-confidence get in the way of mine or anyone else’s efforts;
– writing can take you all sorts of places, and every experience will then feed your writing;
– modelling is not glamorous.
Well, I’ve never made it back onto a surfboard, but I did take up Pilates and find some core strength; I try to restrain my self-doubt so it doesn’t hurt others (or me); and I travelled to some out-there places (South America, Siberia, Mongolia, Cambodia) for some amazing experiences and writing.
And I’ve never been on another magazine cover, but success comes in many other humbler forms 🙂