Australian Women’s Weekly

All posts in the Australian Women’s Weekly category

It’s Out – Australian Women’s Weekly June Edition

Published May 30, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Hey all!  Just a quick blog post from me tonight, I’ve been sideswiped by a cold that has gone through my office like a brush fire, so I’m trying to indulge in some self care to help get through it as quickly as possible.

I discovered this morning that yes, my article in the Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW) is out today!  For those of you looking to get a print copy, it is this one, with Chrissie Swan on the cover:

I’m pretty chuffed to be in an issue that has Chrissie on the cover, she’s awesome.  And she has some really positive things to say about living life as a fat woman.

I’m pretty impressed with this from Chrissie:

“It’s shaming fat people into thinking their heart’s about to explode, their legs are about to be cut off due to diabetes. They’ll never conceive a child, they’ll never get married, they’ll never find love, they’ll never get the job they want.”

Chrissie — who has two sons, Leo, three, and nine-month-old Kit — is especially upset at the messages conveyed to children, that there is something wrong with them and they ought to be ashamed if they are chubby.

“We can’t say fat people are bad, we can’t have them crawl through mud pits on national television and have skinny people yelling at them, saying, ‘How does it feel?’ Because kids see that and they go, ‘Okay, it’s cool to scream abuse and belittle a fat person. I’ll do that next time I see Billy in the playground.’

There is an online version, however it is an abridged version of the full print article. (Note, don’t read the comments unless you have plenty of sanity points to spare!)

Overall I’m happy with the article, it’s not perfect but it has an overwhelmingly positive tone to it, and really entertains some concepts that aren’t normally presented in the mainstream media.  The only thing that bums me out is that they have an “obesity expert” who pushes surgical organ mutilation (weight loss surgery) in the name of “health”.  But that said, I get the final world in the piece, and it’s a pretty damn good quote to end with.

All in all, I think that if just one person Google’s my name, Fat Heffalump, fat acceptance or Health at Every Size, we’ve won.  If we stop one person from hating themselves, or have them entertaining the idea that we can live our lives to the full no matter what size or shape we are, then we’ve smashed down some walls for people.

And since already I’ve had at least one person (waves to Phoebe) come along to this blog from the AWW article, it’s doing it’s job!

 

Australian Women’s Weekly Photo Shoot

Published April 30, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Well, what a day I have had!  As I mentioned in my previous post, today was the day that I met with the team from the Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW) for a photo shoot to go with the interview I recorded a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll be honest, I was as nervous as hell.  AWW is a big deal.  It’s an absolute juggernaut in Australia, a cultural touchstone that sails right down the centre of our society.  Everyone knows it, 1 in 4 households purchase it, and even more come in contact with a copy somewhere – be it one belonging to a friend or family member, a copy in the doctor’s office, the library, or just browsing in the aisles of the supermarket.  I believe it’s really important that we get our message in these incredibly mainstream places – the more people we get to, the more fatties will start to think twice about allowing the world to beat them into submission.  There is of course always a risk with mainstream media, but it’s one I’m willing to take.  So long as I stay true to myself, then I’m happy to throw myself into this and reach out.  It’s scary, but I think it has to be done.

So yeah, I was awake at FOUR AM this morning.  Totally wired, really nervous and just gobsmacked that this is where my life has taken me.  I caught the bus into town fairly early (I like to be early – that’s my thing) and had a leisurely breakfast in a little cafe I like in town before catching the bus out to Newstead where the studio that had been hired by AWW was located.

I am so, so glad that I was allowed to bring Lauren and Isaac (Gurrieri and Brown, from Griffith University) with me today, to get all meta and photograph the photography, because not only did we get some more shots for the project we are working on, but I had two people whom I feel comfortable with, and who kept me focused on what really matters to me.  I can’t thank Lauren and Isaac enough for being there today – and there was a moment when Lauren and I had a quiet chat between shots that just helped me so much.  I was feeling quite, I guess sensory overload – all the lights and noise and scents and unfamiliar clothes etc was doing my head in and I was forgetting to just be me, and Lauren really brought me back to where I needed to be.  I think the best photos will be those at the end of the shoot, because I was able to have my head in the right space.

Also, Lauren has provided me with a few photos to share with you all here.  Thanks Lauren!

Now, when the stylist Tanja Mrnjaus called me a few days ago and asked me what clothing label I would like to wear on the day, my first thought went of course, to Autograph Fashion.  Not only because I have a good working relationship with them, but also because a) they cater to my size, when so many don’t, b) they are clothes that I actually do wear every day myself and c) I know they are trying very hard to get it right for their customers.  So we arranged for Tanja to contact them, I popped into my local store and picked a few things I liked with my fave fab Autograph lady Michelle, and then Tanja worked those into “looks” that Autograph very kindly loaned us a wardrobe of clothes to shoot in today.

Clothes by Autograph Fashion

AWW really went the whole kit and caboodle with this, hiring a fashion stylist (Tanja), a very talented hair and make-up artist Abigael Johnston and photographer Alana Landsberry, and booking a half day in a studio.

Abigael started making me up and she really went all out.  It was an awful lot of makeup in “reality” – the iPhone shot I took shows just how much I had on, but of course that doesn’t show up in the magazine shots.  She really focused on my eyes and I even got to wear mink false eyelashes for the day!  She had some beautiful lip colours she mixed up for me too – the first one was such a gorgeous, rich old-world red that I wished it came in an actual lipstick, but she had a secret formula for that one.

Because my hair is very short and bright purple, she just gave it a bit of volume and texture for most of the shots, and then when I wore a cocktail dress at the end, slicked it back more to change the look.

Abigael starts work on the hair and makeup.

I really enjoyed working with Alana, the photographer.  She was fun and while a lot of it felt really silly and made me feel quite… weird, she was very perceptive and could see when I wasn’t into something.  But for me, the best part of the day was when Tanja came back from a nearby cafe and told us she saw some amazing graffiti inside it, and perhaps we could do a shoot in there.  So we all traipsed down to the cafe, Alana asked the owner and they were amazing – they let us move their furniture around and take over a little room that was all painted up with pink graffiti of cupcakes and uber-femme art.  They even made us the most wild concoction of a milkshake in purple and pink that we used as a prop.

All in all it was loads of fun and I think it will be a really positive, joyous set of photos of a fat woman in a major magazine.  That’s always a good thing!

Oh what?  You want to see some photos of the final looks?  Well, I’ll give you one as a little teaser (you’ll have to save the rest for the article in June/July!)

Check out the colours of that milkshake!

Holy Crap – What a Roller Coaster!

Published April 27, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Hey!

I know, it has been awhile since I blogged last.  But this post is going to be all about what has been going on in my life since the whole Hoopla debacle and I want to clear a few things up too.

So, things have been kind of chaotic for me.  The big thing is that I’m moving house in a week’s time.  Which for me is a seriously big deal – I’ve lived in my little place here for fourteen and a half years – the longest I have lived anywhere in my life.  But I’m also moving across the city, not to mention doing almost everything on my own (but I do have a couple of awesome friends who have been really helpful – love youse!) and I’m moving because my current landlord is kicking me out, not for any negative reason, but because I no longer meet their criteria to rent one of their properties, which really sticks in my craw.  So the whole thing is really massive for me.  That said, I have a lovely new place lined up to move into that has lots of fabulous things that I don’t have here.  My own private laundry!  An east facing balcony!  A lock up garage (lots of storage for me because I don’t drive)!  Proper wardrobes, linen cupboard and kitchen pantry!  Just the storage alone is making me excited.  But best of all, I will be living by the sea.  I am moving to a bay side suburb, and my new flat is only metres from the foreshore.  I can’t wait to be able to ride my bike and walk up and down the waterfront at any time I choose.  Not to mention those gorgeous sea breezes.

Yeah, so that’s the biggest upheaval.

But as well as going through a full residential relocation, I’ve had so much else on in the past few months.

There’s the shiny new library we opened at the end of March.  I always think bringing a new library into the world is somewhat like bringing a new baby into the world.  There is a long, uncomfortable gestation, then a difficult labour and intense birth, but then you have this beautiful newborn that you love like no other and are already beginning to think you might like another one!

I also sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago.  Walking to my bus stop, moved aside to let a cute little old couple that looks like Santa and Mrs Claus by on the footpath, hit an uneven bit of concrete and turned my ankle.  Went down like a sack of spuds, landed on my right knee and sprained  my left ankle.  I’m healing ok, was very limpy for a couple of weeks there and am stuck in a compression bandage for another two weeks yet, but I’m thankful I’m strong and in robust health so that I can heal well.

Y’all know about the Hoopla drama.  And in the thick of all of that, an interview I did back in January was published in the Sun Herald (Sydney).  I had seen the online version, but when a friend left me a message to tell me that there was a “huge” photo of me in the print version, I was kind of “Oh yeah, that’s nice.”  Then she sent me the paper copy:

That’s a library card sitting on top of the paper to give scale (same size as a credit card).  I’m about half the page!!  I sent it to my Grandma, she was tickled pink.  I like how it shows off my gold We Love Colors tights and the leopard print Chucks my friend Kylie found for me in the UK.

And then there has been more media interest… Kelli Brett from ABC Radio Melbourne’s The Main Ingredient interviewed me for her programme.  The podcast hasn’t gone up live yet but I’ll share when it does.  Plus a news editor from the Australian Women’s Weekly interviewed me a couple of weeks ago, for a piece that I think will be in the June or July edition.  More on that in a minute.

I do just want to clarify something.  There has been some suggestion from several people that The Hoopla publishing my piece some weeks ago is the reason that these media gigs have been coming my way.  I would just like to make it very clear that this is not true.  I was interviewed for the Sun Herald back in January (on Australia Day, January 26th, to be exact, and photographed in the first week or so of February) and any subsequent media contact has come from either this blog or that Sun Herald article.  One of the recent interviewers had never even heard of The Hoopla, the other wasn’t interested in it.  As much as there might be people that would like to claim that they are the reason for my “overnight success” (after over 3 years of slogging away at this stuff as a second, unpaid, full time job), it is simply not true.  The Hoopla did not “discover me”, I contacted them and asked if they would publish my writing.

Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way!  I am very lucky to get these opportunities, but that luck is coupled by my own hard work.

As well as being interviewed by the Australian Women’s Weekly, they have set up a photo shoot on Monday, which I am both nervous and excited about.  They’re going the whole kit and caboodle with a studio shoot, with fashion stylist, make-up and hair and Autograph Fashion are kindly loaning us the clothes for the shoot.  I am so excited, because what fun is it to get all dolled up!  But I am very nervous and anxious, as I’m suffering some impostor syndrome about it all.  I’ve been labelled the “ugly fat chick” my whole life, and it’s just bizarre to think that I’m doing a photo shoot with AWW, a magazine that I read my mother’s copies of as a kid.  As I said on Twitter this evening “I’m in your magazines, smashing your beauty standards!”

And the other big, exciting news for me is that I’ve found a way to wangle the finances to attend the Massey University, Palmerston North Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections Conference in New Zealand!  I am SOOOO excited, not only am I taking a holiday (two beautiful weeks) to New Zealand, but I’m going to be able to get all fab fatty at the conference.  I’ll get to see friends I made at the last conference, and hopefully make some new friends.  It’s worth putting myself into hock for!  Of course I promise to blog all about it, take lots of photos and I have also submitted an abstract for a paper I am writing.  Cross fingers it gets accepted so I can present it.

So, there you have the absolute roller coaster of chaos that my life is at the moment.  I’m knackered, a bit sore, sneezy from all my allergies stirred up by packing and cleaning, and in desperate need of a decent night’s sleep and a couple of days relaxation.  But I’m also  excited, challenged and happy.

Hope you are all in positive places in your lives too!