Unaccustomed As I Am

white dress, ray ban aviator,sunglasses, ankle boots, waistcoat

I have a very lovely friend named Anna Barez-Brown, and along with her business partner, Cal Whaley, they have created a concept which is called Shine for Women. This week Anna and Cal, invited me to speak at a reunion lunch for some of the women who have attended a Shine course since its inception. Here is my talk, which explains how I felt whilst doing it, and what I came away with. ( no, not a party bag! )

When Anna  first mentioned Shine to me, I was interested in the concept in the way that I am interested in Tightrope walking.  A most fascinating skill, and awesome when others do it. But, so, not for me. That was my polite but intrigued phase.

I had in my mind that, truly, Anna and Cal, were communing with all the female Captains of industry that had just popped home to have a baby, and just needed a quick nudge before resuming complete world domination. I felt very safe with my opt out clause for not participating in a course. I was a former model, and therefore had no need to brush up on any skills or limber up the right or left side of my brain,as there was no real path back or forwards to my particular former life, during which I couldn’t particularly see that I’d garnered any very useful life skills anyway. That was my resistant phase. I do sound a little forlorn when I put it like this, but, when called to action by Anna, I really and truly couldn’t see what I would possibly bring to the table, apart from that sacred, life enhancing gift of being able to exit a room without turning my back on my guests, infinite gratitude to Lucy Clayton’s iconic finishing course.

Anna, having tried to coax me nicely into Shine’s beam of light, simply called up one day and said, ‘ we’ve had a cancellation for next week, just say yes ‘   With huge misgivings I did just say YES!!!

As you are all Shine sisters, you know the general format. On the first day when we all swapped our stories, our past, our present and our futures hopes, I still felt a little detached, as I didn’t really come from anywhere sensible and therefore could not see that any of my skills were valid and I definitely felt very frivolous compared to some of my course peers. This was my questioning phase.

My approach was very sceptical, and I felt a little bit of a fraud, an imposter. Strangely, this is what worked for me, because as exotic as I was, It was pointed out to me that I did have an area of expertise that no one  else in the room had.  I thought that my lack of IT skills or 9-5 office working experience, put me at a disadvantage for simply anything that I might have wanted to try. However it was pointed out to me that I am fluent in 3 languages, that I had in fact studied the fashion industry as a complete insider, had a style about me that women liked, was someone they’d trust with their wardrobe, and someone most of them had questions for on the subject of fashion and beauty products. Who knew? Not shabby at all, considering that I’d started the course with a deficit of attributes and was graduating with a designer handbag full of accolades! I had entered my Realisation phase.

So, I give you, The Model Edit, the blog that I’ve harboured in the curly recesses of my brain, for a mighty long while.

Thanks to the questioning, probing, suggesting, enforcing and permitting environment that Shine creates, I have entered my implementation phase.

Yep, what I abstracted from my Shine Experience was my stand alone relevance, and what my Shine Experience, donated to me was the realisation and consequent validation of that singular relevance in the world.

M y epiphany is that, I am a little in love with my blog, because, even though I could have done it ages ago for myself, knowing that I could be touting my wares in front of an audience again, gives me a buzz which on a work level hasn’t occurred since I last touted my wares in front of the world’s press, different platforms, but still in the public eye.

Enter my World Domination phase.

Merci, Danke and  Thank you, to Anna, Cal and the Sparkly concept that is Shine.

  • Susan Mercier
    July 18, 2015

    How fabulous! Indeed one wonders why you didn’t do this before and why I didn’t think of suggesting it to you myself before? Sometimes the timing has to be right and the time is right to give a boost to women of a “certain age” to help them get their mojo back!
    I like the design and look of it and I enjoy your words! Keep it up x

    • Vanessa
      July 19, 2015

      Thank you, gorgeous friend. Yes, it’s probs your fault that you didn’t suggest it before, and therefore deprived everyone of my opinions, past and present glories and some epic fails!!! xxx

  • Beatrice
    July 19, 2015

    Vanessa I have enjoyed your bit of straightforwardness on your lack of confidence as to how you could “import any “skills” to a table surrounded by women from another landscape, but, you do and have! As from what I have read so far , issued not only from a pretty face with great style but from someone who has spent time pondering and questioning her own path and where it has taken her to.
    Certainly done with the past but not ignoring it and using it to the best advantage;sharing with others what knowledge you have accumulated in order to bring new ideas, even build a new confidence in women who had stereotyped their looks according to the ” norm”…. You might bring another breath of fresh air into polluted England!!!

    • Vanessa
      July 19, 2015

      Thank you Beatrice. Fab that you’ve taken time to read my post, and better still, leave a comment. It’s all about maximising your current beauty. Embrace and embellish x

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