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Monday August 10, 2009

Lost On The Editing Room Floor

This past May I was asked to be a part of an article for FLARE magazine's 30th anniversary September issue. It was to be a profile of seven women across Canada who are turning 30 or have just turned 30 and their experiences and views on their 20s and the coming decade. In the end, for length or other reasons, the article became more of a collaboration of the voices of seven different women, at different places in our lives, but having similar feelings and views of the past and future. Having read the article for a second time this morning, I am flattered and humbled to have been a part of it. It has shown me on a much larger scale than I could have imagined that even though we are all different, we ARE all very much the same. I find myself inspired by the other women in the article, more, I must admit, than I expected to be by an article in a fashion magazine.

For my contribution to the article, I spent an afternoon sitting on my bedroom floor with a box of photos from rolls of film I had recently found in a pile of traveling stuff. I put away the modeling portfolio, printed out Yuki's questions for the article, and thought about my sisters (one of whom is just stepping into her 20s as I step out of mine), my friends all over the world, my family, and my good fortune to have lived the life that I have and to continue to live such a wonderful life. This is what I had to say: (minus the what's your birth date? where do you live?...)

1. Whatís the coolest thing about turning/being 30?
The coolest thing about turning thirty is the shock on people's faces when I tell them, and all the possibilities that the future holds.

2. Whatís the scariest thing about turning/being 30?
The scariest thing about turning thirty is hearing other people complain about their fears and expectations of what being thirty means, when they find out you're about to turn thirty. I'm blessed to be healthy and have lived another year and enjoyed life.

3. Will hitting your 30s affect your style-sensibility? How do you think it might change (or not)?
I think the biggest change has been that since I don't travel as much as I once did and don't live out of a suitcase for months at a time, I don't have to fit everything back into a suitcase. Now I have a larger selection of clothes to chose from and I don't have to worry about giving up an item or two in order to add pieces to my wardrobe. I love light summer skirts and dresses that flow in the breeze, and have a lot of them now.

4. How long have you been modeling for? Is turning 30 daunting for a model?
For the last 9 of the 10 years I have been a model, I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful agent, Marie Josee at Specs Model Management, who has become a mentor to me in my professional and personal life. Her wisdom and compassion as a business woman has inspired me through the years to continue to discover who I am and what I would like to do in the world. For this reason, I'm not sure 30 is as daunting as I thought 24 was. I turned 24 while I was traveling to Milan and had worried that I would be considered "too old" for an agency to take me on as a model. In the end, the numbers don't seem to actually mean much. I've learned to enjoy the ups and downs of the fashion industry and will continue to model for as long as it is something I want to pursue.

5. Youíre going back to school this fall to study mechanical engineering. Where? And what are your thoughts as you prepare to go back to school as a mature student?
This fall, I'll be in my second year of Mechanical Engineering at Concordia. I'm excited about it. I have always gone after the things I want. Engineering is something that has interested me since high school and I am fortunate to be able to take the time to study now. I enjoy the challenge and the reward that comes from solving a problem, figuring out things that stump me and knowing that I will carry that knowledge with me in my future endeavors.

6. Now that youíre 30 (or about to be), what would you say if you could talk to yourself at age 20? What wisdom would you impart to a younger you about being in your 20s?
To a 20 year old me, I would say:
  • *You are going to lose a lot of people that you love forever, your faith will be shaken, you will doubt yourself and hurt like you have never hurt before. You will cry. You will cry long distance, and it won't be easy. But trust me on this: you'll be fine! You will find within yourself what you are looking for.
  • *Leave the past alone, by the time you find the answers it's too late for them to be helpful.
  • *Don't worry about the future, it will always be there.
  • *Don't be afraid to make mistakes, ask for help or borrow money -- you'll be surprised how resourceful you are.
  • *Learn the words integrity and dignity -- you'll know what to do with them.
  • *Buy a good camera; you will see things that you couldn't have imagined and meet people who will live inside your heart forever. Those pictures will, quite literally, mean the world to you soon.
  • *Don't run from love, it won't let you down and always stays with you.
  • *Don't treat your mentors like parents, it's not the same relationship.
  • *Dwell on the good and keep laughing, it really is funny.
  • *Leave your baseball cap at home(sometimes), and call your dad more often -- he misses you.
  • *Listen to your heart and follow your instincts. You are going to love it!!

7. How do you imagine being 30 in 2009 is probably different from being 30 in 1979, or some other earlier era?
I think there would have been more of a negative stigma attached to turning 30 in an earlier era. An idea that unless you were married with children and set on your life and career paths, you had done something wrong or that there was something wrong with you in general. Now it just seems to be another birthday to celebrate. A milestone of having made it through your twenties and maybe a hint of more respect from those younger than you.

8. Whatís next for you? What do you want to get done this decade?
My to do list this decade is fairly short. I'd like to become an engineer and maybe buy a house. I'd like to help some friends start a company and work with my agent on a project she is passionate about. I'm sure I'll find plenty of little projects along the way, but I don't usually set goals for myself based on age.

9. What are your top priorities at age 30?
My top priorities are pretty much school and enjoying life. It's not always an easy balance, but I have a great life and a supportive family I'd love to see more often.

As I reflect on my achievements in the last ten years, I also reflect on the people who have inspired me to be the person that I am and the person I am still becoming. Life is a journey and I try to appreciate all that I have and all that it means to me to be so fortunate during the good times and the more trying times.

When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be just like my older brother, Mike. As I have watched him grow to become the person he is: a brother, a husband, a friend, a father, a mentor, and a man, I have been touched by his authenticity. I believe that one of the hardest things a person can ever do is to make their own path in life and stand by it. I have watched him believe in his vision and make his dreams a reality through the disappointments and successes. I have found, in living my own life, that it is also one of the most rewarding. In his acceptance speech for the honorary degree bestowed to him by Seneca College last summer, two points stood out in my mind which I have repeated to friends as they change their paths or look for something more in their lives.
  • *Make a list of all the things you know how to do (bake a cake, change your car's oil, fix a lamp, write a web app...). Then go back over that list and put a star next to the things youíve learned in the last year or two. I have a second list of maybe 5 or 10 things things I'd like to do better or learn in the next year or two. It's simple when you think about it and genius when you see what you've got.
  • *His closing remarks to the graduates:"Remember to learn, remember to teach, and remember to do things that can fail, and you will be on a path to making a difference in the world around you. A bumpy path at times, a path with poor markings to be sure, but I believe the only path thatís worth being on."

As I leave you to return to my studying with finals a few days away, I thank you all for being a part of the life and the experiences that have made me the person I am. I'll see you in my 30s. XO


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