Cheers to Turia Pitt

I became reacquainted with Turia Pitt’s story in 2016 when I first began my mindfulness journey. I was looking for Australian role models, motivational speakers, icons, leaders or whatever you want to call it when you’re searching for someone to look up to or guide you.

I particularly wanted to connect more with female Australian role models. And so, I came across Turia and her story.

You may have heard of Turia and the battles she has faced since the devastating and life changing bushfire that caused burns to over 65% of her body while running a 100km ultramarathon in the Kimberley, in the Australian desert.

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Turia before and after the accident. Photo: Pinterest.

After enduring over 200 medical procedures including skin grafts, this traumatic event has failed to slow Turia down eventually running, swimming and hiking again. Over the years she has received ongoing support and love from her partner. They are now engaged and have a baby boy.

The reason I admire Turia is that she continues to live her life to the fullest potential despite her physical limitations and appearance. She wasn’t going to let anything stop her. And she’ll be sure to tell you that. Sure, she continues her recovery today, but she has the most inspiring and mind-blowing motivation and attitude.  

Turia was an engineer for a large mining company before her accident. She is smart and did academically well during her tertiary studies. Since the fire, Turia has hiked the Great Wall of China, competed in the Ironman World Championships, walked the Kokoda Track and is now training for Coast to Coast in New Zealand.

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Turia Pitt competing in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Photo: Michael Klein.

In 2017, I was lucky enough to receive one of her free motivational online programs. I was sent daily emails with letters, tasks, reminders and strategies towards a goal I’d’ set for myself.

I just loved her down to earth messages. She was real. She was honest. No bullshit. I could hear her voice in my mind. She wasn’t any different on paper (or in my inbox) to how she is in real life.

In 2018, having just moved to Western Australia with no social or professional connections, I’d come across a mindset and motivation workshop in Perth. Turia was the keynote speaker. I couldn’t miss this opportunity to see her in person.  

Turia walked on stage with such confidence. Then, interestingly she made us do squats, at the beginning of her talk and then again midway through!!! Most of the room were excited and positive but I was surprised to see several people around the room refuse to take part in the impromptu exercises. Can you believe it?

Turia had been through such a traumatic period in her life and was told she’d never walk again. I was going to do whatever she said.

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During Turia’s speech she faced her story head on and spoke about her rehabilitation and the challenges and impacts it had taken emotionally, mentally and obviously, physically.

She had no problems talking about the effects it had on her relationship with Michael and didn’t shy away from the ups and downs of relationships and life plans.

It’s what Turia is doing with her life today that astounds me the most. She wants to motivate others to be the best they can, set achievable goals and make changes and improvements to their own lives.

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Photo: Marie Claire Australia.

At the end of the day her message was clear, why do we let our physical appearance or physical limitation stop us from living life to the fullest?

I say cheers to Turia and thanks for the pep talk!!! Now bring on 2019…

Reasons to love Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda has been an icon nearly six decades. You might associate her with the 1968 sci-fi comedy classic Barbarella, where she played a sexy space traveller sent to save humanity.

1118full-barbarella-(movie-tie--in-with-jane-fonda-cover)-coverOr perhaps you think of her bestselling workout videos from the early 80s, which allowed women (and men) to follow a workout from their homes. The Jane Fonda Workout videos were originally produced to fund her activism (with then husband Tom Hayden), but unexpectedly became so successful they propelled VHS into the booming industry it was during the 1980s and 90s (you can now buy them on in digital download or DVD from her website).

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Werk it.

As well as being an actor, director and businesswoman, Jane is also an activist and philanthropist, and most definitely, a feminist. So when An Evening with Jane Fonda came to the Sydney Opera House at the end of August, I knew I had to go.

An Evening with Jane Fonda wasn’t a performance, but a type of stage-show where audio, images, film and a live interview were combined to bring Jane’s story to life.

The story began with an introduction by none other than the woman herself, as she reads from her autobiography – My Life So Far. And then, she appears: energetic, sophisticated and elegant in a white pant suit, this woman can do no wrong (and the audience, which included a mix of ages and genders), let her know it too!

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Jane Fonda at the Sydney Opera House, August 2018. Photo by Getty Images.

Now for journo nerds like me, or those who just like listening to ABC’s Radio National in the morning, you would forgive me for losing my shit a little bit when Fran Kelly came out to take her seat opposite Jane.

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Henry and Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond.

I really enjoyed the way they spoke about certain aspects of Jane’s life and then complimented that with footage or images. They touched on her personal relationships (she’s had three husbands and her favourite ex-husband is CNN Founder, Ted Turner who owns a plethora of ranches); and her career, including what she did to make her normally stoic father, actor Henry Fonda tear up during a scene together in On Golden Pond. They spoke a lot about her activism to end the Vietnam war, which earned her an FBI file and all sorts of heartache over a photo of her taken while in North Vietnam.

And then to more recent stories, or what Jane calls her ‘third act’: Her role in the (bloody amazing) Netflix TV series, Grace and Frankie with the equally awesome, Lily Tomlin, and her advocacy in sexual health education among teenagers. Jane was, of course, hilarious and very thoughtful in her responses to Fran’s questions.

Here, I would just like to remind everyone that Jane Fonda is 80 years of age. Another reason to love her.

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Grace and Frankie

I laughed when Jane had no idea what Fran Kelly meant when she said ‘bloke’ – but I also found it annoying when Jane couldn’t hear Fran’s questions over everyone’s clapping (which they seemed to do after almost everything Jane said). It’s endearing at first, but then it’s just annoying.

I wondered what Jane was doing here in Australia, and yes she does have a new movie out – The Book Club with Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. But I think she could have done this show even without having something to promote, her life is that interesting and she’s just such a magnetic person.

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They look better than I do. Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.

I did buy her book My Life So Far straight after the show, which I couldn’t put down (hence taking so long to write this blog post). A proper review of her book requires its own post, but I will say that I learnt so much from her writing – it’s thoughtful, intelligent, interesting and insightful. And despite being almost 50 years younger than her, I could relate to a lot of what she was saying.

One final reason to love Jane Fonda: She sells her own merchandise which includes tote bags, clutches, mugs and t-shits OF HER MUG SHOT taken in the 70s. Get your mug shot merchandise here peeps! 

Like a boss. Photo thanks to AP images.