To mark International Women’s Day this year, we asked women who are part of our community, how the official IWD 2020 theme #ChooseToChallenge speaks to them.
Meet Kate Bell, a model and yoga therapist who has worked with Boody over the years. You will spot her as a model on our website and in our past campaigns.
So Kate, what does this years theme, #ChooseToChallenge actually mean to you?
What is presenting for me at this time is the experience of ageism in Australian advertising. I’m at the coalface seeing 40+ women included in the picture as a token gesture & then unimaginatively.
How do you challenge the limits and labels others put on you?
I can’t control other people’s perceptions. Instead, I just live my best life and see if that makes a difference to the hearts and minds of others.
Do you have any advice on ways someone can challenge effectively?
Effective challenge comes from sitting solidly in a place where there is no right or wrong. It is to discuss without judging.
From challenge comes change, what’s a recent challenge you faced that you saw change come from it?
5 years ago I began working consistently for one of America’s leading activewear brands. It was the beginning of a new energy & confidence in myself as a professional model. Previously to that, on most modelling jobs I was styled in outfits that were for an older woman and only got work television commercials for retirement living. It was Athleta by GAP that saw me in a new light & suddenly my twin vocations of modelling and yoga were celebrated. That encouragement meant everything to me. I try to do the same for all 40+ women out there so that they too can feel seen and acknowledged no matter their field.
IWD also focuses on the importance of celebrating women’s achievements. Who are some of the women, past and present that you admire and are inspired by?
I met Dr Christobel Llewellyn as my piano teacher. As I got to know her I discovered she had so many layers. She has a PhD in Music and another in Medicine. She is a Neural Scientist & Medical Researcher AND completely holistic in her view of health! So inspiring.
A woman named Libby Bleakley sold me coffee at Carriageworks markets one day. We got chatting, and she gave me the book she wrote. I learnt in her book she had just retired after being a Federal Police Officer for 30 years, stationed in South Sudan, Central Australia & East Timor. She now runs a coffee business with all profits going to The Timor East Learning & Gym, that she set up.
Both Dr Christobel Llewellyn and Libby Bleakley are very powerful, totally humble, extremely brave & compassionate wonder women who I admire.
Another two girlfriends Bella Gnecchi-Ruscone a longtime dear friend, fostered two kids then adopted them 13 years ago and a newer friend that came in my life, Dorri Dorcus - who works as a housekeeper & carer. Both deeply kind women who display such incredible patience and resilience. It truly blows my mind!
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
It is THE most important thing for us to do as women and it means everything.
What is the most important message you want to send today and everyday?
Believe in yourself, however humble seeming your endeavours. Know kindness is greatness. Treat yourself nice. Trust the process of life and know that a smile can change not only your day but someone else’s day too.