The Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars experience. Wow. I have returned home from Sydney with a smile – my life has been enriched. The three days I spent in Sydney were wonderful. I met some beautiful, talented and driven women, including Layne Beachley of course, and feel valued and know that the Foundation and its supporters believe in me and the other grant recipients. We were all made to feel so special, and I will treasure those memories. (Note – some of these pictures are from the other grant recipients. They were better than mine.)
After surfing on Thursday (see news article), we went to Government House, and on Friday we had life and media coaching with Seed Coaching and Life’s A Gym. I created a vision board (featuring visions of tidy bedrooms!!) and prepared my elevator pitch. The coaches were great – really applying their content to the wide age range, and drawing on Layne’s experiences.
That afternoon we were treated to hair and makeup. I haven’t had my hair done like that since my year 12 formal, and feel uneasy around hairdressers, so this was a real treat! My hair was so straight and full of body – I felt like Princess Diana! Thanks dry shampoo!!
I raced across a busy Sydney street in peak hour in my pyjamas with my hair feeling very crunchy, excited to get dressed in my ball dress I bought in New York.
Camille made my beautiful capelet. I adore it! So warm and chic. It is made from cashmere, has a floral lining and diamante trim and pearl buttons. My very expensive handbag struggled to hold my tiny vaseline, and my super high shoes were easier to walk in outside of the hotel room! (Dress from Macys, capelet by CurlyPops, ring from Swarovski, headband from Mimco, clutch from Witchery, shoes from Forever New, bangle from Envy Jewellery (though has passed for Cartier and Tiffany!), necklace from Tiffany and excitement by Carly.)
We were taken in two groups to The Ivy in a limosuine. Fancy!
Such gorgeous girls! Just perfect.
And when we arrived at The Ivy, Carol Gibbons, the official photographer was waiting, and followed us as we walked through Angel Place. It was like we were celebrities! One group of diners clapped and cheered us!
We were greeted with drinks – I was teased (playfully) about my age by the young ones – and the canapes were fabulous (beetroot and caviar tarts topped with feta!). Here is my dessert – strawberries in jelly with marscapone and meringue.
I danced with sailor Jessica Watson (lovely) and bronze medalist in water polo (or “throwing balls in the water” as I termed it) Jane Moran, who is also an Aim for the Stars recipient. She is such a scream!
The night featured an auction, dinner, and us grant recipients being showcased on stage as we were presented with a trophy. The moment on stage with Layne was lovely. She and I chatted about her husband (more of that to come soon) and my dress and heels. I told her that despite the appearance activism stuff, I am a little vain and love dressing up!
Our trophies are just beautiful.
After the formalities we danced the night away, concluding with all the recipients on stage dancing with the band and Layne.
The experience was amazing. Layne is so talented, smart and encouraging, and generous with her funds and time. She is funny too – made us laugh a lot. I love that she is proud of her achievements and happy to state them in conversation. She has belief in all of us and encouraged us to continue to seek our goals and ask for help when we need to.
I am so grateful to Layne for this opportunity. It has helped me get to London to speak, develop a set of achievable goals and think about my career outside of my day job. Most importantly the opportunity has enabled me to meet a group of inspirational young women who I have forged some strong friendships with. They have all risen above adversity and worked so hard to achieve their goals, and many of their stories left me in tears. Read about them here. Such strength. Many are sportswomen but there are also women specialising in academia, marine biology, community work and law.
One woman who deserves special recognition is Megan, the staff member at Aim for the Stars. She has been amazing to work with this year – always encouraging and lovely in her emails and phone calls, and it was fantastic to meet her in person. She has amazing style and a beautiful smile, and has proved that she is indeed Super Woman – coordinating all the grant recipients, the ball and the Aim for the Stars program. Thanks Megan, you’re the best!
Sharing our experiences in Sydney reminded me of the important things in life – love, friendship, hard work, courage and belief in ourselves and others. Well done, Layne, Megan and the Aim for the Stars girls – I am proud to know you. Thank you!
For more information visit www.aimforthestars.com.au
(I have a couple more posts about the AFTS events, featuring some of the wonderful people I met, so stay tuned.)