Tag Archives: Northern Territory

Women of the World Festival Katherine

Women of the World ProgramWOW. That is one word to describe the Women of the World (WOW) Festival held in Katherine, in the Northern Territory, this weekend. The brain child of Jude Kelly, the Festival took place over three days bringing together a large number of urban, rural and remote women (and a few men as well) to share stories and extend their networks.

Our particular interest in the Festival, aside from the obvious awesomeness, was a panel aptly named Looking the Part, exploring the topic of women and the ever present pressures to look a certain way. On the panel was Skin Deep team member Jess Cullen, local youth leader Jane Alia and Natalie A’apa’a (Blue King Brown), three young women from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and chaired by Domino Pateman from the UK’s Southbank Centre.

The panel covered a range of themes important to this broad issue, including:

  • Skin Deep’s own conversations with over 250 young Territorians in 2010, where 60% indicated body image was a big issue in the Northern Territory;
  • the impact of external factors – commercialisation, fashion, media, advertising…and the impact of conversations with our family, friends and ourselves;
  • finding a balance and having a holistic view of health (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical); and
  • cultural differences between the way we view our bodies, and other people’s.

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Me Time (Rachael Bettiens)

We all know how crazy our lives get sometimes. We’ve all got so many commitments – Work; volunteer work and projects; hobbies; trying to keep active and healthy; friends, family and partners vying for attention. All this while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life and just some space to exist quietly.

‘Me Time’ often gets forgotten in the mix. Now, Me Time is different for everyone, thus the “Me” part! Me Time can be relaxing at home, going for a long walk, allowing yourself a small indulgence or whatever it is that makes your heart sing.

Knowing what your version of Me Time is doesn’t always mean you make time for it though!

After neglecting my own self-care strategies for a while I knew that for me to maintain my own sanity I was going to need a little bit more than a daily splice of Me Time, but an actual escape. An escape from work, never-ending home renovations, the impending madness of Territory Day in Darwin and everything else.

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Fashion parades the true beauty of young people

This week Skin Deep team members Jess, Lauren and Rachael attended the National Youth Week Youth Fashion Parade, put on by Down Syndrome Association NT in partnership with MyNT.  Here’s our reflections on a wonderful event!

Renee preps for the event

Getting styled for the show


Strangely enough, I’ve found that sometimes watching people who are essentially strangers do their thing and be themselves has a butterfly effect impact on you and all of a sudden you find yourself beaming and becoming emotional at the idea of being able to show the world who you are and ROCK IT. This is exactly how I felt watching the MyNT and Downs Syndrome Association NT Youth Fashion Show last night.

The feeling started from the moment we arrived backstage. It was a flurry of excitement; make-up being applied, hairstyles being created and hairspray and glitter aplenty. There was a buzz in the air of excitement and nerves, and lots of fun and laughs as well. There was no pressure though – everyone in the room knew the only thing they had to do was be themselves! And the crowd LOVED it.

How many times in our lives do we have the opportunity to put on the brightest make-up, style up the most outrageously fabulous hair, wear our favourite clothes and strut our stuff in front of a room full of people who just want to see us be happy? Not enough, I say.

I want to see this event and ones like it happen regularly, across the Territory, giving all of us a chance to express ourselves unashamedly and do exactly what the National Youth Week 2013 slogan tells us: Be Active, Be Happy, Be You.


Imagine this. You’re back stage at the Entertainment Centre. Nervous energy flies around as young people shyly tell you about the outfits they will be wearing; ones they have spent weeks making. Glitter goes into the hair, racks of clothes sweep around…

Half an hour later those young people talking shyly to you not even an hour ago strut their stuff on the stage, dancing, cheering, twirling; their personalities shining in front of a packed room.

That is exactly what happened at Thursday night’s National Youth Week event, the Youth Fashion Show. Run by Down Syndrome Association NT and Multicultural NT, we were stoked to attend and help usher people in to what was an absolutely lovely event. Self expression was key, and shown through an array of beautiful handmade outfits and the performance of young people on the stage. One of the organisers told us that if we wanted to see self esteem, wait until we saw those young people on stage…and she was so right!

The event certainly captured the essence of what Skin Deep is about. Young people creating their own ideals; expressing themselves in the way that they want, and being given an opportunity to do that.

Mid show

Mid show



National Youth Week’s motto of “Be Active, Be Happy, Be You” was perfectly represented by the Down Syndrome Association NT and Multicultural Youth NT Fashion Parade held at the Darwin Entertainment Centre as a part of Launch on Thursday.

Being Active – For me is about taking part in your local community. The fashion parade allowed all of the participants the opportunity to interact with the audience, including in the weeks leading up to the event in which they were able to make some of their events through Sew What. The audience responded with cheers, rounds of applause and perhaps a few tears!

Be Happy – Well, I don’t think there was anyone at the event that wasn’t happy! There was a nervous and positive energy backstage as everybody got ready, but when the fashion parade kicked off all I could see as an audience member was pure joy and pride on the faces of the models as they strutted their stuff!

Be You – Everyone that participated in the event had the opportunity to show the crowd who they were. The show was less about the fashion and more about showcasing the personalities, confidence and passion of the people involved.

To all those brave enough to take the stage, bravo! To all involved in making it happen, bravo! And for all those that attended to support such wonderful event, bravo!

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Don’t be an unintentional worst enemy (Lauren Moss)

Lauren Moss is the Coordinator and Co-Founder of the Skin Deep Project.

Lauren Moss, Skin Deep Project team leader and co-founder

Lauren Moss (Coordinator & Co-founder)

It’s true. While it’s hard for us to come to terms with, sometimes we can be each other’s worst enemies (and our own). This week Jess, Rachael and I attended the local production Brave: be your own kind of beautiful which centres on themes of bullying and includes judgement made on exterior qualities.The production, involving a huge group of young people from a local high school, was incredibly moving and you could tell as the lights came up that there were few who surfaced with dry eyes. For me, it was the sheer honesty of each scene; the portrayal of scenario after scenario that young people are regularly involved in, know about, talk about. Was the power in acknowledging the awfulness that many young people are subject to on a daily basis?

It’s not unusual to hear groups of young women, friends, who casually refer to each other as ‘sluts’ and ‘bitches’, and then, just as casually, say it behind backs with a more malicious intent. It’s not unusual to see those who won’t speak up for others for fear that they will no longer belong themselves. And something that has come up in conversation a few times for us in the Skin Deep Project recently, it’s not unusual to find yourself in a ‘hate yourself’ conversation. You know the ones…everyone picks a body part they dislike about themselves, or finds something to beat up on themselves about, and suddenly it’s around to you and you don’t want to look like the one that loves themselves. Because geez, who would want that?

The message of the production underpins what we are about. Be part of the solution. It’s not that hard, and by the same token the hardest thing in the world – be yourself. Find all of those weird, wonderful things you love and that interest you, and develop them. Give your time to the things that make you feel most passionate, that drive you and that put a fire in your belly. It’s not about melting away the fat, or changing who you are, but it will begin to melt away your worries.

Change your focus.

Check out the ABC News: Brave coverage for more on this great production.

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