Tag Archives: youth

Role models & world changers.

Words: Lauren Moss

The fabulous, talented, passionate and powerful Heywire crew, 'All Women'.

The fabulous, talented, passionate and powerful Heywire crew, ‘All Women’.

From Sunday the 9th February to the 14th February, I was incredibly lucky to join the winners of the ABC’s incredible program Heywire. I attended in the capacity of a mentor, representing headspace, a national organisation that I love, and for who I am a Youth Advisor. Heywire brings together approximately 40 young people from regional, rural and remote Australia every year to share their stories, and to work together on solutions that can be adopted by communities across Australia. Yep, it is an INSANELY huge opportunity for any young person wanting to make a change!

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Who is Mr. Right? (2.0)

We love sharing with you the best body image pieces the interwebs have to offer. We have great pleasure in presenting this fantastic piece by Allan, originally posted on ajbisherenow.tumblr.com

We’ve touched on the impact of body image pressures for males before, and this piece is insightful, thought-provoking and eye-opening.

It’s long, but worth a read, so grab a comfy seat and get ready to have your mind blown!

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Dance (like everyone is watching)!

Skin Deep is lucky to have connected with many youth leaders over the past 4 years. Isobel Cammarano is no exception. At just 16, she blew us away with her community project for Youth Round Table in 2012, which culminated in the formation of a dance workshop program called Dance 21. Dance 21, with Isobel at the helm, runs dance workshops for young people with disability, including ballet, yoga and Zumba. Her story was featured in Dolly magazine – a very well deserved recognition of her hard work and dedication! Now 17, Isobel continues to run these dance workshops (whilst attending school!) and is a shining example of a young Territorian doing amazing things.

Isobel Cammarano

Isobel Cammarano

Over to you, Isobel!

I think body image issues seem a lot more important when you have a disability.  Everything in life becomes a big deal, even the things that most people would take for granted. For example, one night at ballet I pointed to the back without loosing my balance for the first time in my 11 years of dancing and it was such a big deal for me, I was so excited! A big achievement! But anyone else who does ballet even just once can do that.  The same thing goes with body image.  Some of the people with Down syndrome I work with look different because of their disability.  They notice this and compare themselves to everyone else because all they want is to be “normal”. They don’t see that they are perfect just the way they are.

I would like the community to realise that a disability doesn’t define someone. Most people don’t notice my disability because it is mild and it’s my goal to make sure that people don’t notice. But as soon as I tell someone about it, everything they thought of me changes. It’s like cerebral palsy has changed who I am. That I now have to be spoken to like a child or told publicly to slow down.  This is not the case for people with Down syndrome. They don’t have the choice to hide their disability, everyone notices. Their personalities don’t change because they have a disability – yes you have to walk at their speed but they are beautiful people and I think that society needs to learn to look past a disability and see who is behind it.

Dance 21 workshops for young people with a disability.

Dance 21 workshops for young people with a disability.

Dance helps my body image because when I’m dancing I disconnect from the rest of the world, nothing else matters.  I forget about everything else going on and it’s just me in my own little world.  I couldn’t care less what other people thought about how I looked.  I think everyone should find something that makes them so happy that they can disconnect because it gives you time to just be with yourself and not worry about what society thinks.

I hope that my dance students realise that they can do anything that they set their mind to, despite their disability and that they can find that place to disconnect from the world and not care what anyone else thinks.

Dance 21

Dance 21

Dance 21 workshops are run in collaboration and with the support of Down Syndrome Association of the Northern Territory (DSANT). Workshops are held during school holidays. More information can be found on the DSANT Facebook page.

December 3 is International Day of People with a Disability. Sanctioned by the United Nations, it is a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with a disability whilst increasing awareness and understanding of disability.

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The Positive Body Image Awards (Lauren Moss)

Friday the 9th of August marked an important day in the world of body image, and I was lucky enough to be involved: it was the day of the second Positive Body Image Awards.

In 2009 a working group was established to create and implement initiatives to support more positive body image in young Australians. Part of the final product is the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct , outlining principles that the fashion, advertising, media, health and wellbeing industries should follow in order to be more body image friendly.

Panelists and Peter Garrett

The panelists with Peter Garrett

The Positive Body Image Awards recognise the hard work by organisations across these industries to align their practices, initiatives and products to the Code of Conduct. For the second year I was part of the panel, devouring the important work that is taken on by businesses in industries where they could quite easily turn a blind eye. Where plenty of others are not, these organisations differentiate themselves by clearly identifying that it is important to declare where images have been altered, it is important to reflect diversity and it is important to be socially responsible.  How beautifully refreshing!

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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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Brunchfest! Young Territorians leading the pack

Lauren Moss is the team leader of the Skin Deep Project, who organised this year’s National Youth Week event Brunchfest!

National Youth Week banner

Saturday the 6th April marked the spot of the Skin Deep National Youth Week event, Brunchfest!

In partnership with MyNT and headspace Top End, and funded by the Northern Territory Government and Beyond Blue, the successful event was held for the 2nd year in a row. The idea is simple: bring young Territorians together to network and to gain tips and inspiration from other leaders in our community. It’s about developing our own skills, our own passions; using our individuality together, as young people, to make a real difference

The event was absolutely fantastic, featuring a Welcome to Country by the lovely Cyan Earnshaw, raps and rhymes from the MC and SDP member Matt (MC Heffa) and spoken tips from vibrant young people Jacara Egan (headspace Top End/Australian Youth Forum), Lang Williamson (UNYA NT) and Laura Rowe (Skin Deep). Many more tips were provided and shared amongst the 40 odd participants! Some were gratefully received from a range of movers and shakers including Caiti Baker (Sietta – being a performer), Lia Finocchiaro (young people in politics), Bronwyn Clee (mentorship), Kishan Kariippanon (digital engagement) and other incredibly inspiring leaders both locally and nationally.

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We were entertained by 20 year old Peter Rautoka and Jordi (6 Strings and a Voice), who are OUT OF THIS WORLD, ate some yummy food and engaged with each other through networking activities and of course, Twitter. It’s a well known fact that Skin Deep members are obsessed. The NT News popped in to do some media (see the Sunday Territorian!) and then we launched into the panel. SO AMAZING! Panel members Isobel Cammarano, Jessica Cullen, Barry Jonsberg and Paul Henderson shared about  their leadership experiences and lessons, mentors and self care. Mentors (formal and informal) and who you surround yourself with were recurring themes. It was also lovely to hear Jess and Isobel talk extensively about activities that help them to take some time out.

To cap off, our wonderful panel chair AJ Kulatunga announced an event coming up in October – the Young Entrepreneurz program. Fab!

If you want to read up on some of the action, check out the Brunchfest hashtag on Twitter 🙂

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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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