If I were to write an autobiography, I would name it Cat Hair and Chalk. These are the things that show who I am. Cat hair because of the literal love I have for my cats, but also it indicates the love and loyalty for those I hold dear. Chalk for my training/sport and work ethic. I work extremely hard and love my jobs as a massage therapist and trainer - helping people is the most rewarding thing someone can do, but for those I love I would level mountains and drain oceans.
I started judo when I was 6 years old (because my older brothers did it and I wanted to be near them) and Olympic weightlifting when I was 14 (again because my brother did it!). Sport was our “hobby” so we poured effort into it and I was rewarded with national titles, which lead on to national representation on an international level over the years.
I have only competed in Strongman for just over a year now. Competitions generally involve a series of 5 events, each of which involve lifting an object either as heavy as possible or as many times/as far as possible in a set amount of time. I think at the moment I might have the national 18 inch deadlift record (241kg), but am still a baby in the sport, so we shall see what the future brings! I currently train 2-4 hours a day 6 days a week.
One of my greatest challenges is the stigma around being a female who lifts weights. All the ignorant assumptions from sexuality to steroids all because I choose to lift heavy things! The only way to deal with this is to be honest to who I am, and impart my knowledge about the benefits of strength training to anyone interested and lead by my own example. If you have a question, ask! You’ll get honesty.
If I had one piece of advice it would be don’t be so quick to judge! This is a generalisation, but one that is relatively accurate. Women have a habit of dragging other women down rather than appreciating their strengths and promoting them. Make positive statements about everything without a “but” eg. “she is beautiful, but had cosmetic work” “she is successful, but it came easily for her” “she is looking great, but has a naturally fast metabolism “ - these are very broad examples given, but we are all guilty of making allowances for our own perceived shortcomings. Be aware of this trait and try to focus on bringing yourself up rather than others down.
The most important things for me are always my relationship with my loved ones and building my work. In a sporting sense, I would like to compete at 2 world championships this year; strongman and kettlebells. That would be a big accomplishment. To place reasonably highly in either would be a dream.
I am proud of many things! I am proud of the people my parents produced. I am proud of being the sort of person who attracts the sort of people who are around me. My circle of influence consists of the strongest, kindest, most caring, passionate, and thoughtful individuals I have ever known, and they choose to be around me! What a gift is that?! And I am proud that despite setbacks (and there have been many) and judgement and pain, I have stayed unquestionably true to me and my beliefs. I. Am. Me.
This project was assisted by Bellendena Small Grants and City Of Hobart
Photos By Oliver Berlin