Women on the Road - Breaking the Barriers | Mildura Intimate Portraiture
Mary Crump hasn’t always been an interstate truck driver, but she does wish she had gotten behind the wheel a lot earlier.
The 51-year-old from Red Cliffs drives two up with her partner Michael Wisneske picking up freight. It often takes her from Adelaide to Melbourne but sometimes she ventures to places like Griffith.
“I have been driving the truck for the last two and a half years,” Mary said.
“I was travelling for a year with my partner before I got my HC (Heavy Combination) license.”
Mary worked in aged care and disability for around 12 years before becoming a driver and began to be disheartened by seeing the people she cared for pass away.
Hurting her back was the push Mary needed to decide to leave those industries and spend more time with her partner on the road.
“My partner and I love the fact we can spend our time together and we have an awesome relationship, which makes it easier,” Mary said.
“I love meeting lots of different people and seeing some of our beautiful country.”
Mary and Michael have just purchased a brand new truck, a Scania R540, something that she thought they would never be able to do.
But with the highs come the lows, and Mary said she has encountered some rude male drivers along the way.
“On the whole most people have been very helpful and supportive,” she said.
“Also, because I'm only 5 foot 1 inch, it can be a challenge getting up and down the trailers but I'm lucky that hubby usually saves me the job.”
Although tough sometimes, Mary said she would definitely recommend truck driving to other females because it’s a good job and very rewarding.
As for what females could bring to the job that males might not; Mary said it was patience.
“I do believe women who drive trucks are more careful and wary on the road,” she added.
“It sounds weird but I've met a few other female drivers and they are so mindful of their surroundings and don't take the chances that some male drivers do.”
Mary hopes she will be able to keep trucking for another five years, before the two of them park it up and enjoy the rest of their lives together travelling.
“That's the only downside to the job,” she said.
“We don't seem to do much other than work but it works for us as we only have our fur baby and she comes with us every trip".
“If any other women out there think they want to give it a go, I say go for it!"
“It's actually a job that I wish I had gotten into sooner."
Women Can Do Anything - Outdoor Vibes | Mildura Boudoir Photography
GARDNER and landscaper, Neisha Nilsen loves getting her hands dirty.
From Renmark, the 25-year-old has been in the field since high school, although it now plays second fiddle to her main job - a barmaid.
When it comes to gardening and landscaping, Neisha does it all; mowing and whipper snipper-ing, laying turf and planting plants, pulling weeds and wheel barrowing dirt and gravel.
“I enjoy working in an environment females wouldn't ‘normally’ work in to show that we can do it,” Neisha said.
“The best thing about this job is feeling like I can accomplish just about anything, even in a male dominated environment.”
Neisha said sometimes, being female, she finds the opposite sex don’t value her opinion, but she has proven to a lot of people that she is capable.
“In saying that, I have developed a great sense of humour and have become ‘one of the boys’,” she added.
And when it comes to getting the job done, Neisha said females can often go that extra bit.
“I believe we females want to get a job done perfectly and have a tidy end result,” she said.
“We have an eye for detail.”
Asked if she would recommend gardening and landscaping to fellow females, Neisha didn’t have to think twice.
“Yes,” she said. “It's a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and show everyone that females can do it!”
Makayla Harrison is determined and driven and it’s because of this she is now doing what she
loves every day.
The 26-year-old is an A Grade industrial electrician, working in the water industry.
She’s been in the field for nearly eight years having completed a four year apprenticeship, spending a year on the tools and then transitioning into her current role as an electrical technical officer.
“Through my apprenticeship, I worked on motors, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Variable Speed Drives (VSD), electrical equipment at water treatment plants and electrical equipment at wastewater treatment plants,” Makayla said.
“Currently I am an office based employee undertaking project management, electrical drafting, overseeing projects completed by local electrical contractors, designing switchboards and equipment and taking lead of projects from scoping to finalisation.”
Makayla grew up on a 40,000 acre sheep station in NSW. She moved to Mildura to go to school.
“Every chance I got I was back home at the farm helping Dad,” she said, “I just loved every bit of it.
“I knew I wanted to be hands on; I just couldn’t see myself in a shop or behind a desk.
“So that’s where it began - my passion was already behind me so from Year Nine in school, all I wanted to do was get into the workforce.
“School wasn't my strong point and I really didn't love it at all.”
Makayla did work experience every chance she got, including on Wednesdays and school holidays. She also did a Certificate Two in Electro-Technology while in high school.
It helped Makayla establish what she wanted to do in life and, after trying cabinet making, graphic design and hospitality she struck gold in the electrical field.
“My very first day was 41 degrees, pulling cables through trenches,” Makayla recalled.
“I was sick that day and everyone said to me this is the worst part of it and I was like if that’s the worst part, this is what I want to do!"
“I was so excited and absolutely loved every bit of it!”
Makayla spent every spare minute from then on working for different electricians, gaining valuable experience and knowledge.
“I did work with anyone I could, and every three to four months, I rang every electrician in the phone book to ask if they had anything".
“I dropped my resume in at every opportunity I could. It got to the point they all knew who I was when I rang!”
Finishing Year 12 Makayla’s perseverance finally paid off and she was offered two apprenticeships. She was ecstatic.
“I had people try and talk me out of a male dominated career but I am so thankful that I stuck to my heart and did it,” Makayla said.
“Designing a switchboard and seeing it built and on site working/pumping is an amazing achievement".
“It was such an amazing day when I became an A Grade electrician!"
“Through up and downs in my own life that extended my apprenticeship, it was a huge relief just that I followed my dreams and I did it!”
Makayla said she would absolutely recommend a career as an electrician to other females.
She was delighted to see her workplace employ another female electrician once she completed her apprenticeship.
“When I first started my apprenticeship it was so unheard of for a girl to be in a trade, but now there is more and more and I think it is just the best thing,” she said.
“Girls can do anything".
“We can all do anything we put our minds to".
“Don’t let people get you down or push you down; they will try and make it seem like you can’t do it - but if that’s what you want to do then you most definitely can!”
Meet the Boudie Babes - Serena Philp | Mildura Boudoir Photography
Serena Philp is one of the newer faces to the ambassador team of Pure Beauty, but she’s right at home helping to build up and empower women.
The mum of two beautiful boys not only brings plenty of encouragement and support to the group, but also her expertise as a qualified beautician.
After becoming single last year, Serena said she feels more beautiful, powerful, sexy and stronger than ever.
Serena shares with Pure Beauty what it means to be an ambassador and how much she appreciates the opportunity.
Serena: I absolutely love being a part of the ambassadors. I've always loved to help build women up and empower them.
I get to watch ladies go from having insecurities about themselves to loving their bodies!
I love all the girls in the ambassador group and Lauren too. We have become like a sisterhood, a family, we have each other's back and I'm so grateful for their friendships.
Pure Beauty: Applying for an ambassador position, was it an easy decision for you?
Serena: So when the first ambassador applications opened up I didn't apply, I felt like I wasn't good enough to apply and there were so many others that deserved the spot.
This time around I jumped at it!
I put my application in and I was so excited but still had a bit of disbelief that I would actually get it, knowing so many other amazing ladies had applied too.
Pure Beauty: As an ambassador, what are you wanting to achieve?
Serena: I want to help clients get the confidence they are craving. They see us looking beautiful and stronger in our lives and the transformations we are all going through and I want to help guide them through that. I want to encourage them to learn to love parts of their body they aren’t in love with and encourage them to try new things. To be able to achieve this is so much fun!
As ambassadors we get such a high seeing them smile and watching them fall in love with their bodies.
It's an amazing feeling when we can see that we helped in some little way to get them to that part - whether it's by doing their makeup or boosting them before their shoots or chatting to them about lingerie choices.
Pure Beauty: What’s been your greatest memory so far with Pure Beauty?
Serena: There's so many moments that will stick with me forever; laughs with the girls, having our catch ups and our sleepover weekend was incredible.
Also making new friendships and just watching the clients blossom into a whole new person after their shoots.
Pure Beauty: So for someone having their first experience, what can they expect?
Serena: You feel a little nervous at the beginning, you might be a little unsure about walking around in your undies but within a few minutes, half an hour maybe, you'll be fine!
You'll be smiling and laughing, you'll absolutely love being pampered and getting your hair and makeup done!
And when you see a photo of yourself after Lauren’s taken an image, you will be so surprised that that is you!
You will feel on top of the world after your shoot and then you go back for the reveal and you see yourself in a whole new light.
Pure Beauty: To those considering a boudoir experience, what’s your message to them?
Serena: My favorite thing to say is: Just go do it! You won't regret it.
This is for you - whether your’re a busy mum or a full time career woman. You deserve a shoot, you deserve to be pampered and have a whole day that's about giving you confidence and changing the way you feel about your body and yourself.
You will have the most amazing time, trust me!
Pure Beauty: You inspire other women, but who do you look up to?
Serena: There are too many influential women in my life to name; my family and friends have each given me something that has helped shape who I am and who I am as mum.
I look up to so many ladies in my little village of friends and I love each and every one of them, they all give me hope and strength and keep me going.
On a bigger scale, I love Constance Hall and Tiffany Jenkins; both for different reasons.
Con I absolutely love. She's real, she loves her body and her kids are just like mine. They’re crazy and loud but she loves them to bits. She doesn't hold back and there's no filter on her life. Plus her clothes are fab!
Pure Beauty: Do you have some parting words for our readers?
Serena: My one wish for you, is to see yourself the way your best friend sees you.
That you are perfect as you are; you are an amazing hard worker or mum, or incredible friend, lover, sister or wife.
Enjoy your life. Be happy. Do things that YOU want to do. If you want bright pink hair then do it, if you want to wear your favourite dresses every day then do it!
Life is too short to worry about what other people think, all that matters is what you think.
Meet the Boudie Babes - Karen Cook | Mildura Boudoir Photography
I REMEMBER becoming aware of who Karen Cook was for the first time.
She was the bright and bubbly sales assistant at TTN Baby Warehouse - that’s about all I knew, but she knew lots about me. My name, my husband’s name, the name of my firstborn and the daunting experience we went through when he was born prematurely.
Returning to the store in preparation for the arrival of my second child, I was impressed by her customer service and memory, and that appreciation and gratitude has continued to grow as I realised that was just the “norm” for Karen - she cares about each and every one and takes the time to get to know them.
Karen is a ball of energy and optimism and so when it comes to being an Ambassador for Pure Beauty, Karen is an absolute natural.
This year was meant to be one of discovery for Karen, but as she explains below, it hasn’t turned out as expected.
Karen: I am a 42 year old Single Mum of two amazing kiddos - a 12 year old and an almost 9 year old.
I have recently separated from a 15 plus year relationship (married for four of those years), so 2020 was supposed to be my year of self discovery and figuring out who I am as me - not wife, not partner, not Mum for half of the time but truly me!
Roll in Covid-19 and 2020 had other ideas about a life of self discovery.
Having to isolate and stay home has meant I, along with the other ambassadors and our fearless leader Lauren, have been able to make the most of the situation. We have aimed to bring light to other females and share stories of empowerment from our own shoots.
It has also solidified friendships formed within the group - so although a different path than expected, but discovery is still taking place.
I am still working at least four days a week at TTN Baby Warehouse which I have done for almost 13 years now and I still love it every single day.
I have an amazing support network of family and friends whom I love with every beat of my heart, so my days are still very full.
Pure Beauty: When I think of what being an ambassador encompasses, you seem to tick every box. But what does it mean to you?
Karen: It means the world to me to be a Brand Ambassador for Pure Beauty.
I am a very passionate person and I love to spread the love for things that I am passionate about.
Pure Beauty combines two of my passions perfectly; my love of photography and empowering women to see themselves in a whole new way and, I guess through someone else’s eyes.
I truly believe that there is nothing more beautiful and sexy than a woman who believes in herself and in her body, and has the confidence to portray this to those around her.
It’s such an amazing quality to possess, and this is at the heart of Lauren's Pure Beauty brand.
Her values align so perfectly with mine and her talent for capturing that beauty in every woman that walks into her studio is second to none.
Pure Beauty: Was it an easy decision for you applying to become an ambassador?
Karen: When I read that applications had opened for new Brand Ambassadors, I knew I would love to apply but I needed a push from some of the existing ambassadors to let myself do it.
I applied while considering ending my marriage and my 15 year relationship and I needed to be sure that I could be everything Lauren needed me to be - as I don’t give my heart to something if I cannot give it my time equally.
But I was given the nudge I needed, applied and was over the moon to learn that Lauren and the girls had chosen me to join their already amazing team.
I don’t think I was overly nervous, just more excited to be a part of something so incredible!
Being a part of Lauren's team is truly a blessing and one I cherish.
Pure Beauty: What do you aim to achieve being an ambassador?
Karen: I want to encourage every woman around me to believe in herself 100 percent. To be empowered enough to know that having a shoot is something she deserves, that she is incredible in the exact skin she is in and that she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is!!
How can you top that? Helping women to see themselves through your eyes? You can’t!
It’s the best feeling in the world to hear someone who has just had a Pure Beauty shoot, realise just how incredible she is, how beautiful she is, how powerful she is, how ENOUGH she is, just as she is.
There is no better feeling than to help women realize their truth and their worthiness - Just As They Are.
Pure Beauty: What about your first boudoir experience with Lauren, how did that change you?
Karen: Having my own shoot with Lauren was something I will never forget.
Seeing myself through Lauren's eyes, and Lauren's lens, has been life changing for me.
Everyone has parts of themselves they wish were bigger or smaller or different than what they actually are, but since my shoot I embrace every inch of my body, and my shoot has transformed my mind to see myself in a whole new way.
I am proud of the body that carries me through life.
My body has grown and given birth to two amazing, gorgeous kids.
It has loved, it has hurt, it has pushed itself past barriers and challenged itself to do better, to be better.
But since my shoot, there is a contentment that I have for myself that wasn’t there before.
I am happy in the skin I am in, and I am proud of this body that, so far, has carried me through 42 years of life.
I love nothing more than sitting down with my signature box and looking through my prints, or pulling on my white gloves and flipping through my 35 page album, and being reminded whenever I need to be, that I am amazing, beautiful and perfect just the way I am.
Pure Beauty: So it’s something every female needs to do?
Karen: Having a session with Lauren is the most worthwhile thing you can do for yourself, as the appreciation and confidence you have for yourself carries through to every other aspect of your life.
You won’t fully understand how life changing it is until you take the leap and do it yourself, but I will make one promise, and that is that it will be an experience you will never ever forget and you will never regret!
Pure Beauty: Pure Beauty is all about female empowerment, but who inspires you?
Karen: I have lots of influential women in my life and they influence me in different ways.
They might be an amazing mum to their children, an amazing partner to their one and only or an amazing business women.
There is no-one in particular that stands out as “the one”, but Lauren is most definitely up there as all of the things I admire in the amazing women in my life.
She has created a business that’s sole purpose is to lift women up and to give them an experience that will change their lives, while at the same time giving them memories and reminders to keep forever of just how amazing they are.
She is also an incredible woman - an amazing mum to three beautiful babes, a sensational wife and a gorgeous friend.
She’s the complete package of the kind of woman I look up to and let influence me in my life.
We are so lucky to have Lauren and her talents in Sunraysia.
Pure Beauty: So for those contemplating having a boudoir experience with Lauren, what thoughts do you leave them with?
Karen: Don’t sit on the fence doubting whether you can do it ladies. I promise you that you CAN and you WILL do it; crush it, rock it, smash it right out of the ball-park. You will fall in love with yourself in a way you never ever thought possible, but it’s the kind of love that will be all you ever need!!
I’m a big believer in loving yourself first and learning to then share that love.
Don’t ever rely on someone else for that kind of love … love yourself first!
Here you will find my featured babes, #wearepurebeauty , as well as some tips for your boudoir shoot- from lingerie shopping to hair and makeup
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Mildura resident and Photographer, Lauren Southwell launched Pure Beauty in late June, 2018 & is committed to helping woman feel beautiful, sexy and empowered through the art of Boudoir Photography.