Am I a Slut?

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Online I am known as the girl who went viral because of a video titled ‘What’s in my Stripper Bag?’ I made the video in a flat twenty minutes, without thinking about the consequences. The consequences were many.

 

Derogatory comments flooded my social media, from people who decided that, based on my former job I was someone who should be on the receiving ends of hundred upon hundreds of comments based on all sorts of assumptions about my sex life, assumed level of intelligence, and perceived value in society. There were also many rape threats, death threats, and even some hate mail sent to me on other social platforms.

 

It was interesting. For some time it made me feel irritated that people still felt that it was okay to discuss female sexuality, and or those who work in the adult industry in this manner, on a public forum, using their real names. Some even leaving their own job descriptions in an effort to feel more ‘virtuous’ than me.

 

It was also interesting because my whole life, among my family and friendship groups, I had been known as the ‘studious, serious, girl’ – and yet here were hundreds of strangers telling me that, ‘it’s about time you focus on something other than your looks’,  to ‘get a life’ and here’s one hilarious kicker, ‘stop promoting sex trafficking.’

 

Buuutttt…I got over it. Because you can’t shame a woman who simply is not ashamed, of herself, her choices, and her body.

 

Also – I’ve started to realise that if something as harmless as a makeup tutorial had gone viral I would have STILL  gotten the same hateful comments, because everyday I see fashion and beauty bloggers receiving this same level of hate despite never having talked about anything more offensive than their lipstick collection online.

 

To hear the rest of this story, click the video below:

 

 

Why are we so damn ashamed of STI’s?

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I’ve been ‘sexually active’ for nearly a decade. In that time I’ve been fortunate enough to have never contracted an STI. However, I have many friends who have – from HPV strains, to chlamydia and gonorrhea. Almost every time a friend comes to me to tell me that they have caught something from a partner the conversation inevitably turns to shame.

For many women, knowledge that a disease they have caught is linked to sexual activity leads to an inexorable feeling of humiliation or self-consciousness – a possible belief that this contraction is linked to their worth as a person, partner and woman who previously felt that she had a ‘clean’ bill of sexual health.

Each time a friend confides these feelings to me I tell her the same thing, ‘would you be ashamed of catching the flu? Of tonsillitis? No!’

 

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At the same time, I can’t understand their feeling of shame as I’ve never contracted one. My motive as a friend is to ensure that they feel the same way about an STI as they would any other illness, and try to ensure they stop equating what they’ve caught with their sense of self-worth.

STI’s – in particular HPV, Herpes, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are incredibly common – but they are still considered a taboo subject within society, and when entering into a relationship with a new partner. In a study of women living in Manchester, UK an estimated 40% of women between the ages of 20-24 were found to be carrying HPV. Unsurprisingly if, like me, you have ever comforted a friend through an STI scare, many of these women reported feelings of shame upon finding out that HPV was a sexually transmitted disease.

“Knowledge that HPV is sexually transmitted was associated with higher levels
of stigma and shame, but not anxiety. Women who knew that HPV is sexually transmitted but not that it is highly prevalent had the highest scores for stigma and shame.”

The same study suggested that ‘normalising’ HPV and informing the participants of the study in regard to how common HPV contractions are helped reduce feelings of shame and stigma within these women.

“The lower stigma and shame scores in the women who were aware of the high prevalence of HPV suggest that this information might have a ‘‘normalising’’ effect.”

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The study also noted that this effect was similar to those noted in experimental research which has suggested that participants felt that infections they perceived as ‘common’ were “less serious than those perceived to be rare”.

STI’s sometimes fall victim to schoolyard myths and urban legends – not to mention widespread mainstream media scare tactics designed to ‘stop’ teenagers having sex, in misguided attempts to prevent teenage pregnancy.

Personally I am of the opinion that STI screens should be introduced in schools. In Australia roughly 50% of people will have had sex by the age of 16 or 17,      It’s not unheard of to discuss sex in schools, with topics like consent, pregnancy, and STI’s covered –  high school is also the place we receive our HPV vaccines. However, the national curriculum falls short when it comes to discussing the ties between feelings of shame and lack of self-worth that can be linked to the sexual experiences, sexuality, and sexual orientation of individuals. An ‘unlearning’ where sex-based urban mythologies are concerned is a necessary introduction to help teenagers and young adults navigate not only a safe, but an emotionally intelligent and well-rounded sexual experience as they feel ready for it.

Shame and sexual health seem to go hand in hand, as yet another leftover from our days of Victorian moralising, and claims that our sexuality and sense of self-respect or societal value are interlinked. Where schools and mainstream media outlets aren’t stepping up, yourself and your peers can: To reduce feelings of shame surrounding STI’s within yourself and others, arm yourself with knowledge. Learn to self-educate with reputable sources, and to unlearn the myths of the past. 

How I Get My Articles Published Online

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Long before strip clubs and social media, I worked as a hustler of a different kind. At seventeen I was fresh out of high school and looking to make my mark on the writing world. I began by submitting articles to online publications that paid nothing. I wrote pieces on music, (hip-hop – and found out who Kendrick Lamar was) and got free tickets to DJ gigs and festivals to cover them, and sometimes even take photos of them for their websites.

A few months later I got my first paid gig and things started to look up. I supported myself on and off throughout my first years of university with freelance work.

The gig economy is a fickle one, but a necessary evil in today’s world of  casual contracts. Freelance can be a wonderful lesson in business and marketing, so I thought I’d put together a few points on how I got my freelance work back in the day.

  • Get your first few bylines – usually this means writing some free articles, but don’t do too much free work, it ruins it for everyone else.  However it does help to have one or two writing references on your resume. 
  • Start pitching articles to publications – I pitch around 5x articles to an editor in each round, knowing some will get rejected. You need a catchy title and a few sentences explaining your angle. Pitches should be short, to the point, and friendly. Don’t write in cliches, & know the style of the website you are pitching, so that you nail the kind of content they’re looking for. A health and fitness website isn’t interesting in financial articles and vice versa.
  • Most magazine or website articles sit at about 500-750 words and editors do NOT like when you go over this. This comes from print-magazines where the word-count had to be decided by what could fit in the physical layout. It’s a good rule to stick to, and it helps you keep your writing as succinct as possible.
  • Create a writing resume with examples of your work – Alternatively you could create a media kit, particularly if you create content that isn’t just writing. 
  • Having a blog is a good thing to include on your writing resume if it’s professional and well-written (read: Not like mine. Mine is the antithesis of employment opportunities, this is why I don’t use my real name online).
  • Send out short emails to media companies, blogs, and other companies you are interested in writing for,  include said resume and links to previous articles. Having a linktree or blog with a list of your articles all in one place is very handy. 
  • You can also find copywriting jobs online – often these are very bland. Writing about vacuum cleaners is mind-numbing, but they are more likely to hire you than Marie Claire. Also they pay quite well. My second highest paying freelance job was for a veterinary website. So boring. I read SO many Ceaser Milan blog posts for research. But it paid the bills and gave me lots of experience in a different style of writing. It was also consistent work. 
  • Some companies will pay a set rate, some will pay you according to your rates. I used to charge roughly 0.40c per word each article. I wouldn’t accept less than $100 per article as a new writer with a few bylines. Eventually you can negotiate your rates to be higher. I think the most I ever charged was $600 for a single article, with unedited photos for an event at a winery. It was great, I got to take a drunk ride on a horse and cart and eat ($$) cheese. 
  • Then, refer back to my videos on freelancer taxes. It’s titled as stripper taxes, but it’s all about freelance. They are both sole trader businesses. 

It takes consistent effort to keep up writing as a viable side hustle or main income.  Keep going, because you will get a lot of rejections – you will also get a lot of valuable feedback on your writing (not to mention actual constructive criticism that helps you grow as a writer).

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The Myth of the Seven Day Rule: What the Pope had to do with the Contraceptive Pill

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Earlier this week I read this article, which revealed that the withdrawal bleed at the end of the pill cycle may be completely unnecessary. The reason the withdrawal bleed was created was due to a gynecologist at the time trying to get the Pope to be more open to contraceptives.

“He [John Rock] thought he’d get the Pope on board with oral contraceptives if it could mimic a woman’s natural cycle, still making her bleed once a month. The Pope, being the Pope, did not approve and the man renounced Catholicism, but that’s another story.”

Upon reading this I rolled my eyes, thought ‘sounds about right’, took a screen-shot of the article and shared it to my Instagram story. The idea of doctors ignoring women’s health due to religious or political affiliations (not to mention personal bias!) is an idea I’ve come to terms with since my first experiences with the contraceptive pill. I’ve written about how horrific the pill made me feel before, and why I choose not to take it.

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Since turning eighteen, moving out of home and taking care of my own health I’ve been shuffled around to various GP’s, physio’s, and other doctors in an effort to manage the chronic pain I experience (which becomes debilitating as soon as my period hits every month). Each doctor has no idea why I’m in pain, even as I list each symptom, along with my family history, and ask for ultrasounds on my ovaries because I am sure the pain has something to do with my reproductive system. In her article for The Independent, Kate Leaver begs the question myself and so many of my peers are constantly asking:

“How can we possibly know so little about women’s bodies, with a medical research industry as sophisticated as ours?”

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The Health Gap: 

There’s a long history, and a lot of statistics that can back up claims of women being treated differently than men by GP’s, and in emergency room settings. From claims of pain being dismissed, to being less likely to receive opioid painkillers in response.

“Research on disparities between how women and men are treated in medical settings is growing — and it is concerning for any woman seeking care.”

The decisions doctors make about our bodies, and how they will be cared for are not immune to personal bias. These personal biases can be linked to sexual politics, and the unfair misogynistic bias inherent in laws informed by religion, or past status quo. There is also evidence to suggest that bias is also present when it comes to treating patients of different ethnicities.

I remember grabbing the morning-after pill one day in my early twenties from a random chemist in Melbourne’s CBD, the chemist who filled my script described it as an ‘abortion pill’ and used terms like, ‘this will flush “it” (it being a potential fetus – which definitely would NOT be present in the 24 hour post-coital period) right down the tubes’. These ill-informed words were coming from a healthcare professional who was supposed to be giving me advice! Advice on how to take medicine! I was shocked. He also seemed to think that any spotting that might occur after taking the pill was evidence of an abortion taking place (it’s not).

The protests surrounding the historic referendum last year in Ireland proved that there are still people in this word who don’t believe in women having the right to information about their bodies. Or maybe they don’t believe this, but they are still horrifically ill-informed about how the female reproductive system works, or maybe how women’s minds work, or what we are capable of achieving in life, and how modern healthcare affords us the necessary tools to succeed in this world. 

While these groups likely don’t represent the beliefs of your local GP, these ideas are leftovers from a period in which women’s health was heavily dismissed. These inherent biases need to be stripped from healthcare provider education, in order to bring up to date the healthcare and information we are giving women and the general public. 

 

 

Holiday Healthy Eating Guide

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Christmas is next week, and menu’s are being planned, shopped for, and executed with the precision of a top-secret military operation. This time of year is often the happiest, and coziest. However, it can also be a trap when it comes to healthy habits and eating well. The abundance of thematic chocolate, candy and other assorted goods can mean that our best intentions fly out the window, and even the strongest of vegan cross-fitters are met with the temptation of holiday hampers.

I’ve always been pretty good at maintaining a decent diet over the holidays. Perhaps it’s because I live in a hot climate. Some of the more traditional offerings can feel out of place when it’s twenty-five degrees, and you plan on heading to the beach later.

I thought, in the spirit of the holidays, I would share some of the healthier options for desserts on my Christmas menu this year.

  1. Mango Lime Coconut Ice Cream Slice: Say that three times fast! When you live in a warmer climate, ice-cream for Christmas is a must. Rachel’s Raw Food recipe has the perfect combination of coconut and mango, with a twist of lime is absolutely heavenly. And the fact that it’s a raw food recipe makes it that much better! Click through and try it out for yourself here.
  2. Chickpea brownies: I’ve been making these far too much through November and into January. They are delicious, grain-free, and also free of added sugar. Just a small amount of organic honey, and some dates sweeten up the raw cacao and chickpea mixture. It’s an incredible, protein-filled dessert. I would highly recommend putting this recipe (I’ve substituted coconut sugar with honey with no issues) through your food processor this Christmas.
  3. Raw vegan “cheesecake”: The genius behind This Rawsome Vegan life published this recipe for a Lavender and Lemon cheesecake Lavender and Lemon cheesecake a while back and I’ve been dying to test it out. It’s vegan, raw and made entirely from whole foods and looks heavenly!

 

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Xo,

 

Cali

 

2018 Year in Review

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As I’m writing this I’m tucked away in a rain forest, cicadas chirping in the dark behind me, and fog pressing against the windows. I have left Melbourne for the foreseeable future, and I’m enjoying the quiet, the slower pace, and the sounds of nature.

This year was strange, it threw me to and fro. Just when things seemed to settle down they would then become turbulent once more. It started with a boundary being crossed, and the following months became every kind of struggle – the struggle to create, to work, to move back into a 9-5 lifestyle, to create a work from home balance. In August, just when I thought I had found a pattern, life threw another curve ball – my YouTube channel, which I had worked on for three years as a fun side-project suddenly appeared in the recommended pages, and one of my videos hit 1.2 million views. I gained 26,000 subscribers in a year. Actually, I gained most of them in the four weeks following what must have been an algorithm glitch.

Much of this year has been focused on finding balance – between the return from dancing to a day job, and then the balance between working on social media and freelance work on top of that job. More of this year has also been spent trying to work out what it is that others gain from these channels of communication. I can see January ahead, and after a much needed break overseas in Bali (Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud here I come!) I know that I will return to trying to crack what it is on Youtube that my audience values and wants from me, that in turn speaks to me and what I want to create.

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What I did in 2018:

  • I made SEVENTY-THREE youtube videos. Wait what? I just counted. Wow. Okay I feel like I should actually slow down on this front.
  • I finished my book. I’ve written about four or five total manuscripts in my life. However, they are always fiction. This was my first piece of long-form, journalism. It was an extreme change for my writing and I’m glad I chose to work on it.
  • I started to define my boundaries in relationships with friends and family. I think this is a healthy habit we should all work on, no matter who we are, or how old we are.
  • I also began to think about the future of social media and my place in it. For quite a while I was producing short, easy GRWM videos. However, while these are fun to film I know that I want to move my channel into a more journalistic style of short documentaries and meaningful projects. I’m just not sure how or when that will begin. I know I want to think carefully about my channel and whatever platforms I am granted.

2018 was a year in conversation – conversations with consumers, people, readers, viewers. Conversations with myself, with others, behind curtains and closed doors. It was a year that tied the stories we tell others and ourselves together. It has also begun to feel like a very ‘full circle’ kind of year. One that began with a lesson and ended with the impact not forgotten.

What did you achieve in 2018 – and what are you looking forward to in 2019?

On Bonding with Others , and how I struggle.

 

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I struggle to make female friendships, and I know I’m not the only one.

Feeling cut off from other women, groups of female friends, and like the tragically cliched ‘odd one out’ in the group has been a pattern throughout my young life. I understand and accept that a large part of this has to do with me – I’m a terrible when it comes to isolating myself, and guarding myself and my own human experience. As I’ve gotten older my guard has not dropped, but my fear of what I experience inside has. I’ve started to realise that everyone feels the same way at some point  – highs, lows, and the terrifying parts of our brains that we only delve into while sipping mushroom tea at house parties in our early twenties.

Still, the struggle to connect exists. I find it rare to meet a person who wants to connect, people are happy within their cliques – and by the time we hit say, 23, it can feel like we’ve already seen it all – we’ve had our ex boyfriend f**k our housemate, we’ve had our group turn on us as a whole, we’ve heard every schoolyard or university food hall rumour on the planet, had our words twisted, and in turn – we’ve also been a part of it.

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We’ve sat in silence as another person has been thrown under the bus, or had her mental anguish, mistakes and issues aired among the psychoanalytical group think and felt it remove the bonds we had previously made with that person.  No wonder we find it hard to even want to connect with others, if we haven’t yet recovered from those experiences.

When we come to realise our loneliness we often say, ‘take a class’, ‘join a club’, ‘meet people on a night out’ etc. The issue is a little bit deeper though, or at least I find it to be.

The thing is, I find it easy to talk to strangers – really easy – I am no holds barred if I am in a one on one conversation with a complete stranger, and a drink in my hand. It’s part of what made me enjoy the hustle of dancing so much. When there is some kind of social status quo to uphold though – that’s when it hits: The awkwardness, the struggle to knit something out of a sliver of fantasy regarding a regular coffee date where I (living my very ~adult coupled up life) can live vicariously through their new discovery of BDSM with strangers (‘kind of scary in retrospect’), and introduction to Herpes Simplex 1, 2 (3,4,5, and 6) and how to treat it.

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Once those first meetings are done and dusted, I start to hold back. While I might be loose and fun, thumbing through the first few vintage racks while telling my unedited life story, I eventually start to want to shrink back. The few times in my life that this hasn’t occurred have been instances where I believe the person was/is a soulmate – someone who was supposed to come into my life, someone where the friendship has always been easy, casual and interesting. Or maybe I’m just lazy, and I don’t want to do the spiritual homework involved in letting new people in and deconstructing their reaction to who I am as a person.

I think something to be self-aware of, and something that is worth deconstructing when we try to make sense of our own learned behaviour – is how we learn to exclude people for the purpose of self-preservation. Groups don’t naturally open immediately – life would be easier if they did, it would be easier if we learned not to hold so strongly to our self-perception, and allowed change to come as it wills to help us grow further and become more fully integrated people – and in turn more flexible with our Jungian Self.

The reality is, I have two friends that I’m not related to. I’m not upset about it, I like being alone. I also prefer spending time with my family to others. I’m a self-confessed workaholic. When I’m not working my hobbies (bar shopping) are really only things that can be done alone. I do find my own social inhibitions when not blessed by my chosen fairy godmother (her name is Absolut) interesting however. Why do we hold ourselves back when it comes to friendship? Why don’t we let others into our groups without question?

SS19 Trends: Fashion, Hair & Beauty

Fashion month is officially over, phew! I wanted to write a post detailing some of the trends and themes that stood out to me , showcasing both designer collections, and high-street or affordable ways to get your hands on the trends. These trends are forecast to last throughout the upcoming seasons.

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Chloe’s inspired use of textures illustrated a beautiful take on rebellious bohemian-chic (source)

Chloe brought us asymmetrical sleeve drama, capes and a continuation of the ‘Cher hair’ trend with brushed out, air-dried braided waves. Hair was slicked back or fluffy, or short and tousled with girly effortless in quintessential Chloe style. Makeup was natural, glowy and minimal with a taupe base.

Chloe also made use of Edie Segwick style doorknocker earrings. Some amazing high street dupes are available at House of Harlow (bottom LEFT), and SHASHI (top right). The rebellious Jane Birkin inspired textures can be found in stores such as Mes Demoiselles (a little more exxy), and Rare London (top LEFT).

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Gucci also argued a case for sleeve drama – with folds, feathers and even wire-strung silhouettes transforming clothing into wearable art.

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Source: Vogue UK

80’s silhouettes reigned supreme – with structured longline blazers, half and half wrap dresses and a shoulder-pad resurgence.

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source: Vogue UK

Gucci also showed us what sequin-cast dreams could be made of with 70’s tinsel fringing both on clothing and in jewellery. (options to buy this on nastygal & boohoo)

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Versace stuck with a burnt-orange, modern mod-look – button down skirts, lots of leather, snakeskin and mixed prints in an ‘opposite complimentary’ brown, red, orange, yellow and blue palette.

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source: Elle Magazine

Again Versace proved that asymmetry would reign again come ss19 & optioned their own take on the pastel rainbow.

Versace created a very mod makeup look – fluffy brows, with a rounded ‘hook’ sixties vibe, and faux freckles giving half the models a very Gigi Hadid look (as seen on both Gigi and Kaia Gerber), and the other half a smokey black wing to pull together a very Bella look (both walked in this show, alongside Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, and Emily Ratajowski). To recreate the look yourself check out this video by itslikelymakeup on youtube, and try adding in some faux freckles.

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Edie Sedgwick /Gigi Hadid rounded brows ruled the Versace catwalk

The main theme of the Versace ss19 collection seemed to be somewhat of a mixture of the best parts of the seventies meets the best parts of the 80’s. It was a very ‘now’ collection – and very influencer-themed. A more affordable option for the Versace-mod look is t Reformation’s mod dress – a great addition to any wardrobe. The flattering A-line cut and high neck gives a 60’s vibe, perfectly teamed with a pair of Chelsea boots or flat thigh-highs.

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Top to bottom: https://rstyle.me/~aF0G1 – forever 21 striped turtleneck,
https://rstyle.me/~aF0GI – Reformation Mod Dress
https://rstyle.me/~aF0IT – Armani Exchange Crossbody

Alexander Wang brought us the trend we’ve all (read: I have) been waiting for –  bandanna’s. In Japanese culture these are known as Hachimaki – and Wang’s styling gave even amounts of both traditional aesthetic meets, ‘western biker who stole it from Axl Rose after winning a bar fight’.

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Want. Need. Yes thanks. Trench coats and dusters at maxi, mid and waist-length created masculine squared silhouettes that brought back memories of watching Akira in my late teens. This could possibly have been the best vision for a fashion show I’ve ever seen. The entire show was much less girly than ss18 – which focused on monochromatic, prom queen styles. The entire Wang show gave off the vibe that all the models were about to transform into warriors by pulling the embellishments from their clothing to reveal the silver beading as weaponry, and start taking out some O-Ren-Ishi style rage on the audience.

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https://rstyle.me/~aF0Jl – asos duster coat
https://rstyle.me/~aF0Jz – ASOS Navy Bandana

How to Improve Acne Scarring as an Adult

 

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a trained dermatologist or esthetician . I’m just a writer with acne who has used the products listed in this blog post and found some impressive results.

In my teens I had terrible acne. It didn’t particularly affect my confidence because my self-worth was never highly placed on my appearance. Make-up was a form of creative expression, not a medium of insecurity. However, it did cause me to become timid when I entered high-school and found that with acne often comes bullying.

My acne was always hormonal. I’ve always been a total health-freak. My parents refuse to have junk food in the house, and I gave up dairy at a young age. I can count the number of soft drinks I’ve had on one hand. I eat one of those ridiculously anal-retentive diets – a kind of ‘not-vegan-vegan-‘clean’-wholefoods’ mishmash and I work out regularly.

It’s irritating to live your healthiest life and be constantly berated by people with clear skin, yet horrible diets and no idea, telling you to use Lush products or Clearasil while you spend hundreds of dollars per month on skincare, rarely drink alcohol and even eschew fruit from your diet in an effort to save your epidermis.

 

Fortunately as an adult my acne has settled down into something manageable – a few cystic spots and blackheads around my period – and breakouts that rarely appear above my chin. Unfortunately, due to the years of dryness, oiliness and large pores that will forever be the bane of my existence, I have been left with a fairly decent amount of scarring – from boxcar to ice-pick, and a few rolling scars around my mouth.

I have been diagnosed with oily but dehydrated skin – which is difficult to deal with and definitely has something to do with Melbourne’s incredibly dry and windy weather (and total lack of ozone layer). And over the last year I have been on a journey of trying to improve my scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation is the easiest to treat topically and by myself. From retinols, to Vitamin C, to basic at-home derma-rolling. These dark spots left on the skin once acne has healed is the result of the body producing extra melanin. Sometimes these spots fade over time, but if like me you’ve been battling inflammation for around ten years, you might need to use something to help lighten the pigmentation that can make skin look discoloured, and like you still have acne even when it’s no longer active.

Hyper pigmentation can be fought by using lactic or gycolic acids to help with resurfacing. Retinol or prescription Retinoids can also help with stimulating cell turnover to reduce discolouration, and tighten pores. Vitamin E cream is also an incredibly helpful wound healing ointment that can be applied all over the face to promote collagen (although not always recommended for the face). At-home derma-rolling can be thoroughly researched to help, again, promote collagen boosting and cell turnover to reduce hyper pigmentation and other scarring. If you suffer from hyper pigmentation like myself, a good sunscreen is also necessary. I’ve recently been testing out the Skinstitute 50+ Age Defence Broad Spectrum Sunscreen to prevent future discoloration.

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I am planning on uploading a video to my youtube channel soon, with past and current pictures regarding my scarring and healing journey, so make sure to subscribe over there to find out when it goes live. In the meantime, I have linked some of my current favourite brightening and retinol creams, sunscreens and derma rollers below.

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Brightening Creams and Retinols:

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (+): This was the first brightening treatment I ever used. The website describes this as a, ‘corrective unclogging care product for acne-prone skin.’ For the first six months I used this product I noticed a noticeable difference in my hyperpigmentation, and the prevention of further breakouts. However, I did also find that it was quite drying when used all over the face, and effectiveness plateaued after about 4-6 months.

Active Ingredients:

  • Procerad
  • Mannose
  • APF
  • Niacinamide
  • Piroctone olamine
  • Zinc PCA
  • LHA and Salicylic Acid

Skinstitute Retinol Cream:  This is, so far, the only retinol cream I have ever used. It is affordable at just $30.00AUD (and http://www.adorebeauty.com.au allows afterpay) and gentle on skin. Using this leaves me with a slight tingling feeling (a product should never sting, only tingle) and tends to leave me with some initial flaking but an overall more even, plump looking complexion. Reviews on Adore Beauty tend to hit the 4* mark, and many wit sensitive skin praise this product. Note that if retinols are new to your skincare regimen you should be layering them with a moisturiser to ease you skin into the sudden Vitamin A infusion.

Active Ingredients:

Sunscreens:

La Roche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin 60 + SPF for Oily Skin: This is an oil-free, fragrance free formula designed to absorb pore-clogging oils and not cause breakouts, making it ideal for those who often refuse to put SPF on their face for fear of breakouts. It’s also water resistant, although all sunscreens should be re-applied every 2-3 hours regardless of activity, and especially if you live in an ozone-layer-free place like Victoria. The reviews on the La Roche Posay website typically run to suggest this is a highly-favored sunscreen formula. In Australia it is about $30.00AUD and available at Priceline Pharmarcies.

Skinstitut 50+ Age Defence Broad Spectrum Sunscreen: Another Skinstitut product. I’ve been loving their stuff! This sunscreen is fairly lightweight and designed to prevent breakouts. It’s the perfect face sunscreen to add to your skincare regimen after adding a retinol and in the brighter summer months. Typically this retails for around $32.83AUD. I buy mine from Adore Beauty.

Extreme Healing Ointments:

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Cream: This is a product that has technically been around forever, and is a top 10 all time favourite of mine. The Egyptian Magic All Purpose cream has thousands of uses – from healing scars and scratches, burns, to being used as a lip balm to rehydrate dry winter lips. It’s one of my favourite things to use after a derma rolling treatment and before bed. I slather it over my freshly needled skin, drink some herbal tea and drift off to noticeably plumper, smoother skin in the morning.

At Home Needling:

Derma Rollers: Derma Rollers are a very new favourite of mine. I first began using them about four months ago, after coming across Dr Davin Lim a Gold Coast based dermatologist with a youtube channel that discusses all things skincare without the bullshit, and often without the pricetag (unless you book a treament with him, lol). He showed the correct way to sterilize and use a micro needling tool at home. So with great caution, I tried one, and then I got a little bit addicted. Micro needling is quite easy and with only three monthly sessions I have already seen lots of improvement in my skin regarding reduced redness and a neater, less severe looking appearance in terms of scarring. I use 0.05mm needles (it’s important to never exceed this when rolling at home) which I purchase from amazon and eBay. They are single use only. Check out Davin’s video on proper sterilisation and use for more info.

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How Does a Job Interview for a Strip Club Work?

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That first March weekend wasn’t cold. Still, the dancers would walk down King St in track pants with duffle bags, hair in ponytails, heads bowed if they wore full make-up, with false eyelashes fluttering against the breeze. They would slide through the club, sticking to side tables, not making eye-contact with customers, wallets held in one hand. In the downstairs dressing room they would pay house fee to the house mum on shift and put their name onto the table roster. Until we unwrapped ourselves from our cocoons of Nike tights and oversized hoodies, we would avoid pulling from the sway of our hips and thighs the body language that made us money.

‘How did you get into it?’ My friend asked one day at the beach, eight months later. We were chatting about sex work and fake tan, and her new boobs – she wasn’t a dancer though. She was a beauty and lifestyle blogger with a YouTube channel boasting half a million subscribers.

‘You know that’s so funny,’ I said. ‘People ask that all the time. Nobody realizes that you just call or email a club and ask if you can try out.’

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The interview I had for The Club was the only strip club interview I had ever had that wasn’t at an actual club. I had met the house mum for a different club, the first club I ever worked at, in the office they had backstage where they created the table rosters. Two days later I was called to organize an appointment for an interview at the offices for The Club, a few blocks away from the venue. For the interview I wore false lashes, curled my bleached hair and wore a skirt and low-heeled boots. Underneath was black underwear and a blue bralette. I weighed forty-five kilograms and wore a size 4-6 Australian, despite my take-out addiction.

The woman who interviewed me danced into the room – no joke – she twirled in singing, with a contract held high in one hand the way servers brought out plates.

‘Hi sweetie! How are you!’ She said. ‘Christina’s gone home for the day, so you’ll be interviewing with me. I work for the sister club here.’

She led me into a room with no windows and a long walnut table. The walls were paneled with what appeared to be paintings and wooden scenes cut out reflecting horses and knights in battle. It looked like the kind of room in which King Henry would have ordered Anne Boleyn’s head to be cut off, where Cromwell and the Bishop might have conspired to swipe some off the top of the royal bank accounts.

‘So,’ she looked at me. ‘What made you want to start dancing?’

At that point my bank account reflected about ten dollars, every time I went to work at my office job I would come home with a back so sore I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to write, really. I wanted to help people, I wanted my life to reflect an attitude in which I had dared to at least try, rather than taken the same route as everyone else.

‘Oh well, I’ve always been interested in it.’ I said. ‘I did some nude modelling a couple of years ago and that was fun.’

‘So, you’re comfortable being naked?’

‘Yeah,’ I said.

‘Okay,’ she said. ‘So fill out this contract. It explains all the rules for the club, make sure to fill every page and the back of every page. Our club is a no-touching club, that means the customers cannot touch you, your bum, or boobs during a dance. They’ll train you, show you how to give a lap-dance, and everything.’

‘Okay,’ I said. I wrote my name down and listed my older sister as my emergency contact.

‘Right!’ she said taking the contract back. ‘I’ll go file this, now you get undressed, so I can take a couple of pictures to send over to Christina!’

When she left the room, I stripped down to my underwear and waited.

‘Smile!’ she said, snapping a photo on an iPhone. ‘Gorgeous!’

She stood back up.

‘Okay, so if you’re successful you’ll hear from us in a week or two.’

‘Awesome,’ I said, wondering what was next. I felt like I needed to say something to lock in a place at the club. ‘So, did you used to dance?’

‘I did sweetie,’ the woman said, leading me back into the foyer. ‘A long time ago, but never at this club.’

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