Do you ever feel lost? As though you aren’t where you thought you would be in life? At D*Scribe we got exclusive interviews with five incredibly strong Australian women and asked them what they would tell their younger selves to get through the tough times.
Tully Smyth – You Are Stronger Than You Realise
“The world never gives us more than we can handle. We’re never put through tests we can’t pass, hardships we can’t endure. You’re going to be dealt a particularly rough card, a card that will tear your family apart. It’s going to feel like the end of the world but I promise you, you’ve got this. You are stronger than you realise.”
Tully Smyth, 30 is a former reality star, blogger, model and social media influencer. Competing on our screens in ‘Big Brother’ 2013, Tully has since amassed a huge instagram profile with almost a quarter of a million followers. However her feed is much more than a idyllic ‘highlight reel’ of pretty photos. Tully has opened up to her followers about the heartbreak of her mother’s diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s, using the platform to actively raise awareness for the debilitating disease of which there is no known cure.
Jelena Dokic: Be Confident
“I went through a lot of difficult years, so for me my advice would be to be a bit more confident. Because of the things I have been through I was made to feel worthless. For a very long time there, I had no self esteem and I wish I believed in myself a little bit more. Another thing would be..I wish I had have enjoyed the good moments more, just live in the moment and take it in.”
Former World No.4 Australian tennis champion Jelena Dokic has survived many hardships. From Serbia, the Dokic family arrived on Australian shores as refugees when Jelena was just 11 years old. Jelena’s darkest battle lay with her father Damir, who emotionally and physically abused her and left her penniless. Jelena, now 35, has penned a book with Jessica Halloran detailing her harrowing tale of survival called “Unbreakable”.
Caitlin Figueiredo- Let Others’ Negativity Inspire You
“You’re going to experience what it feels like to be an outsider, but that’s only going to make you stronger, it’s going to help you develop your voice. When someone is trying to put you down or block you from achieving your dreams, just take that and use it as your inner furnace to get you to where you want to go.”
Caitlin Figueiredo 22, is a powerful voice for gender equity and anti-bullying in Australia. The domestic violence she endured at home and the bullying she experienced at school has inspired her to use her voice to encourage social change. She was named in the ‘Young Leader Category’ in the ‘100 Most Influential Women Awards’ sponsored by the Financial Review and Westpac in 2016. Caitlin is a youth ambassador for the ‘The Allanah and Madeline Foundation’ and has also being recognised on the international stage awarded the ‘Global Changemaker for Global Equity’ by Michelle Obama at the White House.
Dana Vulin- Know Your Worth
“Always know your worth. Because of the way I used to look before (the incident), people were concerned with me losing my looks, they thought ‘She’s lost her face so she has nothing left’, but for me, my confidence always came from the inside. I knew who I was on the inside and that helped me fight and that helped me stay strong. No matter what you do, always know your worth.”
In 2012 Dana Vulin suffered burns to 64 percent of her body when she was attacked and set alight by a woman who falsely believed Dana was having an affair with her estranged husband. Remarkably she survived and has since undergone more than 200 surgeries, she spent a year and a half in hospital and wore a compression mask on her face for two years. Dana 31, has written an autobiography called “Worth Fighting For” a powerful story about the strength of the of the human spirit.
Mel Yeates- Never Give Up
“Never give up on your hopes and dreams, if you think about something and you want to do it, just do it. I never thought I would raise $20,000, let alone $100,000.. so if you want something just do it.”
In 2016 Mel Yeates set off for a year-long adventure dubbed ‘A Girl, Her Car and Her Guitar’, busking around Australia to with a goal to raise $20,000 for ‘BeyondBlue’ and ‘Love Your Sister’. Both charities are close to Mel’s heart, having experienced depression following the deaths of two friends at age 15 and shortly after her cousin was diagnosed with cancer. Moved by actor Samuel Johnson’s ride across the country on a unicycle to fundraise for ‘Love Your Sister’ the charity he started with his sister Connie Johnson who has since passed away from breast cancer, Mel raised a phenomenal $100,000, you can still donate at GoFundMe.