Archive

Tag Archives: appearance

Facebook is celebrating its 10th birthday today amidst speculation of an impending decline. But the behemoth of social networks is showing no signs of flailing just yet.

c5b86e6e945026b48070cba566263a8202c72d4078eba2f9296750c5f2d38d5f

Facebook is one of the first things we check in the mornings and the last, before we go to sleep.

Whether its FOMO, addition or just habit, Facebook has become a stalwart pal for about one sixth of the world’s population, a staggering ‘citizenship’ which could surpass the number of people living in China, the world’s most populous nation, within the next year.

It seems the way people use Facebook is dependent on whether (or not) they grew up with the network. As Seth Fiegerman writes, ‘Facebook’s users seem to be divided into two groups: younger users who are forever connected to people from the past, and older users who are given a powerful tool to reconnect with those they’ve long since lost touch with’.

Having signed up to Facebook at the beginning of 2008, I wasn’t one of the first to jump on the bandwagon. But I did have an account before many of my friends, albeit one I saw as the inferior little sister to my, at the time, beloved Myspace. I actually got a Facebook account to keep in touch with new friends from interstate. Either myself or members of the Sydney clan had to make a move to the dark side (Facebook and Myspace, respectively), and I ended up caving to what I thought was the short straw. About a year later, Myspace became effectively defunct and I found myself pretty proud of my already established Facebook backlog and network.

Nevertheless, I still latched onto Facebook as a way of remaining connected, rather than reigniting long lost friendships from my single digit days. Simultaneously, my peers began to use Facebook as their primary social network, to the point where I’m now connected to hundreds and hundreds of ‘friends’ some of which I’ve either met only once, or haven’t spoken to directly in years. However, every now and then someone I might classify as ‘random’ (a word my mum thinks is ‘soooo Gen Y’) pops up on my newsfeed and I’m kindly reminded of their existence in the world, if not in my life as such.

At the moment, I’m still pretty dependent on Facebook to do what it does best and give me updates and a realtime tracker of what my friends and ‘friends’ are doing with their lives. Ironically, Facebook really shows just how much we’re not doing because we’re too busy updating our online presence through status’, photos and ‘checking in’ to places where we want to be (virtually) seen.

I am not out to diss Facebook. As I said, I’m still thoroughly engaged with, and through, the network to people I’d otherwise have lost contact with. Despite only being a few years out of school, there are so many people I’d have called close friends that I now, rarely see or even speak to. Facebook provides me with that virtual and emotional link to classmates with whom I spent weeks and years, side by side. Someone’s got a new boyfriend, someone else is on exchange, one girl is living abroad and another just qualified as a professional nurse and has already landed the job of her dreams.

When people announce exciting (or even terribly tragic) events on Facebook, there is an almost resurgence and instantaneous spill of camaraderie for those involved. It’s pretty amazing how quickly people come together for someone in need, or to celebrate and congratulate a new couple, job or marriage.

But Facebook also perpetuates a continuous disease of comparison between both strangers and friends. If the aforementioned friend got ‘the’ job while you lucked out, you might feel down. You see a group of old friends catching up without you and checking in somewhere for drinks, and now not only you know you’ve been sidelined, but everybody else in their network does, too.

And social networking is, ironically, incredibly self-centred. While each network proclaims to be about connecting people, they’re all centred around individual users creating a ‘profile’ through which they will portray themselves to the world. Yet whether by intuition, self-protection or devious scheming, what and how we choose to display ourselves online is overwhelmingly self-selected – and if it’s not, you can untag yourself or remove yourself from the group with the click of a button.

So people are choosing profile pictures where they’re pleased with their appearance. They’re checking in only at the places/with people with whom they want to be seen. They’re selectively creating a virtual profile of themselves filled with all the good bits, and only minimal (if any at all) aspects of their vulnerabilities. And as Brené Brown teaches us, there is so much power in vulnerability.

But with over 1.23 billion users worldwide, Facebook is clearly doing something right. The network also hosts thousands of support groups, allows for easy sharing of digital content, and makes inviting friends to your birthday soiree so much easier. Of course, sometimes you’re drowning in events from promoters or can’t see anything on your newsfeed other than bloody memes or videos of friends nek nominating each other, but being so privy at least means you’re kept in the loop… at all times… whether you like it or not.

I suppose what it all comes down to is the power of social networking in creating, building and maintaining relationships between individuals and groups across the globe. In the words of TheFacebook’s multibillionaire founder, Mark Zuckerberg, ‘It’s been amazing to see how people have used Facebook to build a real community and help each other in so many ways’.

Only time will tell if the network survives its terrible teens. Always reinventing itself, Facebook continues to keep up with if not, lead, the Joneses so if it continues to dominate global connectivity into the 2020s, here’s hoping we’re all still interested in those self-appointed popular girls from high school because, who knows? Maybe we’ll even see them settle down some day.

Advertisements

Last night I uploaded a new profile picture to Facebook.

Lev019

The Likes I received were incredible/ridiculous/many. Every time I checked my phone, the Likes had increased. I went out to yoga, put my phone on silent, and by the time I came home an hour and a half later, the number had skyrocketed further, still. As I write, I’m on 209 Likes and 23 extremely generous and complimentary comments. That’s a Like Record for me, the most I’ve had on anything I’ve posted over my five plus years on the social media platform.

So, I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is great! People think I’m attractive, people like what I’m wearing, my smile, the composition of the photo, or a combination of all of the above’. It made me feel good, I felt (no pun intended), Liked. I felt more worthy than I had a few hours before, I felt more accepted and somehow, more legitimate, as a valuable, equal member of my peer group, of society, if I can to take it to that extent.

Here’s the problem: I recently had a professional photo shoot at a professional photography studio. I had my hair and make-up done by an ‘artist’, was shot by a professional photographer, and the team used ‘props’ like a fan to blow my hair around, made lighting and furniture adjustments, and positioned me in ways they thought complementary to my figure/features/whatever. Essentially, they directed me into looking ‘good’. The photographer said she had all the knowledge and experience needed to produce the most flattering shots and I was (and still am) grateful for her keeping to her promise.

But, how do I know she succeeded?

Because one of those photographs is the one I made my profile picture less than 24 hours ago. That same one with the most Likes, kind comments and good feelings that have come as a result of the finished product.

Oh, there’s another Like. 210, now.

So, here’s the thing. What does it say about me that this course of events and tiny clicks, minute actions by others, granted, by you, that have led me to feel a significantly increased my self-esteem over a short period of time? How else could I have achieved this sense of okay-ness on my own? Am I so dependent on others that I am unable to pick myself up?

And, perhaps, what does it say about you? Is this a situation you’ve too, been in?

What lesson does it teach me, or us, about our society? About praise, about dependence, about the relationship between looking good and feeling good?

Instant gratification. Social media provides me – and I suspect most of my generation if not everyone active across the various platforms – with comments, Likes, Followers, that give me a sense of achievement. For that second that I’ve got someone else’s attention, I’ve been thought of, considered, mentioned.

Truth is, my presence in your mind probably is only momentary, fleeting if anything was. You’ve no doubt now scrolled down your newsfeed and Liked three other Friends photos, status’ or Shares. But in our fast-moving world, that moment I was present with you is as significant as I can ask for.

But, here’s the thing. Is that person in that picture you Liked actually me? I mean sure, it’s me – the image captures my hair, my face, my favourite clothes, my ring, my posture. But, I’ve been manipulated. Edited. Touched up.

Granted, it wasn’t actually touched up a whole lot. If I had a copy of the original, organic, un-Photoshoped photo, I’d post it here for you to make that judgement yourself. I saw it before editing though, and I’d say they only smoothed out a few blemishes or whatever they deemed to be imperfections on my face or something.

But, what about all these pre-production adjustments? I spent a good 20 minutes getting my hair and make-up perfected before they even considered taking me into the proper studio (for lack of a better word) part of the ‘studio’. Yes, they opted for a fairly natural look (upon request), and they let me bring my own clothes. So, I suppose the final photograph could be considered a fairly realistic representation of who I am. But, what is troubling is knowing that had I uploaded this picture (see below) instead, I’d probably be sitting on a solid, oh, five Likes, if I’m lucky. And they’d most likely be from my nearest and dearest who fit the ‘take me as I am’ brief.

Photo on 18-12-2013 at 3.24 pm

We’re constantly being bombarded by Photoshopped images of celebrities, by messages of the ‘ideal’ body type, skin colour, hairstyle. We’re told, heck, dictated to, what’s ‘hot’, what’s ‘in’, asked ‘who wore it better’, shown so-and-so’s ‘biggest blunder’.

To be honest, it’s all fucked.

And I can only say this because I play into this culture of externally-identified ideals of perfection and sources of assurance. I’m a victim and an offender but it’s perpetual, it’s enthralling, it’s insane.

We, as a society, have an addiction to judgement. We draw conclusions from un-evidenced or unsubstantiated data. We take thing at face value and buy into advertising, media reporting and gossip without stopping to consider our deeper values or attitudes.

Even when just taking that photo above on my computer’s Photo Booth, I took a couple. I wanted to look my best ‘in a bad situation’ (read; day at home, no make-up, dirty hair). Side note: omfg the temptation to edit that picture was enormous.

But, why is this? I’m not saying we don’t have the right to want to feel beautiful, to feel accepted and to want to be happy. Naturally, that’s an inherent aspect of building one’s self-esteem, something no one should be denied. It’s something principally deeper than that.

It’s more about how we source that emotion, and questioning why we value certain ‘sources’ over others.

And, it’s also about how much we rely on social media for quantified assurance and positive reinforcement.

211 Likes.

I don’t want to play the blame game anymore than I have, nor do I believe this culture has come about as a consequence of a single event/person/aspiration. It’s a process, it’s constantly evolving. And no one is immune (J-Law, case in point).

212 Likes.

I’m not anti-make-up, anti-media, or even anti-Photoshop.

But, if I – or you – can’t upload any picture of ourselves in equal self-confidence, and are dependent on external input to confirm or trash our mood and opinion of ourselves, I think there’s at least something to think about.

I was obsessed with makeup.

I wouldn’t step out of the house without a bit of foundation (or a lot), whether it be to school, to the gym, a family event or a gathering with friends.

The first time I wore mascara (other than on stage) was one lunchtime at school. A good friend of mine thought it might be something fun to try out considering both my eyebrows and eyelashes are naturally blonde and barely visible. After a few minutes of anxious blinking and smudges around my eyes, I received many compliments and was pretty pleased with the impact such a small adjustment could have. I think I wore it every day henceforth.

Makeup has a transformative power to, at least superficially, turn a person in to someone with a newfound confidence. This might stem from the fact that by painting your face with colours, liners, pastes and concealers, you’ve suddenly gained a protective layer that acts as barrier between you and other people and nerve-wracking situations. Makeup can be a mask, a barrier, and can help to stimulate a ‘character’ or ‘persona’ for you to ‘wear’, (one of the reasons it is used in theatre and on stage).

Makeup has many benefits. As I’m naturally very pale, makeup also helps to brighten me up a bit, and I’ve often been told that I look washed out or unwell when I’ve ventured out au naturale. Makeup also helps me to look older, which as I’ve mentioned before, is somewhat comforting and reassuring after constantly being told I look 16 years old.

Regardless, over the past few years I’ve become pretty comfortable going to uni or out to see friends without that protective layer. Makeup is fun, and there is an art to good makeup application and a beautiful look, I just no longer feel like I have to hide behind walls of Maybelline matt mousse and bronzed-up cheekbones to feel comfortable in my own (facial) skin.

This is all well and good, yet I know many girls (and boys?) struggle with the notion of going about their days makeup free. It can be confronting at first, and you may feel vulnerable, exposed or uncertain. I’d like to say it’s easy to give up the powders, bronzers and blush, but I personally found it challenging. However, if you’ve been thinking about going makeup free and are working up the confidence to do so, or you’re looking for a reason to give it a go, I’ve got a terrific motive for you.

Screen-shot-2013-08-18-at-3.11.26-PM1

Makeup Free Me is encouraging women across Australia to take on the challenge of going without makeup for 24 hours. With a mission to empower women to develop and nurture positive body image, Makeup Free Me wants to help create a world where women love and celebrate who they are. The event is on Friday 30 August and is supporting The Butterfly Foundation who is dedicated to bringing about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image.

I’ve written a piece on the campaign for The Modern Woman’s Survival Guide which you can read here. And I’d encourage you to get involved and give it a go. You deserve to feel pretty, worthy and comfortable in your own skin without all those layers protecting your true identity. So do it for yourself – what have you got to lose?

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of attending the official launch of The Brainwash Project’s first print magazine. The Brainwash Project was created for young women as something “inclusive, empowering, intellectually stimulating and fresh”, by Melbournian, Jess Barlow. The Brainwash Project is somewhat of a healthy antidote to the countless publications that (un-intendedly?) serve to leave so many girls and women feeling inadequate, in comparison with the body, beauty and life ideals they promote.

The launch was such an incredible event. Set in a community hall, people from all walks of life came together to celebrate the magazine’s first print edition. The publication is bright, colourful, informative, entertaining and extremely professional. There were brave young singers, slam-poets and public figures to entertain the crowd, complementary nail polish painting, and other stalls with knick-knacks for your pockets. Professional photographer, Bianca Anderson ran a photo booth were attendees were invited to dress up as ‘Paper People’, a key aspect of the project as a whole. Barlow says that the idea of Paper People illuminates “how unrealistic it is to lust after a different appearance to our own” as well as “how easy it is to change [one’s] appearance using Photoshop or even just old magazines and scissors”.

I love this notion of Paper People, and the more I think about it, the more it resonates with me. So often, we (both women and men, girls and boys) are presented with figures, images and ideals that are literally unattainable. Celebrities are one aspect of this saga, but aside from the photoshopping post-shoot, these people often have wads of excess cash to use on self-enhancement projects, absurd diets, expensive ‘health’ retreats, extravagant foods and surgical procedures that help to maintain the image they so desperately want to preserve.

Consider this article on the phone application, Pixtr. Pixtr offers you the chance to “put your best face forward” through giving you a plastic, fantastic, Barbie-like appearance. As journalist, Chris Taylor notes, this app is sure to be put to use on shameless selfies, embarrassing nightclub photos and any image in which the profiler deems themselves to be in some respect inadequate or imperfect.

Additionally, this recent Dove ad has received widespread coverage, urging women to challenge how they see themselves, and the value they place on their appearance. It has to be said that the ad has received some criticism which is hard to ignore, but the principle and what I assume to be Dove’s overall aim of the campaign, in nonetheless intriguing and it’s pretences are deeply upsetting. So many people judge, value and categorise themselves based on a single feature of their face or their body. People compare themselves to other people, denying themselves the very miracle they are born with – uniqueness. There are literally no two people alike. That’s pretty unbelievable.

Alas, there are many contributing factors to negative self-esteem, and the media is just one of these components. But the Brainwash Project is helping young women take a step in the right direction.

So I encourage you, I urge you, to find out more about the Brainwash Project. This first 188-page, colour filled magazine has also become a platform for young people to showcase their talents, promote worthy, youth-oriented causes, and has contributors from all over the world. The magazine speaks its message: the cover is plain white, until you cast your eye over the back, bottom corner, and that corner reads ‘don’t judge things by appearance’.

I have two pieces featured in the magazine. The first is a feature on Melbourne fashion designer, Eve Walton-Healey. She has recently launched her own label called White tailed Fawn. You can check out her blog here. The second, is an interview with local Melbourne band The Darjeelings. They are incredible and I’d definitely recommend reading the piece to find out more about their musical inspirations, how they manage to balance school, family, friends and music, and what their plans are for the future.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the Brainwash Magazine, you can enter the shop here. Delivery is available Australia wide, as well as internationally. Barlow is hoping to also make available a digital e-version of the magazine, so be on the lookout for that edition, too. While the price may be higher than your average girls or women’s rag, the it’s because the content and presentation is far from average. And it’s all for a worthy cause. So buy a copy for your daughter, your sister, your granddaughter, niece, or as they say in Parks and Recreation, treat.yo.self to a copy of Brainwash Magazine. Because if we’re going to take anything from the cosmetics industry it should be this: Because you’re worth it.

600357_220604598059931_389665357_n

*I first wrote about the crowd funding campaign for The Brainwash Project back in September last year. The Brainwash Magazine is the result of hard work, time, volunteering, talent and dedication. Congratulations to all those involved. Support the cause on Facebook, here.

I am writing a series of pieces documenting my thoughts on the lead up to the Australian Federal Election to be held on 14 September 2013. As a young woman, it will be my first experience of voting in a Federal election. I am not endorsing any particular party or politician. All opinions are mine unless stated otherwise, and while I will try to include honest information at all times, nothing should be taken as fact without further investigation.

Image

I heard the announcement while on the cross trainer at the gym. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sent out a Save the Date message, but not for her wedding. September 14 2013 will be the date of the Federal election, and while within the period of estimated dates ranging from August to October, the specific date is inherently problematic even before considering the Red, Blue and Green.

The problem is somewhat ironic. An atheist Prime Minister has called the election for a day conflicting with the beliefs and interests of many religious Australians. Jews will be called to the polls on their annual Day of Atonement, the solemn day of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is commonly spent entirely one’s place of worship, praying, sitting, standing and repenting. It is also the only day of the year on which Jews fast. To say scheduling an election for this day is sacrilege would be putting it lightly.

However, whilst Australia’s Jewish population may be fairly small, another group of believers are also to be upset by the date. Everyone knows that September is a month of intense victory, controversy and upset as AFL and NRL teams battle it out for a place in their respective One Day in Septembers. Am I wrong to think that Saturday September 14 will also be a day of footy finals fever? And this is a rowdy crowd, thousands strong. It’s hard to predict which competition we’ll be hearing more about.

Yesterday’s announcement came as a surprise to many Labor politicians as well as other parliamentarians, the media and the public. Gillard’s early announcement is eerily remnant of the American Presidential Campaign, which involves an arduous process of selection, travel, and petitioning and huge amounts of cold, hard cash. The 227 days to this election is significantly longer than the notice given by past leaders where periods of 30 to 50 days were the norm. Prior to this year, the greatest time between announcement and Election Day was in 1966, 106 days before polling day. According to The Age the nation will experience 184,000 births, 95,000 deaths, 139,000 new immigrants and 7 full moons before the election, as well as the presence of Ellen de Generes and no doubt many other famous figures. According to Mark Kenny, the PM had the Christmas period to reflect and realise just how deep the shit she was in, was, and thus relied of the element of surprise to boost her into the New Year. Keeping her News under the radar was of the highest priority that even the official version of her speech circulated amongst journalists made no mention of it.

The Prime Minister is also seeing the New Year in a different light, or through new lenses at least. The move sparked comment from both political and fashion analysts, and Judith Ireland and Shelly Horton wrote, “Some punters hypothesised that the member for Lalor was courting the youth market with the trendy new accessory. “It seems @JuliaGillard is already campaigning to the hipster voters with those new glasses. Well played,” wrote Kath McLellan of Sydney.” Other ideas include the PM projecting the idea that she is finally ‘in business’, and that she is channeling retiring US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. Personally, I wouldn’t put either of these suggestions too far aside. And despite some people saying ‘if the PM was a man, he wouldn’t be receiving these kinds of comments’, it must be vaguely strategic, or why now?

Sportsbet.com.au already has full-page ads in the newspaper and so far, the odds lie heavily in the favour of the Opposition. This is a reflection of Australian culture, where even the most political matters are but a game, a sport, a competition, with a black and white outcome of winners and losers.

Key issues for this election include the state of the nation’s healthcare and education systems, the Budget, what to do about immigration and the influx of people seeking refuge on Australian land, the environment and more specifically, the Carbon Tax, which Mr Abbott plans to cut if elected into office. Of course there will also be a lot of blaming, broken promises and shying away from accountability that Australian politics is wrapped up in.

Today I was in the city with friends and money arose as a topic of conversation. How to make money, how much money things are worth, and what we paid for certain acquisitions. One friend had paid $70 for the t-shirt she was wearing. The other was wearing a shirt that he’d cut to suit his own style, supposedly worth $100 at the time of purchase. Food was bought, myki cards were topped up with money for necessary travel into and out of the city, and we were all (of course) dressed and groomed with clothes and styling products/makeup/at-least-shampoo that had cost someone some dosh somewhere along the line, too.

We talked about haircuts. How much to get your hair dyed at a salon? How much to do it yourself? I used to have bright pink, dip-dyed ends on my long (read: extra spending) hair. I don’t know how much it cost because my mum paid for it, but I know that it was a lot. I also know that I had to pay the same stylist to un-dye it when I changed schools to meet the school’s uniform policy. I’ve also dyed my hair on many occasions at home, or with a friend, for a much smaller price. A packed of hair dye might cost anywhere between $10 and $35, depending on the brand. My friend’s hair was dyed currently, and she’d saved herself some money by cutting it and dyeing it herself. Boys, on the other hand, we were informed, needed their hair cut every four weeks, my other friend told us. So while guys haircuts are usually much cheaper, the cost adds up when you take into account how frequent their trips to the hairdresser are. Or how shitty the hair dye you buy from the supermarket is and need to re-dye it after its faded a week after you last forked out $15.

While we were out, one friend wanted to buy a ring, but it was $20 she didn’t have right now. The other told me his iPhone earphones were ‘only $35’. And that’s when it hit me. On January 1st, the Labor government cut the Newstart Allowance significantly, to an equivalent of just $35 a day. The majority of Newstart recipients are single parents (mostly mothers), meaning that not only does that $35 have to sustain one person for a day, it is likely to need to be stretched to support two, or more persons, children with needs, wants and wishes a parent only dreams to fulfil.

When you think of $35 it might not sound that bad right off the bat. But as soon as you start to consider some of the things mentioned above, it disappears without a trace. Hell, that’s without life’s necessities of health care, educational expenses (such as tutoring), extra curricular activities, hobbies, a gym membership to keep you in decent shape, food, rent and other living costs. How one, let alone multiple people are meant to survive on just $35 a day baffles me completely.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin suggested that she could do it. Acting Greens Leader Adam Bandt will actually go on the dole for a week and see how he fairs with such a measly amount. But the experiment, while interesting, will be rather inconclusive because everyone, including Mr Bandt, knows that once his seven days are up, he’ll be going back to conditions that enable him to work, eat, sleep and thrive as a politician and as an Australian not subject to these conditions.

I doubt anyone would choose to live consistently on $35. The unemployment crisis in Australian is again, set to peak, and as a person without a job, the prospects for gaining one are looking slim. Of course, I am lucky to be fully supported by family, but I cannot imagine this news being sunny for anyone. Especially those receiving the Newstart Allowance who are being told it is just a safety net and are highly encouraged to go back to work. What if there is no work to go back to?

So tonight when you are spending money on dinner, drinks, a movie or even on petrol, spare a thought for those that aren’t so fortunate to own a car, to go out to eat, or who can only afford fast food. Without money for formal or organised exercise, or the motivation to better yourself provided by such environments, many will find themselves travelling down a path of chronic disease and ill health… but that’s another story. And anyway, the government and tax payers have got their back, right? Yeah, right.

This morning I participated in the first official Color Run in the Southern Hemisphere. Melbourne played host to the Australia’s debut Happiest 5km on the Planet, attracting a sold out crowd of more than 12,000 happy runners.

Coincidentally, the race took place at the racecourse I’d been to for the Melbourne Cup Carnival only a few weeks ago and I even went past my old tote house! I’m starting to feel pretty familiar on those grounds.

The Color Run originated in the United States. It is a different kind of fun run, where people of all ages, abilities (and disabilities), babies in prams and strollers, gather together to run, walk, dance, skip and hop their way for five kilometres passing through colour dust at each kilometre mark. Each kilometre you get sprayed with colour by volunteers and each K is represented by a different colour. The basic idea is that you start off clean – everyone in a mandatory white t-shirt – and end up completely covered in colour, making it the happiest run of your life.

For me, it was my first fun run ever. I’ve wanted to be able to run for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never had the fitness nor the technique to be able to master more than five minutes without losing my breath and needing to stop. Since July, I’ve slowly started to train myself, making a consistent effort to work my way up to being able to run a five K. If I was to be honest, I cannot come out of today and say the run was easy. I had many moments where I thought I should just stop and walk, particularly in this event as many of the other participants were making their jolly way at a snail’s pace. But I’d said to myself that I wanted to run it, for myself. And run it, I did.

The beauty of The Color Run is that nobody gets timed. There is no winner and the waves start every five to 10 minutes so people have as much fun and get covered in as much colour as they can. I was probably in the 10th wave. At the start line there was music, an enthusiastic host and free giveaways. The idea was that if by the end of the race you weren’t covered in enough colour, there was an After Party, where colour throws were happening every 15 or so minutes.

During the race, I kept a fairly even pace. But it was great to see so many people enjoying the colour storm, rolling in the blue, red, yellow and pink dust, families and groups of friends taking photos and some even having wheelbarrow races along the way. I didn’t take my phone into the colour because I knew it would get ridiculously dirty, but plenty of people decided otherwise. Judging by the dirt/dust in my shower, I think I made the right decision.

What originally attracted me to this fun run was its resemblance of the Hindu Holi Festival. A few years ago I saw pictures of the festival, primarily celebrated in India and Nepal, where coloured powder and water are thrown on others in what is a Festival of Colours. Some may recognise this theme in Ke$ha’s Take It Off film clip. Anyway, I’ve wanted to experience Holi ever since hearing about it and so The Color Run seemed like my first taste of what may lie ahead if I eventually make it to India.

After the race everyone gets given their own packet of Color to throw and spray on each other. There were sponsors giving free foot massages, photo booths, a Boost stall, crepes, strawberries and fruit, as well as Nova FM Casanovas, as a massive dance party.

The event was extremely well organised and I’ll definitely participate again next year. It’d be great to travel to other locations on the Australian Tour (or elsewhere) to see how their races compare but I’m sure each Color Run is as unique and as special as the last. The money raised through this event is going towards The Australian Paralympic Committee and paralympians themselves were part of the fun.

Be sure to look out for a Color Run near you. You can check out when the run will be coming to your city here.