Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you grew up and where your love of the ocean and nature comes from?
I grew up on the coast in South Australia, we lived on a property in a small town, where our childhood was an exciting divide between riding motorbikes around the paddocks and surfing the coast nearby. My love for the ocean and nature has been something I have had since as far back as I can remember, my parents have photos of me reading books to an audience of toy animals at about age 4, which is about the same time I learned to surf also. I have always loved animals, we had dogs and a bird from a young age, as well as pet farm animals, and growing up I looked everything that came into my path, from lizards, to birds, frogs, rabbits, lambs, then eventually moving onto marine animals not long after that. I think my passion for the ocean especially, derives from my childhood spent surfing, and in the ocean with my family, I felt comfortable at a young age in the sea, and I am grateful every day for being exposed to so many amazing things at a young age.
What do you think are the most important messages we need to be communicating with each other in regards to the worlds wild places?
That everything is interconnected, we are all connected, the sea, the land, the wildlife and us. The belief of superiority that many humans have, is not only unrealistic, but is the reason behind the damage done so far to this planet. You cannot go a single day without having an effect on the world around you, the protection of our wild places, starts within ourselves, and our everyday choices of how we live our lives. Small change, in big numbers creates big change.
Can you tell us about some of the conservation initiatives you are involved in?
I have been an advocate for a lot of different causes over the years, as many as I can be, things I will always stand by, and support as much as I can. My struggle almost every day is that there are so many causes I am passionate about, so it has been difficult to choose only a few to put all my attention on. First and foremost, I have eaten a plant-based diet for 10 years now, a choice I made as a teenager to lessen my footprint, look after my body, and not support industries which are detrimental to our environment and wildlife.
What are your thoughts on fashion and how we can make more sustainable choices?
Fashion is such a crazy topic, I am at an age, and live in a world where people are obsessed with what everyone else wears. Brands are competing with each other at a crazy rate, and it’s a world that is a dark vortex if you are caught up in it. The coolest thing about some fashion labels at the moment is the effort to be more sustainable, and eco-friendly. Which everyone should be! Some of the materials available are incredible, such as hemp.
I love wearing nice clothes too, (the tomboy in me knows that is usually denim shorts and an oversize shirt, haha) If I buy anything, I choose wisely, and same goes for any companies I promote.
Quality over quantity, I choose things that I see myself wearing in 10 years, maybe 20. Majority of my wardrobe is clothing items which I inherited from my mum, or found in op-shops and have never let go of. The rest are sustainable high-quality materials which I wear all the time, and will for a long time.
What do you think young people look for in brands? How important is authenticity and transparency?
Well, I like to think people think about where clothes come from, but I know it is not the case for the majority, although it is becoming much more well known to buy sustainably, and that is great news. I think many young people look to what is in-fashion, and often quality and ethical level of products is sacrificed there. You can be ethical, and trendy though, you just have to search a little harder.
Where is your favourite place to be in the world and why?
That is a question I find extremely hard to answer, I think it’s a tie, between the rugged, remote, and pristine coastlines I call home in South Australia, surfing with my friends and family, free-diving with Australian Sea Lions and the starriest skies by campfires you have ever seen.
The other half of me lives for the Ningaloo Reef, a place I am based for most of the year nowadays, where I spend more time at sea than on land, the underwater world mesmerises me around every corner and you never need a wetsuit, well rarely.
Home for me, is where I can surf, my dog can play on the beach and I don’t need to stop at any traffic lights on the way there or back. Growing up in small coastal towns, with open space, is something that I know I will always go back to, it’s a part of me, and although the city is a nice place to visit, it isn’t where I will ever belong.
You have raised a beautiful kangaroo Bunji, can you tell us a little about her and what this relationship has meant to you?
Bunji is a story that is too long for any interview, maybe too long for any words. She came into my life and flipped it upside down, I have always been involved in rescuing wildlife, and love animals, but she taught me the truest strength, dedication, and the bond I have with her is one we will have for life. Bunji, now lives at Two Songs Sanctuary, in South Australia, a place we decided to help support at Balu Blue Foundation from the moment we started the transition Bunji there, and we have helped the owners, to make it become the beautiful rescue property it is today.
Being in my early 20’s, we didn’t have sufficient land, or resources at the time to provide an appropriate forever home to Bunji, although for most of her days she would choose the lounge over a patch of grass.
Bunji was two weeks old when she came into my life, and from that day forward came an amazing success story, not without challenges of course, but it was a success, and lit a fire inside of me, to always have room in my life for what came into my path. Two years on, Balu Blue Foundation has supported Bunji and her 16 other rescue kangaroo friends at the sanctuary, and with her story, I will be releasing a book, educating people about what I learnt about these amazing animals, and what we can do to help them, along with always being there for Bunji, and the other animals at Two Songs.
Looking forward what legacy would you like to leave behind?
To be known as courageous, driven, and dedicated. As someone who saw the world, the wild, and shared its stories, its beauty, but most importantly it’s challenges, that inspired others to live in a way to help the planet, so it can be there for future generations to come. I believe when people see things for themselves, they naturally want to protect it, want to share its stories, it’s something that became so clear to me when I finished my degree, experiencing things shows you what your purpose is, and the path you want to go down.
I aim for whomever chooses to follow in my footsteps to see their lives and the planet as not two separate things, but moving in unison. To never look past the small things, to always do what feels right, even if it’s inconvenient, going back to pick up that bit of plastic, pulling over to move that lizard off the road, have empathy, and remember that we share this earth, it is not ours.
Who do you admire and why?
I admire many people, both in the conservation space and out of it. I admire driven people, because I understand how hard it can be to follow our passions, our dreams and to achieve our goals, especially when you set the bar high for yourself.
I admire people who can merely observe nature, and tell its stories, because it can be so hard to do this at times. The top of this list, is without a doubt, David Attenborough. Someone who has been a captivating voice for the planet, for decades, telling the earths stories in a way that inspired so many to see it for themselves, from their living rooms, and to see the world from animals perspectives, all the way to the tiniest insect, he is still the best story teller I have ever watched, and the best thing about his stories is that they are all true.