Wellness Wednesday: a parasol is a lethal weapon…

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…against wrinkles, anyway. When I lived in Japan, where most women are fairly fanatical about keeping their faces out of the sun, I started copying them and now carry an umbrella with UV protection wherever I go (even to breakfast, if necessary!).

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Yes, back in Australia I get odd looks and kids saying “Mummy, why is that lady carrying an umbrella? It’s not raining” as I walk past. But with two in three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 (more fun facts like that here) I don’t really care if people think I’m strange (they probably think that because of what I’m wearing a lot of the time anyway!).

Admittedly, it’s more for vanity than health that I keep my umbrella with me at all times. The sun – particularly in Australia – is so ageing, and I want to avoid wrinkles as long as I can. Being half Asian, I’m also prone to pigmentation spots, which are caused by sun exposure. And even if you’re not too worried about that kind of thing, on hot days, a parasol keeps you about a million degrees cooler than if you were walking around fully exposed to the sun. Yep, I’m fairly much the poster girl for parasols. Literally.

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OK, so the backstory to this magazine cover is not exactly related to this post, but 10 years on, it still cracks me up. I was the coordinator for husband-wife photographers Len Jenshel and Diane Cook when they came out to shoot Japanese gardens for Conde Nast Traveler magazine so booked the model, organised their itinerary, got permission from the gardens and temples for them to shoot and so on. They went off and shot in Kyoto with the model, then I met up with them to take them around Kanazawa and Tokyo. In a few of the shots, Len asked me to stand in just to provide a figure in the landscape. Like this (wearing a top I made from vintage kimono fabric).

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And then who ended up on the cover? The professional model in beautiful designer fashion? No, me, in a $1 op shop skirt, $5 tops I got at a sample sale, and thongs (hey, you can take the girl out of Australia…)… Fairly sure that was the cheapest cover outfit of any Conde Nast publication ever!

I didn’t realise until just now when I Googled their site that they had the photos up. I’m thinking that this photo might be of me also – in fact, it has to be, because we were the only ones in the gardens at some crazy time like 5.30am – but I don’t remember having a coat like that. Obviously carrying an umbrella around doesn’t protect your brain from premature ageing… but it WILL save your skin!!

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