I don’t fit into a box!
The other day during a movie I was watching, the lead female actor used the phrase “a woman can wear many hats”. This phrase resonated with me and I feel like it aptly describes me.
I have always enjoyed defying the “norm” and breaking the mould. It is something I have always prided myself on.
From a fashion loving make up wearer, to Scuba Diver; from Game Ranger to lover of all things glitzy; from Touchbok and adrenaline junkie to wannabe model: the definition of who I am or what type of woman I am, has never really had a full stop at the end.
And that is just the way I like it!
I love being underestimated because then I can show you exactly what I’m made of. I’m a real “anything you can do I’ll try do better” kinda gal!
Having an ex Soldier for a Father who desperately wanted sons and got only daughters meant that my childhood was spent learning to box, diving off walls into my Dad’s arms at 2, riding a quad bike at age 4, jumping out of trees on swings, getting my Junior PADI Scuba license at 11 and just about any other crazy thing that I could. In short, I was a tomboy and proud of it too.
However, I also loved to borrow my Mum’s jewelry, get my hair blow waved, wear makeup and play dress up in my Princess dresses – I could be a boy when I needed to and a girl when I wanted to!
I spent a lot of my childhood at our family lodge in the bushveld in Limpopo where we only wore khaki and camo. It was here where my alter ego was born (*enter Ranger Amby from stage left*). From building bunkers between rocky outcrops and strategising military operations with my boy cousins, to playing capture the flag with faces covered in war paint as well as climbing trees and playing with BB guns, in the bush I was, and still am, the son my Dad had always wanted (as were my sisters).
However, as a child, I also modeled for Jet and other brands and starred in a local soapie (TV Show) as the lead actor’s daughter. My Mum sat at every casting with me, did my makeup and dressed me up in the cutest outfits. I think my love for fashion and makeup started long before I could dress myself – thanks to having a super stylish Mum who adored dressing her girls up. My parents always say I was confident beyond my years, always willing to jump onto any stage to sing, dance or perform! I had always hoped to be the next Britney Spears or one of the Spice Girls. A girl can dream!
Growing up with lots of boy cousins meant that I also had to be tough. Whether we were playing stingers in the garden or pool rugby, I needed to be strong enough to play with the boys and be willing to get a bit roughed up at times. These skills would later help me when I started playing Touch Rugby, first in a mixed team and later in a Men’s League.
I went from jumping out of trees to jumping out of planes and/or off of cliffs, I graduated from game spotter to Game Ranger, and also went from pool rugby with my cousins to representing South Africa at the 2015 Touch Rugby World Cup.
I also got to fulfill my dream of modelling when I won the Face of BiBi Rouge by Sabrina Kennedy, and even got to have my picture up in a store when I became the Face of Zuri. Through modelling I found my passion and love for fashion and in turn that lead me to creating this blog. A place to share my stories, my passions and to just be me.
I’ve always loved that I can be anything I want to be. I can be a real girly girl but I can also be rough and tough. I do feel my best when I’m all dressed up but I also love to put the heels and the makeup away and just be me in the bush.
The me who can identify animal tracks in the sand and knows what buffalo dung looks like is the complete opposite to the woman who plans every outfit and loves fashion, but that’s me. I love being able to wear different ‘hats’ and fit into very different circumstances. I love that I can be extremely girly but also be one of the guys.
One thing I’ve learnt is that as women, we really can be anything we want to be. We can challenge the guys, we can rough it if we want to, we can kick ass if we need to but we can get dressed up and be girly, and that is also perfectly fine! No one should ever tell you that you can’t do something, and if they do then that’s the perfect opportunity to do that exact thing. I’m grateful that I was raised to be tough and to stand up for myself but also to be classy and sophisticated.
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like because you are a girl you can’t put on hiking boots and get muddy, or spit impala dung to see how far it can go (yes I’ve done that). We are beautiful, we are strong and we can be whatever we want to be!
So wear whatever hat you want to wear. After all, there are so many to choose from!!
Amber Denae xxx