Jo participated in the Be Your Own Shero Series and this is her story in her words.

Jo's story

I would love to hear your story! What are the experiences that shaped who you are today?

I went through a marriage breakup as many women do, as my husband at the time had an affair.  I felt so worthless, I had a daughter to support, had no self-esteem and it took me many years to get my head around things that had happened.  I finally sorted myself out and realised I had to look after me, and started off a journey which resulted in me losing 28kg.  My story if I were to write it would not be about the breakup but about the journey I took in trying to find myself.  And the importance especially as a woman in trying to believe in yourself and have faith that some things happen for a reason.

Tell about the time in your life when you felt the most powerful?

After I lost my weight.  I felt fabulous and for once I really loved me.  I felt so self-confident and actually in control of my life lol.  It also made such a difference to my new relationship and my daughter as well.

What is your inner attribute that you like the most?

My empathy towards others.  I really care for my family and friends and feel so lucky to have them. 

What words of wisdom, based on your personal experience, would you like to share with others who struggle to see their own worth?

We beat ourselves up day after day and put so much pressure on ourselves.  We really need to take one day at a time and celebrate the positives and realise we’re a whole heap stronger than what we think. 

Are you at ease with your own body and age?

LOL, not yet.  I have put a bit of weight back on especially since Covid.  BUT, I’ve started again to take it off and I know what to do and will achieve getting back to where I was.  I turn 50 next year but I still feel 25 in my mind 😂  Most people can’t believe I’m 49 and it really is just a number.    It’s only on the days I start wearing glasses from the supermarket to read my book that I realise I may be in denial about getting older 😂

What would you try to do if you felt that you couldn’t fail?

Get back into my artwork.  I sold some pieces a few years back but became my own worst critic and are taking a break as I also work full time.  I’d stop worrying about what people thought and really let the creative juices flow. 

Research shows that strong, smart women want to know that the work they do is significant, meaningful and embodies their highest potential. What do you think?

Yes, I would agree.  It’s empowering when you feel like you’ve achieved something, worked hard and done a great day’s work that is appreciated and that you are making a difference.  I try and do that every day at our family business. 

Who are the women that you find inspiring and have influenced you in some way?

My friends are really inspiring and for so many reasons.  Some because they are really creative and our artistic creative flair comes out when we’re together and it inspires me.  Others because of the hardships they’ve gone through and come out the other side.  They are amazing and show me their strength every day.  And others because they are such hard workers and go getters.  They show me what can be achieved.  All of them mean a lot to me and I really appreciate having them in my life.

Jo's Story

When was the last time you invested in yourself? What do you do to let your hair down?

I actually did today.  I had the day off so I caught up with 2 friends then treated myself to a facial.  It was awesome.  To let my hair down?  We don’t go out a lot but I love to be creative so if I’m doing something like that, I’m in my happy place.  Or having dinner and drinks with friends.

Why are beautiful photos important for you right now?

Because I’m not back at my goal weight I really want to see that beauty in myself again.  Deep down I need that little self-esteem push again.

Have you been professionally photographed before? If so, is there something you would have liked to be improved?

Only for family portraits.  Would love to get some tips on looking relaxed and having that sex appeal going on lol.  I want to be proud of what I do no matter what it is.

Editor’s Note :

Jo and I got on like a house of fire probably because we had a few things in common and conversation becomes easy when we are with someone who ‘gets’ where you’re coming from. It took a little while for Jo to relax in front of the camera but once she did, she slayed her session and was posing like a pro.

To overcome guilt, shame and pain after going through marital infidelity and to rise and shine self-confidently is no mean feat. She not only did achieve that, she also found her ideal partner to whom she is married to now and is a source of inspiration to all around her.

He empathy and large-heartedness really shines through her eyes. And by the end of the session I felt like I had found a friend.

May the future bring all that’s beautiful and joyful, dear Jo. ♥

Jo's story