In a year synonymous with celebrating the achievements of women, today I am launching a new series on my blog which will feature interviews with Fabulous Females on their motivations, their challenges and of course all the fabulous bits in between.
First on the pedestal is 60 year old model Alex Bruni, aka Alex B.
Renowned in the fashion world for her distinctive long white hair, Alex has represented some of the top fashion brands worldwide and appeared on the front cover of many of our favourite and leading fashion magazines.
With such fabulous fashion credentials, it is perhaps not surprising then that Alex is featured in the documentary film Timeless Beauty (2018), which takes a look at fashion and changing ideas of beauty together with a host of ‘atypical’ models.
There is, however, more to Alex than meets the eye, it’s not all long silver hair … she is truly a woman of many talents and that is not any exaggeration.
Previously a university lecturer, Alex holds a PhD in art history/archaeology and although she does not practise, she is also a trained dance and movement psychotherapist.
If that is not enough, when she is not modelling Alex also writes her own blog The Real Does Not Efface Itself and is currently writing a book for the global fashion series of Bloomsbury Publishing, based on research she has done in Indonesia as a Fellow at Ecole Française d’Extreme Orient in Jakarta.
Phew! She is truly a fabulous female in my eyes and because I know the answers already, I challenge anyone to find a better motto to live by than hers…. over to Alex
- Who is your role model?
I find the idea of role models a bit overrated. One is often consumed with the idea of emulating someone and that can foster envy and jealousy. Throughout my life there have been people I have looked up to and no doubt there will be others in the future, but the real role model is the one within. In my opinion it is mandatory that we should respect ourselves. Somebody told me once, that if you set yourself the highest standards, people will look up to you. Always wear your invisible crown, in other words ….be a queen.
- What motivates you?
I like challenging myself. I have to admit I am very competitive but over the years I have learnt to compete with myself alone and developed self discipline as a result. Telling myself “I want to achieve this, let’s get to work” and giving myself goals, is the best motivation. It’s fun. It can be anything. I recently set myself the goal of mastering the splits and I have achieved it. Add to this, I am ready to die any time and I mean it – in the knowledge that I have attempted to make the most of my life, with whatever I have been handed out.
- What are the values you hold dearest in life?
Self respect, courtesy, commitment, compassion, gratitude, integrity, tolerance and patience. I try to practise these virtues but patience is the most difficult of the lot.
- What has been your biggest challenge so far & how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was completing my PhD which required extensive travel to remote areas, to study the iconography of narrative reliefs found on ancient Indian and Javanese temples. This was made harder by the fact that early on into my journey I split up from my husband and thus travelled throughout Asia on my own with a toddler in tow. Believe me a woman travelling alone with a child on a shoe string budget does not have it easy but I did it, through sheer determination. After completing my PhD and working as a researcher, the trips we undertook over the following years until my son was about ten years old, were very formative for both of us and I often have to remind myself of that when I feel particularly low. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
- What is your proudest moment?
This may sound very clichéd but my proudest moment was holding my new born baby in my arms. Even after three decades it is my most precious memory. It was a difficult birth because he was a breech baby, but the moment he was given to me I was the happiest and proudest woman on earth.
- What motto do you live by?
Acheronta movebo . The longest version is ‘Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo’ which is what Juno says in Virgil’s Aeneid. Taking some slight liberties with the Latin, it can be translated as ‘if I cannot bend the will of Heaven, I shall dare to move Hell (the Acheron)’. Heaven and Hell can be open to interpretation. Freud used it very aptly in the “Interpretation of Dreams.” It is more than a motto. It is a mission statement with regard to my life and how I want to live it.
- What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Learn to recognise envy and jealousy, your own and that of others’ towards you and side step it as insubstantial. Know that nothing ever stays the same, things are constantly changing. You cannot control what happens to you but you can certainly control the way you react, so learn to be more in control of how you respond to people, situations, obstacles and challenges. It is a lifelong lesson.
- Who gave you the best advice and what was it?
Something that Marcus Aurelius said in the Meditations which my Latin teacher in high school was fond of quoting “We are each of us stronger than we think”.
- How would your friends describe you?
I think they all have a different view and opinion of me! Basically they must like me or they would not still be my friends .
- What makes you laugh out loud?
A clever joke, a punchline. Not laugh out loud as in RLOL but it certainly makes me smile.
- What would your autobiography be called?
I would not write an autobiography. I would regard it as a waste of time. I would write my own epitaph but since I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered at sea there would not be much point.
- What does midlife mean to you?
Just another moment, another phase in my life. I was a baby, a child, a teen, a young woman and midlife is something that happens and then changes into old age, unless you die before getting there.
- What would be your desert island essential?
Oh dear this is a difficult one. If battery power and Wifi were not an obstacle I would like to have some classical music to listen to and would take my iPod with a playlist of my favourite composers, foremost among them Mozart. Then several books, say ten – please do not make me agonise now on which ones and a mix of essays and novels but that would require a lot of thinking and rethinking before arriving at a final selection. A bikini (although I may not need it at all) and a small mirror, to look at myself from time to time and a pair of tweezers, not to pluck my eyebrows but because tweezers are always useful and I always carry them in my bag.
- What makes you feel fabulous?
A post workout shower (or bath if I want to indulge), clean hair and a big smile .
- In your own words – a fabulous female is ..
…”a woman happy in her own skin.”
What do you think of Alex’s motto? If you have enjoyed reading her story please let me know in the comments and if you want to continue to find out more about her you can follow her here:
Twitter : @AlexB244
Instagram : @alexb244
Editor’s Note : Photos courtesy of Plume Creative.