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model mum




When my job turns into a family day out at the beach and the campaign images become some of my favourite family portraits it’s sometimes hard to believe I get paid for this. Don’t get me wrong though, rolling around on the beach with my baby girl, snacking on chocolate and spending the afternoon with my husband is still really hard work.

Jokes aside, the afternoon was spent shooting the newest campaign for Hey Baby’s bamboo swaddle range with Miss V being the star of the show (obviously). Clocking up her fourth job so far she’ll be sitting on a sweeter retirement than Georges and I in no time.

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After loading up the car with all the essentials (essentials being a rusk, her floppy bunny and sultanas a.k.a my life savers) in jumped mummy, daddy, baby and grandma and we headed for the beautiful Cronulla beach.

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Now for those who don’t know Georges has surprisingly good knowledge of hair and make up. I mean he did grow up with 3 older sisters and has worked in the fashion industry for over 12 years so you’d think something would have stuck. That being said, without hair and make up on set Georges took it upon himself to become my unofficial/official hair stylist. But it didn’t stop there….

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“In the words of GWEN STEFANI, hey baby, hey baby, HEY!”

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Where ever there’s a camera there’s a Georges Antoni not far behind. I could quite literally see his fingers twitching, aching to get involved. Not one to sit back and watch all the action he was right in there with scrims, hair flicking, swaddle wrapping and baby entertaining. Photography is quite literally in his blood whether he likes it or not. And Jack took it all in his stride. At one point he lent over to me and said, “I can’t quite believe Georges Antoni is assisting me!”

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Now I’ve been asked on several occasions whether or not I think putting Valentina to work is the right thing to do. First of all it’s not something I sought out. I used to bring Valentina to my jobs when she was much younger and I was still heavily breastfeeding. It was on one of these jobs that I got asked by the client if Valentina would be able to model for them and if she had representation. So I put it to my agency who said they could represent her on my behalf and I decided to give it go. Of course there were and still are things I take into consideration. Firstly, where is the job? Inside, outside, 1 hour away or 20 minutes away? What time of day do they want to shoot? 6am, 7am, 12pm or 9pm? And with regards to length of time, the industry has imposed a 4 hour limit for children her age. All of this goes towards making my final decision and whether or not is will be safe and comfortable for Valentina. All I want is for her to enjoy herself and as a bonus we get some incredible photos that we can cherish forever. Until the day comes and she turns around and says to me, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” (and her wishes I will whole heartedly respect and honour) then I see no harm in hanging out together, having our photo taken and in the meantime filling up her bank account. By the time her 18th birthday rolls around then we’ll see who’s the annoying, embarrassing, ‘you never do anything for me’, mum.

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So after 4 hours working on my tan……….oh sorry, working, we wrapped (get it) a fun, relaxed, beautiful, family filled shoot. It’s days like these that I really love my job but more so that I really love my family. Proud mama, proud wifey and proud daughter in law (there’s no photographic evidence but Georges mum Mona was doing an excellent job holding fort). Now for the car ride home and thankfully being carried all day was exhausting for Miss V and she slept like a baby all the way to Bondi.

You can purchase the new swaddles at the website linked below.

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Photographer: Jack Steel
Stylist/Client: Melanie Ekermans
Unofficial Hair Stylist and Photographer Assistant: Georges Antoni


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Is it wrong of me to have looked forward to spending a day at work? Doing something away from the routine of motherhood? Indulging in something that I love without my baby girl? I'm sure we all have different answers but my answer is no. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't miss her or think about her or request photo updates from Georges (see picture below right) but I do believe that it's important for a mother to have time on her own, time to refresh, time to reflect, time to replenish and time to re-energise. Surely it can only make you a better mother which can only result in a happier baby. 

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Saying goodbye to my little cherub was made all the more easy knowing that she was in good hands. Georges was also rather vocal about how excited he was to spend a whole day indulging in fatherhood. Something he (and she) experience very rarely. I think dads can get left out of the picture all too easily and I know how much Georges misses her when he has to go to work. Now it was my turn to feel how he feels. However, I loved knowing that he was able to spend some quality daddy/daughter time with her and spoil her like the daddy's girl that she totally is!

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"A model mum, OR a mum that MODELS?"

So, back to the job at hand. Cashmere Essentials were my wonderful client today. As you can see from the rack below it was no mean feat but jumping back on set was like riding a bike. I loved getting back in front of the camera and it felt good knowing I was out working and doing what I could to contribute financially to my family.

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The wonderful and very fortunate thing about modelling is that it doesn't have to be a daily grind. I can shoot as much or as little as I choose which means I get to balance being a mum and a model in a way that suits Georges and I. Of course not having any family in Sydney means that it's pretty much all down to Georges and I to juggle that illusive work/life/parent balance. 

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So this is the photo that I asked Georges to send me when the pain of missing her was getting just a little too much. Asleep and happy, all a mum could ask for. 

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A couple of hours after lunch I began feeling my boobs slowly swelling and filling up with milk. I'm pretty sure I grew a whole cup size in the time I was on set. It never occurred to me that even though Valentina would be fine, what with her grand supply of bottled breast milk, I on the other hand still needed to release the pressure. My boobs felt like a time bomb ready to explode. Cue freak out! Of course all thoughts led to mastitis and I was seriously considering running to the bathroom to hand expressing into the sink. As my fellow mums will know this is like flushing away liquid gold. Not the ideal solution but when the choice is that or infection I know which one I'd rather take. 

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Lucky for me (and my bulging breasts) Georges and Valentina dropped in to say hi so without hesitation out popped my boob and on popped Valentina. OMG! The relief was incredible. Lesson learnt. If I'm going to do this whole working mum thing then I need to either pump on set or bring V with me. I think I know which one everyone on set would prefer.

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I really did love getting back on set. It felt good to do what I loved prior to having Valentina. Of course it doesn't compare the amazing job of being Valentina's mum but every now and again I don't think it will hurt to be model instead of mum for a day. 


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