Anne-Maree looked me straight in the eye as she confirmed her next booking would now be with me. Her huge smile expanded when I assured her this would be the case. As the salon door closed behind her, I turned to see the stunned look on the receptionist’s face. “All the other staff struggle with her; she loved you! How did you do that?!”
I replied with a shrug and a smile: “Maybe I’m the first person who didn’t try to change her.”
A few hours earlier I had been asked to help a stylist with a second opinion on her client’s colour. The stylist is a fabulous colour artist; however, she was stumped with how to create an even colour all over for Anne-Maree. You see, set at the centre of Anne-Maree’s hair is an intricate and uniquely-shaped panel of almost perfect creamy white hair, standing out a few shades lighter than the rest of her hair. My stylist was wanting to lighten the majority of her hair and deepen this area to match giving an all over even blonde result, all the while juggling the grey hair spread throughout both sections (trust me as a professional hairdresser – there is no easy answer to this hair combination!)
30 seconds. That’s all it takes around Anne-Maree to feel that she’s different; that there is something very special and beautiful about her that makes her, her. I was so distracted by that vibe that rather than answer the stylists question, I instead asked “Why do you want to make it look like the rest of her hair? Why don’t we instead allow it to stand out and be unique?”
Over a year later Anne-Maree is still my devoted client, wearing the same colour that was created for her that day, walking out of the salon each time with a gorgeous smile on her face, matching the gorgeous panel of creamy hair shining through. Her perfect imperfection that just so happens to look amazing on her.
As a society we are programmed to make everything ‘normal’ and standard. To look for the thing that doesn’t match everything else around us and make it conform. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with that idea.
Show me in nature where everything is even? Show me where it is symmetrical? Show me where everything of its kind is a perfect carbon copy of the one beside it?
Explain to me why we were all born with different features if there was a specific look for us to follow?
Nature wasn’t a stuff up. Nature was a design. Man created ‘normal’, nature understands that there is no such thing.
That day we gave Anne-Maree the permission to be herself. Her own bold, unique, stand-out-from-the-crowd self.
Geeezzz Beth! It’s just hair! You didn’t save her life, you just gave her a colour!
Totally get that thought, I really do. I just so happen to also understand that giving ourselves permission to be who we were naturally born to be is a skill. It is a behavioural choice. It is something you need to develop, to strengthen, and to be devoted to live and breathe daily. Did we do all of that for her? No. We did however inspire her to remember that even in her hair, she has permission to be uniquely herself, the gorgeous creation she was born to be. That she can daily wear her character visible to the world around her. She doesn’t need to hide it. She doesn’t need to blend it in to fit in with everyone else.
Anne-Maree now has a colour so unique to her that no other person will ever have it! She has a feature that is so distinct that it can’t be recreated by anyone else, because it was never created by man, it was created by nature. We simply made the choice to respect, embrace and work with it... just as it was.
How many other people can say that about their colour?
How many people can say that about their character?
Delving into Anne-Maree’s character you reveal such beauty that it is no wonder that even with her hair, she was destined to stand out. Born a strong, independent, bold and courageous character, this woman is someone who is always growing and developing. She leaves no excuses for herself and continues pushing through life at a rapid pace, expanding her skills to achieve her beautiful goals. An inspiring and unstoppable character that knows what she wants and is beyond determined to get there.
Then there is this other side...this beautiful soul that has such a deep empathy for others that she’s turned these character traits into her life passion. She’s designed her life and career around breaking others free from things holding them back by becoming a Life Coach.
When you are around someone who has this kind of energy you can’t help but notice. You can’t help but assess her characteristics and size them up to your own - it’s human nature to do so. In some cases, you can’t help but be intimidated. You can’t help but do this, even if your only interaction with her is to be her hair stylist. If there was anything the previous stylists had been struggling with it was understanding how to deal with the vibe Anne-Maree naturally projects. Managing their own acceptance of it and the comparisons it was forcing them to draw within themselves.
No doubt we all have people in our lives that offer this type of challenge to our thinking. While it’s easy to be challenged by them, there is so much more value in taking the time to understand the beauty that is their strength, and learning how to adapt elements of it to our own lives. While it may not be easy or without some uncomfortable character developing moments, living an intentional, unstoppable life provides us so much freedom!
I for one am so grateful for characters like Anne-Maree, that example and remind us to strive for this within ourselves daily.
We chose a beach sunrise as the setting to display the beautiful character that is Anne-Maree. A woman who starts each day connected to others, with a grounded purpose in mind; a woman whose only boundaries are the edges of her creativity. Using the beach setting, Nicole has expertly captured in the images Anne-Maree’s earthly connection, her inspiring attitude and her productive strength. She has beautifully displayed the energy of a woman who confidently approaches each day getting the most out of it for herself and for others. She is not afraid to be exactly how she is – creamy white streak and all.
All For Mary - Creative Director
Take a look at all of Anne-Maree's images here.
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