Sunday, March 3, 2024

Bold, Brave and Being Blissfully Themselves: How Jess Tyson, Gennady Sharpe and Vanessa Goodson Turned Their Big Dreams into Beautiful Reality

Capsule x PUMA

“Follow your dreams” – it’s a lovely phrase we’ve all heard hundreds of times before, but what no one actually tells you is how. In reality, following your long-held dreams means hard work, sacrifice and a whole lot of determination, no matter what your heart’s desire might be.

And for women it means pulling on your sneakers (what boss woman wears heels anymore?!) grabbing your phone and getting out in the real world to hustle – and no one knows that more than superstar Kiwi women Jess Tyson, Gennady Sharpe and Vanessa Goodson.

From using their own experiences of life’s toughest situations, through to unwavering determination, strength and resilience, these three mana wāhine are out to change the world – one stylish step at a time.

So, to celebrate the launch of the PUMA Cali Dream, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to actually turn a big dream into a beautiful reality – no matter what life throws at you.

Gennady Sharpe: Influencer and advocate for domestic violence, mental health and self-love

“An abusive relationship left me damaged… but now I’ve helped almost 100 women out of unhealthy situations”

I’ve always been passionate about helping others, but I never really knew what I wanted to help them with. After going through a very dark part of my life and escaping an abusive relationship, I realised the road to recovery after leaving isn’t straight forward.

I was left very damaged and struggled with body image issues and anxiety and depression. I looked into it and saw how much of a massive issue we have here in New Zealand and I felt like this was my calling to help. I wished I had followed someone on social media who spoke about important topics and was unapologetically themselves, so I decided to become this person for women and men to follow and relate to someone they can reach out to ask questions and feel like their feelings are valid. Today, I’ve spoken and talked with 92 women on my social media platform and helped them leave unhealthy relationships.

The way I found my passion is different from a lot of women, but between finding your passion and making it happen, there’s a lot of hurdles – for me I obviously knew I wanted to help and share my story, but it then required getting a platform and people listening and following along with my journey.

Balance for me is so important. I used to struggle with this and it used to cause me huge anxiety. I have my own brand/ business, plus I work full time – plus the spending time with family and friends and exercising. I used to try and fit it all into a day and try tick all my boxes but there was no balance. I have since taught myself I can say no to invites to things and stay at home, I don’t need to go to the gym everyday and I need to put my phone down and spend quality time with my loved ones.

Exercising is a great way to do that and how I get a little confidence injection. I always say I don’t exercise to lose weight, I exercise for my mind. The moment you take the pressure out of exercise, I’m just like, “Damn I’m a queen, look at me killing goals!”.

I have always been bold and loud and very much my own person. It does takes courage to be bold though – I remember the first time I posted a photo of my stretch marks online, talking about loving my body, I received so much love and kindness it encouraged me to keep being bold and being real. We spend so much of our lives afraid to be ourselves and hiding who we really are, the moment we are truly ourselves, a huge weight is lifted.

Jess Tyson: Founder of Brave NZ, Miss World New Zealand 2018 and Celebrity Treasure Island contestant

“Make the most of all the opportunities thrown your way if you want to find your ‘why’ – it might be somewhere you least expect”

It takes courage to be bold – and to be bold, you have to have a really strong sense of self. It means really knowing yourself, feeling confident in who you are and not comparing yourself to others – and not caring what they think of you. 

Over the years I’ve had experiences that have made me feel unaccepted, different from the rest and a little insecure. These experiences include being very shy in school; not being able to speak te reo Māori even though I’m Māori; looking more Pākeha than Māori and not feeling accepted as a Māori wāhine and competing overseas at international beauty pageants and comparing myself to so many other beautiful women in the world. But since I’ve experienced all of those feelings, I’ve built a very thick skin and now I understand I’m different and I love who I am no matter my differences. Because of that I’m able to express who I am and be bold without any worries in mind.

Now, I’m passionate about telling Māori news stories because I love being able to share how incredible our people and culture is.

I remember I first became interested in becoming a journalist when I went to a student career conference during high school. Before then I always thought it would be too hard or competitive to become a journalist, and growing up in a small town would provide barriers to how far I could go. But a speaker changed my mind when she said it was possible – you just have to chase the dream and be a go-getter.

And that’s what I’ve done – but not just in journalism. When it comes to finding your ‘why’, my advice would be to try out different things and take up as many opportunities as you can to find it. For me, some of those included entering a teen beauty pageant at 15, which later led to me becoming Miss New Zealand, and building the courage to start my sexual harm prevention charity Brave. As part of this charity I share my story about overcoming being a victim of child sexual abuse which has helped and made an impact in the lives of other people who have also been victims. Helping others through Brave is a massive purpose of mine.

Entering pageants and studying te reo Māori are experiences that have put me completely out of my comfort zone, but if I didn’t take up those opportunities I wouldn’t have found these things in life that I’m most passionate about. Don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone to find what you’re most passionate about.

Vanessa Goodson: Businesswoman and The Apprentice NZ winner

“It took too many burnouts to figure out balance – but launching my own business was the best decision I ever made”

My goal is to wake up each morning and feel overwhelmed with gratitude about the life I have created – and I’m so committed to that! 

We all see a lot posts online about ‘finding your passion’ – and that can come with a lot of pressure. But I think it’s just that thing you do that makes you happy, you know, the thing you would do for free. Don’t feel pressured to have a ‘passion’ or start a business, but if there’s something on your mind, I really suggest focusing on what you love and always being yourself. By doing more of what you love, even if it doesn’t bring you money (just yet), it will really improve your mental health. And that is priceless.

The first moment I had an ‘aha’ career moment was at a careers expo at school, and I found myself at the Travel Careers and Training stand all day asking questions about ‘becoming a flight attendant’. I left school and worked my a** off towards finally becoming a flight attendant, and at 19 years old I had my dream job.

And then, nine years into my flying career, I had another moment in which I decided to hang up my wings to pursue my new dream of becoming my own boss at OMG Ness Styling! It was the scariest but most empowering decision I have ever made.

I’m busy, so I 100% believe in balance and it is still something I have to manage to this day! I have come a long way from when I first started the business – now, I make sure my soul cup is full and that I’m are taking time to rest. Rest is productive. It took me many burnouts to figure that one out! 

And of course, for that little confidence boost, I do all the self-care things that make me feel good like lash appointments, selfies and photo shoot! Sometimes I just need to look in the mirror and remind myself that I am a bad b*tch!

Now, the big dream is to take OMGNESS nationwide, perhaps internationally and also to launch all the other business ideas I dream of dream of daily…. you know that “multiple streams of income’’ lifestyle sis!

Global sports brand PUMA are ready for a playful rebellion – and we mean, after 2021, who isn’t?! With the ambition of inspiring young women to embrace the joy of being themselves, the Cali Dream joins the PUMA Cali franchise. The Cali Dream is bold and dreamy, with a stacked sole and soft pastels. It’s made for those who know that the real glow up is internal, and confidence comes from within.

Being part of PUMA’s global She Moves Us platform, Cali Dream celebrates women who have moved culture and sports forward. Check out @pumanewzealand on Instagram for more.

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