I have had a challenging life, who hasn’t in their own way! I moved out of home at the age of 17 years old and worked hard at numerous jobs just to pay the rent and get by. I was a model at the age of 14 when still at school.
My funniest job but only on looking back, was modelling for a blow up Tyre tube toy called ‘Thunder tube’ that you floated or drowned on as I nearly did that day!. The photographers decided the best location for the shoot was Tamarama Beach in the middle of Winter, now if anyone knows Tamarama beach, it’s the glamarama place to go but quite a rough turbulent surf and swell at times with a deep drop off before hitting the sand, it was also damn freezing in Winter without a wetsuit!. So there I was a very skinny teenager with big eyes not really know what the hell I was in for. I had stupidly applied makeup to my eyes and did my hair not realizing I would be in that rough surf for 3 hours almost drowning and freezing my tits off, not that I had any at this age ha! So they kept making me go in surf for 3hrs and filmed while I got wiped out by wave after wave. I was shaking from the cold and crying my eyes out! My eyes at this stage turned from pretty big eyes to ghoulish panda bear eyes with thick black bands of smeared non waterproof mascara around them. What a sight I was and of all places, the Glamarama beach which sadly for me did have a few hot looking surfers in wetsuits around me. You can imagine how embarrassed I was. That age you are so sensitive and wish to be pretty and cool, not drowning with red rimmed panda bear eyes and snotty nose! But hell they paid me $50 per hour, back in 1979 that was a great earning, but I wasn’t too sure it was worth nearly drowning and almost catching pneumonia!
I went on to do other modelling jobs, one was a full page in the Daily Telegraph advertising a documentary about runaway girls, that was taken at Circular Quay in Sydney, and easy job as there happened to be a cop car just passing at the right time which added to the theme the photographers wanted. It was also great money for me, $150 an hr! Again it was Winter, August 1980, freezing in a mini skirt and heels but at least it wasn’t a beach shoot, thank god!!
I did a few more jobs, bikini catalogues, went for castings for Puberty Blues, was asked to do a Clearasil ad, this was a pimple clearing cream, but by this point I was a dental nurse by day and sadly did start to get a bad acne breakout only on my forehead. I was SO embarrassed and just couldn’t bring myself to go on TV and show the world my pimples which I hid most of the time under a thick fringe. So stupidly I said no to the couple of grand I would have received as I was up for the job even without a casting interview! How stupid but that’s a sensitive teenager for you! So my agent was unimpressed with my lack of enthusiasm or flexibility so stopped calling me for jobs. I didn’t care as I had a full time job and was living by myself in a tiny flat in Mosman. By this stage at age 17 I had moved out of home due to an insecure Stepmother my father was with who more or less threw me out!!
I was struggling to pay the rent so I worked 3 nights a week in an Italian restaurant which was under the flat where I lived and also 2 more nights across the road at a Greek restaurant. I was a pretty young girl but didn’t last long at the Greek restaurant run by two brothers who would have been in their late 30s Every time I would enter the kitchen to bring dishes or collect orders they would chase me around the kitchen grabbing my hips and groping me!! It was horrendous!! I hated those ugly Greek men! But I was just a naive young girl who didn’t complain or tell her father. I just left, but in hindsight should of reported them. I went onto even worse situations!! Back then I would work 5 days a week dental nursing then travel to Bondi Beach to stay with my mother on the weekends as that was where I had finished my schooling and had some friends. Out one night I met my friend Susie’s new Israeli boyfriend. His name was Alan and he and his brother owned a restaurant in Double Bay opposite Elizas called the Regent restaurant. Well back then it was a cool new place to go and had a great sophisticated bar area and very cheap meals, so it was packed every night always with a queue of people drinking at the bar waiting for their tables. His older brother had a wife who was quite the spitting image of me!! She was the hostess that showed the clients to their tables and more or less controlled the bookings. I can’t remember her name but she was exhausted from working day and night and wanted evenings off. They asked me to be the hostess in the evenings. I was only 17 and it appeared so exciting and elegant to work there so I said yes even though it meant I worked 5 days a week in Mosman dental nursing and that I would need to rush home shower, jump on a bus and train plus a long walk to get to Double Bay what became 6 nights week! I thought of the money I would get so it didn’t matter but of course I blew it all going out and on taxis. I being the young naive girl fell for the 37yr old French Chef Andre,he was a super fit man for his age and to me I was so impressed as he lived in his own little terrace house just up off oxford street near the city. He was oozing in charm and everything French, so different to the young boys I knew that had no money and got stoned on magic mushroom pies or bongs!! So every night after work we would go to his terrace house he would crack open a bottle of French champagne or sparkling and make up a quick French crepe for me and we would have a feast and get smashed. I would then either stay over or catch a taxi back to my tiny unit to be at work by 8am! It took it’s toll working so hard, going out clubbing after work and quite often getting home at 4am nearly every night. One can only sustain that kind of work and fun hours for so long. After 6months I dumped the French Chef realizing he was in love/lust and way too old!! I had fallen for a much more suitable boyfriend Eddie who I met at Rogues Nightclub one night when I was out clubbing with Susie, which was the place to be seen in those days.
Eddie was my first love he was only 22 but he had a car and was so handsome I thought. He was also so very sweet, caring and treated me like a princess.
So I quit both my jobs and moved back home with Mommie Dearest at Bondi to rest and get healthy as I ended up getting so sick, needing weekly Vitamin B injections. I didn’t stay long with Mother even though she always meant well and would be happy to do anything at all for me. We were always verbally and emotionally challenged on any interchange we would attempt!! (Visions of feeling like a mouse corned by a big Wild Cat come to mind, me the mouse!) Or was that just normal teenager/parent relationship!…I ended up moving out again just 6 months later finding a quaint little one bedder unit at Rushcutters Bay just down from Kings Cross and Edgecliff. This is where many more adventures from my youth began. My dear Eddie decided to go overseas with his mates on a big trip of several months so I surprisingly mature for my age said he should go enjoy this trip as a single man. As soon as he left an Italian guy named Natale immediately asked me out. He was all impressive, very tall and handsome, had a nice Alfa Romeo car, he became a financial advisor they made $100,000 a year back then, later he bought a Porsche and a Ferrari and we lived the high life. Well you can imagine how impressed I was as I was still so young only 19! But I had no idea what a player he really was and spent the next 5 years in such an emotionally abusive and insecure relationship with this man. He was a pure narcissistic player. Oh my god that experience took over my life and my dear Eddie returned and I was so torn at the time as I didn’t t know what a cheat Natale was at that stage and there was no way this Italian would let me go!! Even if it meant grabbing me and lifting me high in the air to drag me out of night clubs whenever I would try to leave him. There was a lot worse later after catching him cheating with 3 women that all knew nothing about each other!! But you will wonder why I stayed so long, well this guy had a way of charming anyone he met especially my parents!! Somehow he had convinced them to make me believe he loved me and was sorry. This is a way too long story to tell here about all the events of those 5 years but the final straw was after catching him in bed with a girl and breaking it off he stalked me. One night he found out I was out with a Doctor friend and he was waiting outside my place with an iron bar. When the car drove up and the Doctor said goodbye the iron bar came smashing through the window. Needless to say the Doctor was scared for his life and took off up the road leaving me to fend for myself!! I ran onto the main road at North Sydney and he managed to smash me with it on the back of my legs. I ran and ran jumped in a taxi with him in pursuit went straight to the police, luckily the neighbours heard the noise as the car was smashed all over, it sounded like gunshots, they had already called the police so in tactical response style a horde of police ran in from the street and arrested him!! Mmmm he got charged as you would!! Thank god I got away!! But even when I married a couple of years later that man managed to find out where I lived and called me asking to see me!! God you can imagine my shock!!! I was a little scared he would find my address after already having my phone number! Luckily he didn’t….but wow it just goes to show what can happen to a naive young girl that has to move out of home at such a young age, how impressionable and vulnerable they are. So many challenging things happened back in those days some after leaving home or actually since my father left us at age 12. I have chosen to forget many occasions as they really don’t help me emotionally to remember but yes they have made me the strong person I consider myself to be today.
So if you have a daughter be aware they can go through so much and hide it all from you, try to be there and guide them as much as you can as some young girls experiences can either make them or break them. Thank god they did make me the strong person I am today!