Avon: Q&A with Sally Obermeder – Breast Cancer Crusade Ambassador
Australian media personality, television presenter and best-selling author Sally Obermeder is also an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. With Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming to a close, our Editor Bahar Etminan caught up with her good friend to learn more about her new role as an Ambassador for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, her battle with cancer and everything that inspires her.
RESCU: You are a picture of beauty and health and now an Ambassador for Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. What is your relationship with this global beauty brand?
Sally Obermeder: First of all, thank you! I’ve been a fan of Avon ever since I was younger. I remember my mother bringing home a catalogue one day and I would just sit there and flip through it and pick out all the stuff I liked. It wasn’t until further down the track that I developed a really personal connection with the brand. When I found out from my oncologist that the research that she used came from the Avon funded trials groups, I just couldn’t believe it. It’s so wonderful to think that when you buy Avon Breast Cancer Crusade products, you are directly helping to fund the research that saves lives.
RESCU: What is Beauty for a purpose and why were you compelled to give back?
Sally Obermeder: ‘Beauty For a Purpose’ is basically a new way of talking about an idea that’s always been a part of Avon’s story, which is that the world needs more empowered women! Financial independence is the most important driver of women’s empowerment, and for over 125 years Avon has provided women with an earning opportunity. It only recently that I found out that Avon began as a tiny fragrance company, run by just handful of women. Now it’s one of the biggest beauty companies in the world. That’s why I am so proud to be a part of ‘Beauty For a Purpose.’ I want to be a part of that movement, which allows women to not only dream big but also have the means to make those dreams come true. I have been so blessed to be able to do all the things that I’ve done. At the same time though, I’m a big believer in creating your own luck and I think it’s really important that we then pass on our good fortune to help others.
RESCU: Cancer is a remote concept until it touches someone you love. You were diagnosed with aggressive form of breast cancer just before having your first child. What steps did you take to cope with this information and treatment that followed?
Sally Obermeder: At first, it was hard to cope. I was in utter shock. Then came the grief. I was absolutely lost, I cried all the time and really struggled to accept it. For the
For about 2 months I just went through the motions – scans, tests, mri’s, blood tests, swabs – I was poked and prodded and I went blindly where they told me to go. I was in shock for such a long time. Once the shock had passed and the grief had eased, I began to move into acceptance. It was at this point I really turned the corner. I started to look for the fighter inside, and I found her. I was determined. But it was hard. There were many, many days where I didn’t have the strength – physically, mentally, or emotionally – to fight. That’s when I realised that I actually needed all the support my friends and family were trying to give me. As women, we naturally look after others so it can be hard to take a step back and say please help me, but the truth is, you really need it sometimes! And that’s okay. For me, it was saying can someone please watch Annabelle after I’ve put her to bed so Marcus and I can walk around the corner and have dinner together. Other times, I just wanted my sister to just come and watch tv with me! It’s the combination of finding the fighter from within and also being loved and supported that helps you get through.
RESCU: What are the life lessons that you cherish from this experience?
Sally Obermeder: The first would be that if you need help, ask for it! It’s okay to admit that you can’t do everything yourself. It doesn’t make you any less of a person. Secondly, I learnt the true value of close friends and family. Having such a supportive group surrounding me at such a difficult time played a major role in my recovery and continues to fuel my success today. Last but not least, never give up!
RESCU: What do women most frequently ask you about your experience with cancer and being a high profile survivor?
Sally Obermeder: I think what most people want to know is simply how I did it. They want to know how I found the strength and what motivated me to keep going. Being sick and in the spotlight can be hard, but it also gives you a chance to provide a kind of indirect support for other women going through the similar things. I think it helps when they learn that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for me either. It was a horrible, ugly, raw experience that took a lot of strength to overcome. So when women ask me about how I got through it, I think what they really want to know is how they can find their own inner fighter. They might not be going through Cancer, but it could be something else just as emotionally draining. They’re looking for support, which I am always happy to give!
RESCU: Who or what inspires you in your career?
Sally Obermeder: I can’t help but be inspired by strong, successful female entrepreneurs. It’s so motivating to see women who know what they want and just go out and get it! In particular, I find Emma Isaacs, Lisa Messenger, Giuliana Rancic and Jessica Alba quite motivating from a career perspective.
RESCU: Who or what inspires you as a mother?
Sally Obermeder: Annabelle inspires me in new ways everyday. It’s really helpful, especially when I’m feeling pulled in a million directions, that none of it actually matters in comparison to being her mum. I also find a lot of inspiration from other women. I’ve always believed that there’s always something to learn from everyone you meet.
RESCU: Who or what inspires you as a woman?
Sally Obermeder: The most inspiring thing to me is women empowering other women. Some of us might have very different stories and very different paths in life, but when it comes down to it we all share something very special. No matter what our individual goals are, everybody wants to be successful in life and everybody wants to be happy. With the right support from each other, we can all achieve our dreams. I am a big believer that there is plenty of room for everyone.
RESCU: Health and wellbeing are a huge part of your lifestyle and long before Fitspo was a hashtag! When did you discover the importance of nutrition and fitness?
Sally Obermeder: There has been two major turning points in my life that led me down the path of health and fitness. When I was a bit younger I was stuck in a job I hated and ended up getting really stressed out. Food was kind of like my escape. After putting on almost 35 kilos, I made the decision to start eating clean, whole foods and slowly but surely, I began to feel like myself again. Then when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 37, that’s when my health really took a turn for the worst. My body took a really thorough beating and the recovery was slow and painful. I had to completely rebuild my body from the inside out. That’s where green smoothies came in – with green smoothie helped me shed over 15kg that I had put on during pregnancy and chemo, they helped my skin to glow again, my hair and nails to grow back and best of all, to get a tonne of energy and the spring back in my step. Green smoothies have been a total game-changer for me.
RESCU: Can you share your typical day on a plate from breakfast to dinner?
Sally Obermeder: I try to always start my day with a Super Green Smoothie. It’ll either be a recipe from our book, or else one of the ones from our monthly ’30-day Super Green Smoothie Challenge.’ Mid-morning I’ll usually have a skinny macchiato.
For lunch, if I have the time, I’ll whip up a big salad or something earlier in the week and keep the leftovers for lunches. Most of the time though, I’ll just buy something. It could be anything from Mexican to Italian to Lebanese to Japanese or even just a hot chicken roll! I really just go with how I feel.
For dinner I try to stick by the formula – five to six serves of veggies, one serve of protein and one serve of carbs. So that’ll be something like steamed fish, veggies and brown rice or my specialty – prawn curry!
RESCU: What are your three essential beauty products for summer?
Sally Obermeder: Avon Smooth Mineral Powder Foundation, Avon’s Ultra Colour Lip Crayon in Notice Me Nude and for skin ModelCo Rosehip oil.
Author: Bahar Etminan
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of DSA