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Catriona – “The 40 over 40 Women’s Portrait Campaign” #3

Catriona, 47

Catriona Ross is the author of the novels The Last Book on Earth, The Presence of Peacocks, Little Diamond Eye, and The Love Book, as well as An Uncommon Gift: the story of the South African Bone Marrow Registry and the lives changed by stem cell donation. She was features editor on O, The Oprah Magazine, and Cosmopolitan, and has written articles for several publications including Psychologies, Men’s Health, Woman & Home, Good Housekeeping, and Women’s Health.

Catriona had contacted me about doing a mother and daughter session, after seeing a photoshoot I’d taken of her friend, Bronwyn, shared on Facebook.  When I called her to talk about her shoot, I told her about the campaign, and she signed up for it!  Her adorable daughter Nina, 10, joined her and we had a great time in my studio.  It was an icy Cape Town day, so the tea, hot chocolate, and muffins flowed!

I started off photographing Nina, while Catriona was having her makeover done by Delaney Siebert. I’ve found the best way to get children to relax, is to chat to them about their friends, the movies they love, and things they enjoy doing.  Nina relaxed within minutes, and we had lots of laughs in the studio when the fan came out.  I then did some photos of Catriona and Nina together, and I loved seeing how they connect, and the playful bond they share.   For Catriona’s portraits,  we did a mix of some in lace detailed dresses for the 40 over 40 campaign, and then a few business headshots for her website and social media.

For the campaign, each woman is given a PDF of questions to answer sharing their favourite poems or quotes and some life lessons. Here are some special words shared by Catriona.

I have been described as…

Kind, principled, witty, and disciplined, and one of my best qualities is inspiring others.

I am most proud of…

All the books and articles I’ve written that help people in their lives.

My favourite quote…

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

What advice would I give my 20-year-old self…

Be patient. Things are going to take a lot longer to happen than you imagine.

Learn to meditate. It will help you manage your emotions better.

Train yourself to feel whole and to be self-sufficient in your aloneness.

Keep moving: Keep working on your goals and don’t get discouraged. You will get there.

My thoughts on ageing… 

One can be beautiful at any age. It’s about your attitude, your spirit, your inner fire – that’s ageless.

The goal and dream I still wish to accomplish…

I’d like my self-help book ‘Vital Sight: 10 radical views for a richer life‘ to reach as many people worldwide as possible. See my website for updates on publication.

We all experience many lifetimes in this one life. The most significant changes for me were…

I started consciously working on my weak points, and this boosted my confidence in my job and my career.

The outline of my face started…er…losing definition. Whaaat?! Yes, I was ageing. This was proof. I began taking iron supplements, using natural skin care products and eating sprouts daily (bean, lentil and chickpea sprouts) to boost my health. Success!!

I focused on building a strong, loving, and fun relationship with my daughter.

A story I’d like to share…

I used to dread public speaking, and feel overwhelmed by fear If I had to do it. But a couple of years ago I thought ‘screw it, I can’t let this stand in my way’, and I joined a Toastmasters group. Now I’m far more comfortable with my fear – I don’t think public performance will ever be something I love (although who knows?) but I’ve learned that I can give a perfectly good speech even if I’m a bit nervous.  I have that confidence now. The Toastmasters training really does work. You learn to be more comfortable with your discomfort, and then there’s nothing to be afraid of.

For those inspiring women in their 40’s up to 100, I have 3 spaces left if you wish to be part of the campaign!  The campaign will culminate in a glam exhibition in Cape Town next year July 2022, and each woman will receive a copy of a beautiful magazine, showcasing some of her images, and her story. You are welcome to bring your mom, sister, or daughter(s) to join in with you. Click this link HERE to apply now!

“Isn’t it time you celebrated yourself and existed in printed photos?”



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