wellness

7 people share their unconventional 'before and after’ transformation stories.

John frieda
Thanks to our brand partner, John frieda

Growing up, many of us are taught that transformations are always centred on our physical bodies. 

The push to lose weight, undergo a makeover or change the way we dress starts at an early age. Often around the time we discover that princesses are often told they need a fancy new look in order to find their true love, when they actually possessed that power all along.    

As adults, we now know that the best transformations present themselves in other impactful and meaningful ways, such as changes to our relationships, careers, mental health, and our overall outlook of life.

In order to celebrate the power of transformations, in all forms, John Frieda has launched the Cinderella Transformation Competition. You can win a transformational experience valued at $20K including travel and shopping for both you and a friend, assisted by celebrity hair and make-up artist Jade Kisnorbo and stylist Deni Todorović of Style by Deni

We want you and your loved one to feel ready to take on anything. When you feel amazing, it's your superpower.

To celebrate this, Jade and Deni, along with others in the Mamamia community, have shared their own transformation stories and how they changed their lives.

Deni on transforming how the world sees you.

"Last year I came out as non-binary and it completely transformed my life; the way I identify and the way I present, dress myself, and do my make-up. It was an all-encompassing transformation. 

"Prior to that, I was coming out of another transitional moment in my life. Prior to all of this happening I had moved from Sydney to Geelong after Cosmopolitan magazine folded. I came home and started working as a freelancer; I was trying to find myself in the freelance landscape. 

"So I found myself dressing in the way I thought a successful stylist should dress, instead of just dressing like myself. I was also holding back with the kind of content I would post on socials. I was very aware of what I was posting and I was always thinking, ‘is this palatable to the mass market? To the everyday Australian consumer?’. All because I wanted them to respect me as a stylist, and so I thought I shouldn't post about elements of my personality. 

"Then we all went into lockdown and I came out as non-binary. I think lockdown put a lot of things into perspective and it made me realise I don’t need to be palatable to the general public. I need to be true to myself. So I let go of the expectations I had placed on myself around what it looks like to be a fashion stylist.

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"My advice to anyone who does not think they are living an authentic life is to remember that you only get one life. So you need to live an authentic one."


Jade on transforming career and life goals.

"I had just relocated to England for my now-husband’s career and I was working in a graduate corporate role. It was an 8am-6pm job in an office and I really just didn’t feel the passion or job satisfaction I knew I deserved. I knew if I was going to make a career change it would need to be during this time, given that I was in a foreign country with no distractions, no family, and no real day-to-day pressures. So I took a leap of faith and followed my intuition!

"Firstly, identifying my passion and making sure it was deep (not just a surface-level hobby) is what I focused on. I wanted to make sure I was someone who enjoyed my work and it really is a life decision. I researched the best fashion makeup and hair education in London that was available and researched absolutely everything from what I would need financially to living arrangements. Even things like what I would need for makeup and tools wise to start a kit.

"I then deep-dived into the industry by exploring all avenues like eyebrows, tanning and lashes. From this, it confirmed I had a natural flair for it, however, it still wasn’t enough.

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"Once I had the credentials and had lived, breathed and repeated hair and makeup day in day out I was just about to get started. It was then about getting my foot in the door in the makeup/hair industry. Every job that came my way I said yes to, unpaid work was the norm and gaining experience was my main goal and of course to perfect my skills. 

"I practiced and researched new beauty trends non stop until I got my first paid job, and my career as a makeup artist then began!

"The decision to make a career change was the best decision of my life. I actually get emotional thinking about it because if I hadn’t made that decision I don’t know where I’d be now. The advice I would give anyone thinking about a career change is to not let anyone doubt you. I am so grateful for where I am today, I teach my two girls every day to be grateful and treat people with kindness as it’s so important." 

Rikki on transforming family life and mental health. 

"I was getting so depressed hearing all the stories of youth suicide and about the lack of mental health and counselling support available in schools. I started worrying that my two girls. I worried they wouldn't have access to support if they ever needed it.

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"While being on maternity leave, I had a lot of time to reflect on myself. To look at the way I act and the way I communicate with people. I decided I wanted to improve myself, so I decided to do a Diploma in Counselling, to better understand my own emotional intelligence.

"I'm currently doing the course, and it covers all aspects of emotional intelligence and the counseling process as well as specialist areas such as addiction, the ageing population and mental illness.

"I have had to be very self-reflective while doing it which can be difficult. 

"But as they say, you can never truly know where you're going until you know where you've been. I feel like this is true; you need to understand who and how you are to be able to make positive changes.

"If you can make a change to the way you see yourself and how you communicate, as well as potentially make a difference in someone else's life, I say go for it.

"As human beings, we are so lucky to have the opportunity to keep learning and this is a huge benefit for our brains and mental health."

Kee on transforming your career and living situation.

"When I was 23 years old I was working in a job that was only just fine, but I also had a yearning for something more, something that would really transform my life.

"At the time a bunch of my friends were taking advantage of the US Visa program at that time and I had dual citizenship so I decided, why not?

"I decided to book a one-way flight, saved as much money as I could and sold or stored all of my possessions. 

"I remember the first night so well.

"I arrived in New York City, checked into my hotel and then I had no idea what was going to come next. But the funny thing is, things started to fall into place. 

"Within two days I moved in with a friend and within two months I was offered my first role in PR. I stayed in New York for four years and it completely shaped who I am as a person today. I now know that I can do anything I set my mind to. 

"I also learnt that I could live off next to nothing and live in a shoebox if I need to. 

"It taught me to always try new things, believe in myself and to experience as much as possible. Now I am back in Australia, I value everything that I have so much more and I feel like a different person."

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Kee transformed her career and living situation by moving to New York City. Image: Supplied. 

Joshua on transforming relationships and family expectations.

"Growing up, everything in life was already planned out before I really had a chance to think about what I wanted to do. 

"My older brother and I went into the same profession as my dad and when we finished Uni it was just expected we do a rural stint, and then move back to the same city our family lived in.

"I even felt like my relationship was a little planned out for me. My girlfriend's parents were friends with my parents, our families would watch football together on Fridays, have BBQs in the holidays and the weekend after Christmas and New Year we would always take the boats to the dam for a joint day out. 

"When we started dating at 17 it just felt easy, like all of our holidays (and lives) would just stay the same.

"Six months into my first full-time job, I decided that it my life was ever going to feel different; I needed to do something about it. By this point my girlfriend and I were pretty much just friendly roommates so we ended the relationship and I moved to a new city and slept on a friend's couch while I figured out what to do next.

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"Since then, my life looks different and I don't have the career, the house or the safety net I always thought I needed. But for the first time ever my life is about the jobs I want, and I've travelled to places I never thought I'd go. 

"I'm not in a relationship but I'm no longer the person who looks at their life and feels tired by it before it's already happened."

Lily on transforming daily rituals and relationships.

"Two years ago I was desperate to get out of the rut I found myself in. I was run down, burnt out, and stuck in a job that was stressing me out so much that my physical and mental health were a complete mess. 

"So I decided to do a week-long Vedic Meditation course, to see if that would help with my anxiety and stress. I was a little skeptical at first, but I wanted to try something that would have a lasting transformative effect on my life.

"The Vedic technique is mantra-based and the results were incredible. It involves meditating twice a day, every day, and I've been doing it ever since. After over two years of doing this, I feel much less anxious, less stressed, and it's completely transformed my outlook on life, highlighting what's important and what's not. 

"I was much less interested in drinking and partying, and craved more genuine connections and chats with like-minded people.

"It led me to change my job and shift both my relationships and friendships. I now see my life in a totally different way."

Lily transformed her daily rituals and relationships. Image: Supplied.  

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Gia on transforming career goals and setbacks. 

"I was a breakfast radio announcer in regional NSW when out of the blue, my co-host and I got an email (separately) saying that we were required at an urgent meeting the next day. We knew it was going to be something terrible, but when I was told we were both being made redundant I felt my stomach drop through the floor. 

"The process happened very quickly and to be honest I think I was in shock. Even two weeks moving back to the Central Coast it still felt like maybe I was just on annual leave. That eventually I'd go back and it would be the same.

"But ultimately I had transform the way I was thinking and convince myself of the positives; I was no longer away from my family, no longer having to maintain a long-distance relationship, no longer having to work the ridiculous hours that the job had required. 

"I considered a complete change in careers and wondered whether I should go back to study, but every job ad I looked at that wasn't media just wasn't appealing to me. 

"So I applied for a few radio gigs, went through a few interview processes, and then I saw the job at a media publisher. It was for a podcast producer, which I felt completely underqualified for (I'd only ever done radio! Would I even know how to do podcasting?). But I thought there's got to be some crossover with the skills I already have, so I applied, and honestly I don't even know if I could ever go back to radio. 

"I've never been as happy and felt so supported in a job as I am now."

Want to win a $20K transformative trip with your loved one thanks to John Frieda?

You just need to purchase any 2 x John Frieda products for your chance to win.

The Major prize includes flights and accommodation to Melbourne, a 2x night stay at Crown Casino, plus hair and makeup by Jade Kisnorbo, and styling and shopping with Style by Deni. (PLUS a year's supply of John Frieda product available to be won daily!) 

Head to transformwithjohnfrieda.com to enter. Terms and conditions apply.

Feature image: Supplied.

John frieda
John Frieda has created a product range to transform demanding hair types and unlock smoother, more hydrated, brighter, heathier, vibrant locks and the feeling that brings. John Frieda is designed for individuals. We know there isn’t a one size fits all product and we know there isn’t just one feeling everyone gets from amazing hair. John Frieda. Designed For My Hair.