REVIEW: Theatre group filled with passion

THE thing I love about the Plantagenet Players amateur theatre group is their energy.

No matter what the topic of the show is and no matter if someone keeps stumbling on their lines, everyone up on stage wants to be there.

You can see their passion for theatre blazing in their eyes and as an audience member, it is really enjoyable to watch people do what they love.

Sure, there’s a few fourth-wall breaks, prompt-prompting and cheeky winks to family members, but that’s what makes a Plantagenet Players performance special.

It’s their trademark.

Don’t get me wrong – I love theatre shows with all the bells and whistles, but there’s something about a group of people from all corners of the community, getting together to have a laugh, dress-up and just have fun.

That was exactly the case on Friday night when I jumped in the car for an evening trip to Mt Barker to watch Hatches, Matches, Dispatches (and other life snatches!).

Now, I wasn’t too sure what to expect with this production.

I’m pretty hard to impress but the Players had done so before, so I had my fingers crossed that I was in for a good night.

Well, I think the laughter flowing through the crowd around me answered that question.

In traditional Players fashion, the show was comprised of multiple skits, some short and some long.

Each joke was well thought-out with some punchlines weaving through an entire segment before cleverly tying up.

What I love most about shows like this is that, no matter what’s going on in your life, you can rely on the Players to keep you entertained and laughing for a couple of hours.

The theatre itself has a warm and welcoming atmosphere about it, and, of course, you can’t miss the light supper at half-time.

I don’t know what it is about country folk, but they always put on a scrumptious spread of homemade tucker.

It’s the country touch.

If you want to get in on the action, the Players have two more performances this weekend, November 8 and 9, at 8pm.

Get in quick to secure the last few seats by calling 0447 656 105 or by popping into Bub 2 Mum on Lowood Road.

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Contemporary spin on Bard’s witty play

Review: BELL Shakespeare’s bright and energetic take on the famous playwright’s funniest work Much Ado About Nothing clearly entertained at last week’s debut performance at the Albany Entertainment Centre.

The theatre roared in good humour when prodded, held collective silence when the headier themes pushed to stage edge and felt more like a crowd at a top notch stand-up show than that found at renditions of Shakespeare’s more tragic works.

That’s not to say Much Ado About Nothing did not offer moments of serious reflection and social commentary both surprisingly and unsurprisingly relevant to the modern context.

The twin love stories of the honourable Claudio and Hero and the endearingly love-averse Benedick and Beatrice laid bare the hypocrisies of gender politics in Messina and beyond the page.

It further tiptoed through the big topics of the value of honour, of friendship, the trappings of masculine and feminine expectations and the weight we place on truth, trust and pride.

Perth-born Associate Director James Evan, who has previously proven himself with a largely lauded production of Julius Caesar, managed all this deftly.

His contemporary spin on what many call the world’s first romantic comedy was welcomed in the form of colourful and eccentric costuming, a simple but fitting setting and clever characterisation.

The latter of these was surely bolstered by the talented cast, many of whom switched between multiple roles in a way that was not only seamless, but which added to the narrative in subtle but thought-provoking fashion.

The standout for me, though I find it hard to single anyone out, was Will McDonald’s portrayal of both the young Claudio and the naive but dastardly Borachio.

This may be in part because of the range of emotions he was allowed to explore – pure joy at Hero’s acceptance of his hand in marriage, disappointment sweeping into rage at her perceived betrayal, guilt at the consequences of his quick judgement and confusion.

Duncan Ragg and Zindzi Okenyo were also stellar choices for Benedick and Beatrice and took their quick dialogue in equally quick stride, tripping not once save for when it was intended.

Their characters’ piercing wit felt natural and human and seemed to mask deeper anxieties about the world they inhabited and their place in or outside of it.

Of course, no discussion of Much Ado About Nothing is complete without reference to the slapstick, which was done wonderfully here.

Ragg brought great energy and humour to Benedick’s near adorable discomfort at the thought of loving or being loved by his female counterpart, while Mandy Bishop’s take on the bumbling Dogberry was nothing short of outrageous (in the best way).

One moment widely appreciated lacked dialogue completely and featured a rattled Benedick placing a tiny stool on the grass, taking his time to settle down on it and pulling out, with great exaggeration, a magazine entitled TANKS.

I can’t do it justice.

You’d have to have been there.

But it was hilarious.

There were plenty of memorable scenes like this throughout the two-hour production and each oozed with creativity and wonder; the masked dance party pumping modern pop and disco lights was another highlight.

Packed with these and with excellent performances across the board, Bell Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was a hell of a crowd-pleaser and a trip I’d soon take again.

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REVIEW: Albany’s Got Talent

WOWEE.

It’s not often that this chatterbox is lost for words but by golly gosh, I was on Friday night at the opening performance of Albany’s Got Talent.

You often hear people say that the Great Southern is full of talent, but you don’t actually appreciate that until it’s right there in front of you.

If Albany’s economy was reliant on singing voices, the word ‘recession’ would never be uttered again.

Now, I only have so much space here to talk about how amazing everyone was, so I’m going to have to be highly selective.

So if your name doesn’t crack a mention here, please don’t think it’s because you weren’t any good – you were all incredible but my editor has given me a word limit.

Let’s start with young Ethan Grobbler.

This young man – only Year 4 – got up on stage with his loop station, beatboxed several different rhythms, recorded them live, and proceeded to sing George Ezra’s Shotgun.

While others of that age are still busy pushing each other around on the playground, Mr Ethan had practised and practised his sweet voice and beatboxing before getting up on stage by himself.

What courage and talent from someone so young!

I already hope to book Ethan as my wedding DJ when he’s a bit older.

Sebastian Commons.

I first met Seb when he worked at the Weekender for school work experience and he mentioned a couple of times that he made his own music.

He shared with us some of his original work and I was mightily impressed, but not as impressed as I was on Friday when he sat at the piano beside his mum and belted out his own rendition of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon.

Watch out Sinatra and Buble, there’s a new crooner to town.

Seb blew the audience away and was more than deserving of the massive applause and cheering he received.

Maddy Marsh.

My oh my, Maddy, were you incredible.

Not only did she take on and absolutely smash one of the biggest songs of the year, she made me question whether the original artist was any good in the first place.

Kate Miller-Heidke’s Zero Gravity shot to fame at this year’s Eurovision song contest and featured a lot of glam and high notes.

Maddy nailed every single one of those notes flawlessly, including that part of the chorus.

She ki-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-illed it.

And I don’t think I can end this review without a mention of Susie Chap-man and Deon Utber.

An absolutely beautiful song, Slow Down reflected on watching children grow up and the difficulty parents can have letting them go out into the adult world.

The tear-jerker was enough to make me doubly appreciate my parents and give my mum – who was sitting dabbing her eyes beside me – an extra big hug.

I cannot wait to see what talent emerges for next year’s show.

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Efron excels as Ted Bundy

ANOTHER day, another Netflix Original that makes you stop, drop and roll for the remote to hear that iconic opening thump-thump.

Social media had been in a whirlwind of excitement in recent months after Netflix announced they would be releasing Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Vile and Evil starring Zac Efron and Lily Collins.

The reason why everyone was so excited was to see Efron starring as what is considered to be America’s most notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy.

For anyone unaware of his crimes, Bundy confessed to brutally murdering 30 women in the 1970s across a number of states, had a couple of daring escapes from custody and was known to be a bit easy on the eye for the ladies.

So when I heard that Efron was playing Bundy, I was intrigued.

Why, you may ask? Especially since he’s more known for comedies and the odd rom-com and generally speaking not ‘that kind of actor’?

Well, let me break it down.

Bundy was a hottie back then. Not so much now in comparison to today’s beauty standards, but he had girls swooning over him and using choice words such as “dreamy”.

He was intelligent, well spoken, well dressed and had the kind of face that people would associate with your nice boy-next-door.

The reason it was so hard to believe Bundy committed those heinous crimes before the evidence started piling up was because he was able to make himself seem like someone who wouldn’t hurt a fly, much like Charlie in Me, Myself and Irene.

In my eyes, that’s why Efron was perfect for the role in emulating such a horrific character.

His pearly white smile, tantalising wink and ability to display no emotion much like a psychopath is terrifying.

The film itself is one heartbreaking and horrifying scene after the other that tugs on the heart strings and unsettles you to your core.

From the subject matter it’s easy to see that it would be a film about Ted Bundy’s story, but in my eyes it’s more a film about his long-term squeeze Liz Kendall played by Collins.

Collins’ large brown eyes, slender frame and bottle of wine or spirits took up the majority of screen time rather than the gruesome and tokenistic reenactments of women being battered, assaulted and murdered.

Throughout the film we follow the path of Collins’ character as she is introduced to Bundy, falls in love and then finds out about his arrest in Utah where everything quickly goes downhill.

People always talk about Bundy’s known and unknown victims, but forget about Kendall’s own victimisation.

Bundy manipulated Kendall throughout their relationship and even allegedly attempted to kill her at least twice, which wasn’t mentioned in the film.

Collins hauntingly displays the effects of that manipulation throughout the film with textbook depressive behaviour.

The film is more about her struggle to accept the mounting evidence against Bundy and her decision to try and protect more women from being attacked.

The cinematography is gripping where it emphasises the small changes in expression of the actors to convey emotion or lack thereof, and is clever in using home movies to show the passage of time.

What I feel like is a bit of a shame is that Kaya Scodelario’s character Carole Ann Boone is somewhat one dimensional – much the same as Kendall.

Bundy’s character is like an onion with the amount of layers he has with his cool confidence, manipulation, intelligence, instinct to harm women, ability to change his appearance, fathering a child and seemingly to never stop loving Kendall.

In Kendall we see a single mother who loves a man and then turns into an alcoholic.

In Boone we see a glorified fan girl and nothing else.

It’s just a damn shame.

All that said, Director Joe Berlinger manages to kill off any feelings of sympathy the audience might have for Bundy in one simple word that left me cringing into the couch and making a grab for the nearest blanket to hide in.

Hacksaw.

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The final countdown

IT’S never easy saying goodbye.

Alas, I must, because life is hectic and OMG.

Being able to speak to you in this space every week has been absolutely incredible, and the feedback I have received has been awesome.

From buying Christmas gifts to homelessness, to treating yourself and exercise, to being an adult to dressing fab, we have certainly been on a journey.

Every time I have sat down to write this space to you, I have thought long and hard about what to say.

I have never wanted to disappoint you nor bore you to death, so I hope over the past few months I have made you laugh, smile, ponder and maybe shed a tear, because that’s what life is all about.

But don’t panic, I’m not disappearing all together; just from this space on page 2.

Who knows, I might make a comeback, I might not; let’s see what the future holds.

So today, I thought we could look back on how much of my personal life I have publicly displayed to the world, and give you an update on how things are going in Ash World.

*Cue Wayne’s World spirit fingers and tongue- rolling noises*

#1: Oh, what a feeling

Well, newsflash, I’ve decided I do actually love my car and want to keep it for a couple more years, at least.

I know my brother is still trying to wangle his way into convincing my parents he needs a V8 and I’m still whinging about my car never looking clean despite regular washes, so yeah, cars.

#2: Moving on out

I hope to move out soon with a very lovely person who makes a mean fish and chips and gives great massages, so that future is certainly looking bright.

As long as that person realises there will definitely be pink mugs and pink pillows in the house, we should be fine.

#3: Reignite the spark

I’m learning to love Albany again and stop whinging about everything, because we really do live in a beautiful part of the world and the beaches here are pretty.

Having to only drive 10 minutes for a cheeky nug run is also a great bonus of Albany’s smallness.

I hope you are still loving this little part of the world too.

#4: Get your sleep on

I’m still waking up like a zombie each day, but I’m aware of stuff I can do to ‘get in the sleep zone’.

Reminder: #dimthatscreen if you insist on carrying on your late-night text seshs until 2am.

#5: Dress to be the best

I still unconsciously dress to the nines everywhere I go, but I have learned to turn it down in casual settings.

You’ll be proud of me – I wore leggings and a cardigan to a mate’s place the other day, without a high heel in sight, so go me.

#6: Heartbreak Hotel

I have well and truly vacated from this joint and am now incredibly happy with a handsome fisherman.

He makes me feel the happiest I have ever felt in my life, so I hope you all find someone who makes you feel as special as he makes me feel.

#7: These battle scars

As I said the other day, I’m still hanging in there with my anxiety.

I am more determined than ever to not let it stop me from doing stuff, and I am super, super proud of myself for my progress.

So now, my dear friends, our time together is over, for the time being.

I hope my little babble each week has given you at least a snippet of the joy that it has brought me.

Ciao for now. xo

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Can you feel the love tonight?

WELL, it’s Valentine’s Day next week and I totally forgot about it until last Wednesday.

I was at a shop buying a birthday gift for someone and there was a stand of red and pink V-Day cards by the counter, and my initial thought was, OMG I’m so not organised for that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Valentine’s Day and I think it’s really cute when flowers turn up at work for peoples’ partners, but the pressure of getting the right gift is a tad intense.

Especially when you see the typical overkill-sized bouquets of roses and the six-foot teddy bears around the place, even though you know in reality, that person’s relationship is in the pits and that couple barely speaks to each other.

But despite this fact, you feel the need to compete and buy a better gift for your other half, because you think you have to show the world how much you love someone by buying the best gift.

Unfortunately, as with most traditions and holidays, consumerism has crawled all over Valentine’s Day and now it has become a massive marketing ploy to guilt-trip people into spending hundreds on diamonds and gifts for one particular day of the year.

Now, I realise this makes me sound cynical, and I don’t mean to, but it really irks me when people see Valentine’s Day as a way to show off.

“Ooh look at me, my boyfriend bought me this super expensive white-gold bracelet and a gazillion roses, love you babe” – sure thing, love, but didn’t you just tell me yesterday you were sick of him never texting you back and felt like you never had quality time together anymore?

I’ll be honest here.

When my previous relationship was starting to head south, I thought that maybe Valentine’s Day would be the romantic kick we needed and it would rekindle our little flame.

I built up the big day in my head and spent a bit extra on the gift, but unfortunately, we acted the same and the flame continued to slowly fizzle out.

Valentine’s Day is built up to be this massive thing, and people feel the need to spend heaps to show their love for someone.

We are teased by advertisements saying things like “show her you truly care by…”, and if you can’t afford it?

Well, I guess it means you don’t really love that person, apparently.

I love having special days like Valentine’s Day, but showing your love and appreciation for someone shouldn’t be restricted to just one day.

You know what I think is romantic?

When your partner picks a flower from the garden because they thought it was pretty, and they thought of you.

When they give you a foot rub without you asking, after a long day at work.

When they let you whinge about your crappy day, and don’t feel the need to interrupt you to brag about their fantastic day.

When your partner knows that all you need is a cuddle.

I love Valentine’s Day and I would love to get a little something, but I’d like to think it’s not the only day in the year when my partner will show his love for me.

I’d like to think that showing someone you love them by getting them something they like or doing something nice for them happens all year round.

So don’t sit around and keep displays of affection for February 14.

Sprinkle love on every moment of every day.

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Suddenly I see

WHAT would you do if you woke up as somebody else?

Would you scream?

Would you panic?

Would you cry?

Or would you rejoice?

After watching Suddenly 30 (or 13 Going On 30 in some countries) again recently and seeing how badly 13-year-old Jenna Rink wanted to be a cooler, older version of herself to be popular, it made me realise how much some people wish they weren’t themselves.

Then there’s Big and The Change-Up, and even though they are funny movies to watch – kids trapped in the adult world and bachelors trading their pads for people-movers – they touch on the fact people aren’t always happy with their lot in life.

That’s actually pretty heartbreaking.

I’ll be the first to admit that after high school, I was a broken record of whinging about my life.

I’m not going to deny that.

I would say that I didn’t like my job, that I worked annoying hours, that I never saw my friends and that I didn’t like living under my parents’ rules.

The usual post-high school crap.

But I was convinced that I wasn’t living the life I was meant to.

I thought I was supposed to go to uni and live the life of a typical uni student, going out every other night and cramming with 100 others in a massive library and sitting under the trees in the uni gardens while reading textbooks.

I thought I was meant to have a cool job that tied-in well with study and a social life, and make heaps of cool new friends, and walk under the city lights on Saturday nights, and live the ultimate young adult life in the city.

But, hey presto, it didn’t turn out like that.

And boy, did I whinge.

I want to take this opportunity to apologise to my beautiful Mum and my wonderful Dad, who copped a lot of this whinging and whom I unintentionally guilt-tripped on a regular basis for about two years, complaining about life in Albany and that it sucked.

Pretty sure I re-triggered a few arguments between the two of them about our initial move away from Perth to Albany too, so, sorry Mum and Dad.

Love you.

The thing is, I so desperately wanted to be someone else.

Someone who didn’t get a sinking feeling in their gut when they felt the tendrils of anxiety start to wrap around their brain; someone who was surrounded by socialites and was always invited to parties; someone who wasn’t plagued with backaches and who could keep awake to party all night long.

It took me a really, really, reeeeeeally long time, but I eventually realised that I was trying to be someone I didn’t 100 per cent want to be, nor was.

So when I look at what my life is right now, I’m happy at how it’s turned out.

And yes, this sounds like the neat, conventional ending to all those movies I mentioned earlier, but it’s not far from the truth.

Sure, I’ve had a few hiccups along the way, but that’s the human condition, I think.

What I have gained far outweighs what I’ve lost.

I work with the most amazing team in a job I think is pretty cool (just don’t tell my boss that I think he’s cool), I’ve found my true match, I have made some incredible friends, and my bond with my family, even though I strain it sometimes, is ultimately stronger than what it was a few years ago.

The moral of the story today, boys and girls, is stop and smell the roses.

Don’t forget to appreciate what you do have, before you complain about what you don’t.

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Pour another Bush Chook on the barbie!

WHEN I first met my mum’s English cousins and they asked me whether I was going to chuck a shrimp on the barbie for them, I didn’t understand why they laughed at my confused face.

At three years old, Australian phrases had not quite wound their way into my vocabulary.

But, eventually, I got the hang of our country’s native twang and slang, and soon, I was g’daying and catchya later-ing like a pro and I’ve never looked back.

My mum is English and my dad is Australian, and despite my mum insisting that I am half English, I am very proudly Australian.

I love a good snagga from Bunnings and I proudly don my pluggers as much as I can.

My inner bogan appears every now and then, and I’ll rock the leggings and uggies combo (yep, I brave the public like that), and drool over a V8, and despite the odd weird look from a passer-by, I embrace my inner Shazza.

Tomorrow is Australia Day and as per tradition, the supermarkets will probably be suffering a bread and red meat shortage.

Cars will be loaded with cartons and people will head to the beach or park for some sun, some cricket, and some chill-out time.

Australian culture has some weird and wacky things, but one thing we are known for, and I am proud to be a part of, is our casual patriotism.

We aren’t like some Americans, who have their stripes and stars painted on everything they own.

We embrace our Australianness; we get on board and amuse international tourists by exaggerating our accents, we are pretty laid back, and always support each other in times of crisis (particularly on the sporting field).

We know who we are, we know some countries forget about us (cough, America) but we don’t care.

We live in one of the safest and most beautiful parts of the world.

We are Australian and we are happy with that.

(To be noted, I am talking on a general scale, and do not intend to speak out as an accurate representation of all Australians. I know many people who hate being called a sheila and are sick of 30 degree-plus days, and that is totally fine).

I was watching some crumby breakfast TV show ages ago and they had a correspondent in America who was walking the streets of New York City asking people if they recognised famous Australian landmarks and actors.

I’ve never cringed harder than when one person said Steve Irwin was a singer and pronounced Irwin as “Eeerween”.

Despite this cringing, I didn’t feel the need to jump on social media and berate that particular American.

Rather, I simply laughed, rolled my eyes at the American’s naivety, and got back to my Bunnings snagga.

I am proud to be Australian.

So, tomorrow, while you’re arguing over whether your brother’s over-the-fencer counts as a six-and-out, debating whose job it is to keep the Bush Chook flowing, or figuring out how to blow up an inflatable thong, remember why you’ve got the day off, regardless of the date.

Australia Day celebrates being an Australian, and being proud of who you are.

Whether you are Australian, Italian, French or Mexican, or even half English, be proud of who you are and your culture’s weird and wonderful traditions.

As the late, great Steve Irwin once said, “I’m a proud Australian, a very, very proud Australian.”

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Baby, I was born this way

I AM relatively confident in my body image, but to be honest with you, it’s taken me a few years to get there.

When you’re growing up and you’re in the gawky, gangly, pimply stages of your teens, it’s very easy to think you are gross and no one likes you.

The more I read tabloid magazines and random Snapchat and Facebook stories, the more I get a bit confused about what the ‘correct’ body image is to uphold.

I see stories about plus-sized models and them embracing their image and others supporting them, and then I see stories about keeping far away from obesity and how to lose 10kg.

I have a slender build, and my weight doesn’t fluctuate too much, so I am pretty lucky that I don’t have to do much exercise to keep my current figure.

(Mind you, I’m still gonna have to keep an eye on the amount of nugs I consume, if I don’t want to roll out of work today).

But, for some people, their genes have designed them to be other ways, such as having wide hips or narrow shoulders.

This is just who they are, and no matter their diet or fitness regime, they can’t change their image.

And sometimes, this can really upset people.

Particularly if things such as social media are constantly in their faces saying their body image is wrong.

It’s kind of bullying, in a way – targeting a particular group of people over and over again.

Body image is a massive part of who we are.

When we meet people for the first time, be it for a date or a job interview, our image can ‘say’ a lot about us.

If we don’t feel confident in our own skin, it can affect our ability to be the best version of ourselves we can be.

Do you know those transformation shows, where the tomboyish girl is given a sophisticated edge, or the weedy-looking guy becomes an Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalike?

Those shows, despite being sometimes highly stereotypical, are evidence of how our body image can impact our self-esteem and outlook on life.

So, to wind things up here, I think we need to remember the important things when we are considering our body image.

#1: Find the balance.

Have your salads and fruits and veggies and meat, but don’t feel bad about the odd cheeseburger.

As long as you balance out what you eat, and look after yourself, then I think that’s all that matters.

#2: Be true to yourself.

Don’t be shy to try a different outfit look, or a new hairdo.

If you want to rock stripy socks that you found at the op shop, then go for it.

Because at the end of the day, you could be a string bean in the most expensive clothing in the world and be unhappy.

So, don’t run yourself into the ground trying to be someone you are not; just work with your body and find an even ground between being happy and healthy.

We only live once, so what’s the point in being sad and lethargic and blurgh?

Look after yourself and be happy.

It’s simple, really.

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All about that bling

I LOVE bling.

There is no denying the fact.

Everywhere I go, no matter the circumstances, I am shining.

Be it glittery rings, glistening bracelets or sparkly necklaces, you can always see me coming a mile away.

Even that time I went crabbing down at the smelly mile, decked out in waders and a head torch, I was wearing my blingy chandelier earrings.

I think I was a magpie in a former life.

Or is it crows that like shiny stuff?

Ah well, some bird.

Which is funny, actually – I have a slight fear of birds.

Anyway, back to bling.

I don’t know when my love of bling started, but I do know where and how it started – my mum.

If you see a diamante phone case on a shop shelf, or a strawberry-flavoured jelly with glitter in it, you can guarantee either my mother or myself has purchased it at some stage.

We have glitter radars.

If anything even remotely shimmers, our eyes instantly turn to it and we head its way.

So, you can see how we have issues wandering around jewellery stores and shoe shops, and why my mum can’t understand her classroom cleaner’s dismay at her “overuse” of glitter on year 1 art projects.

Bling is my thing, and I think most people have a ‘thing’ – they just might not be aware they have it.

I think it is pretty cool to be known for having a particular trait or doing a particular thing, because it emphasises your uniqueness.

For me, it’s bling and pink things.

Put the two together?

BOOM.

Heaven on a stick.

If I could buy a Ford Mustang in a pale, pastel pink with a hint of sparkle, I’d be happy.

Actually, hmm, borderline Barbie, and I already have blonde hair…

I’ll rethink the Mustang custom job.

What I’m trying to say is that everyone deserves to shine (bad pun, I know).

If you are renowned for something, and you love that something, embrace it.

Ignore people who tease you for always carrying a yoyo with you, or for having Britney Spears custom ringtones for each of your friends, or being unable to go anywhere without three water bottles.

I’d get the odd face pulled from people when I’d rock up to the beach in glittery thongs (or “bejewelled shoes” as my mum likes to call them), or for buying the same stationery as everyone except in pink, but now I’m older, I don’t care.

Uniqueness is something that is often the cause of bullying or put-downs, which is such a shame because uniqueness makes us who we are.

We aren’t made in a factory; we are all weird and wonderful creations influenced by our parents’ DNA, our environment and trends.

Why bother trying to be a robot, saying and looking and feeling the same as the next person, when you can be you?

So, for those of you out there whose ears stick out a little bit, prefer Justin Bieber over Justin Timberlake, have hips that don’t fit skinny jeans or who’d rather stay at home instead of go out to a party, don’t be afraid to stick to your guns and be who you are.

Don’t feel the need to force yourself into a mould that society has shaped.

Be your own person, and don’t be afraid to let that person shine.

Someone told me that once, and I took them literally by becoming obsessed with bling, but hey, no matter how you shine, don’t let anyone dim that light.

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