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Article: Uyen Simonis

Uyen Simonis

1.    Who is Uyen?

I am a refugee who survived seven days at sea with no food/water before arriving in Malaysia and subsequently welcomed to Australia. I was only three years old at the time and got very ill to the extent l was read my last rites.

I have an immense fear of the ocean as a result.

The journey was in the night and we left with only the clothes on our back as my parents sold everything for the boat fare.

My mother, brother who was barely a year old were with me on the journey as my father heard the Viet Cong patrolling the area so ran back to deter them. Australia was generous in providing us with food, accommodation and second hand clothing.  My mother had to work hard at finding a trade so she could earn money.  She ended up becoming a self taught seamstress, working tirelessly not earning much money but enough to raise three children (my sister was born in Australia).  We sponsored our dad who arrived a year after. I was the first in the family to graduate from university.  My parents were quite strict and had very high expectations.  They didn’t understand the Western culture so it was tough growing up in this environment which resulted in a lot of confrontations. 

I am married to a South African (met through work) and have two daughters and two toy cavoodles. My family is critically important to me.  So is my career. Over the course of my career, I have worked hard towards a plan to enable me to establish a successful and rewarding career together with having a family and running a household.  Currently l am a CFO of St Ives Retirement Village.

We moved to Perth over a year ago for husband’s work and live near the sea in Cottesloe.

I have grown to love the sea, l have taken swimming lessons and have gone snorkelling in Ningaloo.

I enjoy baking, board games and l am a big foodie!

2.    What is the number one lesson you've learned that you would share with your 12 year old self if you could?

I had to grow up very quickly assisting my parents with sewing after school and on weekends and cooking dinner for the family.  This has made me a serious person and one who always takes responsibility, and l became the mother figure to my brother and sister and even my cousins. 

I would tell my 12 year old self to live in the moment.  You can’t get it back. I would tell her to have lots of fun, be spontaneous and be around people that make you laugh. Its funny as my daughters are 13 and 11 years old and l see what one generation has done.  They are very lucky and privileged.

3.    What does wellbeing mean to you personally and how do you practice self-care/self-love?

Wellbeing to me is about my mental state, being comfortable in your own skin, believing in yourself and not worry about what others think. 

I walk 45 mins each morning with the dogs, the route goes along the ocean.  This is my morning ritual that sets me up for the day as now when l see the sea, it calms me.  I try and immerse myself in nature any free time l have even if it is just for a minute. l go to the front verandah and observe the birds, the smell of the pine trees, look at the sea/rottnest island, watch the boats sail pass and most of all watch the sunsets, they go very quickly so you have to drop everything.  Its beautiful as everyday is different.

4.    How do you ensure you prioritise the time to focus on your wellness journey?

This is my one non negotiable, l will wake up early even if it means sometimes walking in the dark.

My morning coffee will be out on the verandah watching mother nature shine her magic!

5.    Who inspires you the most and why?

My mother would be who inspires me, I have learnt to be extremely resilient, and have developed a strong work ethic.  She is kind and caring, always puts everyone ahead of herself.  She has taught me the value of hard work and importance of family and food bringing everyone together.  She gave up her family in Vietnam to come to an unknown country to better the life of her children.  This takes guts and determination.  Although we don’t have big deep and meaningfuls, her action speak louder than words.  

6.    What does radiance mean to you?

Radiance to me is inner glow.  If you are content with yourself you will manifest abundance.

7.    What is your favourite FRII[S]MITH product and why do you love it?

I love the I am protected tinted moisturiser! I love that it adds the SPF layer of projection.  I blend it with the I am radiant moisturiser.

I feel that my skin gets the protection it needs from the everyday stresses.  I love the colour pink as it makes me happy when l see it come out of the bottle!

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