I recently read Body Lengths by Australian Olympic Gold Medalist, Leisel Jones, and LOVED it. So much so that I had to track her down on Instagram and double tap all of her pictures until she acknowledged my existence. Thankfully, she liked the abundance of baby and dog pictures I posted and agreed to answer some questions for me.
1.It takes a lot of courage to write a memoir. Were you afraid to release your book? If yes, how did you face that fear?
I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of writing my memoir with Felicity McLean. I was never once frightened of the stories we were writing because they each had a purpose. I never wanted anyone to look bad from what I told so I made sure that I wrote about things that has a lesson in it for me personally. I wanted young people (and the not so young) to know that it’s not all roses at the top and we deal with the same shitty everyday problems like bullies, bingeing and boys (see what I did there? Such an author haha!) Although I did have a mild panic attack the day before it was released. It all became very real and then the daunting fear of what people might think settled in. But you gotta risk it to get the biscuit right? Also I’m extremely proud of the end result so the fear disappeared straight away.
2. What advice do you have for women (and men) when it comes to competition (in a pool, at work, or socially…)?
When competition is healthy it really drives you to be a better person. I found this with swimming. I loved my competitors out of the pool but once I dived in it was ‘game on moles’. They spurred me on to go faster, get stronger and have a healthy respect for people better than me. Unfortunately in the real world I have found it to be very different. Women in particular are hard on themselves yet they drag other women down with them. It’s madness! Why can’t we boost each other up? We have it tough enough when it comes to the workforce and equal pay so why the hell do we make it harder for ourselves in other areas such as social media? I love encouraging young people who genuinely have the right attitude and respect.
3. Who are some of your favourite female role models and why?
I have a few women that I look up to and they usually have a lot in common. Ita Buttrose is one, Ellen Degeneres and Oprah are some others. They are strong, genuine and hard working. They have faced adversity and come out on top shining. If I could be half as successful as them, I would be so proud.
4. How are you spending your time these days? Any more book writing?! I saw that you were at a wellness retreat- tell us more!
I spend my time very differently these days. I don’t have a lot of routine which drives me insane. I use to do military style training and now some days can be pretty empty. It drives my partner Damon up the wall because I get so antsy if I’m not busy all of the time. I do some corporate speaking, media but most of all I’m just a professional diva. I would love to write another book because the first one was so fun. But I feel like I would need to live another 30 years and that just sounds exhausting. Looking to 2016 I’m working on a new little adventure but it has only just begun. Keep an eye out for this one. I’m bloody excited!
5. Where’s your favourite place to holiday in Australia? (As an American ex-pat, I’m always keen to find a new magical spot to explore.)
My favourite place to holiday in Australia usually has some health element to it. Whether it be a yoga retreat or exercise options. I recently spent a few days at Gaia Retreat and Spa in the Byron hinterland. I always leave feeling lighter and have a clearer mind. Next on my list is the luxurious (aka expensive) Qualia. I’m also really keen to travel with Damon to Cambodia, Vietnam and the Soloman Islands. Better start saving.
You can get Leisel’s book HERE.
You can follow Leisel on Instagram HERE.