How does one be their most authentic self? This question affords deep consideration and initiative to revisit. However, it is a question worth considering. In our current atmosphere of carbon copies, realities that lack sincerity, fabricated lives skewed by that of social media, authenticity proves dubious. But, it is authenticity that is required now more than ever. We crave relatability and genuineness to ensure our true selves cease to be lost amid the performance. We seek out truth to bulldoze the archaic stories, expectations and conditioning that governs us. We turn inward to acknowledge and show compassion towards our individuality and permit ourselves to express that externally, to express what ultimately makes us human. In a time of uncertainty, we rely on the only thing that is certain: ourselves.
In partnership with Nobody Denim, we sit down with five of Australia’s female powerhouses to celebrate their transformation of self. We delve into their self-expression journey, exploring how our evolution at an individual level inspires at a community and global level. We discuss the importance of embracing one’s individuality, the need for diversity and the freedom of self-expression that is not yet granted to all. In discussion with these influential women, we present a lineup of trailblazers whose mindsets leave us in utter admiration. With spoken words of truths, an impressive knowingness, and conviction to their voice, they unapologetically stand in their power.
Marlee Silva, a best-selling author, podcast host, keynote speaker (amongst various other accomplishments), proves a force to be reckoned with. In conversation with Marlee, one quickly becomes mesmerised by her eloquent nature, the utter wisdom and knowingness concrete within, and her willingness to share her stories.
Marlee, how would your friends describe you?
I think my friends would describe me as extremely busy – my best friend actually requested access to my Google calendar so she could keep track of when I have spare time! They’d probably tell you I’m passionate and shameless – and I hope they’d say I’m loyal, loving and know how to have a laugh too.
If you were to participate in the Olympics, what would it be for?
Swimming or surfing! If I could be born with more coordination and sporting prowess in one of those two sports, gliding in the water for a medal would be a dream!
Tell me about growing up in the Sutherland Shire.
Evolving is the perfect verb to capture what it was like to grow up in the Shire. As a young kid, really only meant that other kids would look at me funny when I told them I didn’t go for the Cronulla Sharks in rugby league—then as I got older and we saw things like the Cronulla riots unfold, I realised the community my family and I lived in, wasn’t particularly understanding and embracing of other cultures. Being a loud and proud Koori girl (Aboriginal person from NSW), meant I was shown by my peers—and even teachers at high school too – that I didn’t really belong and my culture and identity, meant there were (mostly negative) expectations and stereotypes that they held of me.
But while I used to have a great distaste for being from here, after being essentially stuck here through the pandemic, I’m finding a new love for it, in the abundance of natural wonders within it—I’m spending all my time in the national park and by the beach and it almost feels like it’s dissolving the hurt I faced here as a kid.
What does being authentic mean to you?
Authenticity is whatever feels easy and natural to you. It’s listening to your gut and trusting your instincts and moving to follow whatever it says, without fear of what others think. Authenticity and realness is so freeing and should help you to live a truly fulfilled life.
Describe how your identity has evolved over the years.
I feel there are more layers to who I am and what makes me who I am that weren’t as nuanced when I was growing up or fresh out of my teenage years. I feel this fluidity in my beliefs—whether they be political, ethical or spiritual – I also feel it in how I see the world and how I see other people. I used to be someone who felt personally affected or offended by people who disagreed with me and wasted my energy shutting them down or getting angry, now I feel I’m far more open for discussion and ready to constantly change and evolve—and I truly love this new way of being!
By Ady Neshoda, Side-Note
Marlee Silva is managed exclusively by The Fordham Company.