My modelling career is long over, but last night when my good friend Sonia Gray called me out of the crowd to model the stunning coat Lorde wore for Rolling Stone magazine, to raise money for young women’s mental health, I took a deep breath and said “of course!”
I shrugged on the coat (designed by Liz Wilson of Eugénie) and – oh my – it felt delicious; the softest caramel cashmere with gold silk lining. I sashayed along the K’ Rd footpath outside Coco’s Cantina where a crowd of wine-happy women gathered for the charity auction.
A woman in a gorgeous black jumpsuit and a chic pony-tail watched me closely. I could tell she wanted the coat. I glided over and held out my arm for her to feel the soft wool.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” I said, and did a full turn that would make my and Sonia’s old agent, Maysie Bestall-Cohen, proud.
“What size is it?” she asked.
I looked at her and guessed: “Ten to twelve, I’d say. Why don’t you try it on?”
She shook her head but I shrugged off the coat and draped it over her shoulders. She slid her arms into the silky sleeves and hugged the coat around her body. All eyes were on her. She looked divine. She raised her hand high in the air and called out, “Bid!”
“And the coat is sold to Mimi!” the auctioneer (and Sonia’s Lotto co-host), Jordan Vandermade said, banging down his gavel, with a huge smile. The crowd clapped and cheered for Mimi – and another hefty donation to the Mental Health Foundation’s program to support young women.
“Time for the raffle,” Sonia said, dipping her hand into the champagne bucket. “You won’t believe this, but Mimi, it’s you!”
Ain’t that grand? Sometimes things seem to line up end on end, like dominos. A trail of little signs that make me feel everything is as it should be, that I am standing in the right place, in the right moment. Like the raffle. And that the champagne served was Cordoniu, the very winery I visited in Spain. And that three of us girls standing together, chatting, had birthdays all in a row: 16, 17, 18 March. What are the chances?
But back to the cause at hand: Sonia Gray – having recently seen her twin girls off to school – has spent her newfound time putting together this event, ‘Girls Interrupted’. The press release says there is a lot of support available for school-aged teens, and for women who have had babies, but not a lot for girls in their late teens and twenties. Personally, post high-school and through my twenties was a huge period of discovery and awakening. It was a time when the tectonic plates of my self, my soul, my personality were moving and shifting, trying to finding where to settle. I survived, but many girls I know were damaged during this period of their lives. I hope enough money was raised last night for the Mental Health Foundation to begin putting support in place for young women don’t know where to turn when a personal earthquake shakes their very foundations.
A big thank you to Sonia for organising the event and for being so brave and telling her own story of depression in order to help others. Shout outs have to go to Coco’s Cantina for hosting the event and contributing so generously, and all other sponsors and supporters.
Sonia used a fitting (pun intended) metaphor in her speech: “I want for my girls – and the young women of New Zealand – to wear life gleefully, like a loose blanket, and not a heavy, hooded cape,”
I wish for my girls – and the young women of New Zealand – to wear life like a beautiful, soft, warm Eugénie cashmere coat.