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ISSUE144∫ OctObEr2016

One in 40,000: one in a million! cancer survivor’s story of son’s rare syndrome

IF THE WORLD WERE RULED BY WOMEN… A pIpE drEAm, Or An ImmInEnt pOSSIbIlIty?

3d tEchnOlOy tO dElvE dEEpEr Detecting breast cancer in dense boobs

Sexism in sports JUDGED ON YOUR LOOKS; COMPLIMENTS TO THE COACH


the new N°5 CHANEL.COM

# YOU KNOW ME AND YOU DONT


INSIDE

October 2016 58

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FEATURES 14 PrivateEye little & mighty Fighting Prune Belly Syndrome 23 WomensWorld lady leaders High time for high-flying females 30 LifeStyle same difference Managing mental health

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FASHION 38 ShowStopper subtly sexy Nothing too tight and revealing 48 TheUniform the influencers Fashion movers and shakers? 55 FashionStory don’t waste your wardrobe Get creative with old clothes

HEALTH 57 BeautyParlour strengthening treatment Fixing cancer patients’ frail nails 61 InThePink are you dense? Better detection of breast cancer 65 OnForm aesthetics over athletics? Focusing solely on the sport 70 HealthBites 73 PinkShrink the promise The psychology behind giving your word 75 ParentingTips simple pleasures Have fun with your kids

REGULARS 11 EditorsNote 12 MailShot 33 WomanKind the first [and last] lady Raisa Gorbachev 52 ThinkPink fashion, food, things & events 58 ThinkPink health & beauty 78 GirlTalk [not] the worst thing that could happen Sending sensitive e-mails to the wrong address 82 TableTalk in the cauldron, boil & bubble Pumpkin and lentil soup with tomatoes, cardamom and coriander 85 WomenOnWheels oh là là Renault Megane 87 StarGazer the future is pink Horoscopes 89 SnapShot behind her scenes Manolita Grech

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COVER Photography Matthew B Spiteri ∫ Styling Marisa Grima [www.marisagrima.com] ∫ Make-up Laura Gauci, using MAC Cosmetics ∫ Hair Robert Agius ∫ Location The Victoria Hotel ∫ Model Raissa @ Supernova Model Management, wearing dress, €65; shoes, €65, both River Island.

8 ∫ Pink October 2016


EDITORSNOTE

It has often felt odd to make a living, so to speak, out of narrating other people’s tragic stories. And it’s not without a sense of unease – if not to say [unjustified] guilt – that I have approached people along the years to encourage them to recount their misfortunes. To produce a magazine that, in a sense, thrives on an element of human stories that are often sad and centred around sickness can feel weird – if you want to be overanalytical and look at it from another more cynical point of view. In actual fact, no shame should come into the picture. The dramas that unfold in Pink are never forced out and always have some sort of positive ulterior motive, both for the interviewees and the readers. Talking and raising awareness about, for example, rare diseases may help those experiencing them in some way or another to build something constructive out of a dramatic situation. It can be cathartic… while helping others who are drowning in similar dire straits. In truth, when someone reaches the point that they have found the stamina and strength to open up about their plight and work towards a cause, their sad story has already taken a turn for the better and a silver lining may be emerging to brighten up that grey cloud. Lorinda Mamo is on a long journey, riddled with her son’s surgeries, her own health issues and other obstacles. Her gorgeous three-year-old was born with Prune Belly Syndrome and chronic kidney disease, and if that were not enough, she was diagnosed with and

underwent treatment for breast cancer in the thick of it all. [Extracts of her blog, chronicling his syndrome and the horror of having to see her baby go limp in her arms under anaesthetic and under the knife, are published in PrivateEye on page 14]. When I met her for a coffee, one stifling summer afternoon in what felt like a ghost town environment, Lorinda and I bonded over fears we may have for our children’s health and the panic that secretly sets in at the onset of a snivel… except that, in her son’s case, that anxiety is far from irrational and could lead to severe complications in a heartbeat. Then, to top it all up, Lorinda has had to contend with her own life-threatening disease, pivoting precariously between the roles of patient and nurse, under added pressure to recover to make sure her son does too. And this brought us to the fear of leaving children behind and the question of who would bring them up our way. They say it goes against nature for a parent to lose a child. But it is also terrifying for a parent to leave a child. And that, in turn, brings me to my dear friend Nirvana Azzopardi, who passed away three years to the day [of writing this]. In loving memory of that perfect mother, who instilled as much of her ‘motherhood’ as she could in her children before she died, I still ask myself, too regularly, how she could have possibly handled the run-up to her death, in full painful knowledge that she was leaving behind her boys. I think I am scarred by what she endured, but at the same time, full of deep esteem for such a dignified woman, who had it all under control, even in her physical absence, when we went to pay her our last respects and she talked to us – and guided us – through a letter she had written. Nirvana lives on in her children… and in her family and some very dear close friends, who stepped in to pick up the pieces of their own and her sons’ lives. She would be proud. No, she is proud.

October 16, 2016 ∫ Pink is a monthly magazine ∫ Issue 144 ∫ Executive editor Fiona Galea Debono ∫ Publisher Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Printing Progress Press Ltd ∫ Production Allied Newspapers Ltd ∫ Contributors Robert Agius, Maria Cachia, Andrea Faye Christians, Edward Curmi, Claire Diacono, Mary Galea Debono, Laura Gauci, Marisa Grima, Jeffrey Muscat, Caroline Paris, Helen Raine, Stephanie Satariano, Virginia, Shelley Von Strunckel ∫ Design Manuel Schembri ∫ Photography Matthew Mirabelli, Chris Sant Fournier, Kurt Paris, Matthew B Spiteri, Darrin Zammit Lupi ∫ Advertising sales Veronica Grech Sant [2559 4706; veronica.grechsant@timesofmalta.com].

THIS PUBLICATION IS BEING DISTRIBUTED AS PART OF:

© 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole, or in part, without written permission of the publishers, is prohibited.

Pink October 2016 ∫ 11


MAILSHOT

THE LETTER THAT TICKLED PINK INSPIRATION Month after month, I await Pink, which inspires me a lot. The EditorsNote of the June issue inspired me in particular and made me feel sick. Yes, we do sometimes have to face these ridiculous people. And yes, why should a customer have to be at the mercy of a service provider? They make you change your work schedule and appointments, saying they are coming when no one appears, or they start a job only to leave it unfinished, leaving you waiting day after day and worse off than you were before. As for parking issues, it’s not the first time we come across stupid people, who do not think of the consequences for residents if they leave their cars too close to houses and other cars, without considering how they can get out. I hope this letter helps us to learn from what are sometimes our own mistakes. Thank you. CARMEN APAP, FROM PIETÀ

The writer of the letter of the month wins a Boucheron Quatre eau de parfum, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd.

TO THE POINT With reference to your competition in Pink, I would like to take part. Therefore, to come straight to the point, one of my favourite articles in the September issue was WomanKind [Behind the Sex Symbol] about Marilyn Monroe, and I also look forward to every issue’s fashion pages. MONICA MIFSUD, VIA E-MAIL

WRITE IN AND WIN We want to hear from you. Send us your feedback on Pink and any stories that may have touched you in some way, and you stand a chance of winning a Carven Pour Homme eau de toilette, courtesy of Chemimart; a facial, courtesy of Chemimart; PLUS a selection of Deborah Milano make-up products from A.M.Mangion Ltd. Write to Pink, with your contact details, at Allied Newspapers Ltd, 341, Strickland House, St Paul Street, Valletta VLT 1211, or send an e-mail to pink@timesofmalta.com Correspondence may be edited for length and clarity. If prizes are not claimed within two months, they will no longer be available.


PRIVATEEYE Lorinda Mamo and her son Henry pushing through the ups and downs of life one day at a time.

LITTLE &

MIGHTY Three-year-old Henry Mamo is undergoing his ninth operation, while his doting mother Lorinda tries to put breast cancer behind her. To handle the fact that her son is one in 40,000 births with Prune Belly Syndrome, she took to writing a blog that outlines the stages of her family’s ordeal. Henry is in line for a kidney transplant from his father, but first, he needed surgery for a bladder reconstruction. Pink pulls out extracts from A Bird With a French Fry to give the rare disease a wider platform and encourage anyone in such dire straits to take a leaf out of Lorinda’s book.

14 ∫ Pink October 2016

“I

n 2012, I got pregnant and started my blog. My enthusiasm to write quickly dwindled when we found out there were complications with our baby. Our son, Henry, was born in 2013 and was diagnosed with Prune Belly Syndrome [also known as Eagle-Barrett] and chronic kidney disease. Early in 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and as difficult as it was for me to write at times, many people were finding strength from our stories, so I continued to do so…

Born with Prune Belly Syndrome Just like that, I become an expert in something I had no idea even existed. I remember lying there, post C-section, aching to hold my son, with my husband on my bedside explaining what he had… I felt paralysed with the fear of the unknown, and little could I believe just how serious it was, because, let’s face it, no matter how many facts you have, you never think it could possibly be happening to you. Prune Belly Syndrome affects one in 40,000 births, and approximately


PRIVATEEYE 97 per cent of those are male. Fifty per cent of children born with PBS do not survive long. In short, it is characterised by a lack of, or no, abdominal muscle, undescended testicles, and urinary tract problems – but each child presents the syndrome in varying degrees and complications. The name of the syndrome arose because of the mass of wrinkled skin that is often present on the abdomen. Henry spent the first six weeks of his life in the Neonatal Paediatric Intensive Care Unit [NPICU], undergoing tests and scans, while the doctors worked tirelessly to find the right combination of treatments to help his body cope with the lack of function of his kidneys. Because of the deficiency of abdominal muscle, organs in the abdominal area are lax, or undeveloped, meaning that his ureter was

ureter was tied and brought to the outside of his body, meaning the constant leakage of urine from the hole in his tummy, making it difficult to keep him dry. That doesn’t last much more than 30 minutes. Nappies that absorb fluid from the abdominal area do not exist, and urine bags are not used on small children. Henry has always been on a lot of medications, some of which is to be taken with food, others before food, some not within a certain time of each other, as well as an injection every week. It takes a lot of organisation, but we manage… Medications and diet play a huge role in Henry’s well-being, but as he grows and develops, his body will no longer be able to cope with the little function that his one kidney has.

“I REMEMBER THE WARMTH I FELT WHEN I WENT TO CHANGE HENRY AND FOUND THAT THE NURSE TAKING CARE OF HIM THAT DAY HAD CUT THE BANDAGES IN THE SHAPE OF HEARTS. IT WAS STRANGE THAT I FELT SUCH COMFORT IN THIS SEEMINGLY SIMPLE GESTURE, BUT I’M A BALL OF MUSH LIKE THAT” also long and distended, one kidney was not functioning and the other had little function. I visited him in the hospital three times a day, with doctors telling us on some of those visits that they were unsure of his survival. We were even referred to a bereavement therapist to prepare us for that which I can’t even write… At seven months old, Henry was admitted to the hospital again. What started as a sore throat ended up as several other infections that were very dangerous for him. I try not to worry about every sneeze, but it’s difficult not to be concerned and overly cautions about keeping him out of situations where he can potentially get sick. Henry has had one kidney removed, and to save his life, his

His diet has been a struggle – it is common for kidney disease patients to have a poor appetite, but it is just as important for them to eat a proper diet… and with a picky toddler, that’s a feat… Prior to his transplant, he had to undergo surgery for a bladder reconstruction – rectifying the urinary system before getting a new kidney… When you meet Henry, his infectious smile and bubbly character will give you no indication that he is any different from any other little boy – but he is one little and mighty kid, suffering from a rare disease no one had any control over. Although I am terrified and sometimes wonder if being prepared is a good thing, I will take things one day at a time.

February 2014 I can’t say that I like where I am at this very moment, but I can say that I am grateful for all the dedicated staff, nurses, doctors and specialists that have seen Henry… It was exactly on this day last year that Henry had his first scan of his bladder and urinary tract. He was only 12 days old. It was strange and I was terrified. All I wanted to do was hold my baby and never let go, but I couldn’t. I remember the warmth I felt when I went to change Henry and found that the nurse taking care of him that day had cut the bandages in the shape of hearts. It was strange that I felt such comfort in this seemingly simple gesture, but I’m a ball of mush like that. When we entered the hospital room yesterday, the tears were about to start rolling uncontrollably. I could just feel that if I let go, it would take some time to regain presentable composure, so I sucked it in, took a deep breath and started to sort the room that would be home for the next few days. It’s hard to be here, any time, any day. Although we knew that Henry would be undergoing this surgery, we were totally unprepared for it [you are never prepared enough], and were given no notice. But it had to be done and we were fine with that because we knew he was in good hands. I was still terrified. We got Henry suited up in a little gown and walked down with him to the operating theatre. We were told one parent is allowed to go into the theatre until the child is given the anaesthetic and I opted out because I knew I was not going to be strong enough. I regret it now because it was harder for me to see him leave – we are never apart and I make the most of every single second I am with him. Henry’s surgery went well and my sweet boy is up and about as best as any 12month-old baby can be post-op. Here’s hoping recovery is quick and uncomplicated.

March 2014 These past few weeks, Henry has been getting a lot more steady on his feet and, like any other child, progressed from standing for a couple of seconds to managing to get up with the support of the Pink October 2016 ∫ 15


PRIVATEEYE nearest toy, sofa, chair etc… I was hopeful. And seeing his determination to accomplish many other tasks, I was confident… But the voices in my head kept creeping up and telling me otherwise, and deep down, there was this constant nagging that I couldn’t get rid of. Sometime after he was born, while he was still in the NPICU, during one of the painful discussions with his paediatrician, we were told it was likely Henry would not walk. This, among an avalanche of so many other things, was not to be taken lightly, especially in the first few weeks of a child’s life. This weekend, Henry has taken many steps on his own, and every day, he becomes steadier… The joy that I feel is inexplicable. Today is also a day for celebration, so my husband and I are having a glass of wine, or two… It was on this day, one year ago, that Henry was finally discharged from hospital and came home. Now, looking back, I don’t really know how I got through it, and when things are dark and dreary, I think of that time.

October 2014 This time of year, gives me hope. For as long as I can remember, I associate autumn with new beginnings; a time to start something new... Autumn pushes me and gives me strength to go forward, learn, work and get cosy for the winter… [Over the last six months] we had a regular hospital visit with Henry’s paediatrician and she was thrilled with his progress, telling us we could schedule our next appointments further away, meaning less frequent blood tests and hospital visits on the whole… Two days later, I found a lump in my breast, and before I knew it, I was back at the hospital – for me, this time. More blood, more tests, more tears… It’s been a very long and gruelling six months: my tests, my surgeries, my chemo, my side effects, Henry’s hospital visits and surgeries, and struggling with home and work-life balance… October, being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, has given me the extra push to share my story as I continue my battle. I hope it will raise more awareness and give hope to others going through similar hard times. 16 ∫ Pink October 2016

My cancer story It’s been one whole year since I heard those dreadful words: ‘You have cancer.’ When you’re going through a difficult time in life, a year can seem like an eternity. Having gone through 15 months of hospital visits, countless tests, treatments and worries with my son, we were nothing but relieved when his doctor told us that he was doing well and we could extend the time between hospital visits. But life had something else up its sleeve, and only two short days of being happy after the news of Henry’s progress, my life was turned upside down in the one tiny moment I felt that lump.

My cancer, part four: day surgery for portacath insertion. My first chemo treatment was administered through a vein in my arm, but my veins are so thin, the best solution was to get a portacath for all future treatments. Funny note: I was given an ‘instruction manual’ for the portacath that you could easily mistake for the instructions of a home appliance. I actually laughed because I thought the doctor was kidding. He wasn’t. I’m still laughing. My cancer, part five: my hair falling out. Having it falling into my hands and all around me was more traumatic than shaving it all off. Eyebrows and eyelashes followed suit and were even harder to accept.

“JUST WHEN THINGS WERE MORE THAN ENOUGH TO HANDLE, MY SON’S SCHEDULED ROUTINE SURGERY WENT HORRIBLY WRONG. I WEPT OVER HIS BEDSIDE AND QUICKLY FORGOT ABOUT ANYTHING I WAS GOING THROUGH, OR FEELING. MY ONLY PAIN WAS FOR HIM AND FOR WHAT HE WAS GOING THROUGH” Just like that, the rug was pulled out from under my feet. We have spent this past year dealing with my cancer and our two-year-old son getting ill and going through five surgeries. The beginning was probably the toughest: the denial, the anger, the tears, the sleepless nights… My cancer, part one: dealing with the news and being rushed through a series of tests. I was officially diagnosed with grade 3 Ductal Carcinoma on May 29, 2014. ‘You have an aggressive cancer, so you’ll need the most aggressive treatment.’ My cancer, part two: surgery, aftercare and recovery. This meant I wasn’t able to hold my son for at least four weeks. The moments I wanted nothing more than to do just that, I couldn’t. My cancer, part three: chemotherapy. The first treatment destroyed me and I dreaded each session after. I headed out to every treatment in tears because I felt sick with the knowledge of what was in store for me for the next few weeks after.

Just when things were more than enough to handle, my son’s scheduled routine surgery went horribly wrong. I wept over his bedside and quickly forgot about anything I was going through, or feeling. My only pain was for him and for what he was going through. He got better and I carried on with my treatment, but only six weeks later, we were back in the hospital with him. Antibiotics weren’t working, he had fever and it took a few days until doctors knew what was wrong. And there I was, in the most dangerous of situations, with my low white blood cells, a sick child and feeling an impending breakdown. Sure I could have left his side, but it hurt too much. There were so many times I wanted to give up, and it was a choice, sure, but as I looked at my son, I knew it was never an option. My cancer, part six: marked with tattoos for radiotherapy. My cancer, part seven: I expected to feel so different after my last chemo treatment, but I didn’t. Sure, I was


PRIVATEEYE

Supporting her son on their uphill struggle with a smile.

happy, but I felt a void and I was certain there was something seriously wrong with me for feeling this way. My cancer, part eight: radiotherapy, every day for four weeks. My cancer, part nine: post-treatment scans and a collection of hospital bracelets. Most people think that once you get the ‘all clear’, everything goes back to normal. Even I fantasised about things getting back to ‘normal’. But normal is now different from what it was a year ago. I finally understand why people proudly announce their number of years as cancer survivors. Every day is a reward and a battle won, and once you’ve had cancer, nothing is the same…

My year of cancer defined me… Sure, I left cancer behind, and on paper, I am rid of it, but it took more from me than I ever expected it would. My husband and our families had so much to bear with both me and our son. I would be lying if I said it was easy for anyone. My husband and I had our moments, and there was so much strain on our marriage that there were days when I thought we’d never recover from the damage of what we were going through. I was often angry, and as much as I knew I needed help, I just wanted to be alone… I should be back to normal, right? Physically, I feel OK, but emotionally, I’m so very tired from the thoughts and the

sleepless nights and the worrying about my son and my marriage and trying to stay alive. I am constantly trying to pick up the pieces of the life issues that have come out as a result of the cancer. Six months later, I am still dealing with the effects the chemotherapy has had on my body [hair, teeth, nails]. I now struggle emotionally and physically with infertility, premature menopause and fatigue, to name a few. Overall, I feel healthy, but I still second-guess my well-being and wonder if I really am OK. A year ago, I had cancer. I didn’t know – and that’s scary as hell. Depression creeps up on me on a daily basis so I try to focus on making the most of each day. But then there is this pressure: ‘Am I doing enough to make the most of my life? Am I making the most of the time I have with my son and my husband?’ Not feeling fulfilled, or accomplished, at the end of the day, sends me spiralling into sadness… I’m not alone in feeling this way. A growing body of evidence suggests that cancer survivors continue to struggle with medical, financial, professional and psychosocial issues long after the end of their cancer treatment. For many, the experience provides a renewed sense of life and purpose, but the task of rebuilding your life after something as devastating as cancer can also be a deeply disorienting and destabilising one. I don’t want to sound ungrateful; it’s not my intention. I know I was lucky and I am grateful every day. I found the cancer in its early stage, and thinking about that makes my newly grown hair stand on end. I am grateful for life. Things could have easily been much worse for us. When I was diagnosed, I was approached several times about counselling and support, but the truth is that the months after my ‘all clear’ have been just as physically draining and emotionally trying. The system offers a support net while you’re going through it, but how about after? The most aggressive part of my treatment is over, but I’m still going through treatment, still on medication, and will always need tests – this is my life for long-term survival. Pink October 2016 ∫ 17


PRIVATEEYE

November 2014 The past 16 days have been full of late nights, interrupted sleepless nights, early mornings, successful napping, disrupted napping, constant entertainment, visitors coming and going, drugs on call, unhealthy food, endless snacking and some random tattoos [ for medical purposes]. No, I have not relocated my family to a frat house; I have been at the hospital with my sweet Henry. I am not striving for any records in this area, but this has been the longest stretch. On several occasions, I have joked about ‘Hotel Mater Dei five-star deluxe’, but there is nothing five-star about caring for your sick child in hospital. I would like to point out, however, that we are ever so grateful to the dedicated staff, who take care of us so well. It’s been tiring, emotionally, physically and mentally. As a parent of a child who was born with medical issues, I am always very weary of things that are out of the ordinary…

“ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS, I HAVE JOKED ABOUT ‘HOTEL MATER DEI FIVE-STAR DELUXE’, BUT THERE IS NOTHING FIVESTAR ABOUT CARING FOR YOUR SICK CHILD IN HOSPITAL” More often than not, something that begins as a simple sore throat escalates into other strange bacteria and viruses infecting his little body. The first few, seemingly endless, nights were filled with cries of ‘un-settled-ness’, and all I could do was count the minutes until he could be temporarily soothed by a much needed dose of paracetamol… I rocked my little Henry through his tears, knowing the extreme risk I was in with my last chemo session only a week away. I was a little offended by the nurses telling me I should stay away from my son as much as I could; it only made me feel worse. And knowing it was for my own good didn’t make it any easier… Those nights have passed, Henry is doing well and although I have had my last chemo session, I will only do my celebration dance when 1) Henry is finally discharged from the hospital and 2) my last round of chemo side effects are over. 18 ∫ Pink October 2016

Back and forth for surgery but still going strong.

February 2015 Although the most aggressive part of the treatment for my breast cancer is complete, I still have to continue other treatment at the Oncology Centre every three weeks. At every appointment, I am seen by a doctor who asks about any problems, and I expressed my recent increase in numbness and tingling in my arm, hand and foot. The doctor looked at me, paused, and asked if I had taken a CT scan of my brain. My jaw dropped, my eyes welled up, and with whatever strength I had left, I used my voice to tell him I hadn’t.

I was in complete shock – again. My appointment was scheduled for three days later. Needless to say, I was completely and utterly distraught and spent three restless days waiting. To my great relief, the scan was clear. Four days after that, I had my last radiotherapy treatment. Boy, was I thankful that was over! It wasn’t painful or anything, but the waiting and the treatment rooms were always freezing. And yes, I live on a Mediterranean island, but winter is still cold and damp. So I was glad I no longer had to get undressed and bare myself in those cold conditions.


PRIVATEEYE Providing all remains well, Henry won’t need any surgeries until the end of this year, or the next. Yay! Henry also turned two. I still can’t believe two years have gone by, and though the times have been tough, I wouldn’t change a thing. He is my joy and my strength. He got me through those hard times. I fought for him, because of him and beside him. I decided to pass on the full birthday party this year. There was just too much going on and I needed to preserve my strength a little more. So for his birthday, we finally took a trip to the aquarium and he loved it... We had to put off going before since I could not be where there might be a chance of getting any sort of infection… And to top off all the good, bad and the ugly – the dawn after all the darkness – my scan was clear and I am cancer free! I wept what seemed to be endless tears of joy when I was given the results. You see, when I had my first visit with my oncologist, prior to my treatment last year, he had told me that from my initial scans, they saw a mark on my lung. It was too small to carry out further tests at the time, so I had to wait until now to see that nothing had changed.

July 2015 I have a confession to make. I have not been looking forward to summer. Not because of the dreadful heat, but because I was certain that Henry would not be able to go swimming. Last year, one of his surgeries required that the ureter be brought to the outside of his abdomen. This means that urine is released directly from his kidney, bypassing the bladder. You can imagine our concern over whether the beach was a good idea. We discussed it with his doctor, and a few weeks ago, we got the call – it’s safe for him to go swimming [with a few preparations]. I did some mental somersaults and my little happy dance. I started planning. My aim was to make the whole experience simple. This past year, I have come to learn just how difficult it is to get out of the house with a toddler on a normal day just to go to the corner store to buy some milk.

Throwing in a bunch of beach gear was already making me cringe. But I wanted to do it; we were both in need of some vitamin sea. I managed to pack everything in one big beach bag… Needless to say, as the clock ticked closer to 11am, I was eager to start heading home. Henry had different plans. As he kicked and screamed while I announced to him that it was time to go, dragging him out of the water, I made promises of Kinder Surprise egg mountains along with several repeated viewings of Despicable Me. Yes, I’m that mum…

October 2015 Only five days into October and it already brings with it plenty of insight into what’s in store for the rest of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month… Last year, I stood on the sidelines, looking in at all the events and all the campaigns that ran through the month to spread awareness – I did not have the strength and, least of all, any motivation to participate… I was deeply touched, however, by all the support towards the cause, and this year, I am doing everything I can to help create awareness. I want to encourage self-examinations, screenings and not waiting until you notice a symptom. When detected early, cancer can be successfully treated – saving your life or the life of someone you love. It is only because I detected my cancer early, by sheer coincidence, that I am here to talk about it today, and that’s pretty scary stuff. Please visit the websites of local organisations to get more information about breast cancer, to find out about screening, to help spread awareness and join in supporting the cause. They are doing wonderful work!

January 2016 As the first month of the year comes to an end, I take a deep breath and thank the stars for everything that has come to pass over the past 31 days. Up until a few days ago, every day of the past month was spent waiting with bated breath for a phone call, hoping that the person on the other end would

give us a date. Each and every time the phone rang, my heart would skip a beat. Allow me to explain. Back in November, Henry’s blood values began to fluctuate and much concern was presented by his doctors. [You can imagine our panic.] After blood tests and consultations, it was decided that we would need to travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in January. We waited, but the call only came earlier this week to notify us that the plans had changed and the trip is now scheduled for March. Needless to say, I was relieved that the urgency had subsided… As an invisible disease, the only way to monitor Henry’s well-being is to draw and test bloods regularly. And it never gets easier. This last week was especially difficult since he was pricked for a vaccine, his weekly injection as well as blood tests. Suffice it to say, he had had enough. And with good reason. The challenges were not only present for Henry, but also for my husband. As the potential kidney donor, his weight and health had to improve drastically. A potential donor is required to be below a specific weight and he had a long way to go. The holidays were difficult, and although he didn’t veer too much off track, the results were slow and discouraging… Then, a friend of mine suggested Plan H… It has done more for us than just provide meals; it has saved our sanity and taken off some of the pressure for his goal to lose the weight for such an important reason… And now that January is over and we’re not going anywhere just yet, I can get to work on a party for Henry’s third birthday… As for me, I celebrated one year of being cancer free, have had many new and exciting opportunities, and friendships that continue to enrich my life. We have plenty of reasons to celebrate!

February 2016 In these three short years, Henry has fiercely battled through everything that came his way. My perspective on things has changed quite considerably and it was an awful realisation to comprehend how much he has gone through and how much more he must go through. I have also learned how resilient little ones can be and all the mighty powers Pink October 2016 ∫ 19


PRIVATEEYE they have. In my eyes, he is so much more than my son, but a representation of bravery and strength with a fierce will.

March 2016 With the biggest, most fluttery butterflies in my stomach, we boarded the flight to London early on in March. [Note to other parents travelling with toddlers on an early flight – don’t let them get a full night’s sleep – they’ll be in dreamland before the plane even takes off.] The time I knew was coming had arrived, and we were taking Henry to Great Ormond Street Hospital for tests and appointments that would start the process for his eventual kidney transplant. At the same time, my husband would be having appointments at Guy’s Hospital to be tested as his potential kidney donor. Unlike any other trip I have been on, the weeks leading up to the departure were not filled with guidebooks and planning excursions and places I wanted to visit; instead, our itinerary was filled with days at hospitals… The surrounding areas of GOSH were welcoming and peaceful, but although there was an overall sense of calm, I could feel my heart in my hand… We went from appointment to appointment and met with specialised nurses, doctors, specialists, the transplant team, surgeons and a dietician… Toys and play areas in almost every corner of the hospital, clinic waiting rooms and doctors’ offices helped [only helped] keep Henry occupied while we waited and discussed his well-being. Nevertheless, some toddlers can only be entertained so much by toys. Between boredom, frustration and fear, many tears were shed [and not only from Henry]… Due to the indicators that his kidney was failing quicker than expected, his bladder quickly became the priority – a transplant can only be as beneficial as all other organs working together. By the end of the first day, if I said my head was going to explode, it wouldn’t be enough to describe how I felt. The week continued in much of the same manner and each evening, by the time we returned to our accommodation, I could barely keep my eyes open past 9pm. 20 ∫ Pink October 2016

May 2016 Time and emotions have taken the best from me and I have resorted to things like procrastination, only to realise it makes everything worse. There are times when I think that writing helps me process, but at the same time, remembering gets me thinking and that thinking gets me worrying and that worrying gets me crying… Soon after returning from our visit to London in March, we were notified that we needed to return for continued examinations and testing in three weeks for both Henry and husband… Looking back, I realised that our visit in March helped us become familiar with navigating through the hospital and its surrounding areas. It was a bit of a relief to eliminate some of the many unknowns that we were so overwhelmed with. But as soon as I get to the hospital, I feel a bucket of ‘wtf ’ dumped over my head. I need to be emotionally and physically strong, alert, entertaining and patient, but all I really want to do is grab my little family and run away to a place where none of this is real. This time around, both Henry and my husband had procedures scheduled and it was anybody’s guess how long we’d be in London…

those consent forms? I’ll tell you: it’s feeling your child go limp in your arms. We kissed him goodbye and waited. Post-op, Henry was sitting on a nurses lap. She was trying to console him, but he just screamed. The procedure itself made him uncomfortable, but not in pain, so it was not the main cause of his frustration; it was waking up and not knowing what was happening. That can be scary for anyone, let alone a threeyear-old. He was so angry. He called for me over and over again, but would not look at me. And he screamed even louder when a nurse approached… Fifteen days later, we were heading to the hospital for Henry’s next procedure. This day was a little different for me. My husband had a day of investigations and tests at Guy’s Hospital. Henry and I got into our taxi and he got into his. As the cars drove off, I thought to myself: this is what it will feel like when it’s time for the transplant… I didn’t doubt my capability to get through the day; it just makes a difference when we’re together… As we walked down the corridor, it became clear by the smell in the air that this was where anaesthetic was administered. Before I even came to the conclusion myself, Henry started to scream. He recognised the smell. His fear and anxiety were worse than I thought…

“NOW, WHAT’S WORSE [WAY WORSE] THAN SIGNING THOSE CONSENT FORMS? I’LL TELL YOU: IT’S FEELING YOUR CHILD GO LIMP IN YOUR ARMS. WE KISSED HIM GOODBYE AND WAITED” I never really get over that nauseous feeling that consent letter gives me – the one where they tell you it’s a routine procedure, but… No parent should have to go through that and yet, we have done it countless times so far… While we waited, Henry’s surgeon came by and informed us that the blood tests from the previous day showed an infection. I felt as if my own blood was being drained through my toes. For Henry, an infection can be fatal. They weren’t taking any chances and he was given two separate doses of antibiotics, several hours apart, to help his body fight the infection… It was a long day. Late that afternoon, he was considered safe for the procedure and we made our way to the anaesthetist… Now, what’s worse [way worse] than signing

His screams tore through me like a blunt knife. I held him tight and restrained him as best as I could. The anaesthetist waved the pipe under his nose until his cries subsided and he went limp. I took a deep breath and placed him on the bed. It will never get easier… What began as a few weeks of tests and appointments, ended up with us in London for an entire month; I even ended up going to the hospital for myself. Once my husband recovered from his biopsy, we were glad to be heading home. And we also started the waiting game until results confirmed that he could be a living donor. Until I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I wanted nothing more than to be a potential kidney donor for my son, but cancer made that choice for me…


WOMENSWORLD

IMF director general Christine Lagarde [left] with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Janet Yellen, chair of the board of governors of the US Federal Reserve System.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite.

LADY LEADERS If Hillary Clinton wins the US presidential election next month, five of the world’s leading countries and organisations – the US, the UK, Germany, the IMF and the US Federal Reserve – will be led by women. While only half a century ago, it was unthinkable that so many women would be running the show, and this crack in the glass ceiling is unprecedented, HELEN RAINE says we can think females have achieved equality in politics… until we check out the stark statistics.

S

ometimes, we can kid ourselves into believing that women have achieved equality in politics – until we look at the statistics, that is. Only around 14 per cent of MPs in Malta are female – not even a third – which hardly makes for a parliament that represents the country. Worldwide, while it’s true that some of the biggest economies and two of the most important financial institutions are led by women, in reality, things are no better, with only 10 per cent of United Nations leaders being female. But there are signs of hope on the political horizon: Malta has the highest ratio of female MEPs in Europe [ four out of six, or 67 per cent]. Those women are role models for the future female leaders, but as they explain, they are under no illusions about the challenges ahead.

Miss Representation “Women are under-represented everywhere, including in the European Parliament,” says PL MEP Miriam Dalli. The reasons, however, are complex. “It’s not as simple as saying that ‘men don’t allow us to move up the ladder’. It’s to do with culture and mentality. Many of us have grown up in an environment where we don’t see female role models; it’s hard to find women to look up to and see that they’ve managed to do it.” For PN MEP Roberta Metsola, “there is not enough investment in seeking female candidates at all levels of election mandates. We need to identify potential female candidates earlier for entry-level positions so that they can rise up to the highest levels of government later”. Pink October 2016 ∫ 23


WOMENSWORLD

Roberta Metsola and her family.

Miriam says that to increase Malta’s low number of female MPs in the national parliament, “we need a change in mentality”. Her party used quotas to increase female participation in the executive committee, but it still has one single female minister, Helena Dalli. The PN, on the other hand, seems to be making more progress on the issue of gender. Roberta points out that the shadow cabinet, led by Simon Busuttil, is 50 per cent female [ five positions out of 10], while the secretary general is also a woman, Rosette Thake.

Quota Voter Despite the challenges for women, neither MEP supports the idea of quotas when it comes to choosing female MP candidates. “I have never relied on quotas. I find it better that people don’t think I’m only a candidate to fill a quota,” says Roberta. Seven months pregnant with her fourth child, she prefers that “the right conditions are created” to encourage more women to stand, and feels there should be better incentives, 24 ∫ Pink October 2016

“I HAVE NEVER RELIED ON QUOTAS. I FIND IT BETTER THAT PEOPLE DON’T THINK I’M ONLY A CANDIDATE TO FILL A QUOTA” such as tax breaks and childcare, saying that ‘high-flying women’ are being pushed out of the wage stream if they opt for politics, which discourages those in the 25 to 40 age range. Miriam adds: “There are currently not enough women putting themselves forward” – imposing a quota would, she thinks, risk the accusation of ‘tokenism’. Roberta puts the success of women in the European Parliament elections down to the fact that “there was a significant number of women who were competent, vocal and merited being voted for. It was not just a policy push. “Voters did not worry about gender. This model should be taken and used for other rounds of elections. The candidate selection committees should ensure that the maximum number of women is approached to stand as possible candidates.”


WOMENSWORLD

Miriam Dalli and her family. Photography Ray Attard

MPs and Mothers Politics and a private life remain a challenging mix. Miriam acknowledges that work-life balance plays a more important part in the equation than is generally acknowledged in speeches and policy about gender equality. She has two children, a three-year-old and a four-monthold. “I take my baby to work with me as much as I can, but the fact is that I can’t go into work for 12 hours with my children, or take my baby into a committee meeting.”   She is fortunate to have the support of her husband, who helps her in looking after the kids, but she says: “The Maltese are still not used to having a husband at home with the children.” The difficult issue of who will look after the kids might be why the women who are emerging as leaders now are often either older [such as US presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, 68], or childless [neither Theresa May, nor Angela Merkel and Lithuania’s Dalia Grybauskaite have children]. These issues also play a part in why, nationally, women are not choosing to enter politics. “Most women look at it as

“THERE’S NO NURSERY IN THE MALTESE PARLIAMENT, BUT ONE COULD EASILY BE CREATED; MEN WOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS SERVICE TOO” a male-dominated environment. They feel it’s not their area, that it’s too difficult to get into, or that the structure is ‘male orientated’,” Miriam says. And they are not entirely wrong. “In our national parliament, parliamentary sessions start in the evening and go on until  11pm  – that’s not family friendly. In the European Parliament, it is slightly different, even though plenary sessions can go on until 11pm as well. “There’s no nursery in the Maltese parliament, but one could easily be created; men would benefit from this service too.”   Miriam has seen that “women attract more women. We can change that male domination; ultimately, 50 per cent of our citizens are female – we need that balance”. Pink October 2016 ∫ 25


WOMENSWORLD

Beautiful Brains It’s been suggested that people mistake confidence for competence – men typically display lots of the former, whether or not they have the latter. Roberta says she would not differentiate between men and women in that way. “Anyone looking at the political scene in Malta can see that there is a lot of competence in both sexes.

“WOMEN ARE PERHAPS MORE OPEN TO DISCUSSING COMPROMISES AND GIVING A VOICE TO THOSE WHO AREN’T BEING HEARD” “We have a direct system of election in Malta and more voters come face to face with their candidates. Whether you are a man or a woman, if you do not win voters over when you meet them face to face, you will miss out on one of the best parts of the voter system.” For Miriam, “it should be all about competence. We are so used to seeing men in certain positions, and many times, we don’t ask whether they are competent or not, whereas women are immediately questioned as to their fitness for the job, not to mention their dress sense, or whether they are actually beautiful. These questions are totally irrelevant and they belittle the person. They are especially fuelled by social media”. Unfortunately, Miriam sees little evidence of EU initiatives that will really increase the participation of women in politics; nothing that “would attract them to politics and give a voice to women… Women and other minority groups are not being represented”. 26 ∫ Pink October 2016

That’s unfortunate because, she says, “the way men and women do politics is different. Women are perhaps more open to discussing compromises and giving a voice to those who aren’t being heard”.

A Woman in the Auberge de Castille Asked whether the Maltese are ready for a female leader, Roberta says “the Maltese were never ‘not ready’ for a female leader; what they weigh up are the options in front of them”. For Miriam, on the other hand, they are getting ready. “It’s a process,” she adds. “It helps to have women active on a European and national level. In politics, the more female trailblazers we have, the more women political leaders will become something people will get accustomed to.” Since the present incumbent and the leader of the Opposition are male, the next Prime Minister won’t be a woman unless there’s a radical change of personnel. But with the likes of May, Clinton and Merkel showing the way, along with 11 other female leaders in Europe [including our own President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca] and four female MEPs representing Malta, a female Prime Minister here is no longer a pipe dream. It’s time for lady leaders to become the rule and not the exception; to do that, we need more women to stand as MPs. So ladies, what are you waiting for?


LIFESTYLE

Paula Caruana, mental health recovery officer at Villa Chelsea, Soroptimist International Malta president Mary Rose Bonello and Villa Chelsea manager Francesca Spiteri Maempel.

Same

difference HELEN RAINE’s previous article in Pink on Soroptimist International proved a catalyst for exchange, resulting in the enrichment of knowledge in mental health, with two groups of staff and service users from Malta and Sicily being able to compare and contrast the management of these disorders in both countries.

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wo years ago, Dr Carol Rocca was visiting Malta on holiday when she read an article in Pink about the effects of war on women. Mary Rose Bonello, president of Malta’s Soroptimist women’s group had connected the magazine with the abuse victim in the article, and Dr Rocca, a Soroptimist herself, was intrigued to meet the Maltese sister group.

 ∫ Pink October 2016

Fast forward to now and the two groups have just cemented the relationship born of that Pink article with an exchange of clients with mental health issues between Malta and Enna, in Sicily. It’s an experience that left Joseph* “over the moon”. He attends Villa Chelsea, the residential and day community programme. “I had never been offered to do anything similar and I was curious to see what sorts of services are offered outside of Malta,” he says.

Joseph was one of four clients to visit the Comunità Terapeutica Assistita Sant’ Antonio, a mental health clinic in Piazza Armerina, Sicily. He enjoyed getting to know the Italian clients, adding “the fresh air and the food were a plus!” He also admired the Italian services, saying “I liked that there was an in-house doctor and a van for appointments”. During the exchange, which was mainly funded by Soroptimist


LIFESTYLE International, Maltese clients got to attend a regular hippotherapy session. “We saw how an Italian user works on his anxiety by spending time with the horse, as well as works on his posture and balance when riding. The Maltese users also got the opportunity to touch the horses and spend time around them,” says Mary Rose. For Joseph, this was a memorable moment: “During this visit, I was petting one horse, and all of a sudden, it bit me on my shoulder! I did not get hurt, but everyone around me, including myself, found it hilarious.” And there was also a serious side to the visit. “The psycho-educational groups that were offered there were taken very seriously. I liked that it felt OK to speak openly about my feelings and realised how important this is,” Joseph says. The Maltese group participated in daily rehabilitation activities, known as laboratori, at the CTA. “We noticed that most activities are not compulsory here,” Mary Rose points out. “The staff explained how doing a craft keeps the users concentrated on that particular action, and helps to train them to keep focused.” It was also noted that while the Italian clients have a chef, the Maltese users cook for themselves under the supervision of staff as part of their therapy. “The staff members and service users at CTA seemed to be very accepting of the different clients’ needs, difficulties and strengths, which they highlight and utilise for the service of the community. This feeling of acceptance and the reinforcement of strengths seem to be the main gelling factors for this community,” Mary Rose notes. The Italians then visited Malta and, this time, Joseph “enjoyed taking them around and having the chance to act like a tourist in my own country”. Angela Manuli came from Italy as a member of staff from the CTA, wanting to enrich her skills and knowledge with respect to mental health. “For us, it was more of an opportunity than a challenge. The clients who took part experienced new growth and change,” she says. As for the group’s best moment: “We prepared and shared the eggplant parmigiana, which is typical of our cuisine, with the community that hosted our girls, and

had a lot of fun. During the typical Maltese dinner, I appreciated the rabbit and the abundance of local dishes.” More importantly, Angela says they learnt about different techniques in caring for the mentally ill. “The whole group was able to compare the differences in the management of mental illness. Certainly the level of autonomy in the daily lives of Maltese service users is

visions of reality, certainly does not compromise the artistic skills of patients”. Dr Rocca, a psychiatrist, submitted her findings from the exchange to the medical authorities in Enna. Although the clients were often “outside of their comfort zones”, they benefitted by interacting with and accepting new people, which helped them to “grow personally”, Mary Rose feels.

Staff members and service users from Richmond Foundation Malta and the Sant’ Antonio therapeutic community in Sicily.

“THROUGH THE EXCHANGE, SHE WANTED TO FOCUS ON “INTEGRATION [AND] SELF-DETERMINATION” AS WELL AS THE AWARENESS THAT OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE THE SAME MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES BUT MAY USE DIFFERENT METHODS TO TREAT THEM” greater than in our longer care treatment,” she explains. Dr Rocca says her aim was: “To create a group of mental health carers and clients that was perfectly homogeneous and so well integrated into society that it was hard to tell who was the patient and who the carer.” Through the exchange, she wanted to focus on “integration [and] selfdetermination” as well as the awareness that other countries have the same mental health challenges but may use different methods to treat them. Dr Rocca wanted to give clients a chance to “test different rehabilitation activities”, adding that this would have a “stimulating effect on the creativity and imagination of the participants; it is well known that mental illness, while often generating alienating and distorted

“It has given them the confidence that they have the ability to cope with differences and enjoy themselves even when faced with an unfamiliar situation.” Joseph sums up the success of the trip, saying: “If it is possible, I think it would be of great benefit if it were to be repeated!” To find out more about Soroptimist International and its work for women and girls, visit www.sigbi.org. Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland [SIGBI] will be holding its 82nd conference at Hilton Malta between November 10 and 12.  The theme is Engineering the Future. Federation president, Margaret Emsley, a civil engineer, says the theme “embraces women in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – but also shows the difference Soroptimists can ‘engineer’ through work in educating, enabling and empowering the lives of women and girls”. *Names have been changed to protect the person’s identity.

Pink October 2016  ∫ 


WOMANKIND

THE FIRST [AND LAST] LADY MARY GALEA DEBONO chronicles the rise of Raisa Gorbachev, from her birth in Siberia to the death of the Soviet Union.

For several decades, her counterpart in the Soviet Union did not enjoy similar public exposure. Not only was she not part of the power structure; she was also deliberately kept in the shadows of her husband. The first woman to emulate the Western model was Raisa Maximova Gorbachev. In her book, I Hope, which is written in the form of an interview given to the writer Georgi Pryakhin in 1990, she confesses: “I had at my disposal only one tradition, which took shape in Stalin’s day – the absence of any right to a public, official existence.” In the years when Mikhail Gorbachev was General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of the Soviet Union, while the Western powers were cautiously observing the winds of change on the political scene in the region, interest in the elegant, charming woman, who, with serene dignity, stood confidently by her husband’s side, was evident in the general public. Even statesmen were impressed by Raisa’s winning smile. In a letter to Gorbachev thanking him for his hospitality, French President François Mitterand felt he had to compliment him on the presence at his side of Raisa, which, he stated, had “created a new perception of your country – of charm and culture”. Raisa gave glasnost [openness], a new dimension. The 1980s were a period of change and renewal in Russia. The slow realisation that totalitarianism had left a huge deficit in the economy, culture, legal institutions

“A FIRST LADY OWES HER STATION SOLELY TO THE MAN SHE HAS MARRIED; IT IS A ROLE THAT HAS EVOLVED WITH TIME” and the defence of people’s rights saw Gorbachev work towards the new ideal – Raisa Gorbachev and her husband Mikhail, former Soviet leader, leaving a summit in Iceland in 1986. “socialism with a human face”. This reformation of the existing system lthough in the US the First Lady has a very became known as Perestroika [restructuring]. It was prominent role during her husband’s presimeant to be a bloodless ‘revolution’, carried out democratdency, there is no reference to any rights or ically without the use of force. In pursuing this policy, Gorobligations attached to this position in the bachev had his wife’s full support. American constitution. A First Lady owes her station Raisa was the ideal consort for the man who was detersolely to the man she has married; it is a role that has mined to bring about this change. She had lived the hardevolved with time. ships of what she calls “the tragic burden of those years of What is also certain is that other than the influence our history” and experienced on a personal level what it she may exert in pillow talk, she has no say in any political meant to be part of the proletariat. But she firmly believed decisions. However, because what she does and does not that “not a single generation lives in vain in this sinful do and what she says and does not say always receive very earth”. wide coverage in the media, a First Lady has a very wellThis positive outlook on life; her innate intelligence, defined profile and a role of considerable importance. together with a sound educational background, allowed

A

Pink October 2016 ∫ 33


WOMANKIND her to make objective assessments of Stalinism and other ‘isms’ popular in that period. Raisa, like her husband, came from peasant stock. Her maternal grandparents, who came from Siberia, were farmers, who owned land. Stalin not only took it from them and allowed them to keep only a small portion, but the grandfather, accused of Trotskyism, was arrested and disappeared without a trace. Her father, who came from a Ukrainian family, worked in the railway system. In 1929, his job took him to Siberia where he met her mother and they got married. They had three children, Raisa being the eldest. Although she was born in 1933 at the height of the struggle against the Church, she was secretly christened in the Orthodox Church in a priest’s home.

of which was one common lavatory and shower, but she had to make sure that, early every morning, she reserved a place in the limited space in the library to be able to study because her own room was too noisy. Raisa met Gorbachev at a university dance in the students’ club. It was a love affair that withstood the test of time. They shared common interests – both of them loved nature, were fond of long walks and forest excursions – and had the same vision on political matters. Raisa’s relationship with her husband verged almost on hero worship – she never missed an occasion when he spoke in public. He was, she states, “manly and steadfast, strong and kind”.

“RAISA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HER HUSBAND VERGED ALMOST ON HERO WORSHIP – SHE NEVER MISSED AN OCCASION WHEN HE SPOKE IN PUBLIC”

Raisa Gorbachev with First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House in 1987.

UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with Raisa Gorbachev.

Raisa’s family was constantly on the move because of the father’s work. Accommodation was rudimentary, especially when her father was working in the Siberian taiga, a dangerous place, inhabited by deserters and prisoners on the run, where the only homes available were primitive wooden logs. This constant movement from one place to another also meant she had to change schools. Although naturally intelligent, her mother, like most women then, lacked a formal education. But she understood its importance and did her best for her children. At school, Raisa had to share one textbook with four or five pupils; she bemoans the fact that, for example, she had to sacrifice precious time learning by heart Stalin’s speech at the 19th Congress of the Communist Party at the expense of more important things. Her determination to learn was rewarded when she got the opportunity to enter university. She enrolled at the Lomonosov State University, a prestigious institution in Moscow, where she studied sociology and philosophy. University life was not easy. Not only did she have to share with others one room in a long corridor at the end 34 ∫ Pink October 2016

Gorbachev meets with former US President George Bush in Malta in 1989.

In the summer of 1953, Mikhail earned some money by working as a combine driver harvesting wheat. With the money earned, he could afford to buy a suit for himself and a new dress for Raisa and so, in the autumn of that year, they got married, celebrating the event with much singing, dancing and drinking with fellow students – the parents were only informed of their decision at the very last moment. They moved to a student hostel where they had one room and shared the lavatory and shower with two people. Mikhail graduated as a lawyer and they moved to the Stavropol region, where he was born. He worked with


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WOMANKIND Komsomol – a political youth organisation – until 1962, after which he joined the Communist Party, in whose hierarchy he steadily rose to power. In Stavropol, Raisa did not find work immediately and they had very little income. With the help of some colleagues, they got a government apartment – one of eight small flats with a common kitchen and common toilet. Their only daughter, Irina, was born there in 1957. Housing was a problem of immense proportions in Russia. Families moved from one government apartment to another until, if lucky, they managed to get a permanent home after about 40 years. When much later, in 1989, Raisa accompanied her husband on her trip to Malta to meet US President George Bush, she had the opportunity to spend some time with a young Maltese couple and was very impressed to discover that not only had they bought a house with the parents’ help, but that although they did not have any children yet, they already had a room prepared for that eventuality. “That is how you lay the foundations of a family home,” she told her interviewer. After defending her thesis on the life of peasants in the Stavropol region, Raisa got her doctorate, and for the next Raisa Gorbachev at the All-Union Foundation Conference of the Soviet Children’s Fund. 20 years, she lectured in philosophy and the history of atheism, religion and ethics in different universities and institutions. Often With Perestroika, a certain amount of tolerance and obliged to accompany her students when they were sent respect for people’s views was introduced and political to work on the collective farms, it was difficult to reconcile censorship was eased. Even the Church experienced a professional life with family obligations. She left her post revival. But in other aspects, it was considered a failure. in 1985 when her husband became leader of the party. One area in which it had very little effect was in the economy – essential commodities remained missing in shops. Above all, it gave rise to nationalism in the various Soviet “WHEREAS WIVES OF LEADERS IN Republics, which, in turn, led to the fragmentation of the WESTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES HAD Eastern Bloc and the consequent disintegration of the ADEQUATE STAFF TO HELP THEM Soviet Union. CARRY OUT SUCH WORK, RAISA HAD Having endorsed her husband’s policies, Raisa also had TO RELY ON HER INTUITION AND LEARN to share his failures. The Russian public was not ready to ON THE JOB” welcome such a change in the status of their leader’s consort and her detractors considered it pretentious of her to The process of re-thinking and re-assessing the past adopt this “special role”. began in earnest under Gorbachev’s leadership. As his conSome referred to her as the “tsaritsa”; others called her sort, Raisa became involved in social work, dedicating her “the Kremlin’s secret weapon” and criticised her for “medenergy to charitable and philanthropic institutions, espedling in things that did not concern her. They even envy cially those related to children’s welfare. She also helped in me for the clothes I wear and my ‘apparel’ on formal occathe establishment of the Soviet Cultural Fund. sions,” she complained to her interviewer. She dedicated a lot of energy towards promoting the In 1993, Raisa suffered a severe stroke. She rallied for a participation of women in politics. Whereas wives of leadwhile, but died of leukemia in 1999. Mikhail was devasers in Western European countries had adequate staff to tated by her death. In her remembrance, the family set up help them carry out such work, Raisa had to rely on her the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation with the aim of raising intuition and learn on the job. money for children suffering from cancer. 36 ∫ Pink October 2016


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38 ∫ Pink October 2016


Jumpsuit, €35.99; choker; necklaces, €7.99, all Bershka ∫ bag, €47; shoes, €65, both River Island.

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Dress, €250; boots, €485, both Karen Millen ∫ stole, €19.99, New Look ∫ Prada sunglasses, €240, Optika Opticians.


Trousers, €299; leather jacket, €955, both Elisabetta Franchi @ Rebelli ∫ shoes, €65, River Island.

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THEUNIFORM

The

influencers

The fashion week street-style scene has been in the limelight a tad more than usual this season. Fashion blogger and stylist CAROLINE PARIS uncovers the controversy over what makes it good, who should be there and what it all really means, while offering a taste of trends to come.

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et’s face it, the fashion industry has changed. Fashion weeks have changed. The entire concept of marketing has changed. As a result, there are new faces and new methods… and not everyone is too overjoyed. When the idea of bloggers, or digital influencers, first took off and they started appearing at fashion shows and outside them, nobody paid too much attention. But no one could have predicted just how far their rise would be. The street-style game is now a million-dollar industry in its own right. Brands not only pay big bucks to the influencer in question to wear their clothes to a show, but also to the photographer waiting outside to ensure said influencer is captured correctly. Certain editors are unhappy about this; they are unhappy to see girls walking up and down the roads after shows, attempting to catch the eyes of different photographers. They are unhappy to be seated next to these influencers at shows; even unhappier with the way these people actually dress. They have actually said that these influencers are void of any real sense of style and are heralding its death. They have made all these thoughts very public in an article published online on Vogue. The bloggers, meanwhile, have hit back, calling them antiquated and a bunch of hypocrites. I don’t know what to believe, or think – has it really all gone too far? When I see someone dressed in what to me looks like a costume, standing

48 ∫ Pink October 2016

outside a show, with no invitation or hope of one, simply to get photographed, yes, I think maybe it has. However, I believe this is the exception, not the rule, and the editors’ comments surprised me this season. To me, this season, the street-style scene actually felt far less of a carnival than in other years. In London especially, the city renowned for an eclectic style, everything felt much more understated and elegant. In my opinion, the real question is whether the system is flawed; whether the idea of paying someone to wear your clothes is wrong; whether fashion marketing should all just be organic. Of course, this is an impossible dream. These same editors, in fact, have no problem attending only the shows of brands with big advertising budgets. When was the last time a prominent Vogue editor took time out of a fashion week schedule to visit and cover an emerging designer show for free? When did a magazine such as Vogue decide to visit a small fashion week out of its own pocket and explore what it has to offer? The truth is the industry is all about making money... and now there are new players and new games in the picture. The industry has changed, style has changed, everything is a lot more fast-paced and digital reach has never been more important. Magazines in today’s world might be less important that an influencer, and while many may find that is a pity – including myself – we must all live and work in the century we find ourselves in.

Trend talk First of all, when I speak to people about fashion week, many seem to forget that the shows are six months in advance. The street-style trends, on the other hand, are mainly based on this season’s, although Milan was quite warm so there were a fair amount of summer looks around. In a nutshell, however, a few new and interesting trends are cropping up this winter: This season, it felt as though many show-goers chose to have one main attention-grabbing piece and pair a more understated outfit with this. These could be bags, shoes, or even


THEUNIFORM

“THE STREET-STYLE GAME IS NOW A MILLION-DOLLAR INDUSTRY IN ITS OWN RIGHT”

Pink October 2016 ∫ 49


THEUNIFORM Designer labels are always found at fashion weeks, but Gucci ‘anything’ must really be called a trend. In Milan, it felt as though Gucci was practically incorporated in nearly every outfit in some way or another, from bags to clothes and especially shoes. Speaking of shoes, sneakers, in general, retain their appeal, probably even more so at fashion week when tired feet are part and parcel of the whole experience. Having said that, chunky bikerstyle boots and shoes are giving them a good run for their money. Over-theknee boots are also very popular. We all know denim is popular, but when you see so many beautiful denim looks in one season, you know this trend is a timeless one. If you haven’t made the jump to including some kind of flared leg in your jeans and trouser wardrobe, you should really make the leap. A good pair of flares adds so much style and zest to an outfit. In fact, they were a popular choice among many editors and influencers. The matching suit trend is another one that’s staying. I spotted some creative denim options and some tailored, smarter pieces that can easily take you from the office to the party. In colder London, the jacket was an important part of the outfit – interestingly enough, even the big puffy ones. I know that these are a trend this winter, but I somehow still didn’t expect to see them at a show.

Fresh and light for summer

an interesting hairstyle. In fact, more than ever, lots of attention is being given to hair: gone are the days when your bi-weekly blow-dry was the only styling it needed. Surveying the art of layering is one of my favourite pastimes at fashion weeks, and there were so many clever looks built on piling up different pieces. The trick to wearing multiple items in one outfit is to make things blend in such a 50 ∫ Pink October 2016

way that every piece gets equal attention, with one or two getting a bit more. Velvet is one of the hottest fabrics and many people wore it to the shows in the form of jumpsuits, dresses and robes. All looked sexy as hell, especially in the rich colours such as burgundy, or dark pinks.

From the shows, it doesn’t take a genius to surmise that next summer is all about freshness and lightness. The more time passes, the more importance is being given to comfort in women’s wear; the idea of restrictive clothing seems to evaporate more and more. Some key trends to watch out for are metallic fabrics – shiny, shiny everywhere; the return of lace in many different forms, from dresses to detailing on different pieces; ruffles, which also make their presence felt, continuing on from this season. Comfortable, chunky, androgynous footwear will definitely still be around next summer… And lots and lots of pink. Yes, sad news for pink haters – not only is pink a trend for this winter, but it’s coming in even brighter shades next summer.


THINKPI FASHION, FOOD, EVENS & HINS

MORE SOPHISTICATED & FASHIONABLE THAN EVER! Punt Roma presents its A/W collection, boasting its most sophisticated and fashionable range ever, presenting black and white fabrics in innovative combinations and prints. The collection is inspired by tonal layering, ideal for elongating the silhouette and building a capsule wardrobe to last for seasons to come. The feminine silhouette is further enhanced through light fabrics and decorative prints. Denim is embellished with beads, sequins, crochet and lace for a sense of individuality. A novelty is its warm suede garments, enhanced with fringe and eco-leather, perfect for those cold wintery days. Punt Roma is at The Point Shopping Mall in Sliema, and Embassy Shopping Complex in Valletta.

CRAFTSMANSHIP, QUALITY AND DESIGN Over the years, Jack & Jones has manifested itself as one of the strongest jeans brands on the market, and within a short while, accumulated several hundred stores. Today, Jack & Jones is one of Europe’s leading producers of menswear, with more than 1,000 stores in 38 countries. Jeans are still regarded as the backbone of Jack & Jones’ business, with a high level of expertise when it comes to their craftsmanship, quality and design. However, it is nowadays defined and represented by its unique brands, designed by independent teams, each one of them with their own ideas, concepts and styles. United Department Stores Ltd has brought to Malta Jack & Jones, which is now exclusively available at Debenhams in The Point Shopping Mall.

STYLISH & COSY CLOTHES OCTOBER AHOY! Pleasures and treasures abound at Valletta Waterfront. Join in the seafaring, corsair-themed month of free activities. Enjoy quality time with family and friends against a backdrop of historic bastions, fortifications and the sea. On Wednesdays, sing-along specials are being held, with all-time favourites as well as traditional Maltese tunes. Every Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon present a mix of music, stalls, give-aways and fun, as well as educational games for all. Children's activities include balloon modelling, face painting, crafts, colouring-ins, meet and greets with favourite characters, puppet shows, bouncy castles and more, while spooky maritime fun is expected for Halloween. www.vallettawaterfront.com/octoberahoy

The gorgeous Autumn/Winter collection has just arrived at Gocco, the unique Spanish children’s clothing brand, continuing with the company’s evolution towards cool designs and exclusive prints. This season’s wide range of garments exude the style and flair of the most symbolic neighbourhoods of New York City. Driven and inspired by the warm and more muted colours of the colder seasons, the collection is made up of stylish and cosy clothes, designed to add a touch of style to your children’s wardrobe, while still being comfortable and easy to wear. The neutral tones dominate this collection, with an abundance of grey, green and brown hues, against the richer burgundies, blues, mustards and other earthy colours. Gocco is in High Street, Sliema [next door to the Sliema car park], and is open from Monday to Saturday between 9.30am and 7pm. Call on 2767 6711.

IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CHILD Specifically designed for parents and their pre-teens, Vodafone’s Mum+ package comprises unlimited calls between you and your child, any day and any time, at €21.40, which is automatically repurchased every four weeks. As a parent, you also get the additional benefits of unlimited calls to Vodafone mobile numbers, 100 minutes of talk time, or SMS to any local and EU number, as well as 50MB of mobile internet at 4G speeds. Meanwhile, your child gets unlimited calls and SMS to any other two local mobile numbers, as well as 2GB of mobile internet at 4G speeds. Those subscribing to Vodafone Mum+ until November 30, 2016, can also benefit from a 50 per cent discount on selected smartphones until stocks last. www.vodafone.com.mt/mums

NEW PRIVILEGES HSBC Bank Malta is offering HSBC Advance for free to eligible customers and is introducing a number of benefits to its proposition. All HSBC Advance customers will be upgraded to the Visa Platinum credit card while continuing to benefit from free travel insurance, special offers on personal loans and mortgages, financial planning and international services. More details can be found on www.hsbc.com.mt/advance, or on 2380 2380. 52 ∫ Pink October 2016

AWARDWINNING MALTESE CUISINE Ta’ Marija doesn’t just serve Maltese cuisine; it creates dishes with local, traditional food, together with its own signature flavours. Its unique appetisers are a pre-dinner feast of Maltese delicacies: the home-made ravjul are so delicious they will have you coming back for more; the fresh fish is simply cooked with a zesty side; the robust meats are grilled to anyone’s liking; while the menu also includes succulent port-infused duck breast, tender honeyed quails and the best rabbit dishes, served the way locals like it, or with a fruity Mediterranean zing. Enjoy Ta’ Marija’s all-inclusive carvery buffet on Saturday evenings, with entertainment by popular singer Corazon, as well as Sunday lunches for only €25 per person, or indulge in Maltese folklore dinner shows on Wednesday and Friday nights. Ta’ Marija’s award-winning à la carte menu is also available seven days a week. Ta’ Marija Restaurant is in Constitution Street, Mosta. Call on 2143 44444; send an e-mail to info@tamarija.com.mt; or check out www.tamarija.com.mt


FASHIONSTORY

DON’T WASTE YOUR WARDROBE Rising global awareness on environmental concerns has also inspired style-savvy individuals to get more creative with old clothes, resulting in fabulous fashion ideas that also contribute towards reducing waste. From making reusable bags out of old quilt covers to turning jeans into trendy vintage bags, Pink sees how you can look at your wardrobe in a new light.

FASHION FACELIFT When you are no longer wearing something, why not refashion it? A simple google search with the word ‘refashioning’ will lead to a world of ideas on how to revive anything in your wardrobe from a boring blouse to a stained pair of shorts. Simply adding stylish buttons or patches of material to tired items can revamp your wardrobe. Be inspired by the refashioning online community to go to your local tailor, or to take a shot at it yourself.

THE WARDROBE EXCHANGE Throw a wardrobe party with a few friends and ask everyone to bring clothes they don’t wear any more, or may have never worn – we definitely all have something like that. Then create an exchange or barter system, which ensures everyone leaves with something new. Who knows? You may even be encouraged to start up a new business this way.

BAG IT FORWARD With over a trillion plastic bags used globally every year, the social guerilla site www.morsbags.com has created a community encouraging people to design bags out of old duvet covers, clothes and curtains, and then pass

them out to others as an alternative to plastic bags. Each bag is estimated to replace hundreds of plastic ones in its lifetime. It literally takes 20 minutes to make a bag, and people are sprouting up across the globe designing their own. So whether you want to host a bag-making party or get busy preparing these bags as great Christmas gifts, have a look at the site and see just how easy it is. There’s also a trend for turning jeans

“EACH BAG IS ESTIMATED TO REPLACE HUNDREDS OF PLASTIC ONES IN ITS LIFETIME. IT LITERALLY TAKES 20 MINUTES TO MAKE A BAG, AND PEOPLE ARE SPROUTING UP ACROSS THE GLOBE DESIGNING THEIR OWN” into a tote bag and adding a slogan to it. The Bishop’s Conservatory Secondary School, Gozo, which won the Schools Category in the European Week for Waste Reduction 2015, conceived a project where they repurposed jeans to produce other items. These were sold and the proceeds went to charity. This initiative didn’t only highlight creative ways

to reduce waste, but also helped emphasise the environmental impact created by the production of jeans.

A CRAFTY COMMUNITY And of course we must mention one of the largest platforms for upcycled goods, which is www.etsy.com, an online marketplace that connects shoppers to independent craftspeople and creators of handmade goods. More than 3.3 million buyers and sellers are using etsy.com to either find or sell handmade and reworked vintage items. There are headpieces made from recycled sweaters, jewellery made from old silver and even knitwear produced from recycled plastic! Another option is donating your clothes to charities, which, in turn, give them to those less fortunate. Or else, if clothes can no longer be worn, some local councils collect textiles in order to recycle them. Check with your local council. And when you’re done with reading this magazine, don’t forget to recycle it! For more ideas on how to help reduce your waste, visit www.dontwastewaste.gov.mt

Pink October 2016 ∫ 55


BEAUTYPARLOUR

STRENGTHENING TREATMENT Cancer treatment can not only cause hair loss; among other side effects, nails get brittle and pigmented too. You’d think that the last thing on the mind of someone battling the disease would be these trivial cosmetic details. But international nail educator and semi-permanent make-up artist Sue Caruana knows otherwise. She is offering a treatment that boosts weak nails… and a broken morale.

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hat happens to the nails of cancer patients and how can they be treated? Just as chemotherapy affects your hair because of the rapidly dividing hair follicle cells, it also affects your nails. Patients may see a line in the nail related to the cycle of chemotherapy. There may even be multiple lines and indentations reflecting the different cycles of the treatment. The nails may become pigmented, or discoloured, and more brittle, so they won’t grow as long as they used to and may break more easily. The area around the nail bed may become dry and the cuticles may fray, while the nail may actually lift off. IBX works wonders on the damaged nails, while Dadi Oil works wonders on the cuticles, the surrounding skin and any sores that patients may have. The healthier the nails and skin, the less prone to infection the patient is… and as their immune system is so low, this is paramount. What exactly is this new-to-Malta nail treatment? How does it work? What it does is it helps weak and damaged nails and is an intensive strengthening treatment that builds up length and durability, starting from the inside out. IBX penetrates the natural nail plate, using a gentle heat source, and creates a type of strengthening mesh. IBX Nail Repair works like a double-sided tape, which fuses the damaged nail together. Then there’s the popular Dadi Oil, which seems to be helping nails and skin on multiple levels… The more it is used, the more its properties are found to be beneficial when applied daily.

When, how and why did you decide to start offering this service/treatment to cancer sufferers? I like to give back to the community and offer my micropigmentation services to cancer patients. When I learnt about this treatment for nails and its benefits, it was another must-have to offer. Do women who are suffering from cancer really care about something as insignificant as the state of their nails? Yes, when we are feeling unwell, sad and defeated, scared and insecure, the little things that make us feel better and happy are sometimes quite trivial.

released. This is no solution to their health issues, but it has that feel-good factor. I find this happens a lot when doing eyebrows, or nipple micropigmentation. Being able to look at your face and see yourself looking back at you, instead of a face you don’t recognise, benefits the soul. When you look at your body and breasts and they look ‘normal’ again, with a nipple instead a lump of skin, you feel like a woman once more. You feel positive. Is there any reason why you hold this particular issue to heart? I lost a person I held dear to me through cancer. He was the

“WHEN WE ARE FEELING UNWELL, SAD AND DEFEATED, SCARED AND INSECURE, THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE US FEEL BETTER AND HAPPY ARE SOMETIMES QUITE TRIVIAL” From your experience, what have their reactions been to the treatment? Just being able to have someone touch you and massage you, and make your hands and feet look good, lifts your morale. There’s no need to look in the mirror; you see your hands all the time, and if they give you a little pleasure, why not? Beyond the nails, what does a treatment of the sort do to the psychology of a sick woman and how much of this is a mental thing? The results of the treatment come gradually, over a few weeks, but normally, clients feel the strengthening effect immediately. They normally cry at the end of their treatment; the fact that they look or feel normal makes them emotional. Any pent-up sadness and worry is

husband of a friend I care for a lot; he was part of the family I consider myself part of. When he left, I was hit hard. I was sure he would beat it. From then on, I wanted to try to help others suffering from this cruel illness and this is my way of doing so. Have you learnt any lessons in particular from your cancer clients and do you have a message for them on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? It’s important to enjoy the little things in life, be honest with each other, spend time with those you hold dear and don’t waste your energy on those who don’t care about you. Life passes us by in a flash, so make it count. And it’s super important to give back to the community; business is not only about taking. Pink October 2016 ∫ 57


THINKPINK HEALTH & BEAUTY

FRESH & INVIGORATING

YOUR FREE SAMPLE Zadig & Voltaire’s This is HER is a woody, heady, floral fragrance; Parisian elegance wrapped in sensuous silk and cashmere; confident, unpredictable, irresistible. This is HIM is a woody, oriental fragrance, black and powerful, unfettered, the modern hero, resolutely masculine. Zadig & Voltaire is exclusively represented by C+M Marketing Ltd [2142 4079]. Enjoy your free sample with this issue of Pink.

INTENSE AND MYSTERIOUS Luna by Nina Ricci is an audacious fragrance, intense and mysterious. Perfectly complementing the iconic scent of Nina, this pulsating and modern scent opens a new feminine chapter, capturing the essence of the times. A tasty, woody, floral fragrance awaits you in this new captivating story. The fragrance ingredients are irresistible, revealing the best of themselves to capture the senses. This is the first time a feminine fragrance has combined a white everlasting flower with an overdose of caramel. It is a unique experience, creating a new addiction built upon roasted notes, mixed with syrupy and honey-dew tonalities. Luna is exclusively distributed by Ta’ Xbiex Perfumery Ltd.

Created in 2007, Chanel’s Allure Homme Sport Cologne is a genuine search of energy that teams the freshness of a cologne with the persistence of an eau de toilette. A timeless and profoundly modern fragrance, the signature of Allure Homme Sport Cologne is an olfactory construction in four distinct yet complementary facets that resonate with one another. With an explosion of citrus predominantly of Sicilian mandarin, it delivers invigorating freshness. In addition to the generous 150ml size, this year, Chanel is releasing a 50ml and a 100ml bottle. Chanel is distributed by Alfred Gera & Sons Ltd.

HEALTHY-LOOKING CHEEKS The newest arrival in complexion, Lancôme’s Blush Subtil Cushion is a compact blush, delivering vibrant colour with a dewy glow for naturally flushed, healthy-looking cheeks. With highly concentrated colour pigments, it only takes a small amount to instantly tint, refresh and brighten the cheeks. Plus its innovative cushion sponge allows for customised intensity: tap the sponge lightly for a sheer cheek tint, or tap firmly to release more fluid and achieve a bolder look. Lancôme make-up is exclusively distributed by Chemimart [2149 2212].

BOOST YOUR SKIN CHAMPION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER The Revlon brand prides itself on being a champion in the fight against breast cancer. This year, Revlon Malta has teamed up with Pink October to further support breast cancer awareness. It has set up a Pink October Warrior Mark Facebook Competition, so try your luck at winning exciting and trendy new Ultra HD Matte lipsticks and mascaras. Follow www.facebook.com/Revlonmalta for more information.

NEW HOME HAIRSTRAIGHTENING DEVICE Dafni is the new home hair-straightening device that looks and works like a hairbrush, is safer to use than any other existing device and a real time saver. Dafni acts as a hairbrush at a recommended temperature, giving quick results. It is suitable for all hair types and is safe for all ages. Dafni is ideal for those who have a full life, yet are fashion conscious and want to look and feel good. This product is easy to use and helps achieve quick results in a very short time. Dafni, the Hair Straightening Ceramic Brush, enables you to achieve a beautiful, fashionable, sharp look in the time frame that suits your life’s pace. Casually fitting into your busy schedule, it turns your whole day around, with almost no effort at all. Without wasting your precious time, Dafni becomes a natural part of your day, every day. For further details, send an e-mail to info@cortexltd.com 58 ∫ Pink October 2016

An innovation from Clarins, these three extraordinary products are the real-time answer for damaged skin. The Energy Booster is specially designed for people who are suffering the effects of late nights, a hectic lifestyle, jet lag, or even dieting. It will tone and energise skin, revive radiance and minimise signs of fatigue. Clarins Repair Booster is made for skin that has suffered the effects of extreme climate exposure, chlorinated water and even sunburn, reversing the effect and ultimately achieving reduced feelings of discomfort, diminished redness and concurrently boosting the skins recovery. Detox Booster targets skin that is subjected to a smoky environment, late nights and pollution. It reverses these effects, revives radiance and detoxifies plumped skin. Clarins is exclusively distributed by von Brockdorff Imports Ltd and available from authorised outlets.

A PERFECT DUO Cosmetics experts estimate that no less than one in three women over 30 has a tendency to redness due to genetically induced or acquired connective tissue weakness. Thanks to new research, treatment possibilities to fight redness and initial couperose are on the rise. The Dr Grandel laboratories offer two special formulations. Couperose Expert Cream reinforces the skin’s blood vessels and connective tissue, regenerates and enhances stabilisation of the skin’s natural barrier, and optically reduces redness, attaining an even skin appearance. Couperose Expert Concentrate reinforces the skin’s blood vessels, strengthens the collagenous and elastine fibres, and enhances the skin’s natural barrier, while redness, irritations and infrared-induced damage are reduced. Contact Carewell by Reactilab on e-mail address sales@reactilab.com; or 9982 8498; 9945 7245.


A new screening machine allows reconstruction of the breast in three planes – a valuable technique for reporting radiologists and not possible with standard ultrasounds.

INTHEPINK

ARE YOU DENSE? Yes, cancers can be missed when screening. Pink probes the technical side to the illness, speaking to consultant radiologist Kenneth Saliba on the latest ultrasound machinery that gets to the bottom of dense breasts, where the illness can easily go under the radar.

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he move from 2D to 3D ultrasounds may not mean much to the man in the street at first glance, but deeper investigation shows it is less likely to miss out on bits of the breast that could potentially contain a tumour when screening with the latest technology. There’s no denying that the more sophisticated the machinery used to scan breasts, the more signs of cancer are picked up. And the reality of the matter, according to consultant radiologist, Kenneth Saliba, specialised in breasts and interventional radiology, is that, effective as it may be, the standard, conventional, 2D ultrasound does not provide global coverage and can “miss out”. It is not a question of negligence, but due to the limitations of the tool… which have now been overcome with the Automated Breast Ultrasound System, ABUS.

“The breast is not flat, and interlacing all the sections to get the full picture is not possible, or practical. You will always leave something out, even if you were to spend an hour doing an ultrasound on a single breast,” Dr Saliba admits. In comes ABUS, which has just arrived at St James Hospital. It has been commissioned and training is underway, so it should be up and running over the next four to six weeks. And herein lies the difference: Normal ultrasound scanning is done in two planes, using a to and fro motion with a small footprint probe to try and scan as much of the breast area as possible. Because ABUS has a much larger, plate-like probe, only three different positions cover the entire breast, providing a volume of data that arms the radiologist with an interlaced 3D set of images he can seamlessly navigate through as many times as he requires if he wants to review the area, avoiding having to scan the breast over and over again. Pink October 2016 ∫ 61


INTHEPINK But the most vital point is related to dense breasts – as opposed to fatty – which 40 to 50 per cent of women have. The current limitation in breast mammography is density. While images of ‘fatty’ breasts [those that have more fat than glands] are easy to interpret, X-rays do not penetrate dense breasts so the interpretation is difficult, says Dr Saliba. A tumour may not be visible due to overlying tissue, which is masking it. Younger women tend to have more glands than fat, and some retain this type of breast throughout their lives and even after menopause. In their case, the risk of the cancer being missed is higher. Divided into four density categories, for a and b, a mammogram would be sufficient, but c and d would normally require an ultrasound, Dr Saliba explains. So ABUS is effectively targetting those cancers that could slip through the net. When a conventional ultrasound is added to a mammogram in the case of dense breasts, the cancer pick-up rate is

“WITH ABUS, THE FOUR CANCERS PER 1,000 DETECTED BY CONVENTIONAL ULTRASOUND CAN POTENTIALLY RISE TO EIGHT, EFFECTIVELY DOUBLING THE DETECTION RATE” increased by four per 1,000 scans performed. The fact that four more cancers are found may not be considered high, Dr Saliba admits, but when you take into account that the accepted detection rate of cancers and pre-cancers with mammograms is between six and 10 per 1,000 screenings, picking up another four with ultrasound is rather significant. With ABUS, which is still in its infancy, the four cancers per 1,000 detected by conventional ultrasound can potentially rise to eight, effectively doubling the ultrasound detection rate. Awareness about dense breasts is on the increase, and thanks to cancer survivor Nancy Cappello’s movement, Are You Dense?, several states in the US have legislated that women have to be informed on the grade of density of their breasts and about further testing. Cappello’s cancer was undetected by a mammogram, and the concept of dense breasts was not what it is today. “Up to 10 years ago, our idea of dense breasts was that they made life difficult because you could miss a cancer, but today, density is also considered a risk factor,” says Dr Saliba. ABUS is used mainly for screening – to get a clear, overall and more complete picture of the whole area – and not for someone who has actually felt a lump, which can be targeted with a conventional, directed ultrasound. This handheld device is enough in these instances, says Dr Saliba, adding that it is used to check out the armpit area, which is important when a lump has been felt. And beyond the density issue, this new piece of machinery also offers a quicker, less intimate and more comfortable experience for women undergoing screening. The fact that the images are saved digitally and can be reviewed over and over again without re-scanning may seem a minor detail of little consequence. But let’s face it, no one really relishes stripping off and having their breasts probed by a stranger, so the shorter the whole procedure is, the better. If it can be more efficient and less time-consuming, well and good. 62 ∫ Pink October 2016

The radiographer can review the breasts quickly, without having to touch them more than once, making the experience more detached and less embarrassing for the woman, Dr Saliba points out. He only goes back to the actual breast if he spots something. ABUS also offers a “new pathway”, which is more “seamless”, cutting down the various stages that usually mark a visit to a breast-screening clinic, with no going back and forth between radiographer and radiologist when the latter determines that an ultrasound is required. The former can now take that decision, based on the density of the breasts. It’s that time of the year – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – when that looming visit to the breast-screening clinic is encouraged. Women over 40 are invited to track down any traces of cancer every 18 to 24 months. Some do not hesitate to go for a mammogram; others put it off. But there’s no denying that early detection can save lives. Dr Saliba insists that ABUS is a good adjunctive screening investigation to mammography in dense breasts, but that it does not replace the need for a regular mammogram in women over 40 years. Mammography remains the basic validated breast-screening tool, and ABUS may have a role, in isolation from mammography in women under 40, since it is radiation free and better than a conventional ultrasound. Dr Saliba is content with the uptake of regular breast screening in Malta, saying that the local breast cancer detection and age distribution is at the expected levels, in comparison to other EU countries. He claims it is the “fear of the unknown” that holds women back from screening, which can be perceived as uncomfortable, painful and a cause for anxiety, even though, ironically, it is allaying it at the same time. “Women owe it to themselves and their families to get this done,” he insists. “A fatalistic approach to cancer is not valid – there are things that can be done about it. Some cancers can be cured and a normal life expectancy is possible in the case of pre- and low-stage cancers.”


ONFORM Charlotte Wingfield.

AESTHETICS

OVER ATHLETICS? During the Olympics, a number of journalists focused mostly on female athletes’ hair, make-up, clothes and body type, rather than on their sporting acheivements. But, HELEN RAINE points out in her story about sexism in sport, when Michael Phelps wins gold, no one mentions the coach, or comments on his looks. Here’s what Malta’s female Olympians have to say.

Eleanor Bezzina

Pink October 2016 ∫ 65


ONFORM

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he Olympics saw some incredible achievements by female athletes this year; US gymnasts Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas came home with six golds; Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu smashed the world record for individual medley; Katie Ledecky broke two world records for freestyle. But not all of the media was focused on these triumphs. An NBC commentator said of Ledecky: “People think she swims like a man”; while another credited Hosszu’s success to her coach and husband, saying “there’s the man responsible”. Biles was referred to as the “Michael Jordan of gymnastics”, with one commentator saying “she might go even higher than the men”. Meanwhile, some eyes strayed from Douglas’s gravity-defying flips; she was accused on social media of having “messy and unkempt hair”. Perhaps worst of all, the Chicago Tribune printed a story headlined Wife of Bear’s Lineman [an American footballer] Wins Bronze – they didn’t even include her name [it’s Cory Cogdell, a trap shooter].

emphasis on aesthetics over athletics,” reported the researchers. Even the language used about women is different. The study says: “Notable terms that cropped up as common word associations or combinations for women, but not men, in sport include ‘aged’, ‘older’, ‘pregnant’ and ‘married’ or ‘unmarried’.” [For men, top words used included ‘fastest’, ‘strong’, ‘big’, ‘real’ and ‘great’.] Verbs used to describe women also tended to be weaker, such as ‘compete’, ‘participate’ and ‘strive’, rather than the ‘beat’, ‘win’ and ‘dominate’ that were associated with men. Women are often referred to as ‘girls’ [which the study described as “infantilising or traditionalist language”], while men are rarely referred to as ‘boys’. It’s not just about language either; the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation in the UK found that less than one per cent of commercial investment money went to women and that men get more prize money in 30 per cent of sports.

SEXISM IN SPORT

To find out whether Maltese athletes felt affected by sexism, we spoke to Charlotte Wingfield and Eleanor Bezzina, two of the three female Olympians [out of six] who competed for Malta in Rio this year. The good news is that neither felt under attack, or undersupported for their gender. “My gender is not an issue in Malta or in sport,” says Wingfield, a sprinter who was the fastest qualifier in her preliminary round.

TEAM MALTA Yes, sexism in sport is not dead. It’s not enough that you run your heart out for your country, or dedicate your life to gymnastics – you have to look pretty doing it and, ideally, have a man with a master plan behind you. When Michael Phelps wins gold, no one mentions the coach, or comments on his hair, yet this happens to women athletes frequently. A baffled Douglas reportedly responded to internet trolls: “I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair? I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair’.” And it doesn’t stop at the Olympics. The England women’s national football team came back from winning third place in the World Cup to an official tweet saying: “Our #Lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today.” The list could go on and on. A study by Cambridge University Press confirmed this sexist bias in the media. “Men were three times more likely than women to be mentioned by the media in a sporting context, while language about women athletes focused disproportionately on their appearance and personal lives… highlighting a greater 66 ∫ Pink October 2016

Katie Ledecky

PUTTING YOUR GAME FACE ON Both sportswomen confirm that being an athlete is not incompatible with wanting to look good, nor is it a uniquely female issue. “I take care of my appearance in general, but it’s not an issue that hinders me from doing sport. Andre Agassi revealed in his book Open that when he was losing his hair, he used to play with hair extensions [since his horsetail under his

“A GIRL WANTS TO LOOK GOOD ON LIVE TV, NO MATTER WHAT SHE HAS BEEN TRAINING FOR” Bezzina, a sports shooter who competed in the 10m air pistol and 25m pistol shooting says that “personally, I had no such experience nor did I see it happen. I never felt any gender factor in coverage by the media in Malta”. Instead, Bezzina complains of the domination of football in the media, to the detriment of other sports. Asked about Douglas’s ‘hairgate’, Bezzina says: “Team USA gymnasts did a great job. There was little to criticise about their performance so maybe the only thing they could criticise was their looks!”

cap was a trademark]. Therefore, appearance is not just a factor for females, but also for males,” says Bezzina. “If a girl wants to wear make-up, she can wear make-up. A girl wants to look good on live TV, no matter what she has been training for,” says Wingate. “I love getting my nails done – having bright nails makes me feel happy! When I do my hair and wear make-up, I feel confident about myself.”

SUPPORTING SPORT Asked how more girls can be encouraged to take up sport in Malta, Wingfield says


ONFORM

“IT’S NOT ENOUGH THAT YOU RUN YOUR HEART OUT FOR YOUR COUNTRY, OR DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO GYMNASTICS – YOU HAVE TO LOOK PRETTY DOING IT AND, IDEALLY, HAVE A MAN WITH A MASTER PLAN BEHIND YOU”

ing and remained focused on her performance despite the controversial issue.”

Left, top and bottom: Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles with other Team USA gymnasts.

she would tell them that “so much could be achieved if they play sport. It will make them feel better about themselves. They may even be good at a certain sport and end up going somewhere. “The government needs to… express to girls that playing sport is not masculine. They could invite me into schools as a role model… or have a ‘girl talent day’.” Bezzina encourages each person – man, woman, young, or old – to get involved in sport. “It makes you feel good. My sport, target shooting, might be not so common, but is open to all. I admit I didn’t know this sport existed until I ventured into it in 2009 by chance. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never managed a gun; everyone can give it a shot. And why not? Maybe find a hidden talent too!” With regards to government support, she says improvements have been made by introducing different sports at primary school level. “The difficulty is when boys and girls [but mostly girls] reach their teens and prefer to do other things. The introduction of Skolasport was a great step. Our mentality needs to change too, so that from a young age,

Caster Semenya

children believe that sport can be a career and not just a hobby.”

A NATURAL HIGH During the Olympics, there was considerable controversy surrounding Caster Semenya, a female South African runner, who has naturally high levels of testosterone due, it has been reported, to the presence of internal testes. Wingfield says that when she was in Rio, she actually spoke to Semenya and “she was such a lovely woman”. It is not her fault that she has a high level of testosterone, she insists. “As an athlete, I accept her as a women and I don’t understand why others do not.” For Bezzina, “every athlete has the right to compete in high-level competitions as long they do not try to enhance their performance by getting an advantage from any form of substances – I strongly believe in clean sport. “If Semenya has high levels of testosterone naturally, then good luck to her. She was determined to continue train-

INSPIRING FUTURE SPORTSWOMEN

Bezzina and Wingfield hope to be an inspiration to up-andcoming sportswomen in Malta. Their descriptions of being at the Olympics will surely help. “The Olympics is the most prestigious competition for any athlete and being part of Team Malta in Rio 2016 felt really good. You are surrounded by people who have one common factor, which is sport, a passion I have treasured since a young age,” Bezzina says. “Being part of the Rio Olympic Games was a sensational experience. Having a childhood dream come true, to represent my country and make them proud, was all I could ask for. Even though my performance wasn’t my best, being the fastest qualifier was amazing. Being part of the Olympics, surrounded by worldclass athletes, is something I will never forget,” Wingfield adds. By Tokyo 2020, let’s hope that the focus is all about performance on a level playing field, rather than hair, make-up and gender. For their part, Wingfield and Bezzina intend to continue giving Maltese girls something to aspire to. Pink October 2016 ∫ 67


Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean that we should miss out on our #JagerMoments. Whether it is a drink with colleagues after work, an ice cold shot with friends over the weekend, or just a relaxing drink at home, every moment can be a #JagerMoment!

Here are a few ways that you can enjoy the secret mix of 56 natural herbs and spices that we all love… 1

1

JÄGERMEISTER ICE COLD SHOT The best way to enjoy! The classic: Jägermeister at its purest – for people who don’t compromise. All you have to do is to grab a shot glass, pour in a shot of ICE COLD Jagermeister, and enjoy! Remember, Jägermeister’s ideal serving temperature is -20°C.

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JÄGER WITH KINNIE Giving Jägermeister a Maltese twist! When two trending drinks get together, nothing can stop them! Jägermeister and Kinnie – the proof is in the drinking! Pour 4cl of Jägermeister over 2 or 3 ice cubes in a long glass and fill up the glass with Kinnie. And don’t forget to add some orange slices to give it a fruity yet zesty twist!

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JÄGERMEISTER RUDI

2

A crowning moment! Top off your Jägermeister with a beer cap and give Jägermeister two extra ingredients – malt and hops! Use a 4cl shot glass to serve Jägermeister with a sip of hoppy, bitter beer and its creamy head. While the two liquids mix naturally, the beery foam will stay on the surface, elegantly crowning your Jägermeister. Admire it for a moment and then… cheers! 4

J.O.G.

4

With all its vitamin C and bubbly fresh ginger taste, the J.O.G. will have you sprinting – back to the bar for more! Pour the Jägermeister into a long drink glass, fill up with half orange juice and half ginger ale, garnish with a slice of orange – and enjoy!

For more ways to enjoy Jagermeister, just check out our Jägermeister Recipes album on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/JagermeisterMalta), or take a look at our website (www.jagermeister.com).

And don’t forget, ENJOY RESPONSIBLY!


HEALTHBITES

Medical imaging By Stefano Corso from the Malta Medical Students’ Association

eatme

CARDAMOM I’m packed with good stuff Cardamom is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India [the largest producer until the late 20th century], Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia and Nepal. They are recognised by their small seed pods, triangular in cross section and spindleshaped, with a thin, papery outer shell and small black seeds. Elettaria pods are light green, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown. Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice, surpassed in price per weight only by vanilla and saffron.

My nutritional information In ancient medical traditions, cardamom could cure a sore throat, teeth and gum infections, congestion, tuberculosis, stomach, kidney, and lung problems, and also be used as an antidote for spider and snake bites. It’s been long noted, and more recently in lab studies, to successfully treat urinary tract infections – even gonorrhoea. For centuries, cardamom has been touted as having aphrodisiac properties, with the ability to cure impotency. In both early and modern medicine, cardamom is believed to have mood-elevating properties, so it’s used both as an antidepressant and in aromatherapy. It’s said to relieve problems with muscle spasms, and according to studies, contains several blood-clot-preventing components. Studies show that the many layers of phytonutrients in cardamom even offer cancer protection and improved blood circulation. Its manganese content is 80 per cent of the recommended value in a single tablespoon, while it contains smaller amounts of fibre and iron, as well as plenty of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A and zinc.

70 ∫ Pink October 2016

Medical imaging is the process of visually representing the insides of the body in order to help with diagnosis and treatment of disease. Commonly used forms of medical imaging include X-rays, CT scans, MRI and ultrasound. Perhaps the most well-known imaging technique is the X-ray – a form of electromagnetic radiation [visible light is also electromagnetic radiation] that can pass easily through many of the tissues in the body, but not so easily through bone. When X-rays are sent out, an X-ray detector is used to form a picture of the inside of the body. X-rays are especially used to get a better view of bone. The CT scan takes multiple X-rays from different angles, and processes them using a computer to build a ‘sliced’ image of the body. Magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] uses strong magnetic fields to form images of the body to better view the way the inside is working. Due to the strong magnetic fields, it is important to ensure that the person undergoing this procedure doesn’t have any magnetic implants such as a pacemaker. MRIs are extremely accurate and are generally used after other imaging techniques have failed. They are especially used to view the brain, heart and glands and organs inside the abdomen. Ultrasound imaging uses a probe that sends out sounds, which are above the audible range of human hearing, through the body. These sounds are reflected [and altered due to passing through the body’s tissues] and are detected by a receiver, which processes the sounds into an image. Ultrasound is mostly used to assess the progression of pregnancy, but it is also used to view abdominal structures and the heart. A common fear about medical imaging is radiation. However, it must be noted that not all imaging techniques release radiation –

of those mentioned above, only X-rays and CT scans give a dose of radiation, and this is not a very significant amount. Furthermore, doctors always measure the risks and benefits of performing imaging tests and they always have the best intentions in mind.

one

in 40,000 births are affected by Prune Belly Syndrome and approximately 97 per cent of those affected are male. Fifty per cent of children born with PBS do not survive long. Characterised by a lack of, or no, abdominal muscle, undescended testicles, and urinary tract problems, each child presents the syndrome in varying degrees and complications. Its name stems from the mass of wrinkled skin that is often [but not always] present on the abdomen.

[See PrivateEye on page 14]

MONTHLY MUSE “I love getting my nails done – having bright nails makes me feel happy! When I do my hair and wear make-up, I feel confident about myself.” Charlotte Wingfield, Maltese Olympian sprinter. [See OnForm on page 65]


PINKSHRINK

The PROMISE We seem to be living in a world where breaking promises is the order of the day. Dott. EDWARD CURMI looks into the actual psychology behind making promises and what strategies we can adopt to learn how to keep them.

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aking a promise and keeping it is a powerful idea, but not necessarily a simple one. We would all like to believe that when we commit to someone or something, we are able to follow through with it. However, without sounding too pessimistic, we seem to be living in a world where breaking promises is the order of the day. So, what is the actual psychology behind making a promise? And what strategies can we adopt do learn how to keep a promise?

The psychology behind promises According to Dr Heidi Grant Halvorson, a social psychologist, we often make promises because they validate an important aspect of our identity. It is a clever way of making us feel good with ourselves by projecting externally how we would like others to see us.

Philosopher Aaron Ben-Zeev believes that the purpose of a promise is to unconsciously create more structure in our life. When we choose to make a promise, we are likely to feel more grounded and confident.

“WHAT YOU CANNOT PROMISE IS NOTHING BUT A LEARNING EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIMITATIONS” A good number of people seem to be unable to tell the difference between a promise and a desire. A desire is a wish that we may not be able to promise, while a promise should be a realistic wish that we can guarantee. What is interesting about promises is that they can be pretty revealing. When people have a serious problem keeping their promises, they are indirectly revealing their unrealistic perspective of the world. For example, we may promise to go on a diet as we have a strong desire to lose weight. However, once we start the diet, we come to realise that we cannot keep it and break the promise.

Ways of maintaining promises AUDIT YOUR PROMISES One of the first lessons is to try and keep a track record of all the promises you kept and broke. From a memory point of view, when you actually write and see a promise in black and white, you are more likely to ingrain it in your everyday life.

ARE YOU BEING REALISTIC? This

is the big question you need to ask yourself. Make sure you can make the distinction between making a promise and having a wish/desire/plan. CREATE PROMISE CARDS Find someone you feel comfortable to pledge and promise to. Invite them to remind you and ask you about your promise. THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON BEHIND A BROKEN PROMISE

We have to get to the bottom of why we choose to commit and then break a promise. Most of our inner insecurities, such as severe anxiety, fear of being compared, fear of being different, or feeling left out, are the core issues we should tackle to learn more about broken promises. CHECK OUT THE QUALITY VS QUANTITY It’s always better to have

one promise and maintain it than a number of promises you cannot keep up with. Quality is always better than quantity in such situations. REMEMBER THE END RESULT

People have serious difficulty committing to what they have agreed to. As a society, we do not seem to understand the fact that when we break a promise, it may have a devastating effect on a relationship. Empty promises are perceived as a serious breach of trust, which may often lead to the end of a close friendship or relationship. Try and learn to make a promise and keep it. Being a person of your word is a reputation worth owning as it builds stronger relationships and friendships. What you cannot promise is nothing but a learning experience of your limitations. Dott. Edward Curmi is a registered clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and author of the book Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, and its sequel More Common Sense: a Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, available from Agenda Bookshops.

Pink October 2016 ∫ 73


PARENTINGTIPS

Simple pleasures How can we help our children slow down and promote their well-being, without feeling like they are ‘missing out’ on the latest games and hindering them from keeping up with the world? Educational and child psychologist Dr STEPHANIE SATARIANO says parents should teach children it is OK to be bored for a short time; it is good for them to spend time alone; and it is fine to look after themselves.

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ishing… looking for worms… catching ladybirds… fooling around with hosepipes… lying on the grass and making shapes from clouds have all been replaced by looking at Facebook’s newsfeed, playing on a tablet, and the revolutionary game Pokemon Go. We live in a world that provides us with entertainment and distraction on demand; where we do two things [or even three] at once. Today’s children are growing up with mobile phones, tablets and computers, PlayStation [and all its variations], Xbox and loads more!

But what does this mean for us? And for children developing in this non-stop world? It’s a world that is so fast-paced and so instant that we seem to have forgotten how to be bored…

Over the past 25 years, there has been a significant rise in mental illness across ages. Although a big part of that is due to increased awareness and understanding of mental health, our

“OUR LIFESTYLES ARE OVERLOADING US AND NOT GIVING US THE TIME AND SPACE TO JUST ‘BE’ WITH THOSE AROUND US; TO JUST REST OUR MINDS AND ENJOY WHAT’S IN FRONT OF US” how to do one thing at a time… how to enjoy our own company… and the company of another – in person!

lifestyles are overloading us and not giving us the time and space to just ‘be’ with those around us; to just Pink October 2016 ∫ 75


PARENTINGTIPS rest our minds and enjoy what’s in front of us. There is an increasing sense of urgency that is filling our society, as well as the decreased value in doing something simply for fun! So how can we help our children slow down and promote their well-being, without ‘missing out’ on the latest games and hindering them from keeping up with the world?

BALANCE, BOUNDARIES AND RESPECT • Teach children to respect themselves and respect others by giving themselves and those around them the time and value they deserve. Teach them that they are valuable and deserve the time and space to look after themselves. Model to them the importance of taking time to rest when tired; that taking breaks is part of working hard; and by enjoying life and those around you.

• Help them to learn their limits and set their own personal boundaries; to realise when they are pushing themselves too hard, and that it is OK to respond to themselves with kindness and compassion. Tell them it takes wisdom and courage to say: “I need a break”; or “I need help”. • Simplicity and enjoyment are all essential to promoting well-being – but balance is key. Rather than being self-indulgent, teach children to balance hard work with fun. We

motivated to join the competition, going to school each day, or helping a friend in need. So how can you help your children get back in touch with the real world, rather than live solely on Pokemon Go? • Boundary the use of technology – balance it with helping mum cook, or helping dad wash the car. • Go for walks and don’t take technology with you. • Go to the beach and take fishing nets and buckets.

“MAKE SURE THAT REST, ENJOYMENT AND FUN ARE BALANCED WITH HARD WORK AND SUCCESS” need to feel a sense of purpose and a sense of importance, and that comes through working hard and pursuing goals. So make sure that rest, enjoyment and fun are balanced with hard work and success, which does not mean straight As, or coming first in a competition. Success is being

• Count birds while sitting on a rock. • After a private lesson, encourage your children to reward themselves with a relaxing activity. Teach children it is OK to be bored for a short time; it is good for you to spend time with only yourself and it is fine to look after yourself.


GIRLTALK

THE VIRGINIA MONOLOGUES

[Not] the worst thing that could happen

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o it finally came to pass; easily finding its way into the top 10 most awful things to happen to anyone. And it happened to me twice on the same day. People go through life making great claims that start with the oft-quoted ‘I can’t think of anything worse than’ usually followed by something like dropping a jar of tomato sauce/oil all over their shirt when they’re already late for work. Truth be told, just about anything and everything can find its way onto such a list if you’re imaginative enough, or given to drama and exaggeration. Then again, if you’re sitting in a car on the Autostrada [or anywhere for that matter] and you suddenly discover that the shit has hit the fan inside your stomach and there’s nowhere to stop for another 100 miles, I can assure you that suddenly being caught with your pants up and nowhere to relieve yourself comes close to seeming like a slow and painful near-death experience. We have all suffered that nauseous breathlessness and are familiar with that blood-draining feeling, where you literally think you may die. But there’s a huge difference between flippant talk and the real thing. Every single day, people talk about ‘wanting to die’ because of such and such a thing happening. But the moment actual death knocks on your door is when you realise the meaning of true tragedy. If I had to write an honest-to-badness list, I know what would top it. For 78 ∫ Pink October 2016

there can be nothing worse than losing a child, or a loved one. Nothing quite compares. There’s a finality about death that makes everything else pale in comparison and suddenly seem shockingly trivial. Everything – whatever mess you make on earth – can be cleaned up. I am aware, of course, that death/sickness/health issues, on the other hand, obviously make even the most embarrassing and humiliating experiences seem somewhat lame. So I feel I ought to warn you that my great claim to having suffered and been both the perpetrator and at the receiving end of one of life’s inauspicious incidents [twice in the one day] has got to be seen in its proper perspective. As I mentioned earlier, if I were to write that list honestly, the first five items would be immediately hogged by the really important stuff: death; illness; being raped [or worse still, having your children suffer a similar rape or molestation]; or being the victim of some other crime against the person or property, such as having your house broken into and burgled; and any form of parental alienation, where children are alienated from a parent. So once you eliminate the real ugly tragedies of life, what are you left with? What could possibly ruffle your feathers and be cause for your immediate concern? Well, I think that public embarrassment and humiliation, in whatever shape or form, are probably next in

line and something we all fear to some extent. Standing before a room full of people and being publicly booed, or doing something that exposes you to public humiliation, really can take the wind out of your sails. We all have an image and want to be perceived in a certain way… which is why most people don’t pick their noses in public and would never publicly admit to being nasty or do anything that suggested they were mean or unpleasant. Yes, that sort of uncovering and exposure can and really does make you feel like you’ve been caught up shit creek; so much worse, in fact,


GIRLTALK

with the letter A suddenly pops up as a potential recipient. So you have to be extremely cautious when selecting names, especially when you plan to send the e-mail to more than one person. Sometimes, try as you might, you will click on one name, but find that someone who shares the same name has popped up instead. It’s all very maddening and frustrating, but of course, it can also be very dangerous. Naturally, there are e-mails and e-mails; some that are quite innocent and don’t pose any sort of threat or danger, and others you would much rather no one [other than the recipient] read. Similarly, there are people and people; those you trust and those you don’t, who you know will use that information against you, or forward your e-mail to someone else out of spite or for fun. I was rather lucky with both. My e-mails, although confidential to a degree, were not particularly damaging. I wasn’t negotiating some illicit deal; neither was I bad-mouthing any of the chosen recipients. But of course, I still experienced that blood-draining headrush and the feeling that I’d been

“I STILL EXPERIENCED THAT BLOOD-DRAINING HEADRUSH AND THE FEELING THAT I’D BEEN CAUGHT WITH MY PANTS DOWN, FOLLOWED SLOWLY BY THAT SENSE OF RELIEF THAT THE PEOPLE I HAD INADVERTENTLY E-MAILED WERE THE SORT WHO’D PRESS DELETE AND EXERCISE THE UTMOST DISCRETION” than being caught with your pants up or down and nowhere to go. Even something as innocuous as taking out your garbage when you’re not supposed to is something you wouldn’t publicly admit to and would never do if you knew you were being watched. Which is why sending a sensitive e-mail to the wrong person or persons [twice in one day] can feel like the worst thing that could ever happen to you, even when it obviously isn’t. I would hazard a guess that this sort of thing haunts the best of us and is something that happens more frequently than we would like it to.

Improvements in technology have contributed to this dangerous state of affairs. Whereas once upon a time, we painstakingly wrote down people’s e-mail addresses in our Filofaxes or memorised them, today, we don’t have to jot them down. They’re all there on our computer at the click of a button. So the minute you press A, B, C, or D, you are suddenly inundated with a long list of people you may know [and even people you’ve never met] whose addresses are saved on account of some sort of e-mail exchange you may have had directly or even indirectly. Anyone whose name, surname, or middle name is somehow connected

caught with my pants down, followed slowly by that sense of relief that the people I had inadvertently e-mailed were the sort who’d press delete and exercise the utmost discretion. Shit does happen even when you’re sitting on your sofa with three available bathrooms at your disposal. And although I am tempted to write ‘there can be nothing worse than badmouthing someone in an e-mail and inadvertently sending it to that same person’, I should know better. However unfortunate in the grand scheme of things, it’s also shockingly trivial. ginantonic@live.com

Pink October 2016  ∫ 79


TABLETALK

IN THE CAULDRON, BOIL & BUBBLE MARIA CACHIA stirs up a pumpkin and lentil soup with tomatoes, cardamom and coriander.

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

Serves 4 generously 400g pumpkin, chopped into 2cm pieces 100g carrots, chopped into 2cm pieces A few sprigs fresh thyme 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, roasted and chopped 2 tbsp olive oil 120g red lentils, rinsed 400ml vegetable stock 120g brown lentils, soaked for a couple of hours 1 whole chilli, optional 4 sundried tomatoes 2 cardamom pods ¼ tsp coriander seeds 82 ∫ Pink October 2016

In a dry, hot pan, roast the cardamom and coriander seeds for a few seconds. Remove the outer skin of the cardamom pod. Place the cardamom and coriander and freshly ground salt and pepper into a spice grinder and grind until smooth. Place the mixture in a food processor, together with the sundried tomatoes, and blend for a few seconds until it has a paste-like consistency. Add some olive oil if needed. Reserve the dressing. Heat the oven to 200°C. Place the chopped pumpkin and carrots in a bowl, together with a drizzle of olive oil, and season. Sprinkle a few thyme leaves. Toss the vegetables so that

they’re coated with the olive oil. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Place the vegetables on a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes. Heat a pot to medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and the chopped onions and roasted garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft. Add the red lentils and the vegetable stock. Lower the heat and cook the lentils for 10 minutes, or until very soft. Add the brown lentils and cook for 10 more minutes. Add the pumpkin and carrots and cook until the lentils are cooked through. Add the chilli if desired. Drizzle the tomato dressing and serve with crusty bread.


WOMENONWHEELS

Oh là là Renault’s Megane has already got things pretty right three times round over the last 20 years. But ANDREA FAYE CHRISTIANS finds it has sought to make things even better with this latest fourth-generation model.

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rench car maker, Renault, has added plenty of oh là là to its array of cars that have trotted out of its stable in recent years. The cute Clio and the quirky Twingo are but a few. All that was lacking in the adventurous new-look collection was a family saloon, but that void has now also been filled with the new Renault Megane. Let’s call a spade a spade, though, here. This isn’t a new car; rather, it’s a new Megane from Renault, which, in the last 20 years, has already got things pretty good three times round and sought to make things even better with this latest fourthgeneration model. Never backward in coming forward, Renault has taken the recipe for this success story and added a few irresistible ingredients to make the ‘new’ in the Megane more attractive than ever before to prospective buyers. But would the facelift pull it off, or would the appeal of this vehicle be nothing more than skin deep? To find out more, I went off to Auto Sales Ltd,

and on a rather blustery day, found myself behind the wheel of this ravishing red model – and very delightful it is too! The colour of a car apparently says a lot about the driver’s personality. It has been suggested that red is apparently for the extrovert, look-at-me type. Personally, I think this is an urban myth, but this new Megane was a definite head-turner wherever we went.

So what do you get for your money? From an aesthetic perspective, the streamlined look speaks for itself and it is undeniably classy while retaining a distinctly French feel that has always characterised Renault cars. However, in the face of stiff competition, there are a lot of boxes to tick for a car such as this, aimed at the family segment of the market. Size definitely matters and the new Megane is definitely spacious inside, and although it is slightly smaller than its predecessor, it is still marginally wider than others cars in its class. Also the boot is huge – I mean you can get lost in there and that, for anyone looking for a family car, is something you should never underestimate. Inside, put simply, it’s pleasing – such a versatile word in that the new Megane is well thought out internally and robustly finished, making the driving experience an altogether comfortable one. I particularly liked the lumber support in the driver’s seat. When it comes to the driving experience, well, that is a different story. This car is a frisky fiend and took no prisoners on the open stretch of road where I had to keep a careful watch on the speedometer and eagle-eyed traffic wardens as the speed and smoothness it delivers can be deceptive.

“NEVER BACKWARD IN COMING FORWARD, RENAULT HAS TAKEN THE RECIPE FOR THIS SUCCESS STORY AND ADDED A FEW IRRESISTIBLE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE ‘NEW’ IN THE MEGANE MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN EVER BEFORE TO PROSPECTIVE BUYERS” Hopefully, however, I’m not alone in wanting more from a car than simply having it match my lipstick! This version is the top of the range, with full extras, but for the more modest, you can get your hands on an entry-level model in the form of the DY 1.2-litre turbo petrol for €21,500 and the diesel DY 1.5 dCi for £21,900.

The overall impression is undeniably positive… with perhaps the exception of the gearbox, which isn’t quite as smooth as expected. But in all other respects, this car is near enough perfect and offers a good balance between stylish looks, the latest in-car technology and performance, with a generous sprinkling of panache thrown in for good measure. Pink October 2016 ∫ 85


STARGAZER

THE FUTURE IS

PINK ARIES MARCH 20-APRIL 18 In late September, you plunged into an intense cycle of reorganising your life, your goals and domestic setup. As a result, you’re now rethinking your priorities and long-term objectives. While some things are clear, others are complex, so require an in-depth review. Still, the swift pace forces you to tackle these immediately, even if it means gathering facts, or gaining support later. Surprisingly, by mid-month, they’re dealt. Finally, you take a break, slow your pace, and enjoy everything you’ve achieved.

CANCER JUNE 20-JULY 21 Tempting as it is to give others a hand with situations that, for some reason, you regard as partly your responsibility, this is unwise and unfair, at least to you. These aren’t your problem. Even more, it’s vital you put certain of your own ideas, activities, or possibly your career first. Initially, the issue is about priorities. Carefully analyse what you get for your efforts. This is vital now and over the coming two months, when you’ll need to make pivotal decisions, often swiftly.

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 21 Being a Libra, you’re attentive to relations with family, friends and loved ones. You carefully ensure everybody knows you care. Generally, this is easy, but recently, certain individuals have either faced serious difficulties, or been unusually demanding. Consequently, you’ve had to neglect others and, equally, your own needs. While you don’t mind, you also realise you must now make up for that, to others and, especially, regarding certain of your plans or projects. Do exactly that, and without justifying it to anybody.

CAPRICORN DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 19 Initially, November’s complications may seem routine challenges to overcome. But, actually, they’re an invitation to review elements of your work, lifestyle and goals, personal and out in the world. With bountiful Jupiter accenting such matters, unexpected ideas or offers could challenge your thinking and disrupt your plans. Worrying as that sounds, these events are about timely breakthroughs. Some involve rethinking existing arrangements, but as many could take you into new territory via study, travel, or exciting ventures.

According to astrologer SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL… TAURUS

APRIL 19-MAY 19 For ages, you’ve been negotiating with situations or individuals to avoid unnecessary or unwise changes. Still, between early November and the Taurus Full Moon on November 14, events and your own insights make it clear keeping things as they were only causes problems. The sooner you start discussing how and when things can shift, the more swiftly you’ll discover ways to rethink, if not escape from, increasingly troublesome arrangements. Within weeks, you’ll be happily making changes that, only recently, you dreaded.

LEO JULY 22-AUGUST 21 As you begin November, either circumstances or the demands of certain individuals will lead to altering elements of your way of living, working, or long-term goals. While you’re aware changes are inevitable, you’d rather make them when you’re ready. However, by mid-month, you realise things are moving on without you and begin exploring all the possibilities. With the foundation on which plans are based shifting, expect to go through several versions of plans before anything’s settled, probably in late December.

SCORPIO OCTOBER 22-NOVEMBER 20 November’s most important day is October 30, when the Scorpio New Moon brings pivotal insights and kick-starts a new cycle. This confirms your conviction certain long-standing arrangements, personal, or involving your worldly pursuits, must change substantially, or come to an end. While this seems dramatic, it gives you the freedom to consider every possible option. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and objectives openly. The better others understand what you’re thinking, the more likely they are to support you.

AQUARIUS JANUARY 20-FEBRUARY 18 Unsettling ideas, or possibly unexpected offers are all encouraging you to alter how you live, work, or even your long-term goals. While you’re intensely inquisitive about the world around you and the activities of others, certain elements of your own life have become predictable, if not dull. Yet you’ve no idea how to bring new excitement to these. The answer is to reawaken curiosity. You’ve forgotten how to explore just for the fun of it. Do so. You’ll benefit in amazing ways.

Visit www.shelleyvonstrunckel.com to learn more and order your own chart.

GEMINI MAY 20-JUNE 19 Being an inquisitive Gemini, you’re usually the first to discover, and take advantage of, exciting trends or ideas. Yet during early November, you’ll be so absorbed by a combination of obligations to others and practical matters that you’ve no time for anybody, or anything else. Once these matters are dealt with around November 20, you’ll finally catch up on recent developments and realise what you did, learnt, or accomplished will mean substantially rethinking elements of your life you previously regarded as unchanging.

VIRGO AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 21 Ordinarily, you would never agree to changes in your domestic or working life without investigating what’s involved. Yet the swift pace of events forces you to move fast. The trick is to get involved, possibly even contributing ideas, but to avoid finalising plans until the end of November. Initially, others may complain. But soon they too will realise there’s lots more to discuss and explore before a final plan is realistic. Better yet, tackling this together strengthens close, but recently neglected, relationships.

SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 20 Sometimes, obstacles are a mere nuisance to be overcome. But those November brings are intended to slow your pace and encourage you to analyse both long-standing arrangements and your passions, certain people and projects. While once important, things have changed, but your priorities haven’t. Some need a rethink, while others are coming to a natural conclusion. Meanwhile, begin exploring ideas or offers triggered by the life-changing Sagittarius New Moon on November 29. They will be thrilling.

PISCES FEBRUARY 19-MARCH 19 In early November, you’ll devise a vision. Consider the practical side of things, but waste no time clearly defining those plans. That way, when the questions of others or practical issues arise, you’ll be flexible. And you’ll be ready to explore and possibly make even dramatic changes. This could also lead to frank yet constructive discussions with those closest, from family to friends and colleagues, about ongoing and future plans. Doing this now enables you to make swift decisions in early December. Pink October 2016 ∫ 87


Photography ICAM photography

SNAPSHOT

BEHIND HER SCENES Y

ou’re an aromatherapist by day and an actress/TV show host by night. How do you reconcile these two very different roles? Which one is more you? Or do you have many sides? I think everyone has many sides to their personality. I would say they both represent different aspects of me. Acting would be my creative, quirky side, and aromatherapy would be the ‘behind the scenes’ of Manolita, so to speak.

After a four-year hiatus to handle motherhood, Manolita Grech is back on the box. She tells Pink that while her public persona may be a show-off and enjoys an audience, she’s actually shy to appear on TV as herself. Emotions are amplified in the actress, who admits she moves from laughing fits to crying fits to anger and ecstasy as easily as she steps in and out of her TV characters.

Your aromatherapy clients must also know you as the hilarious Rosie and Mary Spitfire. How can they take you seriously and detach these comical characters from your professional life? When I first meet a client and they realise who I am, they usually smile and acknowledge that they have recognised me, but it does not really affect my work as an aromatherapist. Generally speaking though, if I meet someone who only knows me through television, they usually want to associate me with those characters, especially Rosie. People still sometimes call out ‘Rosie’ when they see me. I think it’s because I played that character for two years, so they became attached to her. Rosie and Mary seemed to have a common character trait – haughty in a hilarious way. Do you think so? And how much of their creation was your personal input? Yes, I agree Rosie and Mary had similar traits, as in they were both self-absorbed, vain to different extents and loud in different ways. Dolly, however was the total opposite, she was an outcast, the scapegoat and the one with no opinion, who nobody really gave much attention to. There is Pink October 2016 ∫ 89


SNAPSHOT always personal input in every character I play; not necessarily my own personality traits, but my perception of people, personality types, and the world in general through my own experiences. Although you seem to have a natural penchant for humour, you say you find comical roles more challenging. Why? And where can we see you playing a more serious, dramatic part? I am also playing a character in the drama series Strada Stretta, and the role is anything but comic. She is somewhat cold, mean and stuck-up. I enjoy dramatic roles too, but I find comic roles more challenging because it’s easier to make people cry than laugh. Delivering humour, contrary to what people tend to think, actually requires control and discipline: timing, voice tone, chemistry, pacing. These are all important variables when it comes to playing comic roles. Another thing is that, sometimes, you think of, or write a sketch or script that you visualise as very funny, but once you rehearse it out, the effect is different, so you need to change and adapt it. This happens especially when performing live.

“WE ARE VERY LIMITED, AND IT IS SOMETIMES VERY FRUSTRATING BECAUSE YOU HAVE IDEAS YOU WANT TO PROJECT, BUT YOU CANNOT BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES AND BUDGET TO DO SO” We saw you in productions like Deceduti and Min Imissu some time ago. What have you been up to since? I was pregnant at the end of the season of Min Imissu and had a daughter named Penny, who is now three years and 10 months old. I was busy adapting to motherhood, you could say. The first three years are rather demanding; children are totally dependent on you. How is life with Penny and which of your many interests/traits do you think you are most successfully passing on to her? Which would you want her not to pick up? Penny is in kindergarten now, so she is more settled and a bit more independent. In fact, I am back on television this season. Life is so much busier with Penny; I never knew how much having a child would totally change my life. Everything I do revolves around her; I take her into consideration with every decision I make. I would describe motherhood as a beautiful, intense, tiring – and frustrating, at times – experience. I don’t actually think about what I want or do not want her to pick up from me. I do my best to give her my all. I know I am not perfect, and even if I tried to be perfect, she would still have issues of some sort; everyone does… it’s part of being human. One thing she seems to be showing signs of ‘inheriting’ from me is being fidgety. She has definitely taken that from me. How would you spend a couple of days totally on your own and doing your own thing, barring acting and aromatherapy? I’d go on holiday, wake up late every morning, not have a plan, read books, drink wine and eat good food. In 90 ∫ Pink October 2016

my other life, I’m a lover of books and I believe there’s always so much more to learn. I also love food – good food – and I enjoy cooking. What is the concept behind the entertainment programme, ShowOff TV, which started airing this month and which you produce and host with Owen Bonnici? We wanted a show that, first and foremost, had different segments. We also focus a lot on what is currently going viral online. The internet is such a big part of everyone’s lives that we wanted to include it. As regards guests in studio, we wanted to cover stories that are not usually given much exposure on television, or that have been forgotten. The idea was to do something different even visually; that’s why we chose a 1960s retro theme. The studio also looks like a set from a series, with a kitchen, living room and a garden. So we interview people in a studio setup, but at times, we also have different situations/sketches by Owen, myself and even other actors, which feel like a sitcom. Does local TV attract a big enough audience in your view, or is it often snubbed and cannot keep up with international competition? The local market is small, and that, in my opinion, is why we cannot keep up with international competition. It is not talented or hard-working people that we lack in Malta, but resources and financing. People in this industry have to work really hard and usually do so because it is something they love. For instance, in a local series or a sitcom, you have one scriptwriter, or two at most; foreign productions usually have about six. Production teams are minimal for most local production houses, while foreign productions have a lot of people working in different departments. You cannot compare; we are very limited, and it is sometimes very frustrating because you have ideas you want to project, but you cannot because you do not have the resources and budget to do so. You describe yourself as “flexible” and “temperamental” in character. How do you cope with the fact that “emotions are amplified with me” and do these qualities lend themselves well to your acting skills? I have a flexible personality in that I am usually very tolerant of people and get along well with almost everyone. I think that is because I am sensitive, so I tend to put myself in other people’s shoes to understand them better. I am also very emotional, yes, and it definitely does help my acting skills. I describe acting as the ability to project ideas and experiences of people and situations and give them life. It boils down to imagination and emotions. Acting is rather intense. Would you define yourself as a show-off, and when was the last time you were shy? Well the ‘public me’ would be a show-off, I guess. I wouldn’t be on television if I did not enjoy having an audience watch me. Ironically, though, I do get shy if I am on television as me, like in an interview, or as a guest on a programme. The ‘me’ in my personal life is quieter and more reserved; I was never the type to go up to people and have a chat. I tend to keep to myself and to the people who are close to me.



Pink - October 2016