Healthy, natural and happy is… beautiful

Watching the latest season of Australia’s Next Top Model and its polished new contestants the other day, I was in awe of how well these girls knew how to pose for a camera, walk on a catwalk (in a major fashion show for their first challenge, no less!) and make themselves pretty with make-up and nicely styled hair. They are pretty perfect little models before they even start receiving advice from Sarah Murdoch, the show’s host, or the other model mentors like Josh Flinn. It’s incredible. When did teenage girls become so aware of their looks and appeal?

Sure, I used to worry endlessly about how I looked from when my body started hitting puberty but I thought applying sheer lipgloss and mascara and blow-drying my hair was dolling up. The times when I tried eye shadow or lipstick, I ended up wiping it all off, disgusted at how artificial and bad I looked. How come today’s teenagers no longer have those boundaries and no longer consider natural beauty to be true beauty? To this day, when I finish a photoshoot and walk out onto the street in full shoot make-up, I feel like a circus clown with warpaint on. What is needed to make a look beautiful for a magazine and for everyday life is something totally different.

An ex-boyfriend of mine used to call it the “make-up or wake-up girl” thing. Him and his mates would text each other after meeting a girl for the first time (and spending the night with her). “Make-up” was reserved for artificial, highly made up girls who worried about their look so much they’d even get up before the guys and ensure they’d have some make-up on prior to brekkie. “Wake-up” girls were the ones they’d fall in love with. Ones you’d want to lovingly gaze at and hold in the morning. They were naturally beautiful. No make-up needed. Their personality was reflected in their looks.

I love that little wake-up make-up saying. It’s a sweet way to distinguish and acknowledge natural beauty. It’s more about the person than their appearance. I hope those young girls on Australia’s Next Topmodel have a sense of their own value as a person and understand that outer beauty can reflect a beautiful personality but that being a model doesn’t actually mean anything in itself.

Being happy with yourself, looking after your body and being friendly, giving and appreciative is far more important. No make-up needed. Radiance comes from within.

Don’t think me hypocritical. I know I’ve got stacks of photos online that show me heavily made up. And yes, I do appreciate fashion photography and a great photoshoot. But if I had a teenage daughter would I like her to know how to move like  a model and put make-up on like a grown woman ready to go out to pull? Are you kidding?! I’d like her to be a tomboy climbing trees, falling into rivers and coming home with scratches and cuts from mountainbiking – with a smile on her face. There’s enough time for them to grow up and start worrying about their looks and how to apply concealer. (For the record, I only bought my first foundation and concealer five years ago when I needed it for modeling.)

Hey, why don’t we go ahead as role models and show them that we are happy in our skin. Without make-up. Here are some of the shots that show me happiest – and in my view most beautiful – no or barely any make-up needed. Beauty is being yourself. Below is me. Let’s start a little movement. When are you happy and beautiful? Email me pics to and I’ll put them up.

Sol Walkling

On a road trip for the day with a friend. No plan, no time limit, just fun.

Happy and beautiful is… friends cracking you up.

Sol Walkling

Trying some Indigenous flower for the first time on a travel assignment up in Queensland after hunting for food in mud swamps.

Happy and beautiful is…  travelling.

Sol Walkling

Returning home after an offshore race. No sleep, no land, no worries.

Happy and beautiful is… doing sports.

Sol Walkling

Home on the Northern Beaches with Mr Wonderful, his family and kids. The sky was overcast but the outlook sunny.

Happy and beautiful is… being around loved ones.

Sol Walkling

Taking out a yacht for the day with good friends and inspiring company, yummy food and wine, anchoring near my house.

Happy and beautiful is… just relaxing.

Sol Walkling

At the end of a shoot at the beach when all the make-up has washed off and I’m exhausted.

Happy and beautiful is… in the outdoors feeling the elements.

Leave a Comment

  • Sol, again I love this! I love everything you write! Yes, let’s start a movement, I LOVE it!! Thank you so much for sharing, I want to post this on the blog. Talk soon.
    Angela xxxx

    • solwalkling

      Thanks Angela! :-) Let me know when and I can maybe have another little rewrite over the weekend. Gotta get ready now for a run and another fashion parade. Have a great day. Sol xxx

  • Mark

    Photo 3 – most beautiful eyes!

    • solwalkling

      Thank you!