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Author: Morgan Tait

From the edge to the big screen


Conquering her own struggles with mental illness has seen Kiwi woman Jazz Thornton co-found a global charity, write two books and speak at the United Nations, now she speaks with Metropol ahead of her next journey – to the big screen.

 

 

Jazz Thornton is driven by one overwhelming motive – to make others dealing with mental health issues feel less alone.

And when Girl on the Bridge is released at the end of this month, viewers will see just how hard the 22-year-old works to do this.

The feature documentary, directed by Kiwi filmmaker Leanne Pooley, follows Jazz during the pivotal two-year period she was emerging out of her own struggles with suicide to become a powerful advocate for mental health.

“The biggest reason for me is, when I was going through everything, when I was sitting in the psych ward – I felt like the only one,” she tells Metropol.

“If people were talking about it when I was going through it, I might have felt less shame and found tools and some hope sooner than when I did.”

A survivor of childhood abuse, it wasn’t until after her 14th suicide attempt that Jazz made a decision to “not to be another statistic and to fight for herself”.

That fight has ultimately led her to fight for others, too.

Since she has started sharing her own story, she has co-founded global mental health charity Voices of Hope; directed an award-winning web series; published her book Stop Surviving, Start Fighting, with her second book to be released in January; addressed the world’s leaders at the UN; had coffee with Prince Harry and Meghan to discuss the subject, and now, been the subject of a documentary.

The documentary follows Jazz’s journey as she was embarking on the award-winning 2019 web series Jessica’s Tree, which pays reflective tribute to the eponymous friend whose life she could not save.

Girl on the Bridge is being released internationally on September 21 – online so viewers can watch it privately – and taps into the “how” of suicide prevention.

Which, alongside behind-the-scenes work to increase mental health funding the world over, lies in the conversations we have with each other, says Jazz.

We need to have conversations beyond the basic, “How are you? Good” exchanges, she says.

“Start saying how you’re really feeling, start telling people and keep saying it until someone listens.

“Don’t try and do it by yourself. Talking to people is the biggest and best thing you can do.”

When Jazz was a teenager dealing with dark times, there were very few conversations happening on the subject.

“I don’t remember really ever talking about it growing up. I think we might have had one health class on it in school, but it was not something we ever talked about.

“For so many years I felt like I was the only one. John Kirwan, when he came out with his story it was the first time I thought, ‘Oh this is actually something’.”

Seeing these conversations change and stigma be lifted is encouraging, she says.

“Seeing people willing to ask for help is incredible to see.

“I will always keep sharing my story so people begin to understand the reality of mental health and suicide in our country.”

Jazz hopes the film not only brings people together but allows them to understand, “they might not be able to change the entire world, but they can change someone’s world.”

Watch the documentary at
www.girlonthebridgefilm.com


 

Building workplace wellbeing


As lives – and livelihoods – remain disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, a new platform to help small business owners monitor their team’s wellbeing has been launched.

 

The Check In is an online tool for small business leaders to help them facilitate free activities to support their teams and empower team members to support themselves.

Launched by cloud-based accounting software platform, Xero, The Check In has evidence-based ideas and insights to assist businesses to cultivate workplace wellbeing.

It also includes additional wellbeing resources and policy guides for small businesses that want to take wellbeing further.

Managing Director for New Zealand and Pacific Islands at Xero Craig Hudson, says the impact of the pandemic on the small business industry is far-reaching – impacting wellbeing and inflating day-to-day stresses.

“All workplaces play a central role in building people’s resilience and positive wellbeing, helping them to be healthy, contributing members to their families and communities.

“After specialist mental health services and primary health care, workplaces are the next biggest place of mental wellness support in the country, and 97 percent of New Zealand businesses are small businesses. So it’s vital that small businesses know what to do and how simple it can be.”

Likewise, the evidence for cultivating healthy workplaces shows returns, says Hudson.

A Deloitte study in the UK found mental health awareness and proactive intervention can result in a return on investment (ROI) of up to $8 for every $1 spent, while reactive support can result in an ROI of up to $4.50 for every $1 spent.


 

Shirr thing


Whimsical meets all-important comfort with shirring, an outfit go-to making quite a name for itself. The romantic ruffles created by shirring, where elastic is sewn in parallel rows so a garment gathers, offer an of the moment silhouette.

 

Marle Ines Top

 

Often fun, floaty and iron-free, countless brands are making a strong case for the sartorial technique, which is being reimagined in dress, blouse, skirt and pant form from high end to the high street.

Adjacent to Prairie and cottagecore aesthetics, shirring is nostalgic yet simple – making it a versatile wardrobe addition whether you opt for a monochrome or patterned design.

Ruby Mirella Short Sleeve Wrap Dress

In New Zealand, designers like Ruby have set the scene with its sell-out Mirella series, shirred dresses, tops and skirts in a range of hues from classic black and white, to bold bright pink and tonal olive green. Marle’s Ines Top from its newest collection offers a pared back option, with a single line of shirring giving shape to an otherwise floaty favourite.

Pair shirred maxi dresses with sandals, sneakers, heels or boots to suit your day’s activities. Mix shirred tops with jeans, wide leg pants, slip skirts or shorts; and shirred skirts and pants with simple shirts, tees and blouses.

 

Giselle Silk Georgette Top

In a time where comfort is key due to most of the world being homebound, shirring offers the stretch required for both sedentary and active days.


 

Positive Pursuit


We’ve been through a lot. And Christchurch more than most. As the times remain uncertain and, yes, unprecedented – it’s hard not to feel unsettled, and sometimes even harder to find a bright side to look on. Yet evidence shows optimistic people are less stressed, healthier and can even live longer – so we’ve compiled our top tips for staying positive when it feels a little impossible.

 

Eat your way to good sleep
Being well rested improves mood and health. In her new book, Happy Gut, Happy Mind, nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik makes the case for a diet which helps your body cope with the environmental stresses which interfere with sleep. In other words, stressed people sleep poorly – and then try to energise with unhelpful foods. She suggests caffeine in the morning only, staying away from sugar and alcohol, eating whole foods, and giving yourself at least an hour to wind down before getting under the covers at night.

Say thank you
Research shows a regular gratitude practice – acknowledging the things in your life you’re thankful for – sets you up for a happier and more optimistic day as you train your brain to focus on what is going well. New Zealand charity, the Thankfulness Project has the mantra, “thankfulness equals happiness” to show Kiwis how looking for the good in any situation turns your attention away from the not-so-good.

Give meditation a whirl
Don’t poo-poo meditation as woo-woo before you’ve given it a shot. Regarded as a highly effective tool to calm the mind, focus your thinking and let negative thoughts float on by. It can be as simple as downloading an app like Headspace or Insight Timer and listening to a soothing voice guide you through a few minutes of breathing exercises. Mindfulness practices like meditation come highly recommended not only by mental health professionals, but by some of the world’s highest achievers like Bill Gates, Ariana Huffington and LeBron James.

Be nice
This includes to yourself. Practicing self-compassion is a key to becoming more resilient, according to psychotherapist Stephanie Maston who wrote a book on the subject. Compassion towards ourselves and others interrupts negative and anxious thought patterns. When you take a moment to stop the spiral, you can even try reading a pre-prepared statement to remind yourself it’s going to be okay. Because it is.

Making scents of it


Finding the perfect perfume, or one for a very special occasion, can be overwhelming for fragrance connoisseurs and newbies alike. When you add in the often high price tag, it’s understandable that care and consideration are prerequisites for your hunt. Here are our tips for sourcing your signature scent.

 

Keep it in the family
Trained “nose” – the technical term for a fragrance master – Johanna Monange, says there are four fragrance families – fougère, floral, Chypré and oriental.
Floral, the largest, denotes base odours which are sweet, soft and gentle. Chypré is dry and warm, woody scents. Oriental is associated with soft and sensual odours like vanilla, patchouli and sandalwood, and fougère is more masculine and aromatic, based on lavender and bergamot.
Once you know your family, you can narrow down your search. Start by thinking of the smells you already enjoy and go from there.

On the pulse
Beauty and fragrance maestro Mona Kattan, of Huda Beauty, says you should test perfume by spraying it on your pulse points – the inside of your wrists, behind the ears, and inside your elbows. The skin here is naturally warm, making the scent reveal itself over time.

In the bottle
Mona says the less alcohol a perfume has, the more oil-based it will be – which generally means it will last longer on the skin. Another tip to prolong your scent is to moisturise well before application.


 

Dipping into spring


A universal joy of warmer seasons is the vibrant and flavoursome fresh produce yields – and using the ingredients in creative ways. As the weather heats up, our preferred snacks tend to cool down, and one way to embrace the colour and crispness of fresh seasonal produce is to create refreshing savoury dips in the colours of the rainbow.

 

Going rogue
Create a vivid red hummus by roasting cored red capsicum with sirarcha until the skin wrinkles and the body collapses. Add to a food processer with a standard hummus base of chickpeas, fresh lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and olive oil.

Green with envy
It is hard to disappoint with modern menu staple, avocado. And when it comes to a refreshing, colourful condiment – avo is a go-to. Diverge from old favourite guacamole with an uplifting avocado, yoghurt, mint and fresh lime juice number.

Lovely lilac
Known for its earthy flavour, beetroot can become revitalised with a sprinkle of chilli and cumin. Again, add to a hummus base. Or, for something a bit different, choose some purple kumara and omit the chickpeas.

Got the blues
Blue is an infrequent savoury food hue. Flip that stereotype on its head with a blue spirulina and feta hummus. Roast a whole head of garlic in tinfoil for this recipe and stir in the spirulina last for an addition sure to make your platter pop.


 

In the mood


Classic all white aesthetics will always have their place, but more designers and homeowners are choosing to create some drama in their bathrooms with dark, moody aesthetics to evoke calming opulence in these important spaces.

TIDA-winning powder room
by Armstrong Interiors

 

Bathrooms are as much a place to relax and wash away the day, as they are to reinvigorate and jump start your morning. Darkening the colour tones of this highly functional room can instantly heighten the mood to an indulgent, contemporary feel.

Browsing design books, magazines and blogs reveals moody washrooms fitted with natural and earthy material palettes of dark stone, wood and ceramics teamed with soft lighting and brass finishes.

It was this type of drama which caught the eyes of judges at this year’s Trends International Design Awards, where Christchurch-based interior designer Angelique Armstrong received all three bathroom awards – two of them for moody, masculine designs.

Where such hard surfaces like natural stone or concrete and rough sawn timber may seem oppressive, balance can be maintained with considered and cleverly placed – or manipulated – artificial and natural lighting.

Naturally occurring textures like imperfections, veins and wood grains also help remove any overly industrial harshness.

Reinterpreting a light bathroom space doesn’t necessarily need to mean a complete overhaul, it could include adding concrete-effect paint or panelling, or simply choosing darker tiles and cabinetry.


 

From the Editor: 03 September 2020


“Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions basked on hope and possibility.” Michelle Obama.

 

Biking through the Christchurch CBD on a balmy Sunday afternoon, it was uplifting to see so many others out and about.

I waited in a long line for my Rollickin’ Gelato and had to dodge a fair few pedestrians to navigate my bike between the tram tracks and traffic queues.

Sitting on the banks of the Avon enjoying my salted caramel scoop, the sun-soaked bars and restaurants of The Terrace brimmed with denizens of all ages.

Perhaps it was the springtime daffodils and ducklings on display – or the sugar rush – but I couldn’t help feeling a sense of hope and possibility for our city.

The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the city’s centre has been late to flourish during the rebuild of the last decade, yet here were so many enjoying what the CBD has to offer.

My mind also turned to what had unfolded that week just around the corner. Where 93 people delivered brave and touching victim impact statements in front of a man who had robbed them of so much 18-months ago on March 15.

Outside of court, crowds gathered to support the Muslim community.

An attempt to terrorise had only instilled greater unity.

Once again, this community showed how hope prospers in Ōtautahi.


 

Super Summer Sound


The wide appeal of Kiwi supergroup L.A.B is making waves here and abroad. Metropol catches up with lead guitarist and vocalist Joel Shadbolt ahead of their Christchurch show.

L .A.B, pronounced as each letter, but representative of a laboratory where pioneering ideas are cooked up, is behind one of the country’s most popular songs of the moment.

The nostalgic Kiwi summertime bop, ‘In the Air’ has spent 35 weeks in the Official New Zealand Top 40 Singles chart, 33 of those in the top 10 and three as number one.

It’s the first New Zealand number one since Lorde in 2017, the first independent single since Flight of the Conchords in 2012 and is nominated for a coveted 2020 Apra Silver Scroll song writing award.

Comprised of members of some of New Zealand’s most well-known bands of recent decades, L.A.B’s five members are Kora’s Brad and Stu Kora, Katchafire’s Ara Adams-Tamatea, and Miharo Gregory, and Joel Shadbolt.

Joel told Metropol how the accidental success of ‘In the Air’ has help the group – who have three albums under their belts since forming in 2017 – cement its sound.

“The thing with ‘In the Air’ is none of us thought it would be a number one hit,” he says. “It keeps growing legs with how long it’s been out and just keeps going.”

The reason for that?

“We think people are attaching themselves to the nostalgic sound. Lyrically, it’s about young love, it’s very much about that summer love.

“Musically, it’s more of an old school song feel. It’s different from other music which is prominent at the moment, but it seems to resonate.”

Starting life as a Kiwi reggae band, the supergroup’s sound has developed to put its blues, rock, RnB, and funk influences more centre stage.

“When I hear [‘In the Air’], I hear influences from the ‘70s with the basic beat, simple guitar chords and bassline – yet when kids at school hear it, they can hear something fresh in it because it’s not what they’re used to hearing.”

And it is inspiration from that era which the band is really tapping into, he says.

”The older the sound we try to come out with, the more it seems to resonate with audiences as something new.

“We’re influenced by the music we were brought up on. We have really close connections with music from Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder, their music resonates with all generations and when we write our music we’re conscious about doing that, too.”

‘In the Air’ is from L.A.B’s third album, which Joel sees as a turning point for the band, which he says will be further demonstrated in its fourth album due to be released this summer.

“In our third album we found the groove so to speak. You can definitely hear Kora and reggae more so in the first and second albums. The third, we don’t ascribe it so much to other bands, we just hear it as L.A.B.

“The sound is always evolving, but now we get to the point where we’re say that’s an L.A.B sound.”

Covid-19 disrupted L.A.B’s planned Australian tour as well as shows in Auckland and Hamilton. However, once the country went from Alert Level 4 to 1, the capacity of the New Zealand shows were increased – and the concerts were the first major events to take place amidst a global pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic we’ve been able to reschedule and make the shows bigger. We went from 1000 people at the Power Station to 6000 at Spark Arena, and also ended up playing to 6000 at Cloudeland’s Arena instead of 1000 at The Factory.”

They will also be headlining a number of New Zealand music festivals this summer, should they go ahead due to Covid-19.

At which time, L.A.B will perform alongside other Kiwi favourites Benee, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Shapeshifter, The Upbeats, Broods, and Sola Rosa.

When the band comes to Christchurch in October Joel says audiences here can expect to hear their super summer sound.

• L.A.B are playing Horncastle Arena on October 31. Buy tickets at www.ticketek.co.nz.


 

The cult of skincare


Discovering her skincare wasn’t safe during pregnancy sent Kiwi woman Emma Lewisham on a mission to create natural, yet powerful, products. Her eponymous range launched this year and already has a cult-like following. Metropol catches up with Emma about what it takes to create a coveted range.

 

A conversation with her GP about fertility in 2016 changed the course of New Zealand woman Emma Lewisham’s life – and quite possibly the country’s skincare industry.

“I was going through a bit of a turning point in my life, I had just lost my mother to cancer and was finding that really hard to come to terms with. She was really young, and I started to realise I was taking my own health for granted.

“I started thinking, ‘I’m in my 30s now, I need to think about how I live and the things I do every day’, I was also trying and struggling to get pregnant at the time, and so I was speaking to my GP about what I needed to consider for my general health.”

When asked what skincare she was using, Emma named a heavy-hitting product she employed to help even her skin tone.

“She said, ‘Stop using that right now’. It contained an ingredient which I found out was banned in Europe and Japan, but in New Zealand they still allowed the sale of it despite it having a lot of credible research behind it as a known carcinogen.

“And I just thought, ‘If I couldn’t use it then, why would I use it ever?’.”

The discovery of this unwitting pay off between her health and results set Emma on a journey.

“From there I knew I wanted to use more clean and natural products, so I went to pharmacies and health shops, but I was used to really high performing skincare and couldn’t find anything which would get those same results.

“I didn’t accept that you either had to compromise your health for results, or compromise results for using natural products.”

A global marketing executive for a Japanese tech company at the time, Emma was far removed from the science and process of creating skincare.

“I didn’t have experience producing skincare, but I had experience identifying gaps in the market and I just felt like I was onto something, and that it was going to resonate with people.”

And that it did.

Since launching last year, the Emma Lewisham range has gained near-instant notoriety.

Featured in top Australasian lifestyle magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Viva, Remix, Mindfood, Mamamia, and on The Spinoff’s Business is Boring podcast, as well as influential blogs like The Twenties Club.

It’s also a favourite of Kiwi Victoria’s Secret model Georgia Fowler, her also-a-model sister, Kate, and fellow New Zealand-born, Aussie-based model, Eden Bristowe.

But developing a coveted skincare range doesn’t just happen overnight – it took three years of research and development and a team of scientists to bring her vision to life.

Those experts told Emma about research happening around the world into high-performing plant-derived ingredients.

To those not familiar with skincare, that may sound far-fetched.

But consumer interest in cosmetic skincare has skyrocketed in recent years, with the global industry projected to exceed NZD$1 trillion by 2025, according to business data platform Statista.

“I was very driven to get luxury high performing products at any cost,” says Emma.

“We sourced ingredients from 30 countries, and instead of focussing on two or three ingredients per product, we put up to 30 in and at up to two to four times higher concentrate than what was in the market.”

Initially launching with three products (a daily moisturiser, SPF and face oil serum) two more (a serum targeting hyperpigmentation and a night cream) followed.

She’s also launched Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle, where consumers can return any brand’s facial skincare packaging for recycling. And last week announced a refillable product option designed to reduce water and carbon emissions.

Emma, now a mother of one who visits Christchurch frequently to see her father who lives here, credits her tenacity to strong female role models.

“My grandmother, Patricia Crossett, was one of the first female CEOs of the day.

“She ran her own businesses and it’s from her where I got the belief that women can do anything and how to hold my own and be confident as a female in my career.”