• Brooke Patricia


I didn’t want to go to my junior high school camp. I had to hike. Everyone else was fit. I, on the other hand, was obese.

Another thing I noticed about everyone else is that all their shorts were khaki. I most definitely wasn’t blending into the bushes in neon orange ones. I thought, and still think, that rainbow coloured socks would be a fabulous lining to blue sneakers instead of black ones.

When we went hiking, I couldn’t keep up with the rest of the class. But a girl called Louise stayed back with me. I was lagging at last and wanted to charter a chopper.

I pretended to have my period every day to skip swimming because I didn’t want to wear a bathing suit.

A year later, for school photos, I thought it would be fun to experiment with make-up. The teacher didn’t and I had to take it off. With toilet paper.

Fast forward to 17 and I was unashamedly bursting around wearing kitten heels in my signature shade of vintage pink, a floral denim blazer, and a top with the slogan, “Nobody gives a shit.”

A few years later, more people started to. I lost 45kg and was offered modeling work.

I did it for my health, not my looks. Nobody gives a shit until you do.

My unique sense of style will never change. It’s evolved over time, as I have, and reflects my personality. I’ll be writing more about it soon. But you won’t catch me typing the latest trends.

I still hike with Louise. She’s now one of my dear friends and I’ll never forget the day she thought I was worth the wait.

One of the great advantages of growing up in small town New Zealand is that I’m able to milk a cow and therefore tell her when we’re definitely not on the walking track she had in mind. I don’t know her area well. But when she recently suggested that we simply need to trek through a paddock of cows and jump the fence, I was there to tell her that we may be on someone’s private property and needed to leave immediately, not just because we were unknowingly trespassing but also because they weren’t cows. They were budding bulls.

She said, “They have horns.”

There was no way I was grabbing these guys by their non-existent ones. It didn’t help that she was wearing the equivalent of a red cape. The wire she suggested we leap over was electric.

But, 19 years later, I can manage the same number of kilometres.

To any girl getting a hard time for what you wear – don’t worry about fitting into the fashion world or a size 10 pair of pants. I can almost guarantee that if you’ve got style, then the very people that tease you will be asking for a selfie in a year or two.