November 10, 2015

Mrs. Moneypenny – Brave, Courageous and of course Beautiful










‘I considered myself a strong, independent woman and was turned into an emotional wreck unknown of my future.’

When we started our competition for twelve women interested in expressing who they are through a portrait, many who entered told us, and I’ll be a little harsh here, how ‘hard done by’ they have been. We didn’t want women who see themselves as victims. We wanted our Diva Dozen to be women who had shown strength, not necessarily through adversity, but in their willingness to share with us, and on our Face Book Page who they are, openly.

Why did we choose her? This may give you a clue. As written by Cynthia , here’s her entry story…

About ME?

‘Well, I have a fantastic loving husband and 3 wonderful boys aged 13, 8 and 6. I am a full time mother with little time on my hands and when I do have time I like to design and be creative. I love designing gardens. Before my boys, I was a Graphic Designer and Artist and have just started Graphic designing at home again. I have a fun personality and always smiling but recently all my concentration is taken up trying to hear and trying not to making a fool of myself from misunderstanding.

When I was pregnant with my second child I learnt I had a condition called otosclerosis, which is a disease in the ear (stapes) which slowly takes away my hearing. I wasn’t too concerned as surgery could fix it. Fast forward a few years and had the surgery but was very unlucky and the operation failed leaving me totally deaf in that ear, dizziness and balance problems. I had to learn to walk without bumping into walls with eye exercises. Felt hung over for a year!

It was the worst time of my life. I considered myself a strong, independent woman and was turned into an emotional wreck unknown of my future. 3 years have passed and I have coped okay but people now look at me as if I’m unintelligent, as its possible I might answer wrongly to peoples questions or I ask them to repeat many times. I’m intelligent, I’m strong but people see me differently.

Anyway onwards and upwards and I’m in the process of getting a Cochlear implant. I guess why I wanted to win this photo session is to prove to myself that even though I’m deaf / impaired and that one day I’ll be bionic….I am still beautiful and still me. Just bionic.

I can do this !! and maybe I can inspire someone who is in my shoes.’ Cynthia.

  • Deanne Parker She looks lovely
    Sharon Thomas Looking forward to seeing your story and gorgeous photos unfold…. My they have a gorgeous canvas to start with x
    Cynthia Moneypenny Thanks Carly Rendell, ha….I knew there was a reason I liked you . Most people have no idea because I use lip reading to help assist my hearing . Just want those to know that I’m not ignoring them if they shout “hi Cynthia” when behind me. Lol.
    Carly Rendell I’ll just stand behind you and call you names! haha no I’d never do that to you!
    Melissa Aramini Congrats Cynthia.. Can’t wait to see your photos.
     Danae Fitzsimons Beautiful. Your strength is just amazing Cynthia! That post op year must’ve been a nightmare.
    Carly Rendell Wow Cynthia ! I never would have guessed! And I’ve certainly never thought any less of you! I have hearing issues too (not to your degree by any stretch) and I know how frustrating it can be in crowded situations. You have always just been a happy, vibrant person and so friendly! And HA! I was a graphic designer before my boys too! No wonder we “understand” each other!  
    Cynthia Moneypenny Thanks Carly Rendell, ha….I knew there was a reason I liked you . Most people have no idea because I use lip reading to help assist my hearing . Just want those to know that I’m not ignoring them if they shout “hi Cynthia” when behind me. Lol.
    Carly Rendell I’ll just stand behind you and call you names! haha no I’d never do that to you!

Cynthia was left mostly deaf in one ear from a failed operation. It was devastating for her as she had to learn to walk again with impaired balance.

The first thing that I noticed about Cynthia was her arresting blue eyes and high cheek bones.

“I aimed to add an inner glow to her skin using highlighters, to capture the vitality she really wanted to show and emphasis to the eyes with the help of false lashes.

Hairstyling was easy once Cynthia corrected me a few times as to which ear to speak into as she could not lip read with her back to me!”

…Odelia Sarre











Okay, it’s studio time.

Most of us spend at least some time on improving our ‘inner’ selves. Our characters, the way we relate to people. If we have survived the selfish teens and successfully emerged into the reality of life, we probably feel pretty good about ourselves. Some have been lucky enough to have children, so at least someone runs to the door to greet them. We probably feel fairly confident. Life is rosy.
Cynthia said she ‘used’ to be successful and confident with a bubbly personality. She hasn’t been feeling too flash in the last few years, so why would a portrait make any difference?

Do you think that seeing yourself how you would like to be would make a difference to how you feel inside? You’ve been brave, done your shoot and put a pic of you on the wall. Others walk into you house and comment things like.

‘Oh, that’s wonderful. It’s captured you beautifully. I wish I did that at your age.’ (we shot a 90 year old last week by the way)

Your son friends comment wistfully, ‘I wish my old lady looked that good’. Your son gives them a punch in the shoulder for good measure. Even your husband’s mates make congratulatory comments, and their wives give them a punch in their shoulders. Your partner/husband is healthily smug because he knows he has chosen well. But mainly, he’s proud of her courage to show herself in this way, and look so good.

Of course, we all have insecure ‘friends’ that will make bitchy comments behind our backs. But we keep them around for a bit of fun:)

To sum it up. With this shot, my aim was to portray Cynthia how she thinks she used to be – ‘bubbly and confident’. If she does walk out in the morning feeling down, she will see this pic. She couldn’t help but smile.










The third picture in Cynthia’s series came toward the end of the session and it is a vulnerable portrait. So probably not one that is overly appealing to friends and family. I hope so, because it’s beautiful and real, even if not ‘everyday Cynthia’.

When we stand for the camera, it is generally comfortable. We’re used to being vertical. I asked her to lay down and after a few minutes, a layer of Cynthia’s ‘social face’ disappears. Often when I portray a woman from overhead, the girl from her youth appears in the face. Even if my subject is 90, a sweet girl just shows up, like a filter comes off. It’s really lovely to see.

And of course, it was always there, but with Cynthia, not like that. She looks very much the woman and very grounded and peaceful here. I hope you like it too

Nat Scali Simply beautiful 

Leanne Bauerle This photo overwhelmed me. Im not sure exactly what but it hit a never and made me wuite emotional. I think its beautiful

Melissa Aramini So beautiful

Angela Young Wow I hope this is her take home photo, its just stunning 

Cynthia Moneypenny Thanks. This one I purchased

Serena Stirling Beautiful – my favourite of your pics Cynthia x

Marina Ross Absolutely beautiful Cynthia!

Cynthia Moneypenny Thank you

        • cyn5










Cynthia, in her own words.

“The moment I nervously walked through the door, Odelia and Garry made me feel very welcomed and relaxed. I did not know what to expect as I’ve never had a professional photoshoot before.

As I sat down to get my makeup applied I was scared to talk about my experience in life, the very reason I was chosen for being one of the Diva dozen. Talking to Odelia was uplifting which was fantastic as it took my mind away from thinking about the actual photoshoot!

Garry was amazing and very professional. I felt very comfortable with him after initially worrying about not being able to hear what he was asking me to do.

It was an experience I will never forget. I felt empowered, confident and happy,which Garry captured.

When I picked out my favourite picture, I wanted to cry (but didn’t), as Garry managed to capture the person I was many years ago. Now I get to look at that every day and it makes me smile.

From this whole experience I’ve learnt not to worry about what other people think, to be the best person you can be with what you have and most of all to be brave.

Thanks again Garry and Odelia. Your photos really make me smile every time I walk past them….and my husband thinks I look like a gorgeous movie star ;)”

Cynthia Moneypenny

So, the experience of having a portrait taken is much, much more than just beautiful images.

Through her generosity and sharing her experience with others, Cynthia has brought people closer to her.

Thank you lovely lady

Cynthia Moneypenny Thank you so much Odelia and Gary

Nat Scali Just simply stunning x

Simone Ausage Absolutely beautiful xx

Susan Johnson I know exactly how you feel, from someone who’s only decent photos were wedding ones, i am not photogenic, but Garry made me feel like i was, and he is so professional he’s amazing, Beautiful you. I’m sure you were and are before, but Garry brings it out.

Tracey Cleeman Just stunning !

Angela Young Your husband is right, you do look like a movie star. Well done sarre team and Cynthia. What a great combination.

Cynthia Moneypenny I’d like to say thank you to everyone for the really nice comments on all the photos. xx great confidence boost

Neil Moneypenny I am proud to say this is my wife!



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