A Letter To My Younger Self: Jane Waterhouse, Are Media

A Letter To My Younger Self: Jane Waterhouse, Are Media

With Are Media coming on board as principal sponsor of the B&T Women in Media Awards for the sixth consecutive year, we’re celebrating the company’s unwavering support in a bit of a different way.

‘A Letter to My Younger Self’ is a mini-series featuring three of Are Media’s senior female leaders who have each put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and written an actual letter to … yep, you guessed it … their younger selves.

Each of these fabulous women reflect on what they wish they had been told back then – think life and career advice, lessons to be learnt, challenges and opportunities to be prepared for, et cetera.

We hope these letters will not only provide an insight into how each of them have grown to become the trailblazing females they are today, but also offer advice and guidance for young women starting out in the media industry.

If you missed the first two letters by Woman’s Day editor Erin Holohan and Marie Claire editor Nicky Briger, you can read them here and here.

And, to wrap up the series, here is Are Media’s general manager, Jane Waterhouse…

Young Jane,

Here are few things to look out for as you grow up. I am putting them in bullet points because I know you get bored easily.

Firstly, the superficial ‘outside’ stuff:

  • Don’t ever pluck your eyebrows into a thin line, no matter how big the trend.
  • Don’t put coconut oil (on your chest) when you’re lying in the sun – actually, it’s probably best not to bake in the sun at all, as it is only getting hotter due to climate change. Your first car must be electric, not a vintage Ford XM V8 petrol guzzler as you are likely to do. Yes, it is a great-looking car, but keeping the lungs of the planet breathing is more important.
  • Never throw away any of your more directional clothes, especially the ones you design and make. Never. Ever. Imagine if you still had those Coca-Cola pants in 30 years? 

Then there’s the all-important ‘inside’ stuff because basically your happiness is an inside job:

  • Never compare anyone else’s life (or how it appears) with your own. It’s futile; it’s not real and will lead to depression.
  • Those cute ‘bad boy’ blokes that make your heart race, your voice disappear and your breathing stop – they are the ones to run away from. It’s not love, it’s a primal thing. Run Jane, run.
  • Unfortunately, your genetic predisposition will give you some challenges to deal with. Sort those issues out early (they’ll become apparent if they aren’t already) and don’t be scared of seeking therapy or find friends who are therapists. When you are low on cash, your hairdresser is a great listener.
  • The patriarchy is real. True domestic and professional equality has not arrived and we have a way to go. You need to make yourself useful and do your bit. Remember though, just as all Catholic priests are not paedophiles, all men are not sexist and chauvinist. You will spot the good ones miles away. They will be the ones who champion you, are not intimated by you, and will want you to be the leader you are meant to be. They will stretch you and make you do things you never thought you could do.
  • Thankfully, you’re a woman; you have many secret weapons, none more important than your intuition. It’s your compass. Use it, trust it.
  • Learn to meditate NOW. This will sharpen your intuition and your creative thought process.
  • You currently think worrying means you care. You will find out worrying is self-indulgent and a form of self-obsession, especially about things you cannot change (i.e. other people, places or things). Meditating will also help you kick it.
  • There is nothing more important in life than art. Use any and every skill you have to create something every day.
  • Treat everyone in the workplace the same. That junior could become your boss one day, and that senior might one day be your junior.
  • On money, you will lose it and make it and lose it and make it. Success is simply doing what you love and being paid to do it. As a wise woman once told me regarding making money: it’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend.
  • Go to work every day to make your clients rich. You will always prosper.
  • There is greatness in failing, and you will royally fail a few times in life. You must not be scared of failing. You will look at some of life’s shit sandwiches and upon reflection, realise they’re actually chocolate croissants.
  • When you get controlling it is because you are scared. Let go and do some thinking to find out what you are so fearful of. Name it, face it and walk through it.
  • Surround yourself with people from all walks of life. Read widely, especially when it comes to politics – the left-leaning papers and the right-leaning ones every weekend. A grey view is often better than a black or white one.
  • Beige is a colour you can wear, but it will never be the colour of your life – you won’t let that happen.
  • Have children. They will make you know unconditional love and they will make you less selfish.

Finally, young Jane, always be honest. You won’t ever have this life thing nailed, so speak up when you don’t understand and aim to be merely a student of life, not a master.

Love Jane xx

This year’s WIM Awards will take place virtually TODAY (Friday 27 August) at 4pm (AEST). Register HERE now to secure your spot!

And, just in case you missed it, we’ve released the WIM Awards shortlist! Check out which fabulous females made the cut HERE.

If you’d like more information about this year’s WIM Awards, head to the website.

Thank you to Are Media and the rest of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible!

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