Warburton, Redwood Forest
We shot Erandi’s styled portrait in Warburton Redwood Forest, a picturesque nature reserve an hour from Melbourne City. Erandi, the National Marketing Coordinator for an iconic Australian brand, looked every inch the woodland goddess in her flowy white dress and makeshift flower crown. In many ways, Erandi’s shoot marked a new chapter in her life and stepping into her power as a young, independent woman. In an honest Q&A, she reflects on the important lessons she’s learned this past year.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I grew up in Sri Lanka in a family of four with two amazing parents and my elder brother who I consider my mentor. After finishing school at 18, I moved to Melbourne, Australia to attend university; my brother and I decided to make Australia our home. Now, at age 25, I have a job that I love and friends and family I cherish. I feel like I’ve got everything I want and need. I couldn’t be happier.
What are three life-changing life lessons you’ve learned in the past year?
Don’t take life too seriously. It’s always good to have a plan for your life, career goals, finding the ideal partner, and settling down. But holding on to this idea of how we’d like our lives to pan out can sometimes do more bad than good. I’ve learnt that whilst it’s good to have a plan, straying from it doesn’t mean the end of the world. So much changed for me in 2018 and the plan that I set up and gripped onto so dearly over the past five years went up in smoke. The reason I was holding on to it stemmed from the overwhelming fear that my plan not working out would be my life’s biggest failure. Trying to keep your head above the strong current that we call ‘life’ is already hard enough, putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and your life only makes it worse. I’ve learnt that you can only control so much of your life, in the end, the ultimate goal in life, the one thing that everyone wants is to be happy. Happiness is something you can achieve at any moment in life, it truly is a mindset.
Love, hard. I’ve learnt not to be afraid of loving with everything I’ve got, even after getting burnt in the past. To be able to love someone in a capacity that consumes you is a very powerful thing. Being scared to be in love or commit to someone because of being ‘burned’ is understandable but I’ve come to realise that pain is a part of life and is an emotion that I can use to grow and better myself as a person. Sometimes, even after you love someone with all your heart, it doesn’t work out. For me, looking back, knowing without a doubt I did everything I could to make a relationship work gives me peace to move on with my life and open up to love again. To those of you who are reading this and have possibly been hurt in a past relationship, don’t shut yourself off to love. Being in love is probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced. Love, hard. Even if your heart breaks, it will heal and you will be able to love again.
Feminism to me means equality between men and women in every shape and form.
Wanting, rather than needing someone. I believe that wanting a person in your life, be it a friend or a romantic partner, as opposed to ‘needing’ them encourages a healthier and more balanced relationship between you and that person. I prefer to be wanted than needed.
What is one important social issue that you think needs to be addressed and why?
Double standards between men and women. The way society treats and discusses women’s sexuality, particularly if they’ve had more than one sexual partner is a huge double standard. If a man has had numerous sexual partners, he’s the ‘man’ but if a woman has done the same, it’s very likely she’ll be called ‘promiscuous’ and be subject to less than pleasant labels. Another one is when a woman assaults a man. The social stigma attached to a man coming forward and reporting assault by a woman is yet another double standard that needs to be abolished as well. I strongly believe we all need to hold each other to the same standards and respect each other equally, irrespective of one’s gender.
What does ‘feminism’ mean to you?
Simply put, feminism to me means equality between men and women in every shape and form.