Tessa Talks with International Model Sharnie
Meet international model Sharnie Fenn. Currently living in Japan, Sharnie has worked with huge clients such as KFC, Suzuki and Armani Beauty, as well as competing on Cycle 6 of Asia’s Next Top Model. We had a chat with Sharnie to learn a bit more about her.
Q: What is your daily ritual (daily rhythm, non-negotiable, daily routine)?
A: I always start my day with a big mug of green tea and make sure I drink a lot of water to get my body ready for the day. I also like to do some stretches and do simple workouts in the morning because this helps me wake up and feel more switched on. Every morning I cleanse my face, moisturise and apply sunscreen before leaving my house. Throughout my day, I make sure to drink plenty of water regardless of what I’m doing. After dinner, I will usually go for a run or walk or do some simple stretches again before sleeping. Getting lots of sleep, stretching/exercising, skincare and drinking lots of water are non-negotiable aspects of my daily ritual.
Q: Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Sendai, Japan, which is my Mum’s hometown. My family and I moved back to my Dad’s hometown, the Gold Coast, when I was 3 years old, so I don’t have many memories of my early childhood in Japan. I was raised in Australia and completed all of my education, including University, in Australia.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: Currently, I’ve been trying to grow my YouTube channel. I’ve also been learning sign language, which I started learning in high school but I stopped practising for a few years. I have finally decided to go back to learning it!
Q: What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your life career-wise?
A: Two years ago I participated in a reality TV show, Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 6, only to be eliminated in the first episode. The experience made me think that I wasn’t good enough to pursue a career in modelling and I lost a lot of self-confidence as a result. After the show, I went on exchange to a University in Tokyo and I decided to give modelling in Tokyo a shot. I was told by numerous agencies in Tokyo that I was too ‘fat’ and had ‘bad proportions’ which, at the time, reaffirmed my beliefs that I wasn’t good enough. This took a huge toll on my self-confidence so I took a break from modelling for a few months and concentrated on my studies. It wasn’t until my friends and family encouraged me to keep trying that I decided to pursue modelling again. After my exchange, I successfully travelled to Hong Kong and Singapore on modelling contracts.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: Without a doubt, my Mum inspires me. My Mum is my best friend and I confide everything to her. She constantly pushes and supports me to be my best and is always there for me when I fall. She is the most selfless and caring person I know and I aspire to be just like her. Right now, I’m so occupied with pursuing my own dreams that I haven’t been able to be selfless like my Mum. I’ll be lucky if I become half the woman my Mum is.
Q: How is sustainability a part of your life?
A: Currently, I live in Tokyo and I’ve noticed that sustainability is easier to achieve than when I was living in Australia. My main method of transport in Tokyo is by foot or by using public transport – a huge change compared to in Australia where I drove everywhere. Tokyo also has a tonne of op shops/recycle shops I love to buy clothes from. Other than this, I try to do my bit for the environment by doing small things like using eco-bags, using tupperware instead of cling wrap, using water bottles, recycling and up-cycling when I can. I also try to be conscious of what skincare and beauty products I use and purchase environmentally and animal friendly products when I can. For example, I use a moisturiser which is reef-friendly and also vegan!
Q: What is your biggest wellness indulgence?
A: I love a spa day with my Mum! I love getting facials or massages. I also like doing DIY spa days at home and making avocado face masks with my Mum. It’s just as fun and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your house!
Q: What are your 3 clean beauty must-haves?
A: I recently fell in love with an Australian skincare brand, Reef Skin. Their products are not only natural, but reef-friendly and animal friendly as well.
I love using natural products like avocado oil and aloe vera on my face. I find natural products to be a lot better for my skin and love the fact that they’re cheaper and easy to get your hands on. You can grow aloe vera right in your backyard! And as for avocado oil, this is often sold in Farmers’ Markets, so you’re also helping out local farmers as well.
I also love using face massagers after applying moisturiser. It helps enhance blood flow and improves circulation as well as helping your skin soak in skin care products.
Q: What are your 3 wellness must-haves?
A: I recently discovered okara powder while living in Japan and its one of the most amazing products I’ve come across. Okara is a by-product that is made in the process of making tofu or soy milk. It contains a heap of dietary fibre and protein and therefore it’s great for improving intestinal health. I like to use it as an alternative for flour, mainly when I’m baking. You can also purchase flavoured okara powder which is slightly sweet and you can sprinkle this on yoghurt, ice cream or coffee.
Cinnamon is another must-have and can be used as a much healthier alternative than sugar. Instead of adding sugar to my coffee, I opt for cinnamon because it contains a heap of antioxidants and helps control blood sugar levels while also adding natural sweetness to my coffee.
Another wellness must-have I recently discovered while being in Japan is seaweed. Although this might not sound appealing, it tastes better than it looks and it’s super good for your gut health. In Japanese supermarkets, they sell seaweed snacks which are really yummy and also really healthy because they have a lot of fibre and are a good source of protein. You can find them in pretty much any Asian supermarket in Australia and they taste just as good as ordinary
chips. You can also incorporate seaweed into your diet by eating sushi or rice balls, sprinkling it on your rice or mixing it with your miso soup.
Q: What’s your ideal way to switch off?
A: Although I love being around people, I also love my alone-time so I can switch off. I love to draw a bath, light a nice candle, toss in a bath bomb and read a book or watch a movie while I bathe.
Q: What are you currently reading, watching and or listening to?
A: I am currently re-watching the Harry Potter series. I’ve always loved Harry Potter since I first read it in primary school and I always find myself wanting to rewatch the movies every now and then.
Q: Where is your favourite place to travel?
A: My favourite place to travel is my Mum’s hometown in Japan, Sendai. It has the most beautiful places and the most beautiful, kind-hearted people. One of my favourite places in Sendai is Matsushima Bay – it’s considered one of three most scenic places in Japan. It’s a cluster of islands off the coast that you can travel between by boat. The islands have temples, cafes, tea houses and hiking tracks.
Q: How do you handle stress and pressure?
A: I think the only reason why I am good at handling stress and pressure is because I try and ignore, forget or block whatever is causing my stress or pressure. Although this might be a good way to avoid feeling stressed, it’s not the best way to actually overcome challenges. I’m still working on this.
I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by supportive and caring family and friends who I can to turn to in situations where I’m feeling stressed. I will always talk to my friends or family and confide in them when I’m feeling stressed. I think it’s really important to open up to others so you can unload stress. By verbalising your problems, you’re able to pinpoint what the cause of the issue is and, more often than not, you’re also able to get their perspective on the matter. Listening to other people’s perspective helps me handle stress because, at times, overthinking is what causes stress, and listening to someone’s perspective is refreshing and allows me to realise that I’ve been overthinking a particular issue.
Q: What is your greatest strength?
A: My greatest strength is my positivity and optimism. I always try to find the positive even in tricky situations.
Q: What is your greatest weakness?
A: My greatest weakness is my inability to voice my opinions. I hate confrontation and therefore I find myself always agreeing with people so I don’t hurt their feelings or cause an argument.
Q: What do you eat for breakfast in the morning?
A: I prefer to eat sweet over savoury in the morning, so I usually eat cereal with soy milk or a yoghurt bowl with fruit, granola and honey. With a mug of green tea!