first you must wake up

By the end of last year, I was miserable with my university course and utterly bored with where my life was heading. I vowed to start the new year working on my wildest dream of becoming a fashion photographer, working on my life. So at the beginning of the year, when my mind was fresh and empty of all things, I wrote on a piece of paper a list of all the things I wanted to achieve with my photography this year. Little baby steps they were, to make my dream (which looked like they were a million galaxies away) less daunting. This paper is now lost amongst the junk that has occupied my desk over the months but the list still exists in my mind.

I began to spend the rest of my waking hours before and after school organising shoots and teaching myself how to retouch photographs. I entered Fall going to a shoot all alone with just a stranger I had asked to model for me and left Winter shooting with a team of creatives all helping me create the image in my head. Things were being crossed out on that list and I felt more and more motivated to reach my final goal of the year: entering the professional side of the industry by shooting agency models.

In my final week of being a teenager, I landed my first test shoot with a modeling agency. When I got off the phone with the booker, I was so happy I did a little jig in my seat and smiled the whole train trip home. The people around me must have thought I was strange, but I was so filled with joy I didn't care. I love myself now more than I ever have for working towards a brighter, more colourful future.

All you need to do is plant a dream and feed your dream. Feed it with courage and belief and good things will happen to you. Give up and let it starve and your dreams will crumble. So wake up, start taking small steps in the direction of your dreams and the future will belong to you. 

You can do it, I promise you.


Photos of my first test shoot before Jo was whisked away to Japan for a contract.


Jo @ FRM


Evie Karagiolis

bunny love

My rabbit boys are now the same age as me in human years. 9 months have passed in my eyes, but in their beautiful big brown eyes, 19 years have passed.

Everyday is a milestone for me. Everyday I watch them grow. Their minds like a firecracker, blitzing away in all different directions, learning and discovering and growing.

They have two very different personalities but share the same unconditional love for each other. It melts my heart to watch them love so much.

They refuse to eat in separate bowls and will always eat out of the same tiny blue bowl I got them when they were small, faces squished up against each other's so tightly that their eyes are half closed. They will groom each other until they're satisfied and snuggle next to each other afterwards for their daily naps.

forehead kisses

forehead kisses





sleeping with their new friends

sleeping with their new friends

sunday morning kisses

sunday morning kisses

But to watch them love each other so tremendously aches my heart knowing that one day in the future, one of my rabbits will move on. Tears will always start to form in my eyes when I imagine the other of the pair grieving the loss of their brother, their best friend. It hurts me when I think of the hurt of my rabbit's but until that time comes, I will celebrate every day they are together for their love is worth celebrating.

strangers to friends

Since I was a young child, the most acceptable and universal advice I received from my parents was to not speak to strangers. I was trained to believe that all strangers were dangerous and untrustworthy. Thus, I dragged this constant fear with me over the years and I became this shy and quiet person, unable to make new friends in a new environment.

But over these past few weeks, I have been brave. I have been slowly getting out of my comfort zone and making small conversations with the people around me. I like to think that strangers are just friends we haven't met.

A week ago, I had arranged to meet with a young girl from Germany who had travelled down to Melbourne for a short stay. She had read my blog not so long ago and we had kept in contact through short, sweet messages online. Along with her two friends from Japan and Korea, we explored the heart of Melbourne. 

I brought them to places that I had heard of and places that I knew how to get to. Growing up in the suburbs, the city is still an unfamiliar place for me even though I go there most of the week for school. 

We travelled on trams to restaurants for lunch and giggled over sweet nothings during the trip. We darted past crowds at a festival to get our faces painted and watched pretty girls dance on stage in their flamboyant, colourful dresses. The streets were hustling with people who rushed by to get to their destination. We had no destination, we were just free spirited wanderers. We stopped here and there to capture images of buildings and landscapes that I had forgotten were beautiful because I had seen them countless of times. I made a promise to myself right there to look at things as though I had never seen them before. Only then will I remember how marvellous things are to the naked eye.


mai gazing at the view


the shrine of remembrance


the view from the steps of the shrine


pretty girls lining up to go on stage


evening naps at the gardens 


the city alongside the yarra river

The days fluttered by and then it was time for them to leave. I brought them to the train station and we said our goodbyes with long hugs that broke my heart. We promised to write to each other and send postcards wherever we are in the world. And then my life resumed back to normal, back to the cycle of school and sleep. My world is quiet again.


mai, lucy and mai linh at the station

I can't believe how lucky I am that I had become good friends with a couple of strangers all the way across the globe. To be able to meet with these lovely ladies from different countries, of different ages and backgrounds because of my blog still has me speechless. I feel incredibly blessed and only hope to meet more amazing individuals throughout my life.