In honour of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness month, we’ve sat down (virtually, of course) with one of our past models, Brigitte. First diagnosed with PCOS in 2017, Brig has since transformed her health and had a beautiful baby (with another on the way), something doctors told her wouldn’t be possible.
Keep on reading to learn more about her journey to health, how she turned her diagnosis into an incredibly successful business, and so much more!
Hey Brig! We’d love to kick this off by learning a bit more about you. Where are you from and what’s your story?
Hello! Well we have recently just moved back to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula (where I grew up!) after 9 wonderful years living in Sydney’s eastern beaches. I am a mother to my cheeky toddler Flynn (2 years old) and am currently pregnant with our second little miracle baby!
I worked as a model for many years both locally and internationally but over the past few years have focusses on growing my businesses, health advocacy and of course being a mother.
You became part of the Sugar family when you modelled for us back in 2019, but you also run your own modelling agency! Tell us a little bit about Silverfox and your diversity mission.
Yes! I am the CEO and co-founder of Silverfox MGMT which is Australia and NZ’s first modelling agency to exclusively represent top models over the age of 30. Our mission is to create a more #agepositive and diverse industry that showcases a true reflection of who we are as people.
We represent all different types of models from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, sizes, skills and of course ages over 30, right into their 80s!
September is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month. What was your journey to diagnosis like, and if someone reading this suspects they have PCOS, what steps would you recommend they take?
I was diagnosed with PCOS after coming off the contractive pill and battling with irregular/absent menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss and anxiety.
I wasn’t officially diagnosed for months, and it took me seeing 5 different doctors and pleading (more like crying lol) for them to test my hormones and look into it further. Sure enough it came back that my hormones were completely unbalanced and I was finally diagnosed with PCOS.
We vividly remember meeting your gorgeous son, Flynn, at our photoshoot and you have another little one on the way (huge congratulations!). Were you told by your doctors that you’d struggle to conceive naturally? If so, what was receiving this news like?
Thank you so much! I also vividly remember that shoot as I was only 3 months postpartum, and it was my first time bringing Flynn to a shoot with me! Everyone on set was so supportive of me being there (and of course being able to breastfeed in between shots!).
To answer your question, yes, I was actually told point blank that I would not be able to have children naturally. I was completely devastated. I remember calling my husband Jesse (we had just gotten married) and telling him what the doctor had told me, it was soul crushing.
THANKFULLY after a few days of feeling sorry for myself I picked myself up and delved into as much research into PCOS as I possibly could, and that was what started my natural journey to healing my PCOS symptoms (including falling pregnant completely naturally).
What lifestyle changes did you make between your November 2017 diagnosis, and your pregnancy with Flynn?
A lot! Haha! I think everyone hopes there is a quick fix for PCOS, but unfortunately that is not the case. I did everything from change my diet (cut out inflammatory foods and stuck to a mostly organic plant-based diet), saw a naturopath, started taking herbs (which is what started my love for herbs and creating my own range of organic hormone balancing teas), taking supplements for any nutrients I was depleted in, worked on my gut health, removed toxic products from my home, i.e. non-natural beauty and cleaning products, changed my exercise to be more cortisol conscious, learnt how to manage, etc!
I know it sounds overwhelming but once you start seeing changes it is totally worth it, and it all just becomes a part of your normal life.
Do you still experience any PCOS symptoms or do you consider yourself healed?
PCOS is not something you can ‘heal’ but you can get it to a point where it is completely managed and doesn’t affect your life at all. It’s just all about keeping your hormones balanced and your body working as optimally as possible. I often forget I even have PCOS anymore as I know how to manage all my symptoms, however there are times when I am stressed or haven’t been eating the best when I start to see some little symptoms like acne or bloating flare up and it’s a good reminder for me to listen to my body.
Not only do you have a beautiful child (soon to be two!), you also turned your diagnosis into a successful business. Tell us more about PCOS To Wellness!
Awwww thank you so much! Well it’s certainly not something I ever thought I would be doing haha, but basically PCOS To Wellness was born out of my own need to find a way to keep taking all the herbs I was having daily but in an easier (and more accessible) way!
At the time I was taking around 8 different herbs individually from my naturopath and was seeing incredible results, but just couldn’t keep doing that long term so I worked with a skilled herbalist to create 1 powerful hormone balance blend that had all the herbs in the correct ratios that could be drank as a tea (and still taste nice!) – I called it Cysterhood tea and It sold out on the first day of launching it!
Since then I have launched several other blends including Mamahood tea which is our postpartum and lactation tea, Chaihood which is a powerful anti-inflammatory chai and our newest blend Bumphood which is our beautiful pregnancy support tea (which I am currently sipping on right now haha!).
What does an average working day look like for you in this new pandemic world we’re living in?
Oh gosh it’s crazy times in our household! My husband and I are both working from home and we tag team between both our work, and looking after Flynn.
I am usually creating content for social media, replying to emails, working on new products, making calls, creating hormone friendly recipes or checking in with my two teams to ensure both the businesses are running smoothly!
Being a mum is something I am really passionate about so when I am with my son I try to leave work to the side and give him my full focus – which is one of the perks to running your own businesses! But it does result in a lot of late nights too!
Having Jesse working from home has been an unexpected blessing that has come out of the pandemic. It’s a big help and we are able to divide and conquer a lot more!
What are some of your hobbies that you enjoy outside of work?
Haha well when I find any spare moments these days (which is rare lol!) I love going to yoga, doing big walks with friends, spending time with my dogs, going to the beach or cooking!
Who is your biggest inspiration (past or present) and why?
Great question! My answer to this changes all the time, I find people like Jacinda Arden very inspirational for everything she has achieved as a mother, woman and leader of a country.
But then I am also inspired by everyday people who are just getting through life and doing the best they can. I see this a lot in new mothers – I never truly appreciated the strength it takes to be a mother until I became one myself.
What does self-care mean to you, and how do you implement it in your day-to-day life?
I have found the best way to ensure I find time for self care is to keep it simple (or else I just never do it! Lol.) things like brewing a pot of tea every day, taking a bath once a week and treating myself to my favourite chocolate! I also love getting massages and facials when I have a little bit more time on my hands!
If you were stranded by yourself on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you and why?
Oh this is hard! I would probably take a lot of snacks, a really great swimsuit and my phone haha!