I just took a breath for the first time in a long time and the minute I did tears rolled down my face and then my mouth opened and words just blurted out.
Let me set the scene quickly…
So I’m leaving Germany, I’m on the bus from the terminal to the plane when I see three familiar faces. They were, coincidentally, three women that were on the same flight as me from Abu Dhabi to Berlin, just a week ago. I remember them because of their dramatic eye makeup, their friendly faces framed by their hijabs and sparkly shoes. (Sparkles get me every time!) When they asked me what I was doing in Berlin I responded with:
“Well, I was releasing my film Embrace, it’s about body image and empowering women, and it went number 1, it beat Guardians of the Galaxy, it even beat King Arthur on it’s opening night–all across Germany number 1, an Australian documentary in a foreign country, It’s hard to believe huh, it’s not even a blockbuster and it’s number 1. I can’t believe it (at this point tears well up in my eyes) I’m sorry, I can’t believe I’m telling you all this (by now the Scandinavian travellers had started listening too), it’s been quite an emotional rollercoaster, it’s just so… overwhelming. I’ve been waiting for a moment like this for a long time, it feels like I can finally exhale.”
Insert nervous laughter. Then the bus stopped and we all got off, one of the women in the hijab gently put her hand on my shoulder and the Scandinavian woman gave me the warmest of smiles.
As I settled myself in my seat, I reflected on my bus rant and realised that all of the words that had spilled out of my mouth were just me trying to process and digest the enormity of what had just transpired.
In just one night, over 50,000 people from across Germany and Austria watched Embrace – 50,000!!!
And whilst the success of this release was, in part, because of a powerful collaboration between the Body Image Movement, our distributors Majestic, and our delightful German PR team – I can actually single out one person that made it all possible, her name is Nora Tschirner.
We met back in 2014, when I was crowdfunding Embrace through Kickstarter. One day out of the blue the target goal skyrocketed, someone had made an enormous contribution. It was Nora.
What I loved most about Nora was how she so generously contributed thousands of dollars without making a big deal, without qualifying me or questioning my project, without having to tell the world about what she was doing, she just did it.
Nora appears in the film (and isn’t she a crowd favourite!), she is also an Executive Producer and has worked tirelessly behind the scenes connecting the German audience to an Australian documentary. And what a job she has done! I’ve had the great pleasure of working alongside her this past week and I’m not only in awe of her commitment to the project but also her stamina. I don’t think there is a media outlet in Germany that hasn’t published an article about Embrace, Nora has been everywhere interviewing on most radio, newspaper, magazine and television stations!
Such is Nora’s commitment that last Wednesday we flew from Berlin to Cologne appeared on a live national TV show (Stern TV) at 10.30pm, we left the studio at midnight to travel by car back to Berlin (5 hours!), so she could make it back to appear on breakfast TV the next morning. Yes, we slept in a car, yes it was an unpleasant experience! (Especially for the Australian in the back seat who was petrified of the speed cars travelled at on the autobahn!)
So whilst we’ve really kicked some goals in terms of numbers (you can’t get much better than number 1!) and it has been incredibly satisfying to see so many come to the cinema to watch Embrace, what really makes my heart sing is the connection that Nora and I made as strangers three years ago has been the catalyst for many people to make the commitment to learn to unconditionally Embrace their bodies.
So next time you are presented with an opportunity to help, support, lend a hand, be a sounding board for an idea, to donate a dollar or contribute a few thousand, and your intuition says to do it – please take action and do it, you just never know just how far your contribution will go.
On this occasion, Nora’s contribution has been life changing and as women across the globe, some in hijabs, some Scandinavian and a lot of Germans unite, I let some more gentle tears flow knowing that the world is embracing and our global movement of change has begun.
Love and hugs,
Have you seen Embrace? WATCH THE FILM