I was lucky enough to organise and execute the latest Billabong photoshoot; in conjuction with Cleo magazine in one of my favourite places on Earth. After a few months of preparation, and silent nerves I jetsetted off to Bali with our end destination the Gilis, an archipelago of three small islands Northwest of Lombok. I’m not over exaggerating when I say we were the dream team (I have a feeling everyone on photo-shoots contends with this notion). However, a bunch of talented people came together and pulled off a number of remarkable photoshoots in just three days. Our team consisted of Alissa the style guru and Fashion Editor of Cleo, Jason Ierace our exceptionally talented photographer, Simon his handyman assistant, Miann our BTS blogger, Budi our hair and makeup artist, Jamie our filmer and the gorgeous Aussie model; Nat Darcas.
After touching down in Bali to cloudy and grey skies we made our way straight to Sanur to meet up with Nat who had flown all the way from New York, and quickly hit the hay before our big few days. After an early morning pickup we jumped on the fast boat and headed to Gili Trawangan (where I spent a very magical 25th birthday last year). The Gili Islands are exactly what you would picture Bali to be like if you had never been. There is one main road around the whole island which takes around an hour to cycle and no cars or motorbikes which make it so much more tranquil compared to the rat race the mainland of Bali tends to be. The sand is a perfect shade of white, the water the most incredible turquoise I have ever seen and the beach spirit is well and truly alive; being a main snorkeling and dive destination for tourists.
After checking in to our 4 bedroom villa with a private pool we wondered how we would ever be able to leave this place. Indonesian food is my absolute favourite and I managed to find some mangosteen which is considered the queen of exotic fruits and is popular due to its sweet juicy taste. After feeding our bellies, and taking a quick dip we ventured off to location scout for the afternoon. It wasn’t long before we found numerous spots along the barren island so as the sun set we retreated home for yet another Nasi Goreng and fresh coconut and got ready for a 5am wakeup call the next day.
Budi was the first to create magic; deepening Nat’s already bronzed bod, making tousled beach waves, and perfecting an already flawless face. It was then Alissa’s turn to style the pieces and off we went for Jason, Simon, Jamie and Miann to capture the essence of a Billabong babe on the Gili Islands. After numerous outfit changes, perfecting the sandy bum, swapping up the jewellery and trekking across the island we ventured to the south end in search of an incredible swing I had found whilst researching. It was so incredible; we all took our turns getting photos as the sun set in front of the swing all the while enjoying a well deserved Bintang.
The next day was spent creating beautiful editorial looks, slurping on fresh coconuts and delicious smoothies, and filling our bellies with all the Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng we could muster. It’s a hard life I tell you! In saying that I have never seem a team of people work so hard in the sweltering heat, carrying huge loads of gear and still with an attitude of gratitude and huge smiles on their faces. It was an incredible opportunity and I can’t wait to see my handywork in Billabong windows and online soon!
After my first time in Bali I vowed to try and go every couple of years; lo and behold I managed to go for work this year. The universe works in mysterious ways.
Beautiful days in balmy Bali.
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