PS: Gerry Elsdon

2009-10-17 10:36

Motivational speaker and humanitarian Gerry Elsdon was recently

named the new ambassador for Avon beauty products. She loves being around her

family and is inspired by women who can fend for themselves. Today she will lead

the Avon Justine Walkathon Against Cancer in Johannesburg.

Life is … a stage on which one can choose to play a

different role each day.

My first job was … when I was 14. I worked as a

sales girl at a flea market in Cape Town. I sold T-shirts and was very good at

it. I used the money to pay for my school fees and other things girls that age


Right now I am listening to … the sound of drilling

from next door. I live and work from home, which is in an estate that is always

being revamped.

Right now I am reading … a very interesting book

titled A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva. I read too many serious novels so this

book has allowed me to escape from my everyday kind of reading.

My favourite childhood memory is … when I was a

little girl I would visit the rural areas in the Karoo, where my mother comes

from. Everybody called me the English child because I spoke English. We would

visit the local spaza shop and I would ask for sweets in English and everybody

would go frantic.

The women I look up to … are women of strength and

real character, women who can look after their families without a man in their

lives. I look up to women who take life’s challenges and turn them into

opportunities for growth and success.

My fictional hero is … I grew up reading Reggie and

Veronica in Archie comic books so I don’t really have a fictional hero like

Superman or Batman.

My favourite place in South Africa is … Cape Town.

The air seems to be so much crisper there and the atmosphere is humbling. When I

do go there I never want to leave.

Living the African dream for me would be … upholding

African cultures and values and living within the spirit of ubuntu.

If I could change one thing about me it would be … my little

fingers and toes. They are always the laughing stock among my friends and

family. My husband says I should get my shoes for less than half the price

because they are so small.

I love being around my family because …

we are loud and we are proud. There’s always eating and talking

over each other’s voices when we are together. It’s lovely.

My favourite room in the house is … the room with

the fireplace, where we have all our serious conversations and advise each other

on love, life and business matters. It’s a real place of comfort.

Before the end of the day I just have to … take an

hour to talk to my husband and tell him about my day.

The best day of the week is … Thursday, that’s my

salmon eating day. I have it for breakfast, lunch and supper. I love it and

could eat it everyday. It’s part of my beauty regime.

The biggest challenge facing South African women …

is finding balance. The more time I spend with my sisters as we grow in life

and in business the more I find that little balance is maintained between our

demanding professional careers and family lives. We need to introspect as woman

and find what we truly want from life and find a balance.

I knew my career and I were meant to be … when I was

able to pay rent working in  a volatile entertainment industry.

The biggest challenge faced by breast cancer sufferers

in South Africa … many sufferers take cancer as a death sentence, which

needn’t be the case. Woman feel they are alone in the battle and tend to carry

the burden alone. We’d like them to know that the iThemba crusade of Hope is not

only for fund-raising but also for sisterhood and support.

When I think of 2010 I think … the country will be

full of beautiful people from all over the world. The idea is to share our

cultures and ways of life with these people. It’s beyond just business

opportunities. It is about welcoming and entertaining our foreign guests the

South African way.

My next project is … the Avon Justine iThemba

Crusade of Hope, Avon’s initiative to support breast cancer awareness and

education in South Africa that we’ve just launched. From there I plan to focus

on the Cinnamon Circuit Girls, a promotions company that provides beautiful,

smart young women as brand ambassadors.

Follow Gerry on Facebook under Gerry Elsdon or write to her on

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