Chrissy Keepence – scenestr of the day

Published in SOD  
What do you do?
I am the Headmistress of The Lindy Charm School For Girls, I’m an aficionado of early 20th Century style, whose long-time love-affair with all things vintage began with swing dancing. And as a Swing Dance teacher, I studied and skilfully recreated the era’s look purely for my own pleasure to start with, but before long, my students were begging me to teach them my styling secrets. Word of these mini styling workshops spread and before long the Lindy Charm School For Girls was born! Now I not only style but I also speak at girls conferences on empowerment, the importance of undergarments and posture, deportment, charm and manners! Yes... our High Tea with a Sip of Manners Parties are a swellagant and stylish affair!

Why do you do it?
I’m passionate about empowering girls of all ages, shapes and sizes to feel good about themselves, inside and out.  I love that moment of anticipation from the finish of the makeover to the look in the mirror and then the smile that dances in their eyes before it reaches their mouth and how it broadens when they truly feel amazing... That feeling for me is like a drug, I never tire of seeing it, feeling it and appreciating it.

What do you love about the city you live in?
It’s summer all year long... Even in winter!!, it's still a big country town in a city! It’s vibrant and ever changing... It’s contradictions, colour and bounce keep me intrigued!  Look one direction its the beach and look the other its the mountains & rainsforest! Perfect blend sea scape, tree scape.

Where did you go for your last holiday?
New York, New York... well actually we landed in Newark!! I thought it was just an accent thing when I booked! No... We ended up at the back of bourke so to speak! (The NY equivalent!) A late night train out of there, hitting the bright lights of Times Square and the party started...

What's your favourite item of clothing? Why?
A 1942 Crepe Navy and White Frock. It's so flattering, perfectly 1940s, original, and 'just wow. It’s actually a maternity and nursing frock. I love wearing it knowing that it was worn by one of our foremothers 70 years ago who possible went through many pregnancies and nursed all those babies while looking amazing to boot! I wear it now and its timeless and no one knows its secrets!

What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid?
'Abbot & Costello', 'Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin', 'Gilligan’s Island', 'Lavern & Shirley', 'The Goodies' and 'M.A.S.H'.

If you could travel back in time for a day, where would you go?
Probably back to the late '20s just before the crash of 1929 when women had made inroads with the suffragette movement enough that young sassy strong women were pushing the boundaries of their rights, their tastes, their zest for life, fashion, music and fun. The discovery and flamboyance of that time would have been amazing, not to mention the parties!!

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook for us?
Once I was so distracted teaching dancing that I had to cook three roasts to get one meal as I burnt two in a row, so probably... Pasta! We would have good wine and desert though!

What's the best lesson you've ever learned?
Since losing my dad, my baby sister and my mum in the last two years, and having just gone through cancer treatment this year, I’m pretty sure life has an expiration date and like that block of chocolate that is fast approaching its 'use by date'. I am living life as if there is no tomorrow which, ironically, is the way that people lived through the height of WWII and is possibly why I admire not only its fashion and music, but all of its intent, purpose, repurpose and stoicism. Especially of the women, who just kept going and when you ask how they did it, they would always say, because there was no other option. I asked my mother a few months back how she kept going after losing her life partner and baby daughter and she said exactly the same thing. That, and be kind to one everyone as you never know who the person is at the receiving end of your smile!

Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody else knows...
I still love watching 'M.A.S.H', I love to sleep in, my husband dyes my hair and I can’t sing or sew!

Are you happy with your work/ life balance?
I am now. The day my sister died I finally had the guts to back myself and take what I did every day and make it my life. My full-time job, which in turn (surprise surprise to only me) it worked. And now I live and love and work full-time at what I love doing and  even earn a living from it. I am blessed!

How do you define success?
Balance. To give enough to get enough to be able to live enough and be able to leave enough.

What's your spirit animal?
Butterflies. They live and then they are reborn to live some more and then they die but in between they flutterby and see all and give joy to all that see them.

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