There is not one word that fully describes Olivia, or her contribution to the world. Yes, she’s an exceptionally talented Singer-Songwriter, Actress, Author, Wellness Warrior, Environmental and Animal Rights champion. However, first and foremost – Olivia is a WOMAN. On this day she celebrates everything about being a woman and shares her personal inspiration.
While sitting down with Retreatment Botanics’ very own general manager, Trudi Jaye, on a beautiful Autumn day at GAIA, they talked about what this special day means for her.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
This is such an important day for me and so many women from all walks of life. It’s a celebration of women and their achievements all around the world, now and throughout history. As well as that, it is a day to embrace the empowerment of all women living their life to the fullest, no matter where they are or what they do.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
I haven’t really faced any significant barriers in the 55 years I’ve been in show biz and I believe this is in part due to the barriers that were broken before me, by previous generations. The entertainment industry is a unique environment where female performers were already leading successful careers in the 1960s when I began singing professionally.
It’s not lost on me that this would have been different for other women of course, and especially in other industries. I’m aware many women have faced immensely challenging obstacles, and each time someone breaks one, it then becomes easier for the next woman to follow in their footsteps and enjoy even greater choices and freedoms in life.
Who are your female icons?
Ultimately, my mother, Irene Newton-John has been my biggest influence. She was a social justice warrior before it was a thing. She taught me the importance of treading lightly on our planet, living ethically and moving with respect for Mother Earth.
She was and is the inspiration behind all I do. She encouraged me to be the best I could be. She taught me to work hard, learn everything I could and not to rely on a man to support myself. That was born out of her divorce from my father. She went out and got a fulltime job and bought our house all by herself, which was quite pioneering for her time. In order to make it work, she rented half of it out, so there were always really lovely Indonesian students living in our house. It gave me such a sense of multiculturalism and inclusivity, which I am forever grateful to her for.
She then encouraged me to leave Australia and go to England, even though I really didn’t want to go. So really, my mum knew better than I did, but as a teenager, I didn’t see that. So, thank you, Mum, I’m always grateful!
Author Louise Hay helped me through my first journey with cancer. Her books were really inspiring, and they still are to this day. I do believe really strongly in the mind-body connection, and her book, You Can Heal Your Life, became my bible. Louise believed that if you can change your thinking, you’re going to improve the quality of your life and I have seen that firsthand.
I planted a tree in her honour, at the highest point of Gaia Retreat & Spa.
The award-winning American environmentalist and conservationist, Margaret Owings, was a big influence in my life. I interviewed her for a tv show, a series about the environment called Human Nature. We became really close and I always said I wanted to be her when I grew up. I’m still waiting!
Margaret took the bounty off Mountain Lions, protected Sea Otters, and took me to a meeting about the use of underwater sonar and its impact on whales and other marine life. I talked for her at the event and I’d never done anything like that before, so she helped me be brave as well. She was such an inspiration.
Every woman's idea of self-care is different, tell us about yours?
I indulge in my skincare rituals from Retreatment Botanics every day. I adore our serums, Kakadu Brightening Serum and Restore Serum. They are luxurious to apply, and I practice a little ritual morning and night where I massage them over my face, neck and décolletage. They are so deeply hydrating and nourishing. My other go-to’s are Firming Eye Contour Cream, and Ultra Rich Moisturiser.
Skincare aside, I try to do something for myself in a physical way every day, like taking a walk, going to my gym at home, meditation, playing ball with my dog Raven, being with my horses and being around animals in general. I like to be out in nature. That’s what renews me.
What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?
Very early on in my career, an agent of mine said “Don’t believe what they write about you, either over-praise or over-criticism. Find your own course.” So, I’ve always followed this advice - I don’t even read it.
What woman has been the biggest influence of your success?
I would have to say, my long-time singing partner, choreographer and friend, Pat Farrar (nee Carroll). Pat and I formed a singing duo – Pat and Olivia. We toured the UK together in 1967. Oh boy, it was so much fun! She is just incredible to sing with and the most wonderful friend and source of guidance and support. Her husband, John Farrar was my songwriter and producer for many years, and Pat was always there supporting both him and me!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry so much about being perfect. It’s not possible and that’s ok! So often, we are all just so hard on ourselves, especially as women, and it is not only unnecessary, it isn’t healthy for our minds or bodies. A bit more self-praise and self-love would do us all the world of good!