06 Sep People of Jozi – Meet Adele Koolen
We love catching up with inspired women, and Adele Koolen is absolutely no exception! Adele is currently a Top 25 finalist in the Mrs South Africa competition, which is a huge accolade in itself, and she is also the founder of the #IAmEnough campaign, as well as being involved with Surgeons For Little Lives.
Adele owns The Brow Spot in Fourways, and besides holding both a BSc(Physiotherapy) and a MSc(Med) from Wits University, also practiced physiotherapy for 15 years as one of SA’s top sport physios, but had to retire due to a hand injury.
We spent some time with Adele to find out more about this go-getter powerhouse…
Tell us about your #IAmEnoughZA campaign and how it came about?
After struggling for 7 years to have a baby and having exhausted all our options, I battled with this extreme sense of failure. I am your typical Type A personality, so I never stop until I succeed. This however, was the one thing where I had to throw the towel in.
I had to come to the realization that the fact that I can’t have children does not make me any less of a woman. To be a mother is a blessing yes, but it does not define who you are as a person. I started the #IAmEnoughZA campaign to help everyone out there to face up to their challenges, no matter what they are, and say I AM ENOUGH, I AM NOT DEFINED!”
Why is women/female empowerment so important to you?
Coming from a divorced family, my mom always instilled in us that we are independent women and not reliant on anyone for our happiness or success. I believe that all women should love themselves first and that will empower them to be whatever they want to be.
I believe that by empowerment we will eventually be able to close the gaps between gender inequality and women will no longer have to prove themselves in a male dominated world.
What does it mean to you to be a Mrs South Africa Top 25 finalist?
It has been quite a rollercoaster experience. I am a complete newbie to all this and it was such an amazing feeling being announced as not only a finalist, but also the winner of the Influencer Award. It was the best feeling to know that all the hard work had paid off, and now I must focus on raising the bar even higher leading up to the crowning.
Should you win, what would be the first thing that you would undertake to implement?
To be honest I wouldn’t do much differently to what I am doing right now. The title of Mrs South Africa will most certainly help the #IAmEnoughZA campaign to grow and to quicken the national rollout of it. The more people we can reach, the better. I want them to look at me and see that if a normal, married woman like myself could overcome her challenges, they could do it too. The moment you realize that what you need is already inside you, anything is possible.
You support many charities – tell us more about your involvement there?
I am the Ambassador for Surgeons For Little lives and have been involved with them since 2015. I rode Joberg2C, a 900km 9day MTB race for them in 2017 to raise funds, and it was by far the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done, especially knowing that I have made a difference in the life of a child.
I have done some outreach to Baragwanath hospital, visiting the kids in the surgical and burns unit. As part of the Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa, our partnered charity is WOMEN4WOMEN, and I am having an event on 6 September 2018, at Gemelli Cucina Bar in Bryanston to raise funds for the charity. As a collective the Top 25 is aiming to raise R1million.
Tell us about your business, The Brow Spot?
I started the Brow Spot in June 2017 after a hand injury made it almost impossible to perform my duties as a Physiotherapist. I trained to do Microblading as well as lash extensions and my cousin who works with me is trained in all the permanent makeup. We both have international training, and we give clients the full brow solution, starting at a brow shape and tint, all the way through to permanent makeup.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
I know this is going to sound so cliché, but my gran. She passed away 2 years ago, and I would love to have dinner to share all I have done, with her.
If I had to choose famous people, it would be Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and our very own Basetsana Khumalo. These ladies epitomize women empowerment and their lives are testimony of what it is to rise above any challenge and circumstance.
What are you currently reading?
I have 2 books that I am currently reading, #girlboss by Sophia Amoruso and Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop.
What does being an empowered woman mean to you?
Being empowered for me means that I am authentically me, and I don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed by the trials and tribulations I have gone through. It also means that I don’t have to compete with a man to try and do things better than him, it means that I must accept that I am unique and embrace that I can do things that men just can’t.
Photo credits – Kevin Mark Pass