By Lucy E Cousins
Lindy Rama-Ellis loves being 40 and she wants you to know how to reconnect with yourself and your lady bits.
Yep, this gorge mama is allll about empowering women and we’re totally here for it.
Sure, Lindy freely admits she wakes up feeling older in her body (especially as she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis) but emotionally, she’s ready for this next stage in her life.
“Emotionally I feel really good right now,” she explains. “I don’t feel stressed or anxious or anything like I did when I was in my twenties and early thirties. It’s such a shame that back then I just didn’t feel as confident and aware of myself as I do now.”
But then, the Bali-based Aussie’s confidence has arguably come about through life experience; she’s a mum-of-four, twice married and an entrepreneur with two successful beauty brands under her belt, Milk (with ex-husband Michael Klim), and new brand Fig Femme.
And if that wasn’t enough, she also managed to survive homeschooling all four of her children last year during the long lockdown months.
“It wasn’t too bad to be honest. I mean, there were definitely times when we wanted to kill each other and homeschool was sometimes a struggle… Had I known I would have to do that in my life I wouldn’t have had so many kids!” she laughs.
“But seriously, like a lot of people throughout the world, we just went back to our roots as a family. I found I really enjoyed cooking again and listening to more music.”
Surviving being locked out of Australia
One aspect she admits was hard, however, was the distance between her and her mother, who lives in Tasmania. She isn’t used to being away from her for so long.
“I really, really, really miss my mum… And my best friend just had a baby and my sister’s getting married,” she says.
“I’m really hoping the borders open up soon so we can see all our loved ones and appreciate them a little bit more!”
Lindy moved her family to Bali nine years ago, less as an attempt to live on an island paradise and more because of Lindy’s connection to Bali. She’s royalty. An actual Balinese princess with close ties to the royal family.
“I have always just loved this island life and obviously I’m half from here. And when my dad passed away 15 years ago, I felt a real pull to come back to Bali and get to know my heritage,” she explains.
Beating the bullies
Another reason for the move, she says, was that her children who had just started school in Melbourne were being bullied for being part Asian; something that Lindy is, sadly, familiar with.
“I grew up with [racism] my entire life because I was the only Asian person at my school,” she says.
“I really didn’t want that for my kids. Here [in Bali], they are growing up in a world of colour. Everybody looks different; my kids’ friends are either from Japan or Korea or China or Indonesia. It’s like a melting pot of different cultures and skin tones. It’s nice that it’s just not a big deal.”
The move to Bali worked well at the time, especially as her ex-husband, with whom she shares custody of three of her four children, also lived there.
This allowed her to hop on a plane every week back to Australia to see family and friends. However, the pandemic and Klim’s recent move back to Australia, firmly put a stop to that.
As a result, Lindy has been effectively locked out of Australia for over a year now.
And, yes, while there are worse places to be stuck than a tropical island with an average temperature of 26 degrees, Lindy is quick to point out that the local community has been hit really hard by the lack of tourism and is suffering.
“You can’t get a lot of things in Bali at the minute because everything’s imported. And it’s super quiet,” she says. “It’s just really hard for the locals, and you can see a lot of poverty happening. It’s really sad.”
How to reconnect with yourself as a woman
Luckily, the area she lives with her husband, British property developer Adam Ellis, the father of her three-year old Goldie, still has quite a few expats living there.
However, building her new brand, Fig Femme, remotely has been a daily challenge.
The female-oriented products, which include a vulva mask and intimate daily wash, were inspired by her experiences with childbirth and the realisation that there were no brands offering products to soothe that area.
Fig Femme’s launch in August last year, however, sparked anger and controversy by critics who believed she was creating “unrealistic expectations on women” and “body shaming” the female form. Though nothing could be further from the truth, she says.
“I definitely got some backlash [after the launch]. People said I was body shaming women, and they asked why I was bringing out another product for women to feel they had to use [to feel attractive], which is definitely not what I was doing,” she explains.
“Fig Femme is more about connecting and soothing that part of our body, which we do things to already… we wax and shave and wear tight clothes and give birth!”
Starting a business during a pandemic
Due to the pandemic’s travel restrictions, Lindy says she wasn’t able to effectively get her messaging across for the launch.
So, to spread the word she reached out to her online community. Through articles, online blogs and podcasts, she has been able to put forward the self-care motivation behind the brand and so far, she says, the response has been “incredible”.
It’s been so encouraging, in fact, Lindy has much bigger plans for the fledgling start-up moving forward.
“I want Fig Femme to be global and I want to break down that conversation [about vaginas] and change it from being taboo to being normal,” she says.
“Everyone talks about their face cream; we may as well be talking about our vulva cream as well!”
Want to Start Your Own Business?
1. Do The Prep Work: “I’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money with lawyers and accountants, because if the business is not set up properly from the get-go, you will always end up in trouble somewhere down the line.”
2. Avoid Doing Business With Mates: “Going into business with friends is just not a good idea, unless your relationship is solid… really, really, really solid. I learned that by going into business with my ex-husband; things change and relationships change.”
3. Build A Support Network: “I can be quite shy at times and don’t like asking for help, but I wish I could be upfront about saying, ‘Hey look, I know you can help me, you’re my friend, can I ask you these questions?’ I’m definitely trying to do that a little bit more.”