By Rebecca Hooton
Confession time: we’ve always had a mama crush on Turia. So needless to say MD® HQ was buzzing after securing her for our latest cover. And if it’s even possible to love her more, after chatting to the mum-of-two, it’s not hard to see why Turia Pitt is one of Australia’s most inspirational women.
It’s Turia’s idea to jump on the phone straight away. Not because she’s got nothing else going on, but because her schedule’s so jam-packed. There are photo shoots, brand endorsements and running her self-titled company, Turia Pitt International (“Yes, I’m a glorified megalomaniac,” she jokes self-deprecatingly). Truth is, we don’t know when she’ll find another window of time to chat.
“I hate the word founder,” she says when I ask what her job title is. “I don’t like that word! Just say, ‘top dog’ or ‘boss lady,” she laughs.
It’s a pretty down-to-earth attitude for someone who’s built a personal brand with almost one million followers on Instagram and multiple revenue streams, including digital products, books and coaching.
How Turia’s life changed
She’s come a long way from the girl who grew up in Ulladulla, Australia, on NSW’s South Coast, who was thrust into the spotlight 10 years ago after she was famously caught in a grassfire during a 100km ultramarathon, receiving burns to 65 per cent of her body and losing seven fingers.
“After I got burnt I was told I wouldn’t be able to run again and that I’d have to say goodbye to my previously really active life,” she says.
Determined to build her strength back up, she spent the following years in gruelling treatment and has had 200 medical procedures. Proving the doctors wrong, she not only ran again, she competed in Ironman races, which she describes as “the epitome of endurance events”.
Then, she was thrust into yet another challenge – motherhood. “Everyone tells you these things before you’re a parent, but when you haven’t had a kid you listen and think, ‘But my kid is going to be different,’” she says.
Now with two boys, Hakavai, three, and Rahiti, one, life is busy. “They have excessive amounts of energy. They are relentless. There’s no ‘off’ button. If I’m with them for the day, from as soon as they wake to as soon as they go to bed, I’m just on all day. I think that’s what I find challenging, it’s that being a mum lasts literally all day and sometimes at night too. They need you to lie down next to them and pat them until they fall asleep and if you make one tiny movement, they’ll wake up and you have to start again.”
Getting moving for mental health
With two boys running rings around her, her own runs suddenly took a back seat. “I was someone who always exercised for my mental health. It was something I always did with work, if I found it really stressful and had a bad day, I’d go for a run and I’d come back to the house and feel calmer and more
in control of my emotions,” she says.
“When I was pregnant, I didn’t feel like I wanted to do exercise. Trying to get back into fitness after having a baby, that was hard. Everyone was like, just give yourself some time. But when you’ve had a baby, you just want to get a bit of your life back.”
Starting from scratch again with her fitness was “frustrating” and Turia wants to help other mums
who are struggling too. “I’ve always loved running, but after I had my son Hakavai, my life had changed. My day was no longer my own, you know?”
Mama on the run
She took that pain point and created an online program called RUN. You choose your goal distance of 5km, 10km or 21km and, over 10 weeks, you train for it with the help of experts and support of other mums in the group.
“It’s something I wanted after giving birth to my kids,” Turia explains. “It’s a place where it’s celebrated to leave the laundry and go for a run, and where carving out a small fraction of your day for yourself is the main goal.”
This “boss lady” has achieved so much. So, where does she find the motivation to reach all of these goals? “Get some external accountability – that’s how we motivate ourselves to do anything,” she explains.
Whatever your goal is, Turia says the key is to tell or involve people who will make you feel accountable to do it. “Even I look at things and think, ‘Oh sh*t, that thing’s due today, I have to do it.’ But I’ve got a team who I don’t want to let down. You want to make sure you do your part.”
So whether it’s a marathon or launching a business, whatever you want to achieve, tell someone who’ll hold you to it.
Finding time to do it all
Being her own boss does have its perks. “I feel fortunate that I’ve got autonomy over my day and I can dictate what happens when. That means if my son is needing the day off from school I can be with him, if my kids are being unusually needy during the day, I can still be with them. I think that’s the good thing about running my own business, I’ve got autonomy.”
Running her own empire is not all beauty prods and rubbing shoulders with celebs, though. (We see you Turia in that ModelCo campaign with Celeste Barber… no biggie!). “The downside is you’re always working, you’re always thinking about how things can be improved, what else you can do.”
But staying present in the moment is huge for Turia. “I don’t do two things at once. If I’m with the kids, I’m with the kids. I try not to schedule meetings during that time. And if I’m at work, I’m at work. Things do happen and you have to make it work, though,” she says.
Sure, Turia’s got brands lining up to have her name next to theirs, but she’s still that girl from Ulladulla who loves the outdoors. “I live in the same place where I grew up, it’s tragic!” she laughs. “When we just go for a bushwalk or down to the beach together, and my husband and I have left our phones at home, we’re fully present with the kids and enjoying the day, that’s probably my favourite time.”
TURIA PITT’S 3 TIPS TO GET THROUGH A HARD TIME
1 // ACKNOWLEDGE IT
“A hard time is a hard time, no matter how hard you try to spin it. Just acknowledge that what you’re going through is really crappy and whether that’s because you’ve gotten bad news or you’re struggling to come to terms with your life as a mum, just acknowledge that it’s challenging.”
2 // REACH OUT
“Get some support from a psychologist or a counsellor. Those types of people can be really helpful. If your car’s not turning on, what do you do? You take it to the mechanic. I think our heart and head deserve no less than the very best professional help.”
3 // GET MOVING
“Go outside for 10 minutes, go for a walk around the block, because even a little movement can help you feel more in control of your emotions.”
TURIA’S MORNING ROUTINE
“Every day when I wake up I try to think about what I’m grateful for, and it’s usually my kids. Then I try to think, what’s one thing that’s going to make today great, and whatever that is, I make sure
I prioritise that. If I can, I try to do some exercise or go for a run. Those things set up my day in the best possible way.”
TURIA’S FAVS RIGHT NOW…
TV SHOW // “An Australian drama called Janet King. She’s a barrister.”
BOOK // “Tall Bones by Anna Bailey was an amazing read. A girl goes missing and each chapter reveals a little bit more about the families and different characters that are linked to that disappearance.”
PODCAST // “I’m listening to a podcast called Noble Blood, with episodes covering different monarchs from the past. I’ve listened to one about Marie Antoinette, a Russian queen and about King Henry’s six wives.”
FOOD // “Pho. We don’t have any Vietnamese where we live. There’s nothing in Ulladulla! But you can buy bags of the pho broth and I just make it with noodles and veggies… or rather, I ‘assemble’ it.”
DRINK // “My favourite non-alcoholic drink is water; not very exciting. For alcohol, it’s red wine.”
WEEKEND ACTIVITY // “Being outside, going for a run, surf or a bushwalk with my family. I don’t really do that much.”
OUTFIT // “MALO Republic has really fun activewear. You know how some activewear is like $200 and it’s not very flattering, this is not that. It’s super comfortable, super flattering and the founder of the company is an ex-triathlete, so she makes sure she can do crazy races in them. So they’re definitely comfortable and long-lasting.”
BEAUTY PRODUCT // “I’d highly recommend Avène XeraCalm A.D Balm moisturiser to anyone, but especially people with really dry skin. It’s thick but it doesn’t feel thick on. I use it all over my body and face.”