“I was born in Australia to a beautiful Italian and Polish family. My grandfather, Nonno, was my hero. He was the most beautiful man in the world, and spent most of his time growing flowers in his personal garden. He married my Nonna, and had two beautiful daughters: my mother Lily and my aunty Julie. Sadly, my Nonno passed away when I was young, but I always felt him with me, especially manifested in my love of flowers.
“After finishing high school I studied law for seven years and worked in a bank for four. I had committed my life to the corporate grind, spending my days working long hours in a job that stressed me out and left me little time for anything else.
“When I was 24 my aunty Julie passed away from cancer, and two weeks later my Nonna died of a broken heart. My aunty was a wonderfully vivacious world traveller and her death was incredibly unfair.
“After experiencing so much grief at losing my family, I realised that the life I was living wasn’t joyful, and in that moment I promised myself that I would carry on their legacy by living a life I felt proud of.
“So, I moved to Japan (with my husband and cat).
“On the plane to Tokyo I bought a book titled ‘Ikigai’. In English, this means something like ‘reason for being’. My reason for being was to live a happy life in honour of my family. In Japan I found my ikigai.
“Whilst living in Tokyo I felt like a different person. I felt calmer, gentler and kinder. I felt free to express my creativity. There was just something about living in Tokyo and being amongst such kind people and the beauty of Japan that helped my creative streak flourish. I started taking photos for fun, and within six months, I was completely booked out with family, portrait and destination shoots. I was also honoured to have my work exhibited in Nakameguro.
“In Tokyo, I transformed my grief into the most positive thing that ever happened to me: I turned my hobby into my passion and ultimately into my business. I will always thank Tokyo for that, and one day, I will call Tokyo my home again.”