Sydney’s Sally Obermeder On Empowering Women



Inspirational cancer survivor Sally Obermeder has joined forces with Avon. She spoke to Bondi Beauty:


Sydney’s Sally Obermeder from SWIISH says green smoothies are one of the many things that changed her life after cancer.

1) What is beauty for a purpose?

Avon’s ‘Beauty For a Purpose’ is basically a new way of talking about an idea that’s always been a part of Avon’s story, which is that the world needs more empowered women. Financial independence is the most important driver of women’s empowerment, and for over 125 years Avon has provided women with an earning opportunity.

It wasn’t until recently that I found out that Avon started out as just a tiny fragrance company with a handful of women. Now it’s grown into one of the biggest beauty companies in the world! That’s why I am so proud to be a part of ‘Beauty For a Purpose.’ I want to be a part of that movement, which allows women to not only dream big but also have the means to make those dreams come true.
2) How important are beauty products and self image for women? And for women going through cancer treatment?

For me, beauty products are all about enhancing your natural beauty. When my daughter grows up, I want her to know that makeup is only there to accentuate the beautiful features she already has. I want her to put on a lipstick and feel like she has the strength to take on the world.

At the same time, it’s also important for her to know that beauty comes from within. For women like me who have undergone cancer treatment, makeup can make a big difference. It was very hard to maintain a sense of identity, especially when I started losing my hair and eyelashes. I had to rely on trying to accentuate the features that were still there to make me feel like myself, even though I really didn’t feel like myself.

3) What are the Avon funded trial groups you refer to?

Over the years, Avon has funded numerous breast cancer trial groups that have saved the lives of so many women. The Australian and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trial Group conducts numerous, very expensive research programs that use new molecular and genetic research to create treatments for younger and older women diagnosed with breast cancer and new prevention strategies for more women.

Unfortunately, it can take a long time for these research programs to get results. The more funding they get, the more likely it is for them to get reliable research results at the earliest opportunity. Avon has also funded the Encore program, which is designed to help women who have experienced mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction surgery. They really have made a world or difference.

4) Do you consider yourself lucky to have recovered or what do you put your incredible life force down to?

Of course I am lucky. Everyone who recovers from cancer is lucky, because we know full well, that sadly, many don’t. I am incredibly grateful for every day that I have.

5) Today, what are the important aspects of life that keep you strong?

There are a few. The first would definitely be my family. They have always been there to support me through thick and thin and they give me strength everyday. Secondly, I would have to say Super Green Smoothies. My body took a really thorough beating during cancer and the recovery was slow and painful.

I had to completely rebuild my body from the inside out. That’s where green smoothies came in – with green smoothie helped me shed over 15kg that I had put on during pregnancy and chemo, they helped my skin to glow again, my hair and nails to grow back and best of all, to get tonnes of energy and the spring back in my step. Green smoothies have been a total game-changer for me. I still drink them everyday!

6) What are three things about your life which have changed significantly since your recovery from cancer?

The first thing would be my health. I’ve really learned to appreciate my health and never take it for granted.

The second thing would be moving on when things go wrong, much quicker. I don’t worry as much. I will often say “if no one has died, then really it’s not a big deal”. It just helps puts small tings into perspective.

The final thing would be SWIISH. I was actually part of the way through my chemotherapy when I decided I wanted to do a blog that focused on luxe for less. I rang Maha excitedly and suggested we do it. She suggested I concentrate on my treatment! She was right, but once I neared the end of treatment we decided to do it.

We worked around the clock, getting the website designed, working on graphics and writing content. It’s been two and a half years now and we are at close to three quarters of a million page views a month. Something that still blows our mind. And we are very proud if it.

7) What is your life mantra today?

I have a couple quotes that I like to live by, I’ve always said “be your own cheerleader” and “never give up.”

8) What are the two beauty products you use daily?

Every day I use and I swear by Avon Mega Effects Mascara in Blackest Black and I exfoliate with BABE coffee body scrub in the mornings. I love it so much that we stock it in the online store!


Renae Leith-Manos


Renae Leith-Manos travels the world writing ( She has had a colourful media career as a journalist in many magazines and newspapers, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling.
She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips.
She spends most weekends hanging out with her gorgeous twins.

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