You might not immediately recognise the name, but the pink mohawk is increasingly identifiable these days.
Lucy Bloom has always been big in charity circles, having spearheaded a $7 million funding drive for legendary Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin, and then raised millions more for Sunshine Cambodia which works with kids and families in health and education.
She also made front-page headlines when she testified about being inappropriately touched by the then principal of Knox Grammar during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.
But her trademark shock of hair is now on the front cover of her new memoir—and if you haven’t met Lucy by now, then here is the perfect opportunity. It will be an eye-opening and ultimately enriching read.
Her book, Get the Girls Out is a chronicle of her wild successes and often even wilder life crashes—both of which she is equally candid about. For instance, 30 days after her sexual abuse testimony, she would lose her job as CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. A month after that she would lose her marriage to the father of her three children.
If Get the Girls Out does nothing more, it is a truly uplifting reveal into how to pick oneself off the floor and rebuild after being run over by the proverbial truck of life. Speaking of vehicles, Lucy carries with her some pretty impressive scars from surviving a horror motorbike crash. But that’s another story.
Lucy has been running full pelt at life since she was pint-sized and being raised in South Africa by her Baptist pastor mum and engineer dad. The family moved to Sydney when she was eight and she finished private school at 17 and worked as a jillaroo.
Her fast-paced career kick-started at an ad agency and she found herself drawn to causes. She would set up her own agency, get married, give birth, overcame her fear of birth, become a doula and write the first book aimed squarely at dads, Cheers to Childbirth.
Then she would dye her hair pink, become a charity dollar-raising guru and become a fixture on the international keynote speaker circuit. What we have always loved about her is she tells it like it is – even if that lands her in hot water.
Because she is so great with words we are going to ask her to explain the book-writing process and where to from here.
What were the hardest parts to write?
The hardest sections were those where I had to be really careful that I gave the reader the dead-set truth without risking having my ass sued. I have had to battle some serious douchebags in my career.
You’d think international aid would be a fulfilling and purpose-driven place to work, but in reality, you’re neck deep in monstrous egos who want to skim the glory while they throw you under the bus. Truth is my most important value so I had to be truthful but in two particular places I had to be very careful because said douchebags are alive and well.
There was also a time, right at the start of my Year of the Shit Sandwich (2015), when everything hit the fan, which was the hardest time of all to write about. I had parked any memories of a particularly horrid incident and ignored thoughts of it for a long time.
Writing about it in detail meant I had to drag it out my memory vault and lay it out in front of me, think through the weird and horrid details and write it all down. Then reread it and battle with it. I cried like a lunatic but the process was good for me because I had not shed a tear about that incident since the day it happened. Now that part of my brain where I park the worst memories and starve them of oxygen is empty.
What’s the response been to the book so far?
It’s felt like a swim in the ocean, cleansing and exhilarating. Reader responses to Get the Girls Out feel like swimming through a big warm patch in the ocean where your body relaxes into the sudden warmth and you pause and float and enjoy the sunshine and then you wonder if it is a big giant shark wee and then you realise no, it’s just the beautiful ocean current warming you up and loving what you have to give.
Post-book, where is your next adventure?
I’m kayaking 100km a month and trying to find someone willing to come to Costa Rica with me. I have heard it is the best destination in the universe and I want in.
Work-wise I’m speaking at events all over the world and I am consulting to some very cool organisations. One in particular is an Indigenous mob and my learning curve on all things Aboriginal has taken off like an A380.
Get the Girls Out by Lucy Bloom is published by HarperCollins Australia and is now available at all good bookstores, online and as an audiobook.