Nancy Wake, the ‘White Mouse.’

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Despite her future successes as a super agent for Australia and New Zealand during WWII, Nancy Wake had humble beginnings.
She was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1912, but her family moved to Sydney, Australia when she was almost two and she grew up there.
A Maori midwife delivered her and, at the time of her birth, allegedly pointed at a fold of skin on her head and said, “’This is what we call a kahu, and it means your baby will always be lucky. Wherever she goes, whatever she does, the gods will look after her.”
Her childhood didn’t appear to be very lucky. When she was four, just a few short years after the move to Sydney, her father left on a trip to the United States and never returned. This left her frazzled mother to look after six children, of whom Wake was the youngest.
She was constantly butting heads with her mother and, at the age of sixteen, she left home to work as a nurse.
She might have continued working independently in Sydney had it not been for the unexpected inheritance of £200 (about £11,500 today) from her aunt which allowed her to seek out adventure.
Arriving in London in 1932, she started a course in journalism. Her new career took her to Paris, where she lived for a year reporting on the situation in Europe as well as the rise of Nazism.
However, she had time for fun, too, and took full advantage of Parisian nightlife. Soon, the girl from humble beginnings had charmed Henri Fiocca, a French millionaire. They married shortly after the start of World War II and she moved into his mansion in Marseilles.
Wake was a working woman, however, and despised the Nazis. She could not abide sitting back while they marched into France. As such, she joined up with the local Resistance movement, acting as a courier.
She became an invaluable part of the Resistance movement, carrying important messages from one resistance group to another. It took the Nazis a while to figure out they were being duped by a beautiful, outwardly flirtatious woman, but when they did, they hunted her fiercely, eventually even putting a 5 million franc bounty on her head.
However, the Gestapo wasn’t able to catch Wake. Whenever they seemingly had her cornered, she managed to slip away unnoticed.
Because of this, they called her “the White Mouse.” She was very nearly captured once, in an incident that saw bullets whistling past her ears, but she managed to make it over the Pyrenees by herself, once again evading capture. Talking about her close calls, she said, “I never had time to worry.
And I have to admit, though some people won’t believe me, I was never afraid.”
From Spain she made her way to Britain, where she trained for sixteen weeks with the Special Operations Executive. At the end of this intense training, she was something of an expert in explosives, hand-to-hand combat, and weaponry. She was ready for her first mission: to assess resistance groups in France and let London know what each group needed in terms of munitions.
We all know that war was largely a “man’s” game back then, though, and despite parachuting into the forests of l’Auvergne to carry out her duties, she was met with many resistance fighters who couldn’t believe that Britain had sent in a woman for this job.
They refused to treat her with respect—that is, until she challenged the leaders to drinking contests which she nearly always won (in true Australian form. Later, she mentioned that she liked to consume at least six gin and tonics a day). In doing so, she was able to take some 7000 resistance partisans under her wing.
When D-Day arrived, Wake commanded her “troops,” organizing them to fight against the German soldiers rushing to reinforce their fellows at Normandy. She and the resistance fighters blew up bridges and wrecked trains, narrowly escaping capture.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Wake also killed a German sentry with her bare hands to prevent him from alerting the rest of the men that an attack was in full swing. Later, they liberated Vichy which had been in the hands of collaborationists.
It soon became clear that the Allies were going to win the war. Allowed into a recently liberated Paris, Wake and her friends found themselves at the British Officers Club acting a bit rowdy. The waiter serving them boldly proclaimed that he would rather be serving German soldiers than put up with them for another moment.
An angry Wake told him exactly how she felt by “knocking him senseless with a right-hook.”
A fellow waiter came running with a shot of brandy to revive the poor man. Nancy grabbed the shot instead, drained it, and said “Merci” before walking out the door.
After the war, Wake was decorated with medals from the United States, Britain, and France. It was sixty years before she would be granted medals from her native Australia and New Zealand because she hadn’t served with the Australian forces during the war.
via Today I Found Out.

Edith Cavell, Nurse & WWI Heroine.

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Born on 4 December 1865 in Norfolk, Cavell entered the nursing profession while aged 20.
Moving to Belgium she was appointed matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels in 1907.
During her brief career in Belgium she nevertheless succeeded in modernising the standard of Belgian nursing.
With war in 1914 and the subsequent German occupation of Belgium Cavell joined the Red Cross; the Berkendael Institute was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers of all nationalities.
Many of the captured Allied soldiers who were treated at Berkendael subsequently succeeded in escaping – with Cavell’s active assistance – to neutral Holland.
Cavell was arrested on 5 August 1915 by local German authorities and charged with having personally aided in the escape of some 200 such soldiers.
Kept in solitary confinement for nine weeks the Germans successfully extracted a confession from Cavell which formed the basis of her trial.
She, along with a named Belgian accomplice Philippe Baucq, were duly pronounced guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad.
The sentence was carried out on 12 October 1915 without reference to the German high command.
Cavell’s case received significant sympathetic worldwide press coverage, most notably in Britain and the then-neutral United States.
Such coverage served to harden current popular opinion regarding supposed routine German barbarity in occupied Belgium.
via First World War.com – Who’s Who – Edith Cavell.

It’s a Lonely Life on the Plains for 78 y.o. May.

Come-by-Chance, Australia
May McKeown looks up at the stars as she stands in the front yard of her 6,000 acre property.
May, aged 78, lives and works on her property mostly alone as her son is constantly traveling.
She inspects the property and hand-feeds her cattle daily, writing poems in her spare time about her lonely life on the flat north-west plains.
Image Credit: Photograph by David Gray/Reuters
Source: The 20 photographs of the week | Art and design | The Guardian

Mature Woman Changes Fashion.

Rossi1Yasmina Rossi is revolutionizing the modeling industry while simultaneously empowering women everywhere.
The 59-year-old began her job as a model when she was in her late 20s—a time when most professionals are seen as too old and are forced to retire.
When she turned 45 years old, that’s when her career really took off as she worked for big companies like MasterCard, AT&T, and Macy’s.
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Not only did she book big brands at an age that most in the industry would regard as “past her prime”, she also managed to secure these modeling gigs while allowing her wrinkles to stand out in her work, profoundly accentuating her natural beauty.
“I like the way I look now than how I looked 20 years ago,” she told The Sunday Times.
“My body is nicer and I feel happier than when I was 20.” When asked about her beauty-related tips, the talented woman reveals that there’s no secret trick that helps her maintain her appearance.
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“All I have ever done is eat organic food – long before it became trendy,” Rossi explains.
“I take oil and use it on my skin. I put rapeseed oil on my hair. I scrub my skin once a week with olive oil and sugar. I eat an avocado a day and organic meat and fish.”
She continues on to state that exercise is key, but that you mustn’t overdo it. “This is very important,” she says. “And don’t take medicine if possible.
Go with nature instead of fighting it – this is the rule for everything.
”Whatever the secret to her beauty may be, the main takeaway from her success exceeds her personal gains.
Rossi represents a new era of beauty represented in fashion.
Though the industry has a long ways to go, she is breaking the mold and offering a step in the right direction, especially in terms of female ageism.
All photos via Yasmina Rossi
Read on via 59-Year-Old Woman Is Revolutionizing the Modeling Industry – My Modern Met

Women of North Korea.

MihaelaNoroc1Over two years ago, Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc embarked on an ambitious quest to document diverse examples of beauty around the world through stunning portraits of women from more than 37 countries.
Her journey has taken her to a diverse range of lands, including Tibet, Iran, Brazil, and the US, but her latest destination is particularly noteworthy—none other than North Korea, the isolated and rarely photographed East Asian nation.
Traveling to cities like Pyongyang, Sinuiju, and Wonsan, Noroc had the remarkable opportunity to expand her series The Atlas of Beauty to include the women of North Korea.
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Her subjects range from waitresses to students to factory workers, providing a unique look at some of the 24.9 million people who live in the country.
“North Korean women are not familiar with global trends, but this doesn’t mean that they are not preoccupied with their look. They are, definitely!” the photographer wrote on Bored Panda.
“They have a passion for high heels and usually wear classic outfits, always accompanied by a pin, on the chest, representing one of the country’s leaders.
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During celebrations and other special occasions, they wear traditional colorful outfits.”Noroc is raising funds via Indiegogo so she can continue her travels around the world until she has enough material for a book.
She says, “My goal is to continue and take photos of women from each country of the globe, showing that beauty is in our differences.”
See more Images via “Atlas of Beauty” Photographer Provides a Rare Look at Women in North Korea – My Modern Met

The Struggle of Black Women in Brazil.

Kolor Collective is a Rio de Janeiro-based creative group that challenges the struggle faced by black women in Brazil through theatrical and provocative art.
It was founded in 2015 by Franco-Hungarian photographer Pol Kurucz, who often touches on his own experiences of discrimination to call out sensitive social problems.
Image Credit: Photograph by Kolor Art Collective.

Source: Kolor Collective: Rio de Janeiro’s afro-feminist fantasists – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian