We chat with... Kate Jones from Dedikated Lifestyle
She’s the brains behind the incredible body positivity driven messaging of Instagram handle, @dedikated_lifestyle, a former high-school teacher and an advocate for all things sun safe. Name a better role model for a new generation of boys and girls living and breathing social media…we’ll wait. She is Kate Jones.
Kate is one of those people who inspires you to #liveyourbestlife via her content, because she is all about spreading positivity, while throwing in some education for good measure. So, where did Dedikated Lifestyle come from?
“The moment for me came from the demand and interest I received from people surrounding my initial weight loss journey. Lots of people wanted to hear more about the process and my experience and I guess how they could do it themselves. I was really passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and wanted to share that with the world. I am definitely still passionate about that message but show it in a completely different way now and am much more body positive focused… The main thing I want people to know is that they are beautiful and worthy no matter what they look like. We are all so conditioned to think that that if we don’t look like an ideal then we are not beautiful and don’t deserve to be happy – SO UNTRUE! I want all women, men and young teens to stop wishing they looked like an ideal and embrace their bodies as they are right now.”
It is this, right here, that has made Kate a go-to girl for self-acceptance– for showing young women and how to feel comfortable in their own skin. And on the topic of skin (look how we segued), we wanted to talk to Kate about just that - skin. Another big, and more recent, focus of Dedikated Lifestyle has been spreading the good word on sun safety.
As a topic we are – as you know – pretty big on, we had the opportunity to ask Kate why she cares so much about taking care of your skin under the Australian sun. Read on – her personal story with a Basal Cell Carcinoma is worth reading…
“This is quite a recent passion that I’ve developed after my own personal experience with skin cancer. About 2 years ago I went to the doctor for an initial skin check as I had some dry flaky skin on my ear that just never seemed to heal. He said it was nothing to be concerned about and froze it off on the spot. That skin on my ear never healed and became quite sore and irritated, so after about 18 months I decided to go back to a specialist, and have it looked at again. This then led to having a biopsy to ensure that it was not a skin cancer - the doctor I saw seemed to think the results would come back clear. When I got a phone call from the surgery, I knew something must’ve been found...
I went in for a consult with the doctor and he informed me that the results came back as a BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma) and that, if left untreated, it could turn into a skin cancer and spread further. He recommended that I see a skin specialist and plastic surgeon so that the cells could be removed and my ear could be reconstructed to a high standard. This was pretty full on and quite scary to hear considering I’m only 28. From there I made all the relevant appointments and started the process of booking in the removal and reconstruction. I had this done at the beginning of October 2019 at The Skin Hospital in Darlinghurst and chose to go with MOHS surgery. This was the most reliable option and meant that the entire area would be removed before the reconstruction took place. In the end the cancerous cells were removed first go and I was able to have an ear ‘flap’ reconstruction rather than a skin graft, which was awesome news. Fast forward to now and my ear is almost completely healed and it’s hard to tell anything even happened, but the whole experience was definitely was a wakeup call for me. I am not wanting to have to go through that process again, so prevention and early detection are super important to me now and awareness is something I am really passionate about sharing.”
With this experience part of her recent history, Kate is eager and willing to spread the message of sun safety to anyone who will listen:
“Having gone through the surgery myself and experiencing the roller-coaster of emotions that came with it I want to share my message and help other young women and men to detect any skin issues before they become harmful. It also blows my mind how easy it is to prevent and yet people are still out there frying in the sun with no sunscreen. I think more education is needed for sure. After sharing the entire process of my skin cancer detection and removal I received loads of messages from other young women who have their own story too. Others who have had areas removed or have lost family members and so many who have gone to get a skin check after seeing my stories. The response has been so positive, and I hope to reach so many more young people by talking openly about the whole process.”
And while we, as a collective community, are certainly getting better at knowing the importance of sun safety, we asked Kate the hard question – does she think sun safety is something younger generations overlook, or are they getting better at factoring SPF into their everyday life? While so many are starting take note and treat sunscreen like they would any other skincare product, we tend to agree it still slips some people’s minds during their AM routine:
“I think for majority it is something that is really overlooked. Maybe some people are incorporating it into their daily skin care or makeup routine, but I doubt that many are reapplying sunscreen as needed or applying enough all over to last them the day. I know for me I used to put sunscreen on my face and that was it. I wanted a glowy tan all over and never really thought that skin cancer would happen to me. I still have friends who lay out in the sun for hours or come back from holiday with that red tinge or peeling skin – it kills me now! A tan really isn’t a sign of health and we need to realise the damage it’s actually causing. Start protecting NOW! You’re never too young to look after your skin or be aware of the damage the sun is causing. Remember nothing looks better in your fifties than sunscreen in your twenties”
We couldn’t agree more. Our thoughts are this – if you want that year round glow that makes you look as though you are fresh off the plane from a July spent in the south of France, make it fake and make SPF your very best friend (365 days of the year).
So, as we round out our conversation with Kate, we want to know what’s next now that she has left her full-time role as a teacher to pursue a career in social media, content and creativity with Dedikated Lifestyle?
“I have so many big things planned... I want to have the time to really make a difference in people’s lives, whether that’s with their bodies, their skin or their mental health and self-worth. It’s a really fulfilling thing to do and I love all that comes with it so stay tuned for some big things!”
Main image via @dedikated_lifestyle