2 May 2014

Such Different Vixens: Tess Wilcox from Ames Collective

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So to start with, I just want to ask you , my reader, a question.

Do you appreciate the written word?

Tender sentences, plumped-with-presence  paragraphs. The kind of compelling story-telling that moves you, melts your muscles and tells you - in this moment, as you're reading - that in that moment - as they were writing - something was... happening to them.

The writer was being moved as the words spilled out onto the screen, much like you are when they're landing on you.

The words poured out with elegance and exploration, and you just know - without a doubt - that the writer somehow sunk a little deeper into herself during the process.

Because friends, I get down on my fucking knees for prose like that. I feel blessed, priveleged, honoured when I read prose like that.

Particularly when I see it appear on the very pages of this blog.

Today, Tess Wilcox is bringing me to my knees.

Stunningly beautiful. Infinitely and authentically creative. A harbinger of light and absolute love. Radiant, vulnerable, soulful. And a brand that oozes all of that - it was Tess' soul decks (her handmade, hand-painted skate boards) that first grabbed my attention and reeled me right the way in. Show me a 1970's deck covered in triangles and pastel colours, and I'm yours! I lost myself in her Instagram feed, I practically drooled over the aesthetic of her LIFE. What she was putting out into the world was stirring me - her stuff made me feel more alive, simply by bearing witness to it.

And then she popped into my inbox with thoughtfulness, open-heartedness, raw beyond rawness, and my crush deepened.

Leading a revolution of Earth Riders and Soul Sliders, please, before I rattle on forever, meet Tess.


Sum up your mission in one sentence.

To inspire people to live a life full o’ that wonderful thing we call soul, by consistently making it the driving force behind my business and my every day existence.


Can you share with us one of your most vulnerable moments (and in hindsight, what made it so beautiful?).

What a beautiful question. I feel as though we often confuse vulnerability with weakness. To me it is the exact opposite; in our vulnerability we show our strength. Could there be a more raw and stunning way to see someone, bare hands, bare soul, full heart.

Admittedly, I put myself in vulnerable positions often. Not in a self sabotage kind of way, but in a ‘push me to the edge and watch this spirit soar’ kind of way. One of my most beautifully vulnerable moments would have been 3 years ago, stepping off a plane from Barcelona to Morocco, alone, with no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I have always had this deep seeded yearning to connect to something deeper. To find ..... It! To find what drives me, what moves me, what makes me hurt and what makes me love. To find that place where you are certain that there is nowhere else but here, and your connection to this divine thing we call mother earth is so deep and present, that you can feel your soul fall in love.

That trip – 3 weeks of wandering around Morocco on my own – meeting people and finding my way, was magic. It taught me not only a lot about myself, but a lot about the world. Those moments of vulnerability where you feel so damn lost and so alone, they make you grow in a way that you never would in your comfort zone. It’s like someone stripping you bare, taking away all your survival tools, and ALLOWING you to survive with your self love and confidence alone.

That’s where I worked it all out. My turning point of inner alchemy. The understanding that we are all connected, and that there is no one person that can complete you in this world. It is up to you and unreservedly you, to be enough for yourself. Dirty hands and a happy heart!


What turns you on?

Serendipitous moments and conscious folk. Conscious folk in regard to how people conduct themselves and their relationship to our earth. To me, there is nothing more beautiful and pure, than someone who carries with them an awareness of their impact on earth; both on people and our environment. The understanding that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Being conscious of the respect that we should all carry with us for other people and for our beautiful lands and oceans. When you meditate amongst nature (and I believe everyone should) you can feel its energy, its heart and its soul. Nothing makes me more incredibly happy than people dedicating their lives to effecting positive change for the environment.

Serendipitous moments as in those moments you just cant even find the words to describe. Like meditating on your board way out the back of the surf, in the turquoise lagoon, and feeling this pull to open your eyes just at that perfect moment, where you see something truly magic. Those electric blue moments when you are thinking of someone special, and the song that reminds you of them comes on the radio. The moments when you realize ‘how’ and ‘why’ all the other moments happened, just to bring you to that particular person or that particularly spectacular moment (do we have any synonyms for ‘moment’ here??? Anyone? Haha).

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What makes your blood boil?

Ideally, I would love to be able to say ‘not much’ here. However I am a passionate little soul and when someone displays shocking ignorance, it really does light the fire within. I find ignorance such a tough thing to deal with, because we are all products of such different environments and upbringings. It’s that age ol’ thing of not getting pulled into the drama of someone else’s agenda. Environmental ignorance to me is unacceptable. Each to their own, but if you’re around me and you litter, purchase disposable plastic, use plastic bags, and don’t possess a basic knowledge of the threats our environment is facing, oh BOY will you know about it.


How do you define confidence?

Being able to identify (and fall madly in love with) the things that make you, imperfectly you. The freedom to revel in spending time with yourself and being at peace with who you are and what you stand for. My 20’s were my searchable years. Searching for who I was and for the love that I deserved from myself. I so enjoy the confidence, self respect and kindness to oneself that came with my 30’s. It’s like you learn to embrace your inner wild woman, and magnify everything that makes you fucking fantastic!


When was the last time you experienced pure, unadulterated joy? Can you give us the juicy details?

Oh I would say I experience it daily. I think it’s important to live your life that way. I don’t see the point in just existing, when there are things in everyday life that can bring ridiculous amounts of pure joy. There are a few moments that bring me ridiculous amounts of crazy joy to the point where I can’t stop giggling. The first is paddling my SUP or longboard WAY out to sea, past the waves, and sitting there meditating on the turquoise lagoon. Whether it be under the sparkling sunlight where it looks like fucking magic as it hits the aqua expanse, or on a grey rainy day where the colour of the lagoon in Currumbin is so damn effervescent, there are no words in the English language that could possibly describe the colour or the energy being emitted from the water. The other is being surrounded by my gang of soul sisters and brothers. I am so lucky to have the most inspiring, loving, amazing and hilarious group of friends and family, EVER! Any time I spend with them is full of laughter and precious moments. They all individually and collectively, inspire me daily.


Looking back, how have you most GROWN?

I think just in accepting and loving who I am. We all go through huge life milestones that shape us into who we are, and who we want to become. I went through some rough times in my mid twenties, and to come out the other side of that and mould myself into someone I care about and respect, is extremely special to me. Learning to be gentle with myself has been the biggest and most wonderful lesson. That has always been my dad’s advice to me, ‘Darling, you must learn to be gentle with yourself and trust that life will be unreservedly kind to you’. It’s nice to be there, in that everlasting moment where you trust the universe and everything it has coming to you.

**Taras note: your dad = SWOON!**

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Combining my passions with a business I love makes me feel ...

Proud, empowered, blessed, GRATEFUL AS ALL HELL! (And also shit scared at times)


Few people know this about me, but I ...

I am an open book sista! Wearing my heart on my sleeve CONSTANTLY and without reservation. For me, that is the only way to live life as opposed to letting it live you.


I secretly wish I could ...

Breathe underwater. That place is bloody magic. I never had a desire to be able to fly, but rather to glide beneath the surface and explore life underwater as one with everything that exists down there. Oh and also, to play the guitar haha.


To me, the words 'Such Different Skies' mean ...

That space where everyone will find their own peace and meaning. Each soul will search for something different in each circumstance, and I think ‘such different skies’ is an imperfectly perfect reflection of that. When my eyes search the sky, they head straight for the horizon. That magnificent union of sky and sea; where the magic happens. Where we see the first glimpse of the sun or the last flicker of it’s rays. Where we so often want to sail to, and the representation of that elusive union that we as humans are chasing. Other people search for the clouds, the colours, the sun, the moon. Some may love the day sky, and others yearn for the sparkly night sky. To me, we are all searching for something different, but in essence, the same.



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As the founder of Ámes Collective, Tess has built an authentic brand identity and loyal following through original, unique content and designs. Rooted in the desire to restore a balance and simplicity to our lives in the concrete jungles, Tess draws on both her artistic upbringing, and 10 year career in the Marketing / PR industry, to drive the concept and vibe of the brand.  A self taught designer with a degree in Journalism and Marketing, she is an advocate for the importance of brand marketing in conjunction with unique and soul driven designs. Tess lives and works on the Gold Coast, but is a vagabond soul who travels the globe and continues to source inspiration throughout the world. 

Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.


And here's the part where we all let go of our breath. Exhale. Holy smokes. Is she not the epitome of a creative goddess on mini-wheels, or what? Be still my beating heart, miss Tess. Let's have that pot of tea soon, please.

Let's put our hearts together and say hello (and thank you!) to Tess in the comments below :)

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    • 2 May 2014

      Wow Tess (and Tara !) ... That was one of the most beautiful interviews I have ever read. Makes me wanna go and have the best day ever. So I'm gonna ! xoxo

    • Anna Kempshall
      2 May 2014

      I had the privilege of sharing a mentor role with Tess at a creative chatter a few months ago. She was an inspirational, a true artisan who has turned a passion not only into a career but a whole life style. Since then I have followed her on Instagram and like you looked forward to reading what wonderous things she had penned for that day. Thank you for a great interview that gives us insight into an exceptional human being.

    • 2 May 2014

      Magnetic interview! Thank you for your words Tess xx

    • 2 May 2014

      Love it Tara!... and love you Tess xx

    • 2 May 2014

      I totally did need that huge exhale after reading this interview - wow, I was so drawn to every single word and absolutely adore everything you stand for Tess! Amazing interview x

    • 2 May 2014

      I feel like my soul was just hugged. Holy crazy-talented-wordsmith batman!

    • Sarah
      2 May 2014

      Wow! Big exhale... what amazing words! I have been following Tess on instagram for a few months and have found her posts so inspiring! Love these Vixen posts Tara!

    • Katie
      3 May 2014

      Wow! Thank you for introducing Tess! She's fantastic!

    • Bethany
      3 May 2014

      Shit. That's one to read again and again.

    • Kirsty
      7 May 2014

      What a rad babe!

    • 8 May 2014

      Wow… Tara… Tess is a gem. Her words moved me so deeply that I felt as though I was there with her in the turquoise lagoon she so beautifully describes. My soul feels fuller after reading this. Thank you for featuring her, for opening me up to her world and the stunning way she sees it!

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