My name is Joan. Pronounced, it rhymes with ‘bone’. It’s not Joanne, Jean or Jones. I always tell people that my name’s the same as Joan of Arc, the french heroine who led the army to several victories. And like my namesake, I like to think that I’ve lived my life fearlessly too.
30 31 32 years old in February this year, and leading up to turning 30, I had a list of 30 things to do. The list never made it to 30, and I think I’ve only accomplished half by my birthday However, I’m not stopping there and am slowly making my way through it. Perhaps, I shall increase the list to 40 things to finish by 40.
The moniker ‘valska’ was born when my best friend and I wrote a book for an English project back in secondary school. The character based on me was called ‘Valska’, which was an accidental misspelling of the actual name ‘Valeska’, which means ‘warrior princess’. I’ve used this nickname since I opened my first email account in 1997, followed by blogging and any other account I’ve opened online.
I am a mother to a beautiful 5-year-old, Clare. Without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today. She makes me want to be a better person so that I can lead by example. I’ve been asked many times what I did to get such a well-behaved and lovely little girl. I think I got lucky. I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve such a wonderful child. The only think I would take credit for is her tenacity and independence. If she wants to get things done, she will always find a solution unless it becomes physically impossible for her to accomplish it. If she falls, she bounces right up and proclaims she’s OK, even though her knees might hurt a fair bit. Her natural curiosity and fighting spirit are qualities I am grateful for, because I believe it will arm her for future challenges in life.
Her father and I are presently separated but I’m proud to say that we remain good friends. We will always share a bond, largely because of Clare, and also because we’ve always gotten along really well.
I have three dogs, all of them saved from somewhere, somehow. The oldest, Thunder, is a male mongrel, who has a huge case of anxiety. He is also the most loyal and is always resting within a 1m radius from me, where I am in the house. He turned 6 this year. The second addition was Dinky, a female Papillon. She came undernourished, with two sets of teeth, extremely long hind legs and a less than functioning brain. She’s the sweetest dog to have, who will sit on your lap all day without moving an inch. Jaws turned up on Mother’s Day in 2009 because she was found wandering round the neighbourhood. She’s a fiesty Chihuahua and while I never thought I’d own one, I’m glad we found her because she’s rehabilitated so well now. Gone were the days with her being fearful and biting all of us. Now she loves cuddles and is actually a favourite with Clare too.
I’m currently a photographer and a reality television producer. Quitting my full-time job two years ago was probably one of the best moves in my life and I sometimes wonder why I didn’t do it earlier (not that I hated my job then!). I have been exposed to so many wonderful and new experiences since and have grown – personally and professionally – in leaps and bounds. I’ve worked on fantastic projects such as The Amazing Race, The Amazing Race Asia, The Amazing Race Australia, The Amazing Race Israel, Top Chef, Eye for a Guy and S Factor. I’ve worked with wonderful clients such as The Associated Press, Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Unilever, Senoko Energy, Singapore Press Holdings, The Singapore Philatelic Museum and the Prime Minister’s Office.
The moments I’m not working and being a mum, I enjoy squid ink pasta, seafood (especially my favourite crab dish found in Shanghai), prime rib, Coca-Cola, Lift, Rootbeer and all things chocolatey (particularly from Royce), or exploring a part of the great big world out there. I’m also trying to pick up french before I return to my favourite city in the world again, Paris. I love technology very much and used to love spending hours figuring HTML & CSS out, constantly changing the look of my blog. I can’t live without my iPad, BlackBerry, iPhone and cameras. Friends of mine have come to realise that it is much easier to get hold of me via email than other modes of communication.
Oh, and I have three tattoos [Link 1, Link 2] but you can’t see them that easily. I’m looking to do another one with the words ‘Rise Again’, in yet another hidden place. Design ideas are very much welcomed.
This blog is a small reflection of me, my life as a mum, photographer/producer and as a woman who’s trying to navigate sanely through this world.
All correspondence can be emailed to info AT valska DOT com.
My professional photography portfolio can be viewed here.
My other photography projects can be viewed here.
My professional work history can be viewed here.
If you know me, you can add me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.