#DearTeenMe

You might recognise Kassandra from one of the many roles she has played in movies and TV shows, including Home and Away and UnREAL. Growing up in Adelaide, Kassandra spread her wings at 19 years old when she first started acting – and since then, her career has taken her on journeys across the world. With her huge heart, she’s an advocate for equality, a dog lover, and an avid bookworm. Here are Kassandra’s words to her teen self.

DEAR 15-YEAR-OLD KC,

Life is hard right now.

First of all – yes, the bangs are a bad idea. One day, you’ll turn 30 in the middle of a pandemic and cut them again with a blunt pair of kitchen scissors and shockingly, it will still be a bad idea. That being said – do it anyway. These are the days for figuring these things out (being 15 and also pandemics).

Here are a few things to remember and some unsolicited advice: DRINK WATER. It is not acid. It will not kill you. It’s okay to feel lonely and different. Believe it or not, the very things that make you feel isolated and strange are the very things you are loved for in the future – most importantly, they’re the very things you love most about yourself. Stay weird, feel too much, keep stepping over ants.

It’s also okay to be sad. If you were happy all of the time, you’d be a robot (and not even those Tamagotchi things are happy all the time! Remember, they make angry noises and you get detention!). We all cry. And we should all cry! How else are we going to get it out? ‘If it won’t matter in five years don’t spend more than five minutes being upset about it’ – this phrase helps with perspective but also you’re 15, so maybe take 10 minutes.

That being said – don’t take everything too seriously. The ability to laugh at yourself will be your constant saviour and one of your greatest assets.

No matter what anyone says – other girls are not, and never will be, the enemy. In fact, they are your salvation and your most cherished accomplices. Neither of us want to know where you’d be without them for the next 15 years. We live in a world that holds enough space for all of us. There is no competition. Be inclusive, have each other’s backs, be worthy of trust, want the best for each other. You don’t have to be friends with everyone – but you can be good.

Take risks. Celebrate mistakes. Nothing great happens without risk, and mistakes are inevitable. Plus, each ‘mistake’ is the best thing that could have happened – it just bums you out. And being bummed isn’t permanent. (Well, look, it is, but you’ll be bummed about something new next week.)

Most of the things that feel so big and eternal to you right now, you will forget. You have forgotten. I’m not saying that to minimise your experience but to maximise how big life is. Problems come, problems go, that doesn’t change.

Except for the time you fell over at assembly in front of the whole school – you’re not going to forget that. Sorry. Perfect time to practise not taking yourself seriously, though! No? Okay.

You are ever evolving and always in the process of becoming who you will be tomorrow. Occasionally, along the way, you aren’t your best self. You always learn from it. Forgive yourself. Forgive others for doing the same.

The world is loud. People have a lot of opinions. There is a lot of information and most of it contradicts itself. Your gut, your intuition, is your own personal compass – use it.

Age 15 is around when you start taking things personally. A piece of advice you’ll be given later is: ‘What someone thinks of you is none of your business’. It truly isn’t. What I mean is, think about how complex your life is to you, particularly in the ways that you hide, and remember the same applies to everybody. Everybody is struggling in their own ways and flourishing in others and how they respond to you and the world has more to do with them than it does with you. This also applies to you. Be kind, be gentle, stay in your lane.

Lastly, the next few years aren’t gonna be easy. But surprisingly, they go quickly. Take your time. One day, these years will blur into one messy little vortex of a memory bank and you’ll think back on them sometimes and think ‘You couldn’t pay me enough to be a teenager again’, so thanks for taking one for the team – I couldn’t be here without you! Also, stop saying people over 30 are old and I’ll stop saying anyone under the age of 20 is ‘12’, deal?

KASSANDRA X


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