Juliana Bahr-Thomson is a “Mermaid With A Message”.  Not only is she a professional ocean lifeguard with Waverley Council (may have seen her on Bondi Rescue), physical education teacher, triathlete and paddle boarder extraordinaire, she also created a foundation, www.mermaidwithamessage.com.au, where she raised funds and awareness for domestic violence by paddle boarding 180km unassisted from Newcastle to Bondi Beach.

Coming off the back of the “Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships” (an over 50 km gruelling paddle board race), Juliana took the time to answer a few questions for “Pretty Powerful Girls”.

To read more about Juliana, check out her inspiring website www.mermaidwithamessage.com.au or follow her on Facebook (Mermaid With A Message), Instagram (@mermaid.witha.message) and/or Twitter (@Mermaidwithamsg)


When you were younger what female inspired you and how/why did they inspire you?

Growing up for me admiring athletes of all descriptions was a huge influence in shaping what I did. For as long as I can remember Cathy Freeman was at the top of my list of heroes, she still is really! I guess I’ve just diversified and drifted between idols based on my main sporting agenda at the time.

Cathy inspired me in so many different ways, she ran not because she was good at it but because it was something that her soul craved and connected with. It created a form of escape within life and its hardships but also demonstrated her strength of character as she pushed to represent her aboriginal heritage alongside her Australian heritage.

I have read all of her autobiographies and I really respect her when she references that her younger sister has cerebral palsy and is unable to run and have function of her body so Cathy always said she ran for her sister too.


Now as a strong and pretty powerful female what advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Advice for my 13 year old self would be, your on the right path, but please just enjoy it. Every moment of it. Everything you do today is helping get your further tomorrow.


When you are out in the ocean on your board and you are sore and exhausted, what do you do/think to regain your motivation?

Sometimes to regain that motivation, clarity and positive frame of mind is the hardest thing you can do. Not just during difficult phases on the sporting field but in life.

To get myself back to that place of clarity I try to be really mindful of where I am, what I’m doing and why. There is often a bigger and better reasoning behind the physical challenges I set myself; they are much bigger than myself alone.

I think it’s simply important to just be content with where you are and accepting of who you are. Be grateful for the difficult times that shape you into a more resilient and compassionate person. Be aware of your surroundings, your thoughts and just thank the difficult times for the opportunities they present you with.


What does the word “strength” mean to you?

Strength…. strength to me is a pretty in-depth word that encompasses a whole lot of different meanings.

Strength, resilience, perseverance. Strength doesn’t simply relate to your outward physical presence, to me strength comes from within. Strength is as much mental and spiritual as it is physical. I guess I look very holistically at strength.


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