WOMEN IN STYLE | Meet Chantel, Photographer, Storyteller, Mother and Women In Style.

Meet Chantel, Photographer, Storyteller, Mother and Woman In Style.  

Last week, we sat down with Chantel McAlister to discuss her journey from the city to the country where she became a proud advocate for the wool industry. Chantel tells us about her style, photography business, and her adventure around Australia to bring The Truth About Wool campaign to life.

Chantel, tell us about yourself...

Where to start! I've had a bit of an offbeat life over the last decade or so and have walked a path that has split in many different directions. I'm a born and bred Brissy girl, who moved to the bush after meeting my partner, Jas, a shearer and the wide-open spaces that he called home (and I didn’t waste any time calling them that too). I slipped into a career in the woolsheds and through my documentation of it, became an advocate for the Australian wool industry with my #thetruthaboutwool campaign. 
Over a decade was spent in the sheds, telling its story and classing my way around the eastern states. Then, as babies have a way of doing, that all came to a halt and my work and our lives pivoted. We bought a caravan and travelled around Australia. I then hung up my wool classing stencil and began teaching photography in rural towns. That was the catalyst for where I am today - a rural photography coach, educating photographers in person and online, from my home in Goondiwindi. 

How would you describe your style? 

In one word. Simple. I would love to be a flamboyant dresser and the closest I ever got to that is owning the odd pair of boldly coloured pants. I concentrate more on simple styles made from sustainable materials like cotton and wool. The comfort of the fibre on my skin, flattering cuts and pieces that last, are very important to me.

Tell us a little more about The Truth About Wool?

In 2016, the Australian wool industry needed a voice. So I gave them mine. Someone who walked the walk and talked the talk of wool. A representative, a storyteller and proud advocate that could show the world why we always have been and always will be worldwide leaders in wool. 

I saw our city cousins thirsting for knowledge of an industry they just didn’t understand or have physical access to. The misinformation that was flooding the online community was damaging our reputation and slowing down the consumption of wool. So, with my knowledge, over a decade of experience in wool and my photography skills, I set out to educate those who were sitting on the fence about wool. I started with three videos explaining crutching, shearing and wool handling. Together these videos now have over 800,000 online views.

Hitting the Road for The Truth About Wool...

I hit the road in January 2017 on the first leg of The Truth About Wool National Tour. 
Over three staggered months, I travelled through NSW, VIC, TAS, and WA. On a largely self-funded tour, I would return back to Qld in-between each state and attempt to pay off the debt I had rung up on my credit card before heading off again. The tour was hitting the mark when it came to flooding the online community with honest, positive images and stories from our industry.

I held the top spot and entire first page in a google search for The Truth About Wool. This is making a difference! A temporary holt came to my tour during my pregnancy from August 2017 and those rough first months of transitioning into motherhood. To keep the tour rolling on, I bought a caravan and hit the road once again with Jas (my shearer), our baby, dog and my camera in hand.

While the physical Truth About Wool National Tour has now changed shape and is no longer an intense campaign, the main goal is still to keep flooding social media and the online community with positive and honest images, stories and videos of the wool industry. Living in a time where we are slaves to the finger scroll on our phones, it’s so incredibly important for our industry to be a part of this, to be seen and understood.  

Imagery shot by The Farmers Friend @the_farmers_friend

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