The moment you first meet writer, author and glow-getter Kerrie Friend, a feeling of warm familiarity arrives. The kind of unabashed authenticity that has stood her in good stead, from years of co-hosting ‘Perfect Match’ and ‘Wheel Of Fortune' on Australian television, to her enlightened transformation 25 years later - as an accomplished writer, author and “Imagepreneur”, helping women to enhance their lives, from the inside-out.
Swapping the bright lights of Tinseltown for a quieter, more introspective life with her husband in Noosa, Qld, Kerry has since written over 500 articles and authored 3 books, including her latest, ‘The Heart of Image’, all with one theme in mind – to help women recognise the powerful light they carry within themselves. The same light that Kerry recognised in her good friend, Olivia Newton-John, sparked a lifelong friendship and culminated in a shared vision with our brand - to commemorate Olivia’s strength and spirit, by modelling our vivid Butterfly collection and supporting us in honouring Olivia’s incredible legacy.
Kerrie, tell us about your special friendship with Olivia. What’s your earliest memory of her, and how did you two magically connect and align in person?
KERRIE: I first met Olivia at her Koala Blue store in Melrose Avenue in LA, in the late 1980’s. It was during the height of my successful TV show, “Perfect Match”, and I was holidaying over there. She greeted me with open arms like I’d known her for a thousand years! I came to learn that’s just how Olivia was, ‘all-heart-and-warm-smiles’, making everyone feel like she was their friend. And though she lived in the USA, she was always well-aware and fully updated on all goings-on in Australia. She told me I should be very proud of the success of “Perfect Match” and that she’d seen it and thought it was a lot of fun. I remember thinking, ‘I cannot believe … firstly that Olivia Newton-John (my favourite since “Grease”) knew who I was, and secondly - that she was standing there talking to me’. It was certainly a ‘pinch me, am I dreaming?’ kind of moment that I will cherish forever. I even got to tell her that as a teenager I sang “I Honestly Love You” in many singing competitions just to try and be like her!
Then when I moved to the USA to pursue my modelling/acting career in the early 1990’s, we became ‘Malibu neighbours’, where we’d often run into each other at the local supermarket and stand in the aisle chatting and catching up. Olivia always had the ability to make you feel like you were catching up with a very close friend. It was a part of her gift. She was unique like that, as she made everyone feel important. It was such a beautiful quality that made Olivia, ‘Olivia’. We’d also see each other at events (G’Day, USA), parties, restaurants, and so on. And wherever and whenever it was: we’d always talk about home, how special it was and how Malibu was pretty good too. Both places held very a special place in our hearts. I treasured those catchups for many reasons, but mostly because I got to say, I knew ‘Olivia’.
Through your years of friendship, what was it about Olivia that brought inspiration to your own life?
KERRIE: Although Olivia achieved ultimate success around the world, she remained down-to-earth, warm, authentic, and friendly. I would often tell her that a lot of people in the USA who met me would often say “Oh, you remind me of Olivia Newton-John”. I think it was mainly because of my accent; but as I told her I was still always so flattered by such a beautiful compliment because she represented everything that was good, kind, friendly and wonderful about Australia.
How do you think she managed to stay so authentic all these years? My answer is, I think it all came very naturally to her. Still to this day, over 35 years ago since I first met her, I think of her as the most authentic person I’ve ever known. I often say, “If only we all had some of Olivia’s beautiful nature and kindness within us, the world would be a much nicer, more compassionate place”. We should all try and emulate the pure loveliness of Olivia.
Our final collaboration with Olivia Newton-John featured a majestic butterfly print, the ultimate celebration of Olivia, her beauty, and the inner light that touched so many. Can you tell us the meaning of the butterfly and how it connects with Olivia’s spirit?
KERRIE: For over two decades now, I’ve written books, and had over 500 articles published in the USA, UK, Asia, and Australia, all about our “Image”. Not about the surface image that everyone sees; but the one that dwells within us. “Image” is all about taking care of our inner selves through our Mind, Body, and Soul, and using this metamorphosis to enhance our image. My “Image” emblem is the butterfly, so this majestic butterfly print represents to me the transformation of the caterpillar into the butterfly. It’s a beautiful reminder that it takes time to transform into a butterfly, and then show the world the ‘inner beauty’ that was being prepared inside of you. Olivia’s spirit is a perfect example of a beautiful butterfly that will now fly free forever. Her amazing spirit lives on through her foundation, her music, and the memories we all have of her. She was a glorious soul who touched and continues to touch so many lives now and for all time.
The foundation of this Olivia Newton-John collection holds a very special place in your heart. Why is it important for you to model this vivid collection including the Olivia Newton-John Butterfly Scarf and Silk Kimono?
KERRIE: The butterfly itself means so much to me already. Then you add the Olivia (ONJ Cancer Centre) aspect, and it becomes priceless. I consider this a wonderful opportunity to model and to be involved in this campaign an absolute honour, as Olivia meant so much to me. While I do get asked to get involved in a lot of charity work, I couldn’t be happier and more proud to be asked to be featured in this one. To have known Olivia and get the opportunity to help her foundation that makes such a difference to so many lives now and in the future is such a privilege. My involvement in doing this monumental work truly means the world to me. It is a display of not only my profound affection for Olivia but for a cause that I know meant so much to her and continues to inspire us all. The colours and shapes of this collection are not only stunning, but they lift the spirit with the beauty of each piece. The sublime use of the collage of colours truly does engage the soul and I feel your customers will feel connected to its meaning not only from the campaign itself but from the beauty and kindness of Olivia. It all seems like it is a wonderful synchronicity of colour, life and magnificence, and anyone who buys from this collection will know exactly what I mean.
What is your favourite piece from this collection, and how does it ‘perfectly match’ with your own passion, purpose and personalité?
KERRIE: I have always loved kaftans, so the exquisite butterfly kaftan is my absolute favourite piece. I will wear it throughout all seasons too as it can move easily through them all with just some seasonal additions (eg. turtleneck and jeans in winter, a sleeveless dress in summer). I also travel a lot, so this is a perfect piece to include among my travelling items. It moves effortlessly and has an elegant flow to it. And I love the butterflies all over it as they ‘perfectly match’ my “Image” and bring a sense of peace, kindness, and inspiration - all a beautiful tribute to Olivia and the precious campaign they embody. The entire collection is sublime, and I believe it’s a true celebration of life, love and making a difference.
Can you tell us what Olivia’s cancer fund is all about? How can we keep raising awareness for her fund to support those experiencing cancer?
KERRIE: Olivia’s passion for helping fight cancer through vital research and helping to improve the lives of patients living with cancer was her “devoted” mission. The foundations are set up to discover and develop breakthrough cancer therapies to provide the best health outcomes for the patients. They do this by discovering and developing new cancer therapies that provide real and life-changing benefits for all those impacted by cancer. The ONJ Cancer Centre is a beautiful partnership between Austin Health and the ONJ Centre Research Institute. Together they help patients live better with cancer, detect it and treat it through their world-class treatments, integrated research, clinical trials and tailored wellness programs. Through donations, charity work and the media we can all help add much-needed funds to the research centres and foundation. Not only can these provide crucial finances to keep everything moving forward, but they also add support and collaboration in research across the globe in over 25 countries. Most of us know someone who has been affected by cancer, making it an easy proposition to help the ONJ Foundations continue to fight against it. We all miss Olivia and the splendour she brought to the world, but in our own special way, we can contribute to something greater than ourselves and guarantee the magnificent work that she started, continues. And I believe that when we do, she is smiling down upon us all.
Walk for Wellness
Join the Blue Illusion team at Olivia's Walk for Wellness in Melbourne, 8 October 2023 and as our merci beaucoup to you, we will gift you with an exclusive Olivia Newton-John Butterfly Scarf.
To sign up now, follow these three steps.
UN. Purchase your ticket for the walk at Walk for Wellness Website
DEUX. Fill out this form, so we know you're coming! Olivia's Walk for Wellness Form
TROIS. Keep an eye on your inbox, where you'll receive our exclusive Blue Illusion meeting point for the event.
We can’t wait to see you there.