Cea Person - Forward Momentum

Born into an eccentric hippie family in 1969, Cea spent the first decade of her life living in and out of tipis in the Canadian wilderness and surviving reckless adventures with her young mother. Cea was launched into an international modeling career at age thirteen. She worked successfully as a model for the next two decades, living in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, Hamburg, Zurich and Milan. 

Cea knows a thing or two about change and what it takes to move beyond fear in order to achieve greatness.

Here is a little preview of the unique life lessons Cea will be sharing at TEDxGastownWomen.   


Q) What does fearlessness mean to you?

Fearlessness to me does not mean an absence of fear, but rather a call to action. We all feel fear, but the difference is how you react to it; whether you are paralyzed by it or choose to move through it to the other side.

I have always believed in the power of change and forward motion as an antidote to fear. Gratitude is also key! The old adage to count your blessings is actually a very true and effective means to combat fear.

Fearlessness is claiming and believing in your own power to feel the fear and do what you need to do anyway. This comes with practice, so I think it's imperative to take every opportunity to tackle fear head-on, so that when life's really big challenges come along, you are prepared for them.

Q) What was your greatest mindful moment of change?

The counterculture family I grew up in was extreme. I grew up in the wilderness, living in tipis. My grandpa was particularly extreme in his ideologies, going so far as to claim that closing the door to go to the bathroom was a fearful act.

At a very early age I realized I was different from my family. I was not into marijuana or free love. I craved something that was stable and normal, which inspired my greatest mindful moment of change. I knew I wanted to be a model and then become a writer and I knew I did not want the life I currently had.

At the age of 13 I lied about my age and walked into a modeling agency to enter a modeling competition. Six months later, I was in NYC. My mother was only 16 when she had me, and completely unprepared for motherhood, so she didn't object to me going. I decided to continue my schooling, but graduated from high school a semester early. Until graduation, every summer I was in NYC and Paris from the age of 14 on. And I was often away on jobs through the school year.

Modeling, I soon learned, wasn't what I had thought it would be. Of course, I had hoped to be discovered by Vogue the first time I took a photo, but the reality was that I live in cockroach-infested apartments and took the subway home from jobs in the middle of the night. But I never questioned or looked back at my decision. Modelling was my escape route, so I was willing to put my time in to make my dreams happen. And eventually, they did.

Another mindful moment for me was when I decided to write my memoir. I had spent most of my twenties and thirties feeling depressed and like an outcast, but I was so concerned with showing the world a happy and functioning persona. I wasn't really being honest with myself about the effect my past had had on me. When I realized that telling my story could help others, it took the focus off of myself and allowed me to finally be honest about my history. This resulted in an amazing healing process for myself while also helping my readers.

Q) What is the key for embracing change?

I see most situations of change as growth, and opportunity.  I think people need to look at change and decide what is scarier, staying in a situation that is not working, or changing the situation and embracing the new?

When faced with negative change, such as an illness or death or a lost job, I try to see these as part of my personal journey and ask myself what I can learn from the situation, or possibly take away from it to help others.

Overall, I believe that positive visualization (holding the outcome in your mind of what you want your life to be like) is key to seeing change in a positive light, and trusting in it to lead you in the right direction.

Posted By: Nicole Parmar

Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography