Dajana is mother of Hendrix & Hazle, wife to Jason and Creative Director to one of the biggest names in beauty - Frank Body.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dajana Hazle before WOOM went live to chat about her pregnancies, c-section, loss and balancing her career.
Through mutual mother's circles, Dajana was almost one of our pregnant campaign models however, the stars didn't align this time and she ended up birthing Maisey before our shoot...
...We were so grateful that she shared her life with us instead.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY INTO MOTHERHOOD
My journey into motherhood wasn’t quite as smooth as I had imagined. I was lucky enough to fall pregnant on our first try but found
"at our 8 week scan, there was no heartbeat"
Regardless of this, I totally took to motherhood and loved the heck out of it. I more than ready to do it all again when I fell pregnant with our Maisey girl. To skip the drama and ensure I could recover properly and be there for both children after being semi scarred from the first experience, Maisey was a planned c-section. All went so, so well.
In the period in between births, I managed to secure my absolute dream job as Creative Director at Australian skincare company Frank Body.
"my first few weeks as a new mother were filled with pain"
After waiting two weeks to see if I was maybe just a little behind in my duration, unfortunately it was not to be. I had to have a D&C which was totally traumatic. It wasn't because I particularly felt a huge connection to an unborn foetus; I'm a firm believer in a woman’s right to choose. It was because I wanted a baby SO bad and had for so long. I just couldn't imagine having to begin again and delay that day by days let alone months.
Lucky we fell pregnant again quite quickly and my son Hendrix was born in September of 2019 at 42 weeks, after the worlds longest pre labour (4 days), a full day of intense labour which ended in an emergency c-section and a rather large cephalohematoma on my poor boys head. Due to the arduous nature of the birth, my c-section site then got badly infected and my first few weeks as a new mother were filled with pain. So much pain plus guilt and tears at the medication I was having to take, which my new baby would be getting small parts of through my breast milk.
Directing the creative for a charismatic global beauty brand is a pretty big gig, how did you find yourself in the role of Creative Director for Frank Body?
Jess, one of the founders, was going on maternity leave after balancing the roles of founder, CMO and Creative Director for years (who knows how she did it all!) and the Creative Director element was being advertised on its own as her mat leave cover.
Being a 32 year old woman, I was right there for the birth and rise of Frank Body as their key audience myself and being in creative marketing, always looked to them as the pinnacle of clever comms and brilliant social strategy and where I would want to be if they would ever have me.
As I knew Jess held the Creative Director role and that was my craft now, I never imagined I would get the opportunity but low and behold, there it was served to me on LinkedIn and I just had to take the dive. As mentioned, I had been working as a Creative Director for some time at creative comms agency iD Collective after rising through the ranks of content creation and digital strategy and always loved my work there, so I wasn’t even looking to leave but I just couldn’t pass this up. Three months into the role and it was offered to me as a permanent position and I haven’t looked back.
Frank Body has seen enormous success since its inception. How do you stay creatively relevant and progressive in such a saturated industry?
For starters, by working with incredible talent in the internal team who keep themselves routinely across global communications and developments. I have always felt that ongoing research and consuming everything you can is the key to remaining progressive.
We stay on top of research, media, strategy and content from across the globe and across a number of industries to guide our decisions. We also heavily monitor and respond to the information and feedback our audience gives us. We have such dedicated frankfurts and they know what they want and love.
We also understand when we, as the most experienced in the company often don’t have all of the answers as to what is progressive and relevant anymore and know when we should leave that to the young up and comers in the business. I’m not going to know as much about what works on Tik Tok as a 24 year old so why pretend that I do? Listen and learn always.
We live in a hyper visual time and are experiencing more artistic expression than ever before. Where do you draw inspiration from and how do develop individual style when it feels like it's all been done before?
Me personally, I just always have been and always will be such a consumer… of goods, of media, I am so many brand’s key audience, I get so excited and in awe of a great campaign, I buy into all of the ads, all of the events, I always say I understand what works because it works on me!
I also just love working through all forms of online and print media and always have. I know everyone always says we should spend less time on our devices and I am always very conscious to ensure I have a balance but I have also always found social media and online platforms to be such an inspiring, connective and revolutionary space for me as a creative. It absolutely has its downfalls but I also believe you are responsible for the space you create on there… I used it to feel creatively inspired and anything that doesn’t do that or makes you feel bad about yourself just unfollow or let go.
One of Frank's key motivational phrases is “you’ve got to risk it for the biscuit” and the team always have.
Now by risk, we don’t mean throwing caution totally to the wind, as mentioned before, we always let our audience guide these decisions and carry out heaps of research on top of that…but it’s taking those stabs at new forms of communication or direction or technology, working with exciting new talent and taking an approach we feel our audience is hungry for that helps us move forward. We also always keep our core value at the heart of things, as it is something we have been celebrating for years now; 'every babe has a body and every body is a babe'. Positivity and inclusivity, always.
You recently became a mother of two. How has life changed for you since the birth of your daughter Maisey?
A LOT busier! Haha. The jump from one to two is real and that is even with Maisey being a remarkably good baby. Hendrix is really going through a period of strong will and challenges me daily so she’s really just having to fall in with that at the moment!
"What I have found interesting is the difference between my two babies"
Though there are lots of things that are the same thankfully, as Hendrix was also a great baby, I have been caught off guard by certain things… like I had big challenges with feeding early on with Maisey, whereas Hendrix took to it so easy and you would think that things for fall into place simply for the second. Maisey is also one hell of a crier (loud and firm) whereas Hendrix had such a mild cry. There are fantastic differences as well, I feel Maisey is a happier baby all round as she didn’t have the difficult start Hendrix did and she doesn’t have the wind and tummy troubles that Hendrix had a bit of.
What things work and what doesn't when it comes to sharing your time and energy between your family, career and self?
I feel you just need to be so much more firm with boundaries once you return to work as a mother. My younger, independent years were for working insane hours, never switching off, hustling like hell and that was all so I could find myself a relative sense of calm once I arrived at this stage.
While there are the odd deadlines and creative tangents that require the work hour boundaries to be pushed slightly, I really tried to ensure that when I picked Hendrix up from daycare I was all his. Organisation is also key, I can’t leave tasks till later or till I’m less tired cause they will just pile up and become unmanageable.
I also have an incredible husband who absolutely balances everything evenly with me… as mothers, we do naturally tend to take on the majority of the “mothering” while they are young but my husband absolutely is with me and more in terms of cooking, cleaning etc and as Hendrix gets older, wrangling him all over the place.
I feel it is so necessary to priorities yourself as an individual where you can… you can’t pour from an empty cup. I take time to get out and get a coffee or wine with friends, indulge in beauty treatments and consume content on my own.
"My husband and I are also still incredibly social as it's something that bonds us and keeps us both feeling fulfilled."
We are lucky to work in the same industry (he’s an Art Director and artist) so also feel we get to remain inspired and connected by discussing so many elements of the creative space and lending advice and insights to one another.
It will be very interesting to see how my answer to this question will adjust as I go back to work with two vs when I just had one but up until I had Maisey and in these early days, we have it good.
What challenges did you face in pregnancy and those early postpartum weeks and what fills your cup up right now?
Now that we have two, I am yet to fully get back into the swing of self care like I was with one and there have definitely been dark moments. Especially in the early days and feeding being such a struggle.
"I had moments in the middle of the night burning with tears of frustration and pain"
Maisey had a really shallow latch and was tearing my nipples apart while failing to get the amount of milk she needed and struggling to gain weight.
It really occurred to me the loneliness a mother can so easily feel in times like that because no one understands the drive to do whatever is best for your baby like you and the sense of failure and frustration that comes if you can’t.
I remember on one such midnight tearful occasion, my husband saying to me so easily “it’s fine, we’ll just put her on formula if it doesn’t work” and not that there is anything wrong with formula feeding and it is absolutely the best choice for so many mothers and babies but it was the ease with which a father can come to terms with that move while I sat there struggling so intensely with the depth of a decision like that. It makes you realise that you can feel quite alone in your mentality about this journey of raising a child.
It was the same with Hendrix when I had the site infection… I was in such insane pain and was so unwell but all I could think and cry about was the guilt of having to take more pain medication and antibiotics which was going to affect Hendrix.
Luckily things turned a corner with Maisey after a bit of work and time and we are back on track now.
In terms of self care in these very early days, it’s just little things and little wins that keep me feeling good… going to get myself a coffee each morning and actually making myself look semi normal before heading out. Having the odd glass of wine now that Maisey is on a very regular feeding cycle and just relaxing once they are both in bed and staying up longer than I should to watch something I want to watch. Simple pleasures!
Finally, what does being WOMAN mean to you?
Wow. Such a simple question that holds so much depth and not something I really take a lot of time to think about… The main thing that comes to mind is that Helen Reddy song “I am Woman”,
"it sounds cheesy as hell"
but my mum was a huge Helen Reddy fan when I was growing up and I listened to so much of her music. I heard “I am Woman” again recently and honestly the lyrics which I still remembered word for word, actually made me tear up cause it is everything we are summed up so perfectly. Seriously, listen to it again as a mother and tell me it doesn’t make you well up…
“Yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained”