Noreen Pisa, as she is known was born in Port Moresby General Hospital to a very beautiful couple who she says were very much in love.
“I was the last born to a family of four. My dad is from Ialibu, Southern Highlands and my mother is also a Southern Highlander from Kagua” she tells fastbusiness
Her dad is a Chief Warrant Officer and a Pipe Major (PNGDF Music Director) in PNGDF Taurama Barracks and her mother, a house wife.
She grew up in Taurama Barracks in a very closely knitted community were everyone knows everyone.
She did her grade 1-8 in 1996-2003 at Taurama Primary School.
Unfortunately, her mum passed away due to health issues when she was in grade 7.
Here is how she recounts her mum’s loss.
“My life changed from there on. I learned to become more and more independent” she tells fastbusiness.
“It was very tough at that very young age. But my dad became my mother as well as my father” she proudly says.
“He did things that I don’t think any father would do. From dealing with my teenage dramas to dealing with my boy issues and the rest. He is my hero. He had molded me into the person I am today because he had trust in me. I grew up in a Christian family, where I was thought to respect others and treat people the way you want to be treated. I am very much a daddy’s girl and still now he calls me his baby” she says laughing.
The struggles in her life, instead of knocking her off her feet, boosted her moral to be the best for herself and her family.
Noreen graduated from year 8 with all distinctions and made into Kila Kila Secondary School where she did her grade 9 to 10 as she recalls with smile.
She then went to do her Grade 11 in Port Moresby International and half of Grade 11 and 12 in Marianville Secondary School taking up Physics and Math A.
“Physics was my favorite subject. I was always an A student but because of losing mum at a tender age caused me to drop interest in school and my marks dropped” she recounts.
She however, made it into UPNG (open college) Science Foundation but due to financial issues she wasn’t able to complete her studies.
“I wanted to get into Geology. I had a plan to start working saving up for myself and go back into Uni. I started working in hospitality industry. I wasn’t like my other friends who were fortunate to have parents paying for them through Uni. I had to do on my own because my father was supporting my older sisters with their Uni fees and I didn’t want to be an extra burden therefore I had to pull out” she says.
The biggest ever challenged she faced in her life as she tells fastbusiness with a sad tone, yet with greater confidence and conviction is the passing of her mum at a tender age.
“My mother’s passing away at a very young age was obviously a major challenge. Growing up without a motherly figure was very tough”
She also points out that another challenge she faces is having to be a very outgoing and always a happy person.
“I had fair share of haters, it can be really tough” she grins
She proudly says her father is the biggest role model in her life.
“My father was my biggest role model growing up and still is. He came from a humble beginning from a little village called Ponowi in Southern Highlands Province. Made it into the PNGDF when he was only 16 years old now he is now 65 and has traveled the world doing what he loves. Along the way he rubbed shoulders and made friends with famous and powerful people and still has stays a humble man”
Just like any other girls growing up in a big busy city like Port Moresby, Noreen had her childhood dreams.
“As like many other little girls, I dreamed of becoming a model. I was a little fashion diva. I remember around the ages of 4-7 I would dress up in my older sister’s clothes and put on their high heels, makeup and walk the corridor of my house as my runway with my family sitting around cheering me…good old memories” she says with a broad grin on her beautiful face.
“Never imagined I would do that in few years’ time with high heels that would actually fit. In primary school my dream was to become a pilot and as I grew older and went into high school I was interested in working in the mines instead. I wanted to be a mining geologist”
She however says that her others dream have changed over the years but her dream on being a model stayed.
“My dreams have changed over the years but ironically I’ve ended up doing what I love as a little girl” she says and adds “Maybe because I never stop dreaming of it”
When asked about one thing she wish she changed about her, she like Billionaire Warren Buffet, says “I wish I started earlier”
In her own words;
“If I could change one thing it would be, I wish I could have started this career at a younger age while I was in PNG”
Today, success is a predictable as sun rising and setting. Anyone, anywhere can be successful in their dreams, but the magic is to start early as Noreen highlights. Early in this sense, means today. Early doesn’t mean you wait till tomorrow. Get up, get dirty and move on. That’s what we call success and that’s what Noreen is doing.
Noreen is reaping the benefits of her commitment and perseverance as she recounts below;
“I had the opportunity to travel so I took it. I started doing modelling in Vanuatu for a fashion Designer who was previously working backstage in Paris Fashion shows. She had her own Fashion Label in Vanuatu called Jojo Fashion where she designs beautiful summer clothes. I was one of the models who parade her garments in local resorts in Vanuatu every week as a runway fashion show. Even did catalogue modelling for her business website. When I moved to Australia I decided to continue modelling and started by entering modelling competitions with other aspiring models”
Noreen works with several modelling agencies and the websites and two common ones she gave fastbusiness are StarNow and Model Mayhem
Despite her success, there are still negative feedbacks from fellow Papua New Guineans.
“Although most of my family and friends are very supportive with my work it is very challenging to get negative feedback from Papua New Guinea people especially when I believe I am promoting PNG women in a positive sense.
“I believe that there is a future there in PNG modelling. We have been blessed with great physical features, exotic looks, as well as outgoing personalities which is one most important thing to have in this industry. But if we do not change our typical mentality it may be too challenging for young people to continue to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams”
As her career demands, Noreen is highly conscious of her health and fitness.
“I have always been this sporty kid growing up even till now playing beach volleyball and netball once a week. Pretty much my lifestyle revolves around health and fitness. I’m always a fan of healthy diet and regular exercise. Before a photo shoots or competition, my diet is strictly lean protein and gym session 5 times a week.
“Having a healthy lifestyle is ideally suited to the work I am doing and having a toned and fit body does add to my confidence to parade around as a model. I have met a lot of young models who have done so well and traveled places even took up acting that motivates me to continue this journey. My goal this year is to be a Fitness Model” she says
This September as she notes will a big fitness competition call INBA (International Natural Bodybuilding Association) were she will be competing in fitness model category.
“This has been one of my motivation tools as well” she says
Five years from now Noreen wants to get into fashion designing and owning her own shop and run her own gym in PNG and Australia and be an advocator of health and fitness. She also wants to further her studies to achieve in order to achieve her goal.
Fast Business asked Noreen what advice she has for young Papua New Guinea women who wish to take up modeling. She says;
“My advice to my fellow PNG women who wish to take up modelling is to always believe in yourself and never ever think that you are not good enough. Like my favorite quote I have lived by “IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN DO IT”.
- Dream big and never give up on your dreams
- Always surround yourself with positive people and likeminded people who will build you up
- Chose to make health and fitness your lifestyle
- Everyone has a right to their opinion but do not let their negative opinion about you get to you.
- Mistakes are always a lesson never a failure
Note: All Photo used in the article were supplied by Noreen and are subjected to International Copy Rights Laws.