Some would argue that it was inevitable that Sandy Bleakley who was born in South Africa would eventually find herself settling in Sennen with her husband, writer, film maker and longboard champion, Sam Bleakley and two of her four children. Her maiden name after all is Cornwall.
The massage therapist and healer who first moved here in 2000 explains its pull and embraces the power of the ocean and the rise of the older (wiser) model.
Sandy Bleakley, what do you love about Cornwall?
That it’s such a celebration of good energy. Living here you gain such a respect for the sea, for nature. When you get caught by a wave and washed up on the beach, well that is also teaching you about a lot of other life lessons. The ocean and landscape are very powerful here and yet, incredibly healing too. I’ve always felt very held. I grew up near the coast in South Africa and always loved water. I suppose that connection to nature has always been very important to me.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS MODELLED?
It wasn’t modelling as such but I did a bit when I was 16 or 17 and then trained as a beauty therapist… my mother always thought I had good hands, a good touch. But I wasn’t serious about it and went travelling to Australia and did many things such as running a mobile dog wash business, vet nursing, cosmetic consultant, waitressing… before being more serious about massage.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR WORK AS A MASSAGE THERAPIST AND HEALER?
I retrained in 2016 and then did some Californian massage training in Spain and a residency at Soul & Surf in Kerala where we travelled together as a family when the kids were younger. I’m a holistic massage therapist for women. And what I really enjoy is creating a space where women can be nurtured and held. I think there are many women who don’t realise that such a space exists or how much tension they are holding onto.
It’s a type of massage which has a healing, transformative process. I think I have this gift for helping to create balance in their bodies. Women feel very different when they leave.
IN WHAT WAY IS IT DIFFERENT TO OTHER MASSAGE?
I’m still figuring out if it’s more shamanic but connecting with nature is important and really resonates with me when healing someone. I like to incorporate sound too so that there is a mind, body connection. I play a mix of instrumental, African and world music and there is this feeling of going into another dimension. I am also, quite literally attracted to crystals. Whenever I go for a walk, I often find them, sometimes beautiful large ones in the landscape. The healing power of beauty and nature is so strong… if only one could bottle the alchemy of that good energy.
HOW DID YOU FEEL WEARING MARFA STANCE?
It’s funny I’ve never been into fashion – trends on a catwalk, but those coats – wow – they were so stunning to wear. It was very fun, although to be honest, also slightly nerve wracking to model the campaign. All of a sudden, you take on quite a different perspective of your body. There are those little voices and there’s the confidence thing where you are asking, can I? Can I do that? But everyone put me at such ease.