FEATURE FILM: Natasha Lawrence and Kylene Anderson at a body building competition, featured in the film Destination Arnold which will screen in Rockhampton this weekend.
FEATURE FILM: Natasha Lawrence and Kylene Anderson at a body building competition, featured in the film Destination Arnold which will screen in Rockhampton this weekend.

Rocky girl makes screen debut

FOR the last two years Rockhampton's Kylene Anderson has been used to living her life in front of the cameras.

As one of the leading ladies in the Sydney Travelling Film Festival's Destination Arnold documentary, sharing every intimate detail about her life with a director, producer and a handful of cameramen on a daily basis was something Kylene was hesitant about originally, but grew to miss once filming wrapped up 12 months ago.

Kylene, who grew up in Rockhampton, is a production manager for ABC News in Sydney but two years ago she became the star of an Australian documentary after she met Natasha Lawrence a few months before she entered her first body building competition.

In 2014, Kylene was introduced to Natasha, a fellow employee of ABC, by a work colleague. The two ladies got talking about fitness and it was that conversation that led to the two women making the film, Destination Arnold, a film about two Indigenous women, Natasha and Kylene, who have a dream to make it to the Arnolds - an amateur bodybuilding competition being held in Australia for the first time. The determined women struggle with diets, exercise and inner demons in their roller-coaster efforts to achieve their Arnie-inspired goal.

Kylene, 35, said her and Natasha's chance meeting and discussion on body building, a sport both women are interested in, is how the documentary came about.

"After I told Tash, who was an aspiring film maker, I was getting ready for my first body building competition back in 2014, she basically started following me around in the gym,” she said.

"Tash then pitched it to the TV department and it then turned into a doco with directors and producers and it snowballed from there. It's been a long journey, from the first phone call to the last day of editing, it's taken two years with filming occurring over 12 months so it's exciting to be on the other end of it and sharing it with everyone.”

Kylene became interested in body building after losing 20kg.

"For the first 30 years of my life I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle and I was physically, emotionally and mentally unhappy, I was 100kg,” she said.

"I just woke up one day and decided I needed to make a change. I went from being 100kg to 80kg when I was living on the Gold Coast and when I moved to Sydney I started getting more serious about my fitness journey. It started off as a weight loss journey but I wanted there to be a goal at the end and I really wanted to go that extra mile which is why I wanted to enter a body building competition. Since then I've done three competitions.”

For 12 months every bit of Kylene's life was caught on camera, played back in a studio in front of producers and editors and finally compacted into one of the five feature-length films included in Australia's longest travelling film festival.

At first Kylene said she was shy to bare all to the cameras, physically and emotionally, but admits it took some time to get used to life without the cameras once filming wrapped up.

"At first I was fine with the idea because it was just Tash behind a camera but when we got a producer and director on board it was a bit daunting,” she said.

"But over time you get quite comfortable with the cameras being there. They're coming into your home, they're watching you cook, train and all of the little things like shopping for your bikini that you'll wear on stage to following you into the office to see how you interact with your colleagues. After a while I became blinded to them and was so comfortable with them being around I didn't even notice they were there by the end of it.

"After the two years you have to go back to normal though which was a weird transition because for so long you're so used to these people being in on every part of your life so to not have the cameras there was something I had to get used to again. The camera's capture everything though, the tears, the laughs, the personal parts that you normally wouldn't share with people you don't know but I think that's what it was about.

"Body building is such an extreme sport so we're not saying everyone should start body building but we're just really hoping to motivate and inspire women to lead healthy lifestyles. The feedback already has blown my mind, it's been really supportive and positive. I've had people contact me through social media and ask for advice or offer encouraging words, so the message has been positive.”

Kylene she said she was looking forward to bringing the documentary to her hometown of Rockhampton home to share with her friends and family.

"I grew up there so I'm looking forward to the weekend and I'm probably going to be more nervous about this screening than any other because all of my friends are there but I am pretty excited,” she said.

"It has been a while since I've been home to Rocky, so it's good to come home and share what I've been doing over the last two years.”

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