What do the likes of Mia Freedman, Matt Moran, Neale Whitaker and Layne Beachley have in common? They are well known, at the top of their respective fields and, most importantly, they're human.
Opening up about what it is to be human -- to feel scared, low or lost -- is exactly what The Lost Dogs Of Hope Project is all about.
"Our Lost Dogs artworks represent the times we’ve all felt lost," contemporary Sydney-based artists Gillie and Marc Schattner told The Huffington Post Australia.
"We first came up with the Lost Dog concept in 2013 when we placed 100 Lost Dog sculptures in various locations around Sydney. Within a month, all but three of our sculptures were stolen. The Lost Dogs received a cult following and can still be found all over Sydney."
From there the idea of a video series was born in which prominent Aussie's would open up about a time in their lives they felt lost.
"We wanted to set in motion a beautiful, life-changing art venture that would give people hope during their time of suffering. We first launched a short video to Facebook where Gillie spoke about being a first-time mother, isolated at home with a newborn, scared out of her mind. The video went viral and we were stunned by all the comments from people sharing their own experiences and private messages of thanks," Marc said.
"From there we thought 'what if a short video can literally change someone’s life?' So we started asking people from the public eye if they wanted to be involved. We were floored by how quickly these successful celebrities wanted to contribute."
To date the project has attracted sports stars and media personalities including Mia Freedman, founder and publisher of Mamamia, who is raw and honest in discussing what it was like to lose her baby girl at half term, and Neale Whitaker from The Block and editor-in-chief of Vogue Living who talks about losing his parents and the importance of putting our phones down and connecting.
Also involved is Layne Beachley, surfing world champion, Heather Maltman, actress and host from The Bachelor and I’m Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Elka Whalan, Olympic swimmer and many others.
"We’ll next be hearing from the much-loved Matt Moran from Masterchef. We have no idea what he’s going to talk about and that’s also been a really beautiful and organic part of the project," Marc said.
Marc and Gillie found it inspiring to see so many accomplished people open up about when they’ve hit rock bottom.
"A lot of us get stuck in that trap of comparing ourselves to others, assuming that anyone who is accomplished or successful has their life together. But what these videos show is that even world champions and TV stars have moments of feeling broken and lost. When you have a celebrity talking about their vulnerabilities and encouraging those who are lost to speak up, it sends such a powerful message that you’re not alone or unique to these lost feelings," Marc said.
The aim of the project is to make people feel comfortable about feeling lost, to encourage them to start a conversation, and to remove the stigma around being vulnerable.
"Everyone will feel lost at some point and it can make you feel like you’re failing. So our goal is to break the stigma, and show people that feeling lost is a normal, human feeling that can be overcome."
"We want our videos to give people hope, because when you’ve given up, hope is the first step to finding yourself again. Hope can arm people with the courage to begin that important journey of self-love and self-acceptance," Marc said.
Layne with Marc and Gillie and one of the Lost Dogs.