Roses For Thorns

Roses For Thorns: Maz Halliday

There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.

Hi! My name is Maz. I am a working mom from Cape Town, South Africa, who apparently enjoys blogging over at  more than sleeping. What is sleep anyway? I have two adorable and extremely exhausting kids, my perfect pigeon pair. I am happily married to my soul mate – he is pretty much the only human being on the planet that I can tolerate for more than 6-hours at a time. The four of us decided to pack up our things and trade our white picket-fenced suburban life for the open countryside on the outskirts of Cape Town almost a year ago – and it was the best decision we had ever made.

During the day I work full time as a senior Fashion Designer for a South African clothing manufacturer that supplies some of the top retailers nationally and internationally. It is extremely hard and challenging work – but I love it and it has been a passion/dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I have so much I still want to accomplish when it comes to my career, but for now I am focusing on working towards a more sustainable industry with fair trade practices and a clean conscience.

You can find me, socially, here: Facebook  | Twitter | Instagram

So where does my story start? I grew up in a stable, loving home with a supportive family who gave me the world and more.
There was absolutely no reason for me to be depressed or unhappy but, as a child I was always a bit different, I never felt like I fitted in and I found it extremely hard to make friends. I felt like an unwelcome tourist in a place called earth, as dramatic as that sounds.

I was bullied relentlessly throughout the years and this had profound effects on my life.

I became bulimic in high school because the other girls constantly made fun of my weight. I was never fat, but if you ever met me you would know that I am a bit of an Amazonian woman. I am very tall, and I am naturally big boned – definitely not petite. I was never skinny enough, never pretty enough and never worthy of their friendship.

Being bullied had permanent affects on my life and my tattoos hide so many scars…such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and insomnia.

My husband has been an absolute pillar of strength to me and has basically guided me out of the worst of it. I am not sure where I would be without him… probably dead. I know that sounds morbid, but my life was spiralling before I met him. Up until a few years ago, most of my thoughts consisted of wanting my life to end. There was no real reason – I just didn’t, and sometimes still don’t, want to be here any more.

He pulled me towards the light from the deepest trenches of depression and showed me a life worth fighting for – a life with two amazing kids, a small house on a farm and the kookiest animals. Life is not perfect, but it is pretty darn close. Even with all of this love and happiness, my depression never seems to want to let go – that black amorphous entity is a constant presence.

But I will not let it consume me, I will not let it rule me and I will not let it ruin my life. I have too much to live for, too much to lose. Never have I looked forward to the future as much as I do now. I am finally living in the present, and I think I have convinced myself that my fate is not sealed. That does not mean that I will never again have a depressive episode – but I know I am better prepared for it, and as time goes by I find that I am more confident with every passing year.

I no longer need to light candles in the dark, for I have learnt to embrace my own light

I know my depression, and my past, impacts so many ways in which I parent, consciously and subconsciously. We do not use the word “fat” in our house, and I never complain about my weight in front of my kids. I make a big fuss about their natural beauty, their wit, intelligence and sense of humour. I want my kids to love themselves, and to be strong – to not let anyone ever tear them down. The first step to that is a healthy self-esteem.

I am also extremely paranoid about my kids being bullied. I ask a million questions a day in a million different ways when I feel something is up. I have a no-tolerance policy for bullying – whether it is my kids doing the bullying or being the target. All people deserve to be happy, and all children deserve to grow up in an environment where they feel safe and free. I am extremely selective of the environments and the people I expose my kids to. I hold the schools they attend to a high standard and they must have clear policies in place to stop bullying.

I try my best to lead by example as much as possible because children are not cruel, children are mirrors. They want to be “grown-up.” So they act how grown-ups act when we think they’re not looking. They believe what we believe. They say what we say. We have taught them that those who are not equal are to be feared.

People hurt the things they fear.

Okay, I am getting a bit side-tracked on the subject of bullying, but I feel so strongly about it. I also try to allow my kids to “feel” and to instill a deep trust so that they can talk to me about anything… we’ll see how that works out.

But I often feel like an absolute failure. My short temper, mood swings (bipolar disorder) and lack of patience at times really messes me up. I shout at my kids too much, and it makes me feel like an awful mother. I have to apologize to them more times than I care to admit.

In day-to-day life, I wish everyone knew the amount of effort it takes to just act “normal”, and sometimes, to just get out of bed. I really wish that employers would focus more on mental health issues, and that they would be more understanding. Sometimes you just need a duvet-day to reset your mind and pick yourself back up again. Every single day is a battle with yourself.


I believe that no one can make me feel ashamed of who I am. I am proud of what I have accomplished and if I made one person feel less alone – well, then that is amazing.

Depression is not something you can just shake off or hide with a pretty Instagram filter.

It is real… It is important to remind yourself that having depression / anxiety / Bipolar disorder / Post Natal Depression does not mean you are weak, flawed, or alone. It just means that you are not well and the episode won’t last forever.

Depression does not care how old you are, what race you are, how perfect your life is, where you are from or how much money you have. It affects so many people and it is important to know when what you are feeling places a risk to yourself and to those around you. It is not something you should ever take lightly… and it is not something you should ever be ashamed of.

“It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.”

You are not defined by the demons that lurk in the shadows, but you are defined by how you choose to defeat them.

I see myself as I am… A skin of porcelain that has been dropped, broken and put back together a few times.

My tattoos are supposed to make me look tough, strong and confident – but they are actually there so I can hide behind their beauty.

Every day I build myself up with good make-up, a strut in my walk and the right pair of shoes.

I have to make myself feel good about myself in order to survive.

The Concept:

Maz is one of the most striking women you’ll ever meet and, in the presence of her dark clothing, piercing brown eyes, flawless skin and bad-ass tattoos, it’s easy to feel as though she is entirely unapproachable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Beneath the surface, one which she has made to keep herself safe, you will find a champion of women’s rights, and a loyal friend. My vision for her in this shoot was to showcase her Joan of Arc qualities, her constant fight for the little guy – which she shows in her strong, defiant pose.

For her “Thorns”, we wanted to utilize pieces of armour to show the way she protects herself against the world; the location we chose echoed her feelings of being alone and abandoned.

The beautiful red roses mirrored her tattoos, and were a stunning contrast to the black. The black veiling used portrayed perfectly Maz’s mantle of depression, and her hiding, but also, lace is soft, intricate, and it is semi-transparent, able to let in the light – just like our powerful Rose.

This shoot wouldn’t have been possible without:

Styling and concept development: Tapestry

Dresses: Jacoba Clothing

Custom Crowns Headpieces and Bespoke Accessories: Magpie Calls

Bottles, candles & Candelabra: My Pretty Vintage

Rose Crown, rose bouquet and feather cape: Epanouir Floral Studio

Hair and Makeup: Charlean Louw Bridal Stylist

Photos shot with Canon 5DIII & 24-70 f2.8 lens.

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  • Reply Jonelle January 22, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Once again I am completely blown away! WOW! Just WOW!
    Maz, you are one of the most incredible people I know and one of the people I will miss most when we leave here!

    • Reply Maz January 22, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Can we please not talk about you leaving? lol

  • Reply Mandy Miller January 22, 2018 at 6:42 am

    These photos and this beautiful beautiful woman are breathtaking. There is magic in your voice Maz, you will continue to change the world wherever you touch it. And Shante, your incredible gift to capture the soul of these beautiful women is phenomenal. Well done for an incredible series x

  • Reply Kim Muller January 22, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Holy cow! I felt empowered reading this Maz. You’re amazing and beautiful and this piece showcased that. Shante, what gorgeous images and I totally got your vision. Loved the red against the black. Gorgeous photos!!

    • Reply Shante Hutton January 22, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Thank you Kim!

    • Reply Maz January 22, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      Thank you Kim, I don’t think anyone has ever told me that I made them feel empowered… what an incredible compliment

  • Reply Lindsay January 22, 2018 at 7:12 am

    My mind cannot even handle how absolutely BEAUTIFUL you are Maz! I loved reading and I’m loving this series.
    Shante – you are amazing, these pictures are gorgeous.

    • Reply Shante Hutton January 22, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Thank you so much Lindsay – I think her personality and “darkness” really came alive in this shoot

    • Reply Maz January 22, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Shante is such a visionary. Thank you for all your love and always being willing to share it

  • Reply Luchae Williams January 22, 2018 at 10:49 am

    BREATHTAKING! Everything about it!

  • Reply Leigh January 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Strong, brave and breath takingly beautiful!! Proud of you Maz xxx

    • Reply Maz January 22, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Thank you, Leigh!

  • Reply chastin dreyer January 22, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    WOW, absolutely stunning, so incredibly brave and beautiful

  • Reply Stephen Kelly January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Hi Shante. I love your work. Maz’s story is captured beautifully in your images. Exquisite!!

  • Reply Fiona January 22, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Incredibly courageous of you, Maz , to be so open and honest in a public forum – especially in view of your vulnerability to bullying. Brave, brave woman! I salute you – and Shante for the images and providing safe platform to speak out. Respect to you both.

  • Reply Anthea O'Neill January 22, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    This was very moving and dramatic. Also very revealing. From an acquaintance point of view, I had no idea Maz’s personality and character ran so deep. Beautiful story and beautiful work Shante and team for peeling back these layers and giving us insight into some truly extraordinary women!

  • Reply Melissa Javan January 22, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    I enjoyed reading your story, especially on how you educate your kids. Thank you Maz for being an inspiration.

  • Reply Maz January 22, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Thank you for allowing me to be part of this. You inspire me.

  • Reply Wenchy January 23, 2018 at 9:44 am

    “I have to apologize to them more times than I care to admit.”

    I have written those words more than once. I totally identify with your writing.

  • Reply Celeste January 23, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Maz you are such an inspiration and a truly beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Shante, you are incredible. You have captured the essence of Maz’s story beautifully. Your pictures really tells a thousand words. Truly talented woman.

  • Reply Lindi Mogale January 24, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Oh my goodness I have no words this is breathtaking. Maz – warrior woman- you stand for so much that is good with the world. Thank you for being so brave and true. Much love

  • Reply Anina Meyer January 24, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Absolutely breathtaking, raw and beautiful!!!

  • Reply Megan Keith January 24, 2018 at 9:08 am

    This was such a raw and honest post. Thank you for sharing your story, Maz! And the photos are amazing – wow! Megan xxx

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