Fortune Favours The Bold: How The Film “Bohemian Rhapsody”​ Changed My Life

Fortune Favours The Bold: How The Film “Bohemian Rhapsody”​ Changed My Life

One year ago today I saw the film “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the cinema for the first time and at the risk of sounding cliched it changed my life.

I’m sure many of you know how much of a fan I am of Queen and especially Freddie Mercury; I was inconsolable when he died on 24 November 1991. I grew up with Queen, Freddie and their music from the moment I was born and when Freddie died so young at the age of 45 it hit me hard.

I’d heard that a biopic about Queen and Freddie was going to be released, and after some false starts over the last ten years or so it eventually hit the cinema screens. I was hooked. One line in the film hit me and resonated with me like nothing else.

Fortune favours the bold.

There are any other life lessons to be found in Bohemian Rhapsody, and I’ve written about these here in this blog – https://cybergeekgirl.co.uk/5-life-lessons-from-the-queen-…/. Seeing Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time on this day 1 year ago something clicked in me and I knew that I had to go for the things I want and for the work I love doing.

Fast forward a year, and I am a triple award-winning cyber security consultant and professional. I’ve won SC Awards Europe’s “Outstanding Contribution to Cyber Security” award, the UK Cyber Security Awards “Cyber Security Professional” category and Women in Cyber Awards USA “Supporter of Women in Cyber Security category. I am undertaking a contract delivering security awareness to staff for a leading firm of solicitors in the UK. I run a thriving cyber security community through the UK Cyber Security Association. I am an author, blogger and keynote speaker at conferences and events. I am part of a thriving infosec and cyber security community. I’m writing a book entitled “The Rise of the Cyber Women”. I’ve made amazing friends and learnt so much in a year. And I heard last week that I am one of SC Magazine’s Top 50 Women of Influence in Cyber Security. I am very proud of all of it.

All I’ve done, the only change I’ve made, is to be clear about what I want, gone for it and asked for things that I know will help me along the way. I’ve been bold, forthright and confident, even if I don’t feel as if I am confident. I suffer from Impostor Syndrome, but I try to overcome it as best I can!

This is only the beginning. I have so much more that I want to do and so much more that I want to accomplish. But I will never forget that Queen and especially Freddie showed me the way. They opened the door by including the line “fortune favours the bold” in “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The rest was up to me. And it still is up to me. I am the only one in charge of my own destiny. I am the one who is responsible for my actions, my achievements and my failures – no-one else.

I’ve seen “Bohemian Rhapsody” so many times since a year ago today that I’ve lost count, and I look forward to watching it many, many more times.

Thank you Freddie for always being with me, even if you are no longer on this earth. And thank you Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon for keeping Queen alive and keeping Freddie’s memory alive. I can’t thank you all enough!

Altogether now – aaayyyyy……ohhhh forever. I still love you Freddie and Queen, and I always will xx

#FortuneFavoursTheBold
#BohemianRhapsody
#Queen
#FreddieMercury
#QueenForever
#FreddieForever
#AlwaysReadyForFreddie

Breaking The Silence: I Am An #EmptyArmedMother

Breaking The Silence: I Am An #EmptyArmedMother

As well as it being Cyber Security Awareness month, which is a huge deal in my work industry, October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

I am sharing this picture of myself holding my much loved and much wanted son Francesco “Frankie” Enrico Ventura. He was born sleeping when I was 33 weeks pregnant; he never opened his eyes, nor did he take a breath in this world.

After having 10, yes 10, early miscarriages all around the 5-6 week mark and losing my Frankie when he was born sleeping, I am one of the “1 in 4” who loses a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or neo-natal death. It is a shocking statistic, and one of the things I do aside from my work in cyber security is to raise as much awareness of baby loss as possible to help break the silence and taboo around this subject.

I may not be a mother in the “traditional” sense, but I am still a mother, albeit an empty armed one. And being an empty armed mother brings its own challenges. The time I would have spent with my Frankie has to be filled somehow, and I now spend my time forging ahead in a career in cyber security. I always have in the back of my mind that the life I have now is the life I wasn’t meant to have. Today I should be the mother of a son who has not long starting school and is approaching his 6th birthday. But it is life I have got, so I am making the best of it and trying to achieve as much as I can.

Such is the dedication to my work these days that I’ve even won awards for what I do, and what I do has become, as Freddie Mercury says in the film Bohemian Rhapsody, a distraction from the in-between moments.

There is a scene in Bohemian Rhapsody where Freddie meets his future partner Jim Hutton for the first time. All his friends have just left a party he held at his house and Freddie says to Jim, “They’re not my friends, not really. They’re distractions”. Jim asks, “From what?” and Freddie replies “The in between moments I suppose. I find them intolerable. All of the darkness you thought you’d left behind comes creeping back in.”

That is EXACTLY how I feel today. And why I choose to put so much into my work. If I stop the in-between moments happen and I go back to that dark place where I was when Frankie was born sleeping. I know that he wouldn’t want me to be in that dark place, so I try very hard through my work in cyber security to stay out of it.

Whatever I do now work and career wise is for my Frankie, in the hope I can make him proud of me. I want him to look at me from up there, see me winning the awards I have won, see me being the best version of myself and see me making huge strides and headway into the cyber security industry as the CEO & Founder of the UK Cyber Security Association and as an author, blogger, thought leader and keynote speaker in the cyber security industry and say to everyone he’s up there with, “that’s my Mommy.” THIS is why I do what I do, and why my work means so much to me now. It helps me avoid and get through the “in between” moments. I know such wonderful and lovely people in the Infosec community (with one or two exceptions) and I’m grateful for all of you.

If any of you would like to read more about my awareness raising work in this area, please visit my blog www.frankieslegacy.co.uk.

What Comes First For You? Work….Or Family?

What Comes First For You? Work….Or Family?

This is a recent photo of me and my Dad. My Dad means absolutely everything to me and is my whole world. However, he has a myriad of health conditions that he developed nearly 2 years ago in October 2017 including epilepsy, mobility problems and he is now being assessed for possible dementia. Overnight my Dad changed from a strong and independent man who enjoyed life to having to be driven around everywhere and having so much done for him in his day to day life. Today I heard a comment that I shouldn’t put my parents first because “they won’t be around forever.” And this got me thinking.

I make no apologies for the fact that my Dad comes before EVERYTHING for me. Sometimes I am amazed that I have achieved all that I have in the last 2 years with the UK Cyber Security Association and my work in cyber security because of the amount of times I have had to put things on hold to help my Dad, or change course to be there for him. Sometimes I worry that it makes me look unreliable if I have to rearrange a meeting or if I’m not able to be at an event that I’d expressed interest in, but my Dad’s health conditions mean that I sometimes have to be called on for him at a moment’s notice.

I am very lucky to have the support of my wonderful husband who does so much for my Dad as well, and as a team i.e. me, my husband and my parents, we manage – just about! It isn’t easy to never have any stability and to never know when the next seizure will happen, or if my Dad will have a fall, or if he has to be in hospital, but we navigate all the curveballs my Dad’s health throws at us – often on an almost daily basis!

I could give up what I do work wise, and one day it may well come to that to look after my Dad, especially if he does indeed have dementia. The point of this post is to get you all to think and think hard about WHY you all do what you do. As business owners we can often work all the hours under the sun, often for no return but for great personal reward. Often this is at the detriment of your family. You miss key family events, you are often not there for your children and you don’t spend as much time as you should with your family – because business and work comes first.

Please don’t miss out on precious family moments or for being there for your family because of business or work. I’ve had so many family bereavements since 2013 that I know from bitter experience how fragile and short life is. Make the most of it, and don’t waste a second of it, but most of all, if you have a good family make the most of them NOW. You must provide for them and their future, of course you do. But don’t make work your life. Don’t regret the time you spent on your business and work that you could have spent with your family. Get the right balance that works for you.

I’ve made quite a few changes in order to spend as much time as I can with my Dad, while still trying to be as productive work wise as I can, and I will continue to do so. Your family is precious, enjoy them and make the most of them. If you don’t have a family, focus on you and what makes you happy. Life is short and time is precious. Don’t waste it. Yes your family won’t be around forever. And that is even MORE reason to be there for them while they ARE here.

If you combine work with looking after your family, especially if you have to look after elderly parents like I do, what things have you done that work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and if the changes you have made have helped you.

The FaceApp Craze: Think Before Giving Away Your Data

The FaceApp Craze: Think Before Giving Away Your Data

I would like to say a big thank you to Francesco Cipollone for mentioning me in his latest article “Is FaceApp stealing your identity? Let’s find it out…” which he has published on Medium. If you want an easy to follow balanced view on this subject, you need to read his article.

I shared a post last Thursday on LinkedIn about the latest FaceApp craze and bandwagon that everyone is talking about, and this article takes a close look at the T&C’s of the app and what you are agreeing to/giving away data wise when you download, install and use it.

The post I shared sparked quite a debate with over 12,807 views and counting, 54 shares, 117 reactions and 22 comments. Opinions on this varied but the main message is clear – think carefully about what you are giving away data wise not just with FaceApp but ANY app, and that includes the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple, and even LinkedIn.

Many of you use your biometric data such as your fingerprints and facial recognition to unlock your phone and confirm your identity for things like online banking. The data that an app like FaceApp gathers on facial recognition is immense. Just imagine the value that it would have on the dark web…..

Read Francesco’s article here – https://medium.com/@FrankSEC42/is-faceapp-stealing-your-identity-lets-find-it-out-241aa18c8402

Throwback Thursday: What Achievements Are You All Most Proud Of?

Throwback Thursday: What Achievements Are You All Most Proud Of?

What past achievements are you all most proud of? Here is one of mine…..

#ThrowbackThursday to 1997, and to when I was I was working at Chris Tarrant’s management company, and Chris of course was the host/presenter of the iconic gameshow “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” on ITV. I worked at his management company for seven years from 1996 to 2002.

At that time I had the pleasure of working with Chris to help write parts of his book “Tarrant off the Record”, proofreading it several times and liaising with his then publishers Harper Collins to get it released. I lost my copy of it somewhere over the years, and I managed to find one on recently on ebay for £1.99!

I spent hours working on this book back in the day and I just love Chris’s hilarious take on things from his life and career including fishing, being a radio DJ at Capital Radio, soap opera characters (namely “Crossroads”, remember that folks), touring as one of “The Four Bucketeers” and the legendary Capital Radio Christmas parties to name but a few.

I’m so chuffed to have this book again, it really is one of the most hysterical reads ever, and I’m so proud to have worked on it at the tender age of 24 😊

#LifeAchievements
#Goals
#FortuneFavoursTheBold

Above: me with Chris Tarrant and my Mum at a recording of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” at Elstree Film Studios in 2000.

5 Life Lessons From the Queen Biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”

5 Life Lessons From the Queen Biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Regular readers and followers of my blog will know how much I love the band Queen, how much I love Freddie Mercury and how many times I saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the cinema when it was released last year. Since it was released on digital download, DVD and Blu-Ray earlier this year I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve watched the film in total. Rami Malek does an incredible job at bringing Freddie Mercury to life, as do the rest of the cast, and the awards and “Best Actor” Oscar he won for portraying Freddie was well deserved.

The other day while watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the umpteenth time, with my husband gritting his teeth at it being on our TV yet again, I realised that there are quite a few life lessons contained within it. Whether you like Queen and Freddie Mercury or not, I’ve identified these things from the film that could help us all live a happier and more fulfilled life:

Life Lesson 1 – Fortune favours the bold

In one scene in the film, Freddie and the rest of the members of Queen are in a meeting with their manager, lawyer and Ray Foster, an executive from EMI Records. Ray wants the band to come up with another album like “Sheer Heart Attack” and single like “Killer Queen”. “Formulas are good,” he says. “I Like Formulas”.

Freddie however has ideas of making the band’s next album a “musical masterpiece” based heavily around opera. “No. Don’t misunderstand, darling. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll record, with the scale of opera, the pathos of Greek tragedy, the wit of Shakespeare, the unbridled joy of musical theatre. It’s a musical experience rather than just another record. Something for everyone. Something – something that will make people feel belongs to them. We’ll mix genres. We’ll cross boundaries. We’ll – we’ll speak in bloody tongues, if we want to,” he says excitedly.

Everyone else is less than impressed, except for their future manager Jim “Miami” Beach, who when asked what he thinks replies, “Fortune favours the bold.”

Sometimes in life it pays to be bold and do things that are different, out of the ordinary, that are innovative and that will change things for the better. It is also good to challenge the status quo and do things that are different. If you do things in the same way, you will get the same results. By mixing things up and trying different things, you stand a chance of changing the world and being successful as a result. This is exactly what happened to Queen when they wrote “Bohemian Rhapsody” and released their “A Night At The Opera” album in 1975.

Life Lesson 2 – Make an impression, darling!

In another scene in the film, Freddie joins the rest of the band before they meet their new manager John Reid for the first time.  Freddie is wearing a white scalloped jacket, shades and skin tight trousers, and he walks into the venue as if he owns it. “Wow,” says Brian May while looking incredulous. “I didn’t realise it was fancy dress Fred! You look like an angry lizard!”

“I’ve got to make an impression, darling,” replies Freddie.

This is another life lesson that comes through in the course of the film. It is okay to be different and to stand out from the crowd. We are not all the same, we are unique, and we should celebrate that uniqueness. Freddie knew he was different, that he was unique, and he played up to this rather than fighting against it. He always knew how to make an impression, and he did make an impression wherever he went.

Life Lesson 3 – We should all take more risks

While trying on clothes in Biba, Freddie is joined by his future girlfriend and fiancée Mary Austin. “Are you even allowed to be in here?” he asks. “No not really,” she says, and then proceeds to see what he will look like with some eyeshadow and eyeliner on.

“You have such an exotic look,” she says. “We should take more risks.”

This these runs through the film constantly. Queen as a band took a huge risk with releasing “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a single, as at the time in 1975 all the radio stations would not play any records that were more than 3 minutes long. With “Bohemian Rhapsody” clocking in at 6 minutes, they knew they had a battle on their hands to get it played on the radio. Enter one Kenny Everett, who played it a few times on his show on Capital Radio, and the rest is history. “Bohemian Rhapsody” spent an impressive 9 weeks at number 1, breaking every record imaginable and was even number one again for a second time after Freddie died.

Taking risks moves humans forward. Nothing can change, develop or grow without them. But taking risks often feels, well, quite risky. We stay in our comfort zones, or we keep doing the same things just because “they’ve always been done that way.”  But if we learn to take more risks, especially calculated ones, we really can change the world and move things forward – for the better.

Life Lesson 4 – We’re a family….

Just before Queen’s infamous Live Aid concert Freddie makes contact with the rest of the band to talk about returning to Queen and picking up where they left off having spent some time in Munich writing his solo album “Mr Bad Guy”, which was a flop compared to much of what he had done with Queen.

While apologising to the rest of the band and saying that while he got what he wanted when making “Mr Bad Guy”, it wasn’t the same as Brian’s ridiculous rewrites, John’s looks or Roger’s sniping at him. He missed all that and said, “We’re family.”

Families are often very complicated things, but when all else fails, quite often they will always be there. We tend to lose the balance between work and family, with work often coming before anything else, and then when the work isn’t there it is too late and quite often the family has gone or moved on. If you are lucky enough to have a good family, treasure them, for they are everything.

Life Lesson 5 – Not with those teeth mate!

At the start of the film, original lead singer Tim Staffle quits to join a band called Humpy Bong. Just after this event, Freddie joins Brian and Roger and offers to replace Tim as the lead singer of the band.

“Er….not with those teeth mate!” replies Roger.

Freddie then does an impromptu audition of the song “Doin’ Alright”

“I was born with 4 additional incisors. More space in my mouth means more range,” says Freddie. “I’ll consider your offer.”

We all have things about us and our looks that we don’t like, but Freddie famously channelled his overbite into something positive with the additional vocal range he had. If we have something about ourselves that we don’t like, we should try to find something positive about it and embrace it, just like Freddie did. Freddie was not the “classic” good looking band frontman, but he still embraced his unique looks and had a stage presence and charisma that no other lead singer matched, and no-one has matched Freddie to this day. We are all unique, and we should celebrate the things that make us unique and embrace them.

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“Bohemian Rhapsody” is available on DVD, blu-ray and digital download here.