Bessie was born in the Blue Mountains, to a Norwegian/Russian nomad and the daughter of a jazz musician. She was raised in the laid back, free spirited town of Mullumbimby not far from the famous hippy town of Byron Bay.
Her parents named her "Little-wing" but thought better of it when she was two, renaming her after both the famous jazz and blues singers Bessie Smith and Mahalia Jackson. After her father's mysterious disappearance when she was seven, her mother remarried a preacher and became very religious.
The free spirited life she had become accustomed to was replaced with strict religious discipline, bible studies and church rules. At 14 she landed her first modelling job for Girlfriend magazine although, due to her religious beliefs, she did very little to follow this up.
At 21 she found herself 18 months into a marriage with a new husband who had spent all her savings and had multiple affairs. She had a dead end job as a receptionist was bored, distraught and had lost everything. She decided not to be a victim of her past and instantly made a new start pursuing her dreams to break stereotypes, become a success and inspire the people around her. Especially the women like her that she had worked and grown up with.
Within two years she was married to author and TV personality Geoff Barker (her husband of eight years) and had started Australia's first and soon to be biggest model agency and began to carve a career in the media.
Bessie’s current projects include her own radio show on Today FM. In addition to other regular radio appearances, in August 2006 she released her third book. ‘Bessie’s Guide for Girls who want more from Life: Mind, Body, Style”.
Bessie is an experienced television presenter and supporter of many charities. She has featured on many national programs including 60 Minutes, Money, Sunrise, Channel V, and Sky News. A successful businesswoman and consultant, Bessie was nominated for “Young Business Woman and of the Year” and “Entrepreneur of the Year”. Bessie has compered and spoken at many events from team building to charity balls.