‘Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. Itwill not lead you astray.’ (Rumi)
Dr Zenaidy Castro is a celebrated cosmetic dentist and founder of the award-winning Vogue Smiles dental practice in Melbourne, Australia. In her professional life she exhibits the same passion and drive that is evident in her artistic pursuits, and she derives pleasure and joy from providing a service to her patients that enhances their lives. Dr Zenaidy Castro ( received the WOMO Australia award for best dentist for five consecutive years, and her practice also received the Best Customer Service award for two years running. She takes great pride in her work, andenjoys the personal relationships she builds with her patients, making sure that she puts them at ease when they are nervous or scared, and that they are satisfied with the results of her work. This drive to attain the highest level in her work, and the attention to detail it requires, are also evident in her pursuit of fine arts.
She remembers enjoying drawing and painting above all else as a child. From an early age she was fascinated by art and the creation of beauty.Beauty in all its forms has been a cornerstone of her life, and the pursuit of, the unraveling and creation of beauty in all its diversity is at the foundation of not only her career as an artist and photographer, but also as a cosmetic dentist. In her professional life, the ability to connect with her patients as people, and to provide them with the best possible care, giving them beautiful smiles and good oral health, provides an immense degree of job satisfaction. Her profession gives her the opportunity to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, with their own unique characters, fears, joys, sorrows and ways of thinking about the world. This has provided a rich tapestry of experience which fuels her interest as an artist and photographer.
Growing up, both of Zenaidy’s parents were entrepreneurs, and she would help her mom out in her gift shop after school.As such she was exposed to dealing with customers from an early age, and learnt that customer satisfaction also means satisfaction for the business owner.Furthermore, she learnt that with passion, commitment and drive you truly can live your dream and attain your goals.
Zenaidy’s passion, drive and commitment to both her professional career and her artistic endeavours is clear in everything she does, from the personal care for her patients to the attention to detail in herart and photography.She lives her life to the fullest, and throws herself into the task at hand with gusto and enthusiasm, whether it be trekking up mountains in Patagonia or boosting a patient’s self-esteem through her cosmetic dental work.It is this passion and joie de vivre that provides her with the boundless energy and childlike fascination with beauty that lies at the heart of everything she does.She views both her professional and artistic careers as a continuous work in progress; an eternal striving to improve, to provide joy and happiness in her relentless pursuit of beauty.
Zenaidy has had a fascination with art and the creation of beauty since she was a child, when she remembers clearly the desire to discover new ways of creating and expressing beauty in all its forms. However, she reflects now that for many years as an adult, her focus on her career and the pursuit of excellence in her professional life was quite narrow. She chased after her dream of providing the best personal, customized service to her patients, and she takes great pride and satisfaction from giving them great results.She regards this as another aspect of her lifelong pursuit of beauty: the improvement in not only the aesthetics of cosmetic dentistry, but also the resulting effect it has on her patients’ self-esteem and confidence.
She started photography as part of her practice as a dentist , when she bought her first DSLR camera to take before & after photos of her patients. At the time, the Olympus 5 megapixel was top of the range, and she regardsit as a wonderful investment in her dental practice, as it allowed her to capture the satisfied, improved smiles of her patients.Thus began her photography journey.In August of 2015, Zenaidy attended a short photography course in Melbourne, and the spark of interest was ignited.She soon realised that while she may not have the theoretical knowledge, her passionand natural affinity for visual creativity make up for it.The years spent painting and drawing gave her a solid foundation, and she has experimented with a variety of different styles and genres, from the patient portraits she takes in her dental practice, to the landscapes which make up her favorite subjects.
In June 2015 Zenaidy said goodbye to her two beloved Sphynx cats at home and went on a month-long photography workshop to Patagonia. This was a particularly ambitious undertaking, and not only because she was so new to photography. Up until that point, as she says, “I’d never even walked a block in my neighbourhood in my whole life!” Yet here she was, trekking across the unforgiving, formidable terrain of Patagonia, carrying all her gear. This proved to be challenging on many levels: not only as a test of physical endurance and stamina, but also of mental strength and determination.
Ask any hiker, and they will tell you that the trail is a tough, powerful taskmaster, and it will teach you a lot about life, and about yourself. It slows you down, forces you to notice the details around you, to be in touch with nature, and with your own body. You have to pay attention to your surroundings, and it brings everything around you into immediate focus. You soon learn that your mind can either be a powerful foe, or your greatest ally.
Perseverance pays. The trail teaches you that as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you are making progress. Even though it is hard; even though there is a long journey ahead. You take the lessons of the trail with you into your life: learning to enjoy the journey instead of always rushing to the destination. Slowing down to listen to the birds and smell the flowers. Working steadfastly towards your crazy dream, even when others don’t understand it, or don’t believe that you will succeed. Without the hardships of the trail, you won’t get to appreciate the magnificent view from the top. Zenaidy believes that if she hadn’t pushed herself out beyond her comfort zone, she never would have had all the wonderful experiences that have made her the person that she is today.
We are ultimately all the culmination of our choices, our triumphs and disappointments, and if we never push ourselves beyond that which feels safe and comfortable, we risk missing out on so much that life has to offer us. Zenaidy says that the wisdom she has accumulated throughout her life is especially important to her because of the ability she has to share it. “I can share what I’ve learned with others, sothey can live richer lives. I believe that no experience is wasted if you learn everything possible and allow it to make you a better person.”
This trip marked the first of many things: her first trip to South America, her first time hiking up a mountain, and the first time she got to use all her camera gear, practice the techniques she had learnt and shoot in her favorite genre: landscapes. Once she returned to Australia, she entered some of her photos from that trip into an international photography competition, and won two awards at the professional level. The fact that this wonderful achievement happened so early in her journey as a photographer, made it all the sweeter.
Very quickly, photography became more than a hobby to her. Where initially she thought of it as just an outlet for her creativity, a way to let her imagination run wild, she soon realised that her interest in it as an extension of her personality was more profound. Being visually creative from a young age, Zenaidy derives great personal satisfaction from creating beauty. Whether it is through her work as a cosmetic dentist – giving her patients the gift of a beautiful smile – or through her art, a huge part of Zenaidy’s life revolves around deepening the lives of others through sharing beauty.
She speaks of having her own personal ‘Aha!’ moment. For many years she was very intent on developing her career, and reaching her professional goals. She completed her dental studies, specialized in cosmetic dentistry, and started her own practice. She cultivated personal relationships with her patients, and worked hard at delivering the best possible service to them. It is very important to her to make them feel safe and comfortable, and she takes the time to talk with them, to understand what they want and how they feel, and to provide them with the care they need. She built up her practice, nurturing it to become one of the most celebrated dental clinics in Melbourne, winning many awards.
However, one day she came to the realization that there is more to life. As fulfilling as her career is, there is more out there to experience. She could broaden her focus to include this passion for visual art and the exploration of beauty. She uses the metaphor of a flower garden to explain this broadening of her horizons. She likens this intense focus she had on her professional career as looking very intently at an iris: noticing the vivid purple of its petals, the sharp contrast to the yellow at its center. Being amazed by its beauty and intricacy, just to look up and realise that it is merely one species of flower in a vast and boundless garden. She realized that the same dedication and passion that she pours into her professional life can be applied elsewhere. She can derive the same joy and satisfaction from creating and exhibiting beautiful photographs, that she gets from giving her patients top class service.
Zenaidy has learnt that although we all have different worldviews and experiences, at our core we all want the same things: joy, love, abundance,
freedom, fulfillment and passion.We yearn for moments of passion, moments of pure joy, and to experience the transformative power of those moments in our lives.We long for that which fills us with gratitude, and with pleasure.“There’s a lot of power in having gratitude for what we have,” she says.It reminds us of the abundance already present in our lives, and enhances our enjoyment thereof.All of us long for the freedom toexperience life in all its many different facets.We all want to wake up each day feeling that we have a purpose, that our lives amount to something. We want to feel that we are using our talents and skills to make a mark on the world that will outlive us.Zenaidy feels that her purpose is in exploring, creating and sharing beauty, and so enhancing the lives of others.
Zenaidy feels strongly that by using her talents and skills, she can provide inspiration and motivation to others.She believes that we all strive to live passionately, to give it our all and to fully express ourselves.By applying the same passionate energy to her art and her professional career, she is living her best life, and sharing this with others gives her great personal joyand fulfilment. By listening to the whispers of her own heart, and following her passion, she has been guided on her own beautiful journey.Just as withher professional career, Heart & Soul Whisperer online art gallery is also part of her personal work inprogress, a lifelong journey to the heart of all that is beautiful in the world.Her fondest wish is that through sharing her art, she can spark creativity in others, and cultivate in them the yearning for a life lived to its fullest expression.