Being a Miss NAIDOC Perth finalist, was an empowering experience for me. Throughout the program, I talked about my drive to empower Aboriginal people and the wider community. Part of empowering others is sharing knowledge and stories but to have the greatest impact is to share yourself, your stories and the vulnerabilities you have. Because we all have them.
I want to share some of my behind the scenes knowledge and stories so that you may feel inspired or empowered to take that next big step in your life. Whether it is to apply for an empowerment program like Miss NAIDOC Perth, ask for that promotion you deserve or to open the business you’ve been dreaming about. Whatever it is, make the choice to give yourself the greatest opportunity to succeed.
And remember it’s not about winning, it’s about being in the race.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s going to be hard. When I applied for Miss NAIDOC, it was hard. I indulged in procrastination rather than filling out the application form. And pressing that submit button brought about massive levels of anxiety. But every time, you back yourself and step out of your comfort zone, you are growing.
Like I said, It’s hard, but it is ABSOLUTELY, without a doubt worth it.
So in the spirit of sharing a bit of me and my story with you, I’d like to share my Miss NAIDOC application with you. Spelling mistakes and all!
1. Tell us why you would like to be a part of Miss NAIDOC Perth 2017 and how you would be an Ambassador for NAIDOC Perth and NAIDOC Week? (Max 150 words)
My story is not a unique one. Through dispossession, I have been denied links to my family, culture and country. I always identified as Aboriginal despite a westernised upbringing. Regardless of my successes, there was always something missing, something calling me. With some soul searching, I now know that calling was to go home. Back to family, culture and country. I am slowly putting the pieces together to make my way back. Being part of Miss NAIDOC would enable me to connect with and inspire others that are in the same situation as me. As an Ambassador, I would encourage and support finding family, culture and country. Reconnecting is something to celebrate. Writing and storytelling will lead to understanding, empathy and compassion. Paving the way for healing and inspiring other to share their stories too.
2. Tell us about your Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander background and what it means to you. (Max 150 words)
My maternal great-grandmother’s country is Warwa country. My maternal Grandfather’s country is Noongar country (as far I have been able be to research). Both my Maternal grandparents were born at Moore River Native Settlement. I was born on Wongatha country and spent most of my life there growing up with the exception of the last 5 years in which I have relocated to Perth.
I am so proud and honoured to be a descendent of such a wonderful, intelligent, complex and strong culture.
New formed connections I have with my ancestors are strong. Brining forth my innate role to connect my direct family with our lost family, elders, culture, and country. On a personal level, knowing and understanding my heritage will provide guidance on the journey to my life purpose.
3. What makes you proud to be a young Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander woman? (Max 150 words)
I am extremely proud to be an Aboriginal woman. I look to strong women like my mother, my grandmother, elders and other wonderful Aboriginal women who stand in their power, achieve great things, change people lives in the face of adversity. Despite the obstacles and situations thrown at them, they continue to lead the way and be exemplary leaders within our community and then still have the amazing ability to nurture and provide lovingly care for their families. I am in awe of their strength, passion, drive and resilience. I can only hope that one day, when it is my turn, I can make them proud. And that I can inspire the next generation to reach their potential and to reach their dreams.
4. Tell us about yourself (what are your dreams and goals, do you have any hobbies and interests, tell us about some of your achievements) (Max 150 words)
That’s an interesting question. How do you condense all the bits of me and all my complexities into a 150 words? Well I’m a mother of two wonderous boys, a devoted wife, a business owner, a community volunteer, a human rights activist, a writer and blogger among many other things. I advocate for, and often write about Aboriginal, women and children’s rights, equality, equity, and reconciliation. A huge part of my advocacy work is focused on self-empowerment as well empowering other, namely women and children.
My dream is for my stories through speaking and writing opportunities to reach people and touch their hearts on a global scale. To break down existing paradigms and rebuild with positive beliefs. To have those words inspire individuals to reach their potential. To create a fire in their hearts to chase their dreams; to never give up; and to change the world.
5. How do you think being in Miss NAIDOC Perth will enable you to support key issues in your community? (Max 150 words)
There are a number of issues I have been working to address. The first of which is casual racism. This is something I stood strongly against publicly, during my election campaign when I ran for council last year. I found a lack of understanding and empathy for past and present traumas endured by Aboriginal people. Other issue includes the gap in education and health, unemployment and homelessness to name a few. But most of all, there is a massive disconnect that our community has with themselves, with their culture and with each other. This is a huge focus for me and Miss NAIDOC Perth will provide me with a new platform where I can have a wider reach. It will enable me to meet and learn from inspirational Aboriginal leaders allowing me to build on my leadership skills to make a real impact in our community.
Until next time. Take that next step. You got this.
Want to know how I got to this point. Read about my journey here.