‘Gods of Wheat Street’ has been described as an Aboriginal ‘Neighbours’ or ‘Home and Away.’ But on set, we were calling it ‘Black to the Rafters.’
A lot of my identity as an Aboriginal person is about family.
I definitely take after my dad, looks-wise. But my mum is my greatest inspiration. All the women in my family are amazing. They’re hilarious. I love funny people.
I look forward to the day when indigenous actors can play Hamlet and Ophelia and not just Othello and Desdemona.
I want to work as hard as I can. But I also want six kids! It takes a lot of courage as an actor to take time off for family. But family is everything.
I was shocked when I moved to Sydney how very few indigenous people I came across. And so when I go to places like Maroubra or Redfern or Waterloo or Erskineville, I feel more at home because of the people I’m around – anywhere I can see a face that reflects someone that looks like my family, I feel much more at home.
I’m a believer, but an unsettled one. I think it has something to do with the fact that my grandmother always told me she would come back and tickle my feet at night time when she passed away. She hasn’t gotten me yet. But I keep the blanket over my feet at night, no matter how hot it is.
I’m attracted to strong female roles: females that aren’t necessarily defined by their relationships with men.
I’ve never been one to bow down to people who try to question my identity because I don’t fit their mould of what an Aboriginal Australian is supposed to be or look like.
I’ve only auditioned for one non-culturally specific role. I went through drama school and studied classic texts and played lead roles in ‘Measure for Measure’ and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ alongside a very culturally diverse group of acting students. But as soon as we graduate and enter the industry, all of those roles fall away.
I’ve trained myself not to put too much emphasis on awards, only because I never got into acting to win an award.
It had never occurred to me that my colour – or lack of it – was an issue for some people, but then I moved to Sydney, and apparently it was. People look at me and don’t see what they think is a typical Aboriginal. Thankfully, my mother raised me well in knowing where I come from and who I am, and I’m proud of that.
It takes a lot of courage as an actor to take time off for family. But family is everything.
My mum’s from Broome, so I’m a saltwater person – Aboriginal people are either freshwater, saltwater or desert mob. So I always feel much more comfortable in close proximity to the beach, even if I’m not necessarily in the water.
One of my earliest memories is being backstage at ‘Bran Nue Dae’ in Darwin when I was about eight. It’s such a fun, happy show and a real celebration of being Aboriginal… it felt really great and achievable as a career. It all felt normal.
People look at me and they don’t see what they think is a typical Aboriginal.
People look at me, and they don’t see what they think is a typical Aboriginal. I always thought I’d be the white person in a black play.
Stage is definitely my home first and foremost – I still feel like I’m yet to earn my stripes on set.
There is this really old school stereotypical notion in Australia that to be Aboriginal you have to be black: anything but white or pale skinned. What ‘The Sapphires’ does is open up the conversation that I’ve been having my whole life, the fact that being indigenous isn’t about the color of your skin; it’s about your connection to your culture.