Looking around the room of proud inspirational women, Samantha Harris knows they’re all winners.
“All these women have made such a huge difference for people from all different walks of life… We all have the power to help people and change their lives for the better.”
The proud Indigenous model was thrilled to be standing side by side with other iconic Australian women for the Twinings Tea Challenge. Carrie Bickmore, Emma Freedman and Nicole Kidman were the top finalists selected out of 33 incredible designs.
The women all said they had a special inspiration behind their designs, but for Samantha, hers was something close to her heart. Her design was based on her mother and her Aboriginal (Dunghutti) culture.
Making a difference
Carrie Bickmore stole the show, winning with her ‘dancing print’, which will now help Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, as 10 cents from every pack sold over the next four years goes towards Carrie's chosen charity.
Despite missing out on first place, Samantha says ‘there are no sore losers’ because each woman involved has contributed to making a difference to people’s lives.
Samantha managed to raise more than a tremendous 12 thousand dollars for her charity, and she says it was all thanks to one special little Aboriginal girl.
“I met a special little Indigenous girl who was always told that she looked just like me. When I first met the 12-year-old, her jaw dropped and she said: ‘Wow you do look just like me, we could even be sisters’," she said.
"So from then on I worked hard to be just like a ‘big sister’ to her. Even though she has passed on now, I can feel her spirit still burning strong.”
Samantha is an ambassador for Make A Wish Foundation and still works with children who suffer life threatening illnesses, many of whom, are young Indigenous girls who look up to her and are inspired by her.
Like the little girls inspired by Samantha, she too has a secret inspiration of her own. In fact she was the driving force behind Samantha’s intricate dot designs and delicately crafted patterns. She is… her mother.
"The woman behind my inspiration is my lovely mother, she’s always made me aware of my Indigenous background, our connection to culture and country so it was based on growing up on the Gold Coast,” she said.
The blues and yellows represent the beautiful ocean and sand of the beaches there explains Samantha Harris.
“It reminds me of going pipi'ing [collecting sea shells] with my brothers, which was taught to us from our mother,” she said.
"It is an Indigenous inspired piece, as my heritage is very important to me and my family. Aboriginal culture is such a unique culture that is not spoken about much, so I feel very privileged to represent that."
Coming from humble beginnings, Mrs Harris’s childhood didn’t consist of many material things, but Samantha says she held on to powerful messages passed on from their ancestors.
“My mum is the most amazing woman; she is a very strong, determined woman and can’t do enough for everyone,” she said.
“Everything she didn’t have growing up she just wanted to give it to my brothers and I, so she’s very special.”
Mother’s Day Message
On Mother’s Day, Samantha says this is a time to reflect, think and thank about all those special women out there, who dedicate their life to their families.
“My mum is special every single day of the week no matter if It is mother’s day or not she’s just an amazing woman, very strong, very loving and caring and I aspire to be like her.”
“Happy Mother’s day mum, I wish you were in Sydney, I love spending time together. I love you I miss you and I hope you have a wonderful day and I will call you later!”
During the event that was held on a spectacular cruise, Twinings Brand Director, Audrey Green said it was a tribute to every single woman out there.
“We wanted to celebrate our 300 years of women and Twinings tea because we’re proud that all those centuries ago Thomas Twining opened the world’s first teahouse to welcome women,” she said.
“We also wanted this tea to reflect modern Australian women and what inspires them.”
"It’s awesome to see Samantha carrying the flag for Indigenous women.”
Wiradjuri/Arrente woman Lowana Grant also attended the event and brought with her none other than her mother, Karla Grant, who is also her biggest inspiration.
“My mum inspires me because she is a strong Indigenous role model who has overcome hardships in her life, but has always made my brothers and I her number one priority. I look up to her because she is so successful and becomes a high achiever in everything she does,” she said.
“Being surrounded by different powerful women with different stories to share is inspiring. They’re all working hard for various charities, but seeing another Indigenous female alongside other known celebrities is great. It’s awesome to see Samantha carrying the flag for Indigenous women.”
Samantha says she’s proud to be an Australian because she feels that Australian people are all about uplifting others and promoting women. The Dunghutti girl wants to share this with all her sisters out there:
“My message to all the women and mothers out there is: Whatever your passion in life, no matter what it is follow your dreams and work hard. It might sound cliché but if youre very determined and you really want to get where you want to be then go for it.”