• Ella Havelka, the first Indigenous Australian in the Australian Ballet's 55-year history. (Hugh Stewart)Source: Hugh Stewart
Arrernte filmmaker, Rachel Perkins and Wiradjuri ballet dancer, Ella Havelka were amongst the recipients of the InStyle & Audi 'Women in Style' Awards.
By
Sophie Verass

18 May 2017 - 3:51 PM  UPDATED 18 May 2017 - 4:16 PM

Celebrating the achievements of Australian women who lead by example with grace and humility, the Instyle & Audi Women of Style Awards convey that 'style' exists in many forms. 

Dozens of remarkable women including, Dr Susan Carland, Megan Hess and Amna Karra-Hassan were nominated in a variety of categories from Charity & Community to Sport and even, Science. And in a refreshing line-up of diverse nominees, Arrernte filmmaker Rachel Perkins was honoured with the Entertainment category and Wiradjuri Ballet Dancer, Ella Havelka took home the Arts & Culture award. 

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Presenting the award for Reader's Choice, which went to television personality Sally Obermeder, former Miss Universe Australia, Jesinta Franklin (wife of Sydney Swans player and Noongar man, Buddy Franklin) made mention of the Indigenous talent on the nominee bill.

"I'd actually personally like to thank editor, Emily [Taylor] at Instyle magazine for recognising some incredibly ambitious, talented, driven, smart, stylish and intelligent Indigenous women tonight. Our country does not recognise our Indigenous people enough, especially Indigenous women, so thank you so much."  

"Our country does not recognise our Indigenous people enough, especially Indigenous women, so thank you so much."  

At a glamorous ceremony in Sydney last night, Rachel - a media industry veteran, filmmaker and creator of Blackfella films - talked acknowledging women's contributions and specifically First Nations women,  

"Every year there's an Indigenous woman who's been nominated for these awards, and I'm very proud to be in that cohort. I think it's a great sign of us being recognised amongst other women. 

... The women we've seen tonight, they are changing the world. And that is what this night is about. Women changing the world in all the different disciplines in which we inhabit." 

Accepting her award having just come off stage from performing the Nutcracker at the Sydney Opera House moments before, was an overwhelmed (and endearing) Ella Havelka - the first Indigenous dancer in the Australian Ballet's 55-year history - who paid homage to her mum.

"I can't let this moment pass without mentioning one Australian woman in particular  - my mother - who I would really not be here without and would not have succeeded as far as I have without her strength and determination. To [have not taken] 'no' for answer and made sure that I had all the opportunities that I was privileged enough to get.

"... had I been born 10 years earlier this never would have happened for me, because Aboriginal ballet dancers just weren't given the opportunities back then, to succeed in such as limelight as I have done."

I realised, just two weekends ago I was talking on an Aboriginal ballet dancers panel and I realised had I been born 10 years earlier this never would have happened for me, because Aboriginal ballet dancers just weren't given the opportunities back then, to succeed in such as limelight as I have done." 

Both Rachel and Ella feature in the current June issue of InStyle Magazine's spread, showcasing stunning portrait photographs of all the diverse Women in Style recipients.  

The recipients are decided by a judging panel, which includes Actress Nicole Kidman, designer Collette Dinnigan, sportsperson and environmental campaigner Layne Beachley and many other successful women in business, the arts, academia and entertainment. 

 

 

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