Ellyse Perry feels most like herself when she’s on the cricket pitch; bat in hand, staring down a ball speeding directly at her as fast as a Porsche on the highway. “Finding sport and becoming an athlete has given me a greater sense of self-esteem. The cricket pitch is the one domain where I feel like I’m really capable of asserting myself,” admits Perry, 30, who grew up in Sydney playing sport at the park with her brother until the sun went down. “As a kid, I was really shy and self-conscious – I still am in a lot of respects. My confidence is fluid – it goes up and down – but the thing that is constant and static is self-belief.”
The other constant in Perry’s life is her post-match ritual, where she writes notes about her performance, game highlights and areas for improvement. She signs each note off with four words: confidence, belief, determination and resilience. “In sport and in life, I think if you keep those four things top of mind, there’s not many challenges you can’t get through,” explains Perry, who has represented Australia in both cricket and football, and is currently the captain of the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash, playing as the world’s top-ranked all-rounder.
Perry is one the strong, formidable game-changers featured within the pages of our April issue as part of the marie claire x L’Oréal Paris Know Your Worth campaign. (With Jessica Mauboy, Poh Ling Yeow and Phoebe Burgess pictured alongside her, it’s safe to say she’s in good company.) This year, the L’Oréal Paris tagline “Because I’m Worth It” turns 50 – however, confidence levels amongst Australian women are startlingly low. New research commissioned by L’Oréal Paris1 recently found that 94 per cent of Australian women experience low self-esteem; for 39 per cent of women, these feelings of low self-esteem are something they experience every single day. A further 79 per cent of women feel that they are not good enough, with the majority aged under 35. To this we say, enough!
Despite being a world-class athlete, Perry is not immune to the perils of self-doubt; one of the biggest challenges she faces is guilt. “At times, I feel like I’m not being a good enough family member or friend because sport is an inherently selfish job, so I’m often focused on myself,” admits Perry. “My family and friends are always there to support me, so I try to repay them by doing my best.”
And for the last 14 years since she started playing professionally, that’s exactly what she’s been doing. Perry has been called “a role model for all Australians,” and “arguably the best athlete in the country.” In 2019, she became the first Big Bash player – male or female – to reach 2,000 runs and last year was crowned the best female cricketer of the decade.
“I’m proud to be a part of the evolution of women’s sport and to see the opportunities that are available for female athletes now.” So, after being named a L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth and now joining our Know Your Worth campaign, what advice does Perry give her young fans about backing themselves? Four words: confidence, belief, determination and resilience.
Brought to you by L’Oréal Paris.
1 Source: Bastion Insights survey with n=701 Australian women aged 18 and over, November 2020.