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10 Women To Watch In 2017

We can't wait to see what these women do next...

They’re savvy, super-skilled and possess just the right mix of swagger and humility. These inspiring Australian rising stars are just a few headlines away from being household names.


Ilona Hamer


The New York-based stylist, fashion editor and now designer is making waves with Matteau Swim, a line of parred-back swimwear she hopes women will always reach for because it makes them feel confident and chic (i.e. it’s for beach lovers who aren’t Martinique-print-loving or surf-mad ‘bikini babes’). Hardworking Hamer never switches off and finds inspiration in myriad influences, from the writer/philosopher Malcolm Gladwell to Richard Gere’s style in American Gigolo. In turn, she’s inspiring us.

Hannah Kent


With two acclaimed novels under her belt at just 31, Hannah Kent is living every starving writer’s dream. While her parents, in fact, once insisted she have a Plan B to pay the bills Kent is now writing full-time, and sticking to a routine so she doesn’t “procrastinate”. Inspired by her magical, Adelaide Hills upbringing, Kent weaves the supernatural, crime and historical fiction seamlessly; ‘The Good People’ (2016) is set in 1920s Ireland, while ‘Burial Rites’ (2013) centres around an Icelandic woman beheaded for her role in a murder. Watch this space.


Natasha Chipman


Jewellery design is in Natasha Chipman’s blood. The daughter of one of Australia’s first female jewellers is gleaning serious attention with high-end label Natasha Schweitzer (a family name), unfussy but sexy pieces that challenge everything you thought about gold and pearls. At only 24, Chipman is already showcasing her craftwork at Paris Fashion Week twice annually. Impressive.

Tkay Maidza


You might not know this prolific, Zimbabwean-born singer’s name (yet) but her voice is infiltrating the airwaves with a refreshing cache of tunes that includes ‘Simulation’, ‘MOB’ and ‘Carry On’. Not only does the 20-year-old rap like a boss, she’s smart – skipping two years of school to finish at 16 then study architecture. As for drugs and alcohol? Not her jam. Catch Maidza on the festival circuit this summer and at the Australian Open in Melbourne (Jan 14).

Larissa Waters


Having been elected to the Senate in 2010, 39-year-old Waters isn’t exactly a political freshman but the Queenslander is now co-deputy leader for the Greens and is about to give birth to her second child ­game-changing stuff in a world where female pollies are still told they’ll never be equally represented in ParliamentThe only way is up for this formidable leader.


Melanie Perkins


She’s at the helm of a company worth $458 million and this year made BRW’s Young Rich List – but that’s not why we’re enamoured with Melanie Perkins. The 29-year-old is fiercely but quietly determined with a never-give-up attitude. Conceiving the idea for Canva – an online design template tool – at 19 while still at uni, it took Perkins three years to land her first investor. Now boasting 10 million users in 179 countries, Canva is now a serious digital disruptor.


Kayla Itsines


There aren’t many 25-year-olds based in Adelaide who can boast 5.9 million Instagram followers. In fact, there’s only one. Kayla Itsines is a one-woman fitness revolution who’s been surreptitiously transforming women’s bodies through an affordable online ‘Bikini Body Guide’ program, which focuses on exercise for happiness and confidence rather than, well, getting a bikini body (the uptick!). Istines may not be all over your TV but she’s done more for fitness than Jane Fonda and The Biggest Loser combined, and we can only expect more.

Megan Blake Irwin


The latest Guess girl and rumoured ex-girlfriend of Kourtney Kardashian’s ex, Scott Disick (stay with me) is about to clog your newsfeed (if she hasn’t already). The 22-year-old model was discovered by photographer Mario Testino, was recently shot by Margaret Zhang for a Seduce-Disney collaboration, and has featured in campaigns for Kookai. If her modelling prowess – not to mention that pout – doesn’t grab your attention, the gossip surrounding New York-based Irwin surely will. She attracts the paps wherever she goes. Irwin is just loving life – and we love that.

Moana Hope


One of the key players of the inaugural women’s AFL league, Moana is an inspiration on and off the field. At 24, Hope looks after her adult disabled sister 24/7 (one of 14 siblings), she lost her beloved father to cancer when she was just 13, and she gets up at 3.30am each morning in order to fit in a full-time job, football training, housework and carers’ duties. Hope is a symbol of grit and humility, and the kind of role model you’d want your daughter to admire.

Odessa Young


Young’s resume needs its own filing cabinet. The 18-year-old has been working steadily since she was 11 but in 2015 she really flexed some acting muscle alongside Geoffrey Rush and Sam Neill in ‘The Daughter’. The same year, she appeared with Richard Roxborough and Radha Mitchell in ‘Looking For Grace’; plus, she graced the red carpet at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. The one to watch in film? An understatement.

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