For the past 25 years, marie claire has championed women in all their glory. Whether it’s the hometown heros making a difference in their local community or the Hollywood heavyweights fighting for better representation on and behind the camera, we’ve shared their stories of bravery, boldness and brilliance.
While birthdays are often a time to reminisce about the past, we’re also using this opportunity to look to the future. To celebrate, we’ve singled out the 25 trailblazers and future-shapers set to make their mark on the next quarter century. They’re champions of courage, change and creativity – the fearless females who are shaking things up in the world of art, business, sport, entertainment and advocacy.
Here, five of them answer the question: Which of your achievements do you feel most proud of?
Without further ado…
Samara Weaving, Actress
“I’m proud of everything I’ve done. There’s no project I look back on and think, ‘I wish I didn’t do that.’ I don’t have any regrets.
In saying that, when I got my role in The Babysitter, I was freaking out. I was losing my mind when I booked that job. It felt like a big step because previous to that, I’d worked mainly in Australia and I’d been auditioning and auditioning and auditioning and working on trying to be a better actor. I was unemployed for a year and a half or two years, and to get a leading role on a big movie like that was unreal. That was a cool moment. I was only 21 at the time.
I used to have goals, like, ‘Oh, I want to do a period piece, or a superhero film, or I want to do a real character-driven biopic.’ But now, goals kind of restrict me in a strange way. They put blinders on me and mean I could miss really great scripts that might be out there. So I’ve readjusted that. The goal now is to get a really good script. I’m always asking myself: what’s the next best script that I can read and it just knocks my socks off? The one that I read and go: ‘no notes! Sign me up!’”
Charlee Fraser, Model
“I have accomplished so many things beyond my wildest dreams. It’s hard to single out one in particular, especially while I believe it’s important to constantly reflect on all of your achievements. Although I’m extremely proud of my journey as a whole, one thing my career has led me to accomplish is buying my family a home.”
Yasmin Poole, Youth Activist
“I feel most proud about the first time I was a panellist on Q+A. I had just turned 20 years old and, prior to speaking on the show, was beginning to feel lost and uncertain about my direction.
When I was given that platform, it re-orientated me – I found myself staring down the barrel of a camera, realising that I had the capacity to draw attention to the realities that young women face every day. That feeling of responsibility calmed my nerves, and I eventually found myself debating with politicians on the panel – without fear, or hesitation. A lot has changed since, but that was a special moment of clarity.”
Jennifer Robinson, Human Rights Lawyer
“I feel fortunate to have had some incredible career highlights – many that the younger me wouldn’t believe if I told her – working on some of the most important and high profile free speech and human rights cases of our generation. Many of these highlights are well-known, but for me personally the stand out achievements are the lesser known: when I was just 21, playing an integral role in securing the freedom of a West Papuan political prisoner, Benny Wenda, who has gone on to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for his people, to just over 15 years later standing up before the International Court of Justice to successfully argue for the legal principles that should – and hopefully will – ensure the future freedom of his nation (and I think I’m the youngest Australian woman, and perhaps youngest woman, to have addressed the Court).
But what I am really proud of is that I have done this from a public education and from an unexpected background. I wouldn’t be where I am today without quality, free education, which is why I am so passionate about protecting and properly funding our public education system. This is also why I’ve founded the Acacia Awards to bring together other public school alumni to support and encourage kids coming through our public system. I’m really excited to see the impact the Acacia program will have in the years to come – and what these kids will go on to do.”
Flex Mami, Dj, Podcaster, Entrepreneur
“Is it obnoxious to say all of them? I really feel like since I made the transition from full-time-office-work to freelancing (AKA the beginning of Flex), every achievement has felt particularly magical.
I’ve been able to take control of my life, make decisions with agency, and spend extra time doing the things that I want to, when I want to, because I want to. That! Is! Wild!
Alas, to answer the question specifically, I believe that writing The Success Experiment (and becoming a Best Selling Author) ranks pretty bloody high. The process was arduous, tiring, rewarding, life-affirming and career affirming. It is a symbol of all of my hard work to date. A pleasant reminder.”
For the entire Next 25 list, pick up the September issue of marie claire Australia, out now.