As far as Olympic athletes go, Morgan Mitchell bucks the trend. For starters, she’s vegan – a wild departure from the standard protein-and-carbs survival kit of an elite athlete - and what’s more, she doubles as an increasingly successful Instagram star (just ask her 56k followers).
Recently crowned one of Sally Hansen’s Self-Made Super Women, the 23-year-old Olympic sprinter has dreamed of becoming an elite athlete since she was just six years old – and even then, she had the drive to get her there. “That’s all I ever had my focus on,” she explains. “I was such a rat bag of a child and athletics was all I wanted to do – I started little journals full of goals and I knew if I wanted to get somewhere, I had to keep my eyes on them.”
A true self-made woman, Mitchell has sought to “prove I can get it done without any help.” As a woman in sport – a notoriously uneven playing field – she’s determined to hold her own. “I’m lucky that athletics isn’t as defined by gender as other sports are, but I don’t care if you’re a boy, girl, cat or dog, I just want to be at the top of my game,” she says. “I block everything else out to prove I can be someone regardless of my gender – let me show people that I am strong, I am smart, I’m focused, I can do things on my own.”
In this way, Morgan is making her vision of Sally Hansen’s ‘Shetopia’ – a world made by and for independent women – a reality. “In my Shetopia, a woman can be strong and sexy,” she declares.
Mitchell embraces this beauty philosophy: “If you look good, you feel good; you feel good, you run good.” She explains, “I want to show the world I take care of myself on and off the track. I’m more than just an athlete, and for me that’s what being a Sally Hansen self-made woman is about; it’s being versatile.”
One of her beauty signatures is a classic mani to show off the 25+ tattoos decorating her hands and wrists. Each one was designed by Mitchell, and each one connotes power and strength: “I’ve got Nefertiti the Egyptian goddess on my arm to represent my mum, who had to play the roles of both mother and father,” she reveals. “She is a single mother who has done so much for us and is so strong.”
Another, an eagle, signifies her desire to “fly and be free, and go to the beat of my own drum.”
“People see beauty as soft and it’s like, no, you can still run track and be sexy, and you can still be a heavy lifter in the gym and be sexy,” she maintains. “And actually, I think they work hand in hand.”
Right now, with the Rio Olympics done and dusted, Mitchell’s goals include medaling at nationals and securing a spot in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. “I just need to make sure I’m the fittest and fastest I can be, because on the day anything can happen and anyone can win,” she says.
Of course, success doesn’t come without sacrifice. “I’ve had to give up a lot to get to where I am,” Mitchell admits. She trains every day except Fridays and at her estimate, completes more than 20 hours of exercise a week. In addition to her track sessions, she does her own gym training, boxing, swimming and cycling.
“I try to be a perfectionist but I know that, especially in the field I’m in, you’re going to make mistakes and there are so many variables in athletics. I don’t get too hung up on it because otherwise you drive yourself crazy,” she says.
Whatever happens next, it’s clear that Morgan Mitchell will take it all in her stride.