Present and Emerging First Nations Figures to Know About
NAIDOC Week celebrates and recognised the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories. The POPSUGAR team is sharing stories to help educate, honour and guide in our continued to push for change, so be sure to find all our pieces here. Val Morgan Digital acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Sunday, July 3 marked the beginning of NAIDOC Week, a week dedicated to recognising and honouring the achievements and history of First Nations Australians. There is no shortage of talent within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities — from musicians to models, everywhere you turn, someone is making their mark.
This year, the theme for NAIDOC Week is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for systemic change. All over the country, people are raising their voices for proper environmental, cultural and heritage protection. They are pushing for constitutional change and calling out the racism that sadly, the community still faces to this day.
The theme is a call to action, especially for non-Indigenous people, to progress past empty words and promises, and move towards meaningful, long-lasting change. As Australians, it’s important for us to recognise First Nation peoples every day of the year, and not just during NAIDOC Week. We can do this by educating ourselves on their culture, and the resilience they have shown over the many years of mistreatment.
One way to do this is by connecting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which is why we’ve compiled a list of 11 remarkable Indigenous Australians who are making a difference through their platform.
BARKAA is a Malyangapa, Barkindji singer/songwriter and activist. The performer is dedicated to her craft, and aims to inspire Indigenous children while also raising awareness about issues that plague the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Follow for: Great music, sassy attitude and powerful activism.
A proud Whadjuk Noongar woman, Narelda Jacobs is a familiar face to all. The television presenter and journalist regularly advocates for positive change within the Indigenous community. Most recently, she has taken on the role as an ambassador for Legacy ‘23, a program which promotes a supportive and inclusive environment in sport.
Follow for: Stunning fashion inspo and creative posts.
We all know the name Brooke Boney. A proud Gamilaroi woman, Boney is the Entertainment Reporter on Channel 9’s Today Show. Fiercely passionate and vocal, Boney has regularly spoken up about her Indigenous heritage on screen and on social media.
Follow for: A behind-the-scenes look at life working in media and just overall fabulous-ness.
The beautiful Thelma Plum is quickly making a name for herself. Appearing on magazine covers and boasting close to 90,000 followers on Instagram, the musician will soon be a household name. Plum is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and musician — talk about talented.
Follow for: Aesthetic photos and great tunes.
She’s graced the runway and store fronts, and Fatnowna is just getting started. The model regularly uses her platform to advocate for Indigenous rights while also showing off her beautiful culture.
Follow for: Beauty and fashion inspo and an insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
There’s nothing quite like Aboriginal art, and if you want your feed to be filled with stunning dot paintings with a modern take, then following Madison is a must. The artist, influencer and mother proudly flaunts her culture and heritage, while also giving an insight into life as a mother.
Follow for: Beautiful artworks and honest and refreshing conversations.
Adam (Senator) Briggs first came onto the scene as a rapper/hip-hop artist, however, he now uses his platform to educate his followers and spark meaningful change. Briggs regularly makes political statements through his music, and has become a prominent voice over the years.
Follow for: Funny memes and woke posts.
Miranda Tapsell is an Aboriginal Australian actress who is best known for her role as Cynthia in the film The Sapphires. Tapsell is a talented artist, and a devoted mother to boot. Oh, and did we mention that she’s a published author? She really can do it all.
Follow for: Adorable baby content and stunning editorial photos.
Nakkiah Lui is an actress, writer, comedian and Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman. She’s also the star of ABC’s Black Comedy, a show which she also co-wrote. The vocal creative is constantly breaking boundaries and speaking up on topics that are usually considered “taboo”.
Follow for: Impeccable style and First Nations advocacy.
Meissa Mason is a Wiradjuri, Gomeroi and Awabakal, queer woman. Currently studying a double degree of a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts – majoring in Indigenous Studies and minoring in Visual Arts, Mason is certainly busy. When she’s not studying, she makes TikTok videos and acts as an ambassador for Wear It Purple — an organisation that strives to foster a supportive environment for queer people.
Follow for: Open conversations about “taboo” topics and education about current affairs.
Youth Worker/Media Personality
We’re all familiar with Brooke Blurton. The youth worker was the first Indigenous and bisexual woman to front The Bachelorette Australia. She’s constantly using her platform for good and regularly educates her large following on situations affecting the Indigenous community.
Follow for: Aesthetic photos and positive vibes.