Australia boasts a vibrant and diverse entertainment scene, and within it, a group of exceptionally talented Indigenous individuals is making their mark. These up-and-coming actors and models aren’t just making ripples; they’re making tidal waves with their fresh perspectives, cultural richness, and mind-blowing skills.
So, grab a seat because we’re about to introduce you to the Indigenous Aussie stars turning the industry into a wild, must-watch ride!
Casey Conway, a former rugby league player who transitioned into a youth worker and became a prominent underwear model, emerged as a true role model in a 2015 interview. During this candid conversation, he delved into the rich tapestry of Aboriginal culture.
Since that pivotal moment, Casey has consistently used his platform to champion and advocate for his Indigenous community, establishing himself as an influential and engaged voice within both spheres.
Iluka Sax-Williams, an artist and model based in Melbourne but currently in Switzerland, is quickly becoming a prominent figure among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talents. Proudly representing Tibrean (Torres Strait) and Taungurung heritage, Iluka is involved in a wide range of creative endeavours, including cultural reclamation, pyrography, traditional dance, and fashion modelling.
Jarron Andy, a man of Waanyi, Djiru, Kuku Yalanji, and Yindinji heritage, started his journey as a banana farmer and house painter, even earning the title of “Apprentice of the Year” before venturing into modelling and acting.
He made history as the first Indigenous home-shopping presenter and co-hosted a “Buy from the Bush” TV special to support rural communities.
In 2021, Jarron made waves by inaugurating the First Nations Fashion + Design Runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, where his self-penned poem left a lasting impact, earning global acclaim.
Luke Currie-Richardson, a former acclaimed dancer with the internationally renowned Bangarra dance troupe, graced the digital stage of the First Nations Fashion and Design runway at Fashion Week.
Hailing from diverse Indigenous backgrounds, including Kuku Yalanji, Djabugay, Munaldjali Clan, and Meriam heritage, Luke’s presence was truly significant.
He played a central role in the event by performing the official Welcome to Country alongside members of the Muggera Cultural Enterprise, setting a powerful tone for the runway.
Pierce Jones, a Bundjalung individual, initially made a name for himself as a champion high-jumper and Touch Rugby League player.
However, he made a remarkable transition from sports to the fashion world, becoming a prominent figure on Australia’s grandest fashion runways.
Pierce, alongside Lisa Fatnowna, showcased First Nations Fashion and Design attire during the historic Welcome to Country ceremony at Australian Fashion Week.
His journey continued as he took to the runway a few days later for FNF+D, cementing his presence in the fashion scene.
Before venturing into modelling and acting, Nathan McGuire had a successful athletic career, representing the Perth Thundersticks and Australia’s hockey development squad.
Recognized as the “Face of the Future” by GQ magazine, he walked the Fashion Week runway for Bassike and consistently supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers.
His pioneering work in Blak male modelling, involvement in “Walking in Two Worlds” by First Nations Fashion and Design, and role as an Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation ambassador have solidified his influential status in the fashion industry, earning him the title of Change Maker at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week.
Mark Coles Smith
Mark Coles Smith, born in 1987 in Broome, Western Australia, is a notable Indigenous Australian actor recognized for his roles in Last Cab to Darwin, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Occupation: Rainfall, among others. In 2023, he made history as the first Indigenous Australian actor nominated for a Gold Logie.
Robert Collins, an actor and singer from Darwin, Northern Territory, has portrayed memorable characters like Waruu West in Cleverman and Charlie Irving in Total Control. He has also played significant roles in the music and arts community.
Hal Cumpston, an actor, producer, and writer, hailing from Sydney with a background in drama, comes from a family with a strong film industry connection.
He played Zachary in Nine Perfect Strangers in 2021 alongside Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy. Cumpston is of indigenous Australian Barkandji heritage through his father’s maternal line.
Thomas Weatherall, an Australian actor and playwright of Kamilaroi heritage, won the 2022 AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama for his role in Heartbreak High and has featured in various other TV series.
These vibrant faces and compelling narratives are more than just a testament to talent; they’re an embodiment of Indigenous Australia’s rich heritage and future potential.
If you or someone you know resonates with these stories and has the passion to shape the world of entertainment, we invite you to join this transformative journey.
Share this with the next potential Indigenous trailblazer and encourage them to step into the limelight. Let’s collectively celebrate and uplift the voices that deserve the global stage.