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Gold Coast women who #choosetochallenge – Ella Fitzgerald
Natalie O’Driscoll | April 27, 2021
We talk to five Gold Coast women who embody the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.
This International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge. So what does that mean? A challenged world is an alert world. We can all choose to make the world a better place by challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality. These high profile Gold Coast women do just that, whether it’s through their businesses, direct action, personal efforts or some combination of all three. Hear Ella’s story.
ELLA FITZGERALD – ARTIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER
Ellamay Fitzgerald is an Australian-Thai Photographer and Artist based on the Gold Coast. Her work explores the human condition through experimental imagery of the female form and flora, linking connections to her own cultural identity and the natural environment. Offering a female gaze, Ella uses her arts practice to challenge social norms and empower women through representing them in diverse shapes, ethnicities and backgrounds. She is currently a Resident at Mint Art House in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast.
Do you have any advice for young women wanting to achieve great things in photography?
Be yourself! Everyone is unique and as creatives we have the ability to form our own path. People will connect with your work if it has value and comes from a place of authenticity. Some advice that has always stuck with me in moments of self doubt is failure doesn’t exist, it’s just life moving us in a different direction.
This year’s IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge. How do you choose to challenge social norms, expectations of women and / or gender inequality in your life?
My work is a reflection of my own values and the changes I wish to see in the world. In my photography practice, the focus of my work is to empower women through representing the diversity of shapes, ethnicities and backgrounds.
An important part of my work is also elevating marginalised voices and women of colour in our community. With the current state of the world, I have started to look closer at the politics in our own country and through my creative practice, I hope to bring cultural awareness and social change to the forefront through photography. With my own experiences as a woman of colour as well as having a mixed-race identity, I actively want to give space to culturally diverse people.
Can you tell us about a particular challenge you’ve faced and overcome, either personal or professional?
This past year I have really stepped into a place of self-acceptance with who I am, my cultural identity and career path. I haven’t always felt this way and have struggled with anxiety and self doubt in the past. Sometimes these experiences can be really grounding as it reminds you that you never know what someone else could be going through or struggling with. I feel grateful to have a strong support network of people around me that I can reach out to.
As women I think it’s really important to uplift and support one another instead of seeing each other as the competition. Creating a safe space and supportive community will in turn create more opportunities for women and allow them to thrive!
What does IWD mean to you?
International Women’s Day means connecting with the women in my life that inspire me the most; my mum in particular who has shown me resilience and strength in vulnerability, as well as my close friends who motivate and inspire me every day. Female friendships are so powerful, they keep us connected and create community.