Stunning young Sapphires stars Jessica Mauboy and Miranda Tapsell have the world at their fingertips, thanks to the film’s box office success.
The hit flick – based on a true story of an all-girl Aboriginal troupe who toured Vietnam, entertaining the troops in the 60s – is going great guns, and their agents’ phones are ringing off the hook.
“I’ve just come back from LA and my agent and I were kept pretty busy, meeting some industry bigwigs!” grins Jessica, 23, chatting to The Starfish during a promotional visit.
Their lives may appear glamorous now, but sadly she and Miranda, 25 have both suffered first-hand from the kind of racism depicted during parts of the hit movie.
“I’ve had a few things said to me when I was at school, but I tried not to let anyone see that it was getting to me,” Jessica tells The Starfish.
Nods Miranda, “I’ve also been insulted, but I don’t let bullies see that they’ve had an impact.”
Such ugly experiences, they say, only strengthened their resolve to make something of their lives.
Miranda is a graduate of NIDA, while Jessica has been in the national limelight since becoming runner-up on Australian Idol in 2006.
“I love coming to Perth, it’s my home-away-from home,” she reveals. “I always love a meal at the Witch’s Cauldron in Subiaco, though last night, we ate here at Nobu, which was delicious.”
These warm and unpretentious performers say they hope they can inspire more Aboriginal girls and boys into believing in themselves.
“We’ve met up with young people who don’t have much faith in themselves, and we want to help inspire them to have more hope,” says Miranda.
“We have had some opportunities to talk to them about what’s been happening with our careers, and let them see that anything’s possible for them, too.”
And as for the women on whom the film is based: “They are really strong and proud women,” said Jessica.
“The kind of racism they had to put up with at times was way worse than anything I’ve ever had to deal with. It meant a lot to us to be able to tell their story and to sit with them in the cinema and see how much they enjoyed it!”
The women even had some tips to help Miranda and Jessica “sex up” their stage performances!”
“They told us how they had to just go out there and go for it, to turn on the troops. It was good advice. At first it was hard to try and be really sexy, but in the end we just went for it!” says softly-spoken Miranda.
Thanks to Sony, The Starfish has five CDs of the Sapphires hits soundtrack to give away to our subscribers. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your copy.
Photographs by Anthony Price