AMRITA HEPI, DANCER & CHOREOGRAPHER
I think it’s such an amazing point of resilience,” says Amrita Hepi, 27. Born in Townsville, of Maori and Indigenous Australian descent, Hepi continues a rich ancestral tradition of storytelling through dance. “Within a cultural context, [it’s] incredibly innovative,” she says. “[It’s] the same with stories, but dance especially, because there’s always going to be different flair and movement.” Hepi, who has been called a dance activist, uses performance and teaching to encourage body confidence. Her interdisciplinary work ranges from directing dance films to speaking and performing at festivals including Art Basel, Groovin the Moo and Dark Mofo. Hepi has stood by women in her life who were facing reproductive health issues and is aware that the early symptoms of ovarian cancer are easily misinterpreted.
“You can’t feel anything, you can’t see any difference and it’s one of those things where maybe if you did, maybe if you could feel something, you’d [still say], ‘Oh, it’s nothing’.” With her body at the source of her profession, Hepi understands that good health is as vital to every woman’s future as it is to the legacy she will leave: “I want to be able to pass on my archive and my cultural memory through [movement].”
Céline dress. Leotard, Hepi’s own. Georg Jensen earrings and pendant bracelets.
LEAH FRASER, ARTIST
For Leah Fraser, becoming an artist was inevitable. “I think I was always pursuing [art],without really knowing I was pursuing it,” says the 33-year-old painter and sculptor.Her work has been called whimsical and lyrical, with the beauty of the natural world arecurring theme in both her intricate paintings and naive, tactile ceramic pieces.
Describing herself as social, Fraser says she struggles with the solitude of her practice:“I’m always trying to strike the balance.” It’s a focus that has sharpened since she became a mother to Odette, now 16 months old. “What I’ve discovered is routine and structure—it’s important to make the most of the time I have in the studio.” And though the passing of time is unrelenting, she believes an ovarian cancer diagnosis shouldn’t be. “I didn’t know there wasn’t an early detection test,” Fraser says of the difficult-to detect disease.
“It’s important to talk about it and support more research.” While her art explores the esoteric, Fraser shares the same down-to-earth dreams of every mother: for her child to be healthy, happy and herself. “I hope she will continue to be who she wants to be, and have the support and ability as a woman to [pursue] whatever [it is] she wants to do.”
Burberry dress. Georg Jensen earrings and pendant bracelets.
MADELEINE MADDEN, ACTRESS
As an Indigenous Australian, Madeleine Madden knows the power of representation. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised the barriers and obstacles I have to face as a black woman,” she says. “It’s really important to be in mainstream media and to be visible—[for people] to see that we’re here.” In her most recent role, as Marion in the eagerly awaited television adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock, the 20-year-old saw parallels between the restrictions her character endures and the plight of women today: “This is set 100 years ago, but has much changed? Not really.”
Just as representation is key to achieving equality, awareness and understanding are imperative in the fight against ovarian cancer. “I wasn’t aware [that] one woman dies every 10 hours from the disease,” Madden says, adding that continued research and access to health care are crucial: “When we have statistics like this, it’s so important [that] the government [is] on our side.”
Prada coat, cardigan, skirt and heels. Georg Jensen pendant necklace and bracelet.
MEGAN HESS, ILLUSTRATOR
“We focus on the strength of women, supporting women and raising awareness and funds,” says Megan Hess of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF), of which she has been an ambassador for six years. “And I think small efforts combined [can] make enormous changes.”
There’s no mistaking Hess’ work—she has created elegant illustrations for Valentino, Prada and Fendi—and the artist’s success, unrelenting travel schedule and long list of designer collaborators make her enduring commitment to OCRF all the more admirable. “The community is so Important,” she says. “To have somewhere to turn when people don’t know what to do when they [have been diagnosed]—a support system.”
Inspired by the resilience of women and families affected by ovarian cancer, Hess, 42, has a strong sense of perspective: “Waking up healthy and being able to do something that you enjoy is having it all,” she says. “Every female has the right to dream of what they want to do in the future, and [we] don’t want anyone’s [future] to be cut short.”
Ellery dress. Georg Jensen pendant and bracelet.
The Georg Jensen Offspring pendant necklace, bracelet and earrings are available in store and online, at georgjensen.com.au. Each of the sterling silver pieces is $195, with $50 from every purchase going directly to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. For more information about ovarian cancer, visit ocrf.com.au.