Life On The Job


Indigenous Famous Person's Story

Deborah Jane Mailman (14 July 1972 - ) ACTRESS

Deborah Mailman
(Source: The Monthly)

Introduction

Deborah Mailman (born 14 July 1972) is an Australian television and film actress. She was the first Aboriginal actress to win the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

She is well known for having played the character "Kelly" on successful Australian television series, The Secret Life of Us. She is also well known for her current role as Cherie in the successful Australian drama series Offspring.

Deborah Mailman grew up in Mount Isa in north-west Queensland. She is one of five children born to Wally Mailman, a famous rodeo rider and horseman, and Jane (Heeni) Mailman, the daughter of a preacher and talented musician. She has both Indigenous Australian (Bidjara) and Maori (Ngati Porou and Te Arawa) heritage.

Map showing Mt Isa
Deborah was born in Mt Isa - north west Queensland
(Map Source)

In 1992 she graduated from Queensland University of Technology Academy of the Arts with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Performing Arts. Since then she has worked extensively in Australian film, television and theater as well as many contributions overseas. She played the role of Kate in a La Boite Theatre production of Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew' in 1994. (Source: Wikipedia) 

Did You Know?

The National Portrait Gallery

Deborah Mailman's portrait in National Portrait Gallery (by artist Evert Ploeg) is one of the most popular in the collection, appealing to audiences of all ages. Visitors who recognise her from her numerous performances comment on the strength of the likeness; those who are unfamiliar with her work comment on the representation of inner beauty, which seems to radiate from the portrait. Comments about the work centre around the sitter's comfortable and relaxed pose which presents her in an open manner, as a person who is approachable and content within herself, with an almost serene expression on her face.

The portrait was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 1999 and was the winner of the People's Choice Award by the largest ever margin; it also won the ABC Radio 2BL Listeners' Award.

(Source: NPG)

 

Education:

Deborah Mailman was educated at Barkly Highway State School Mt Isa, Queensland for her primary years.

YouTube: Yarramundi Kids - When I was a Kid by Deborah Mailman - Deborah talks about her early schooling, how she was bullied and her family - 9mins

Yarramundi Kids - When I was a kid - Deborah Mailman
https://youtu.be/Bw-_-5nCXOM

 

She first took drama at high school with a group of mates just to avoid a dull business subject, but found she was good at it. Her first major role at school was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, she won prizes for performing at local eisteddfods and eventually went to drama school. (Source: SMH)

"At the end of my high school year, 1989, I auditioned at James Cook University in Townsville, Darling Downs in Toowoomba (now University of Southern Queensland) and Queensland University of Technology Academy of the Arts in Brisbane. I was accepted into all three and chose Brisbane as my place of study." (Source: Indigenous Scholarships)

Indigenous Scholarships
(Source: Indigenous Scholarships)

QUT

Deborah went to Queensland University of Technology's Academy of the Arts and graduated in 1992.

Employment & Training:

In 1998, Mailman won her first AFI win, was for playing the character "Nona", in the Australian independent film "Radiance".

From here she has since become one of Australia's most prominent local actors especially through her lead role on The Secret Life of Us, a role for which she was twice awarded Most Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series at the Logies (2002 and 2004). She stayed during the shows entire duration (2001–2006).

She then took part in a four-part television documentary series with Cathy Freeman called "Going Bush" (2006) where the pair set off on a journey from Broome to Arnhem Land spending time with Indigenous communities along the way. She was featured prominently in the Leah Purcell documentary "Black Chicks Talking" (2001), where she candidly discussed her thoughts about her Aboriginal heritage.

She appeared in the Play School TV series and was part of The Actors Company for the Sydney Theatre Company (2006–2007).

She appeared in the film "Rabbit-Proof Fence". She played a lead role in the 2010 musical film "Bran Nue Dae". In the play "The Sapphires" and the subsequent film of the same name she played the role of singer Gail McCrae.

The Sapphires' Poster



She was awarded an Inside Film Award for her short film Ralph. She played the role of Cherie Butterfield in Channel Ten's "Offspring" drama series.

In 2012 she is starring in "Redfern Now", an indigenous mini-series for the ABC. (Source: Wikipedia) 

In 2019 and 2021, Deborah played the lead role of Alex Irving in Total Control.

Inside Total Control with Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths | Total Control
https://youtu.be/VwvEa8-iG6k

 

 


Experiences:

 

Did You Know?

Deborah was a presenter in the ABC's Playschool

Play School: Deborah and George
https://youtu.be/6Oa5NVz_J7g




Personal Awards
2020 - nominated - AACTA Awards - Best Actress in a Support Role
2019 - Won - AACTA Awards - Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama [Total Control]

2015 - nominated - AACTA Awards - Best Leading TV Actress [Redfern Now: Promise Me]
2013 - winner -  Logie Awards Most Popular Actress For Mabo.
2013  - nominated - Logie Awards Most Outstanding Actress For Mabo.
Logie Award
2013 - winner -  Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards — Female Actor Of The Year
2012 -  winner - Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Female Actor of the Year - Mabo
2011 - winner - Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Female Actor of the Year
2010 - winner -  Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Female Actor of the Year
2010 - nomination -  Australian Film Institute Awards For Bran Nue Dae.
2007 - winner -  Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Female Actor of the Year
2004 - winner -  Logie Awards Most Outstanding Actress For The Secret Life of Us.
2003  - Centenary Medal For distinguished service to the arts in the fields of stage, film and television. (Source: AusLit)

2012 Qld Greats Recipient

"One of Australia’s most celebrated actors, Deborah Mailman grew up in Mount Isa, Queensland. A proud Bidjara woman, Deborah’s outstanding performances in film , television and theatre have been acknowledged by numerous awards across stage and screen. Deborah is a role model to many young Indigenous people, dedicating her time to Indigenous literacy awareness projects, most notably through The 7 Stages of Grieving, a play which has been workshopped and performed for over 15 years with school students across Australia.

Qld Greats 2012

Deborah also helped establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program of Contact Youth Theatre and the Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts which is dedicated to developing and producing contemporary performances both locally and internationally on the stories of Indigenous Australians. Deborah is proud of her many years of training and working in Queensland and credits this for many of her successes." (Source: 2012 Queensland Greats)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Faculty of Arts and Professional Excellence Award Winner - 1999

Deborah Mailman's highly- acclaimed film and theatre work has seen her emerge as a leading Australian actor. Since graduating from the Academy of the Arts in 1992, she has achieved extraordinary success, as an actor, writer and producer. In 1998 she won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Nona in Radiance. The film, which was written by Louis Nowra, confirmed 27-year-old Deborah as a star and as a role-model for young indigenous Australians. Over the past 12 months, Deborah has performed in two works by Shakespeare, appeared in ABC's Playschool program and completed a second film. Deborah continues her involvement with the Kooemba Jdarra Theatre which she co-founded with fellow-graduate Wesley Enoch, and she is currently developing indigenous content for a QUT Academy of the Arts project. (Source: QUT)

YouTube Videos:

 The Sapphires - Official Trailer
https://youtu.be/tB3qqSLzfyk


Links

ABC - Enough Rope

Enough Rope
SBA - Deborah Mailman

SBA
Deborah Mailman as Bonita Mabo

Mabo

SMH - Deborah Mailman's Walk on the Darkside

The Darkside
The Deadlys

The Deadlys


ABC Total Control

Total Control
   


Activities

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle & High SchoolSecondary  

"This is Your Life" Deborah Mailman

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability 

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culturesAustralian Curriculum: Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

1. Look at the following "This is Your Life"  - video - Adam Gilchrist - to get an idea of the "old TV series". (This is the first of 5 videos but it will give you an idea of the gist of this program).

This is Your Life - Adam Gilchrist Part 1 of 5
https://youtu.be/CRTArZ2nnI8

 

2. After reading about Deborah's life to date, select what you think are the important events and activities.

3. Work out who you would invite to speak about Deborah and list them down. Share with a partner.

4. Create a Voki Avatar as a presenter of "This is Your Life"  and get this avatar to ask Deborah questions about her life.

Voki

 

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