When Moana Hope burst onto the footy field wearing a Collingwood jersey for the debut AFLW season in 2017, it was a moment she’d been waiting for her whole life. Having kicked a football around the backyard from the age of three, this athlete, activist and all-round legend has never been afraid to speak her mind (or fight for what she believes is right), both on and off the sporting field.
Raised in a family of 14 in Broadmeadows, Melbourne, by an incredibly strong mother she still credits as her biggest inspiration, she went from playing against the boys to representing Australia in one of sport’s biggest arenas at 18 years old. But last year, she made a ridiculously tough choice, withdrawing from the AFLW draft in order to support her family, including wife, Isabella, and her sister, Vinny.
As she says in this raw, honest and uplifting chat: “It was either quit my job and play footy. Or play footy and quit my job. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. But it was like a forced decision. Family’s got to come first, because footy doesn’t pay the bills.”
In this inspiring conversation with Women’s Health Editor, Jacqui Mooney, she opens up about resilience, marriage equality, surviving tough times, her secret love of high tea (thanks to sporting trailblazer and mentor Susan Alberti) plus her hopes and dreams for the future, including her current IVF journey. But most importantly of all, she shares a message of self-love and acceptance, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.
As she says: “Unfortunately, a lot of kids these days are getting caught up on who they think they have to be. But every single person (even identical twins) has something different about them for a reason. We don’t need to be clones of each other. Just be you, and bring out your beautiful uniqueness.” If you’re looking for positivity and a little life inspo, then you’ve come to the right place. Just press play!