Telling the Stories of Indigenous Women: Q&A with Marlee Silva – Storyteller & Founder of Always was, Always will be Our Stories.

As we approach International Women’s Day on 8 March, we continue our showcase of incredible women choosing to challenge each day and make positive changes in our world. And today, we’re shining the spotlight on the wonderfully inspiring Marlee Silva, a proud Gamilaroi and Dunghutti Aboriginal woman based in Sydney, NSW.

A published author and speaker, dedicated to celebrating Indigenous women and girls through storytelling, Marlee writes, produces and hosts her own podcast, Always was, Always will be Our Stories, where she interviews inspiring Indigenous role models who are working to change the world, one day at a time.

We were lucky enough to ask Marlee a few questions about her inspiring work as well as her dreams and how she chooses to challenge every day. Keep reading to learn more and be sure to keep an eye out here as well as on our socials and Kristina’s Your Dream Life Podcast for plenty of inspiring content from a range of inspiring women this week.

Q| Tell us about yourself and what you do.

Yaama, I’m Marlee Silva! I’m a 25-year-old proud Aboriginal woman from the Gamilaroi and Dunghutti tribes of NSW. I am very lucky to say I do a varied range of work, but if I were to put it under one umbrella term it would probably be ‘storyteller’.

I am the author of My Tidda, My Sister, a collection of stories about strength and resilience I found through my conversations with inspiring Aboriginal women,  and also host the podcast, ‘Always was, Always will be Our Stories’ where I have candid conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander role models from all walks of life.

Q| What inspired you TO start YOUR Podcast?

What inspired me to create this podcast was the great privilege I’ve had in my adult life to meet so many incredible mob, who’ve often overcome the unimaginable to not only succeed in whatever they put their mind to, but also continuously strive to give back to the community too. I was so lucky to hear about them, and I thought there weren’t enough other people hearing about them too! So ,why not share the yarns they have with the world? It’s one of my favourite things I get to do and I’m so glad they have inspired and moved other people.

Q| What does International Women’s Day and this year’s theme #choosetochallenge mean to you?

International Women’s Day is a vital moment on the calendar. As much as I spend a significant amount of time across my 365 days of the year thinking about the stories coming from Indigenous women and girls in particular, and also about women’s issues and elevating the voices of my many varied sisters, I am always excited by the way this particular event causes those who might not do so as often, to reflect as well.

This year’s theme feels particularly poignant in light of the ways 2020 and Covid-19 have thrown a real spanner in the works. And while there’s been obviously terrible impacts from it all, the silver linings I see lay in the ways this experience has challenged the status quo.

Choosing to challenge in 2021 means choosing to stop accepting things for the way they are, because that’s what they’ve always been – it’s about looking at the big issues facing women today and not seeing them as too big or too hard to fix and doing something about them!

Q| Do you have a daily routine or any tips for making the most of every day? If so, please share.

Often, every one of my days looks different! But there are a few things I always make sure I have time for, to achieve a sense of work-life balance and general mental health and wellbeing. They are:

Setting at least one clear and tangible goal at the beginning of the day

  • Locking in a solid hour of exercise – I mostly shift between running, Pilates or a bit of weights training at the gym, always with a good playlist or podcast in my ears
  • Some quality time with my dogs
  • And, while it’s sometimes the case that I end up working late into the night, more and more I’m trying to have at least an hour between my last moment in front of a screen and my head hitting my pillow. Good sleep has been hard to come by, but it’s undeniably a key ingredient to success for me!
    Q| What is one thing you enjoy doing that’s just for you? 

Exercising is my active meditation! I couldn’t function fully without it. As an author, it’d also be silly to deny how much joy and pleasure I find in reading. I just wish I had more time to do it these days!

Q| Do you have a favourite inspiring quote?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

Q| Share with us a Dream of yours.

I dream of so many things, but mostly of a world where each of us can find true equality, regardless of who we are and where we come from.

Q| What is something you Believe strongly in?

More than almost anything else, I believe the knowledge and expertise my people have refined for 60 thousand years, holds the answers to most of our questions – how we solve the issues our community faces today, how we brace ourselves for and limit the impact of climate change, how we look after our land, how we all continue to survive and thrive for 60 thousand more years too!

And what I want to change is the ways many people outside of our Indigenous community are unaware of this power we hold in our history or don’t believe in it! I want to see those people change and feel pride and admiration of our culture and true history.

Q| What do you want to Challenge?

I want to challenge how each individual underestimates the power of their own actions. If we all work to be better and kinder every day and work toward some positive change, even when the challenges might seem too large to meet, our collective actions can add up and get us where we want to be.

Q| What do you want to Achieve?

I’ve been very lucky and achieved so much I set out to as a child, that I didn’t think I’d have achieved this early in my life. But now, as long as I know I’m continuing to make my family proud and I’m doing my best to hold open doors for those who might follow me, I’m constantly achieving.

Find out more about Marlee and the incredible work she does @marlee.silva and listen to her podcast here – and don’t forget to keep any eye out over on our socials this week as Marlee uses her voice to spread her inspiring story and messages ahead of International Women’s Day!

With this incredibly strong theme in mind, this year at kikki.K, we invite every one of you to celebrate and support all the incredible women in your life ­­– and around the world. As a brand, we’re choosing to represent and celebrate women globally and to collectively raise our voice as we choose to challenge and champion change for a more inclusive world.

This International Women’s Day and every day, #choosetochallenge with us and be inspired to dream, believe, challenge, change and achieve, because with challenge comes change. Together, we can all challenge gender bias and inequality, and make our world a more inclusive one.

#choosetochallenge #IWD2021

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