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In 2015, Tapsell won two Lo­gies and gave a mem­o­rable ac­cep­tance speech in which she called on TV ex­ec­u­tives to “put more beau­ti­ful peo­ple of colour on TV and con­nect view­ers in ways which tran­scend race and unite us”. She sin­gled out Leah Pur­cell for thanks and recog­ni­tion; Tapsell had long been an ad­mirer of the Went­worth star, whom she met while they were stand­ing in line to buy a cof­fee dur­ing her time study­ing at Syd­ney’s Na­tional In­sti­tute of Dra­matic Arts (NIDA).

“Our joke is that I or­dered a short black, and there she was,” Pur­cell says. In­stantly im­pressed, she asked Tapsell to join a work­shop she was run­ning; the pair have col­lab­o­rated on and off ever since and share a com­mit­ment to sup­port the next gen­er­a­tion of In­dige­nous per­form­ers. “It’s what we do in our cul­ture,” Pur­cell ex­plains. “It’s about giv­ing back to our own, but also build­ing up our In­dige­nous en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. If we want a vi­able, pro­duc­tive In­dige­nous arts sec­tor, we must do this.”

The ta­bles were turned at this year’s Lo­gies cer­e­mony, when Tapsell took to the stage to ac­cept a gong on be­half of her Love Child co-star Jes­sica Marais. “It was a lovely hon­our,” Tapsell says. “We were such a tight unit; we all be­lieved in that show – and it was nice to put that bow tie on it and send it off.”

Marais, who met Tapsell when the two were stu­dents at NIDA, tells Stel­lar, “It was ev­i­dent back then that she not only had in­cred­i­ble tal­ent, but true strength and in­tel­li­gence – com­bined with an in­fec­tious smile. She has the gift of be­ing able to con­vey true vul­ner­a­bil­ity as well as ve­rac­ity. I am al­ways learn­ing watch­ing her per­form.”

For her part, Tapsell is ea­ger to pay it for­ward. “I have been given a lot of won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties, with­out brag­ging too much. But for some­one to be able to work con­sis­tently as an ac­tor, to be able to go from one job to an­other, es­pe­cially in such a small in­dus­try… I couldn’t ask for any­thing more.

“But I know lots of tal­ented Abo­rig­i­nal writers, di­rec­tors and actors that could cer­tainly be given more op­por­tu­nity,” she says. “So I re­ally hope that, as I move through this in­dus­try, I can open doors for more of them.”

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