Rarriwuy Hick in Wentworth (Photo credit: Xinger Xanger).
In her seven year screen career Wentworth star Rarriwuy Hick has been nominated for several awards and has won one: but what a prize.
The Arnhem Land-raised Hick was named female actor of the year at the 2019 National Dreamtime Awards last month; Rob Collins was declared male actor of the year.
Nova Peris received the lifetime achievement award and Ashleigh Barty had the dual accolades of person of the year and female sportsperson.
The other nominees for female actor were Miranda Tapsell, Ursula Yovich and Madeleine Madden. “Just to be nominated with those girls was awesome,” Rarriwuy tells IF. “It was totally unexpected; I am not used to winning.”
Founded three years ago, the awards celebrate the success and achievements of Australia’s First Nations people. Nominations were submitted by the public and the winners chosen by an expert panel.
Arguably Hick has scored multiple wins in her career since she made her series debut in Redfern Now in 2012, followed by The Broken Shore, The Outlaw Michael Howe, The Gods of Wheat Street, Cleverman and Black Comedy.
She joined the cast of Wentworth last year, playing boxer Ruby Mitchell, who was incarcerated for assault and resisting arrest, and is continuing in seasons eight and nine.
The Fremantle show has given her international recognition: she regularly gets fan mail from the US, UK and Europe.
Without giving away any spoilers, she says Ruby has flashes of anger but has grown as a person as she interacts with new inmates played by Kate Box and Zoe Terakes.
After Wentworth production wraps in June she intends to try her luck in the UK, from where her father Paul hails. Her mother Janet Munyarryun, a Yonglu woman, was a founding member of the Bangarra Dance Theatre.
Three years ago she was part of the Malthouse Theatre troupe who performed the play The Shadow King, a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear set in the Indigenous community, at London’s Barbican Theatre.
“I turn 30 next year and as Wentworth is finishing, maybe it’s time to try something new,” she says. “I’ll go over there and look for a manager or agent and give it a shot.”
In perhaps her most passionate endeavour, she was the catalyst for the #ourkidsbelongwithfamily movement, which became a rallying cry to help families – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – stay connected with their children.
“I’ve had many people tell me that because of the movement, their children have been able to come home to them,” she says.
Like her peers, she has been gratified by the far greater prominence across the screen industry for Indigenous actors, writers, producers and directors. observing, “I was very lucky. I think it came down to timing.
“Since Redfern Now everyone keeps pulling down walls and opening up opportunities. We want to get to the point where directors, writers and actors are seen for their talent rather than being labelled as Indigenous.”