Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Young Australian of the Year
State Finalist Young Australian of the Year 2015
Body image activist
Born without her left forearm, then suffering third-degree burns to 14 per cent of her body as a toddler, life dealt Jessica Smith some tough early blows. Growing up in a world that values physical perfection compounded Jessica’s self-esteem issues and she suffered serious anorexia, bulimia and depression as a teen. An Australian Paralympian, Jessica’s mental health issues ended her 10-year swimming career and she was eventually hospitalised, before working hard to rebuild her self-esteem. Today, Jessica is a motivational speaker, mentor and vocal champion for positive body image. In 2013, Jessica launched Join the Revolution - a social media campaign which encourages people to talk positively about their bodies and which has gained attention and celebrity endorsement in Australia and internationally. An Ambassador for the Butterfly Foundation and Layne Beachley's Aim For The Stars Foundation, Jessica has overcome her demons to bravely share her darkest moments with others and hopes to inspire future generations to believe in themselves and their abilities beyond the surface.