Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deborah Mailman

I'm pretty sure I know who Deborah Mailman is. With my luck, I'll probably be wrong though.

I THINK she's an actress....and I think she's indigenous. She might have been on some popular Australian TV Show. Maybe a soap opera? I don't remember which show it might be.

Let's go see if I'm wrong or right.


I'm totally right. Awesome.

She's my age! She's four months older than me. Her birthday is 12 July 1972. She's a Cancer like Tim.

She was born in Mount Isa in Queensland. Is that the town that invited ugly woman to come live there?

Yep. Lord Wiki confirms that. The mayor announced that the high male to female ratio would make it a good place for ugly women to live. There IS something very offensive to that. But I think it's also kind of true and funny. When there's less competition, things are sometimes easier. What's that saying? In the land of the blind....the one eyed-man is king.

The mayor would have probably been better off leaving out the ugly word. He could have just suggested that it would be a good place for single women to come and live.

Well, this article says he didn't use the word ugly. He tried to be very politically correct. He said, beauty-disadvantaged women.

Back to Deborah Mailman. She's the youngest of five children. Her dad was a rodeo rider. Lord Wiki says she has both Aboriginal and Maori (New Zealand) heritage. I wonder if the Maori part comes from her mom's or dad's side.

In 1992, Mailman graduated from Queensland University of Technology. I didn't graduate from my university until 1995. Either Mailman was a fast learner....or her program was shorter. I did start school late. Most of my classmates were born in 1973. But even if I had started earlier, I wouldn't have been done with college until around 1994.

I think I'll look at IMDb for Mailman's filmography.

Lord Wiki has a little bit of personal stuff that I can report. Her partner is an advertising executive. I guess they haven't gotten married yet. They have a son together. He was born in January 2007. So that would make him almost three.

All right. Now I'm on IMDb.

Her first film appearance was a movie called Radiance. That came out in 1998. It was directed by Rachel Perkins. Perkins is the woman who did The First Australians. I need to rewatch that. Maybe I'll do it today...well, at least watch some of it.

Radiance is a story of sisters. I guess Mailman plays one of them.

Wow. She won an AFI for the movie. That's amazing. Her first movie, and she WINS. I'm impressed.

In 1999, Mailman narrated a documentary about the 1967 Referendum. I'd love to see that.

Also that year, Mailman was in a romantic-comedy called Dear Claudia. There's a lonely postman in the movie. So we have a Mailman in a postman movie. Do Australians ever use the term mailman, or is that just an American thing?

The name Claudia reminds me of Interview With the Vampire...and also Party of Five.

In 2000, Mailman was in a crime thriller called The Monkey's Mask. It starred Kelly McGillis. Mailman is pretty low in the credits, so that might mean she had a small role.

In 2001, Mailman worked on the thing that she's probably most famous for...The Secret Life of Us. I've heard of the show, but I don't know much about it.

It looks like Mailman was the star. She was in the most episodes.

The show was filmed in Melbourne, so I guess we can assume she lived there from 2001 until 2006.

Mailman won a Logie for the show in 2002 and 2004. In 2003, she was nominated for an AFI award.

Lord Wiki says it was about various adults living in an apartment in St. Kilda. It was a very popular show, but then it took the route of McLeod's Daughters. It lost the majority of its original actors, and also lost most of its viewers.

Here's something on YouTube from the show. I'm not sure if it's a trailer, or what. I'm a bit confused.

Well, I'm watching it. It looks interesting. Mailman has an adorable accent.

In 2002, Mailman played Mavis in Rabbit Proof Fence. I'm not sure who that is because it's been awhile since I've read the book.

In 2006, Mailman starred in a movie called The Book of Revelation. It was a erotic thriller type film.

Here's the trailer for the film.

It looks fairly intriguing. Lord Wiki says it's about female on male rape. Some people wrongly believe that this type of rape is impossible. But it's not. As Lord Wiki says, erectile response is involuntary. Sadly, male victims of rape do not find much sympathy or support.

In 2007, Mailman lent her voice to a movie called Lucky Miles. It's not a cartoon, so I'm not sure why it's just her voice in the film. The movie is about three men stranded in the desert. It's a comedy though, so I don't think anything absolutely dire happens.

Here's the trailer.

By the way, Mailman has guest starred in a few episodes of various TV shows. I decided to skip writing about it. Nothing really exciting stood out to me.

Anyway, this year Mailman was in another movie I want to see. Bran Nu Dae. Rachel Perkins directed it.

I think I've linked to the trailer before; but I'll do it again. That looks really good to me. I can imagine it becoming a movie I get obsessed Mamma Mia and Jesus Christ Superstar. But I could end up being totally wrong.

Now I'm going to read the IMDb trivia page.

Mailman once performed in an all Aboriginal production of A Midsummers Night Dream.

When I took acting classes during my high school years, we did a poem from that.

If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended,
that you have but slumbered here
while these visions did appear

and this weak and idle theme,
no more yielding than a dream.

That's all I remember, and I might have gotten some of it wrong. I should probably use it as a disclaimer for my blog though.

Mailman works at an Aboriginal theater company called Kooemba Djarra. It's in Brisbane. Is that information current? Is she still there?

Well, I don't see a current website for them. So, I'm not sure yet.

Her New Zealand tribal people are called Ngati Porou. They're from the North Island.

She's been on the kiddie TV show Play School.

Ah. Here's something I missed on her filmography. She directed a film short this year. It's called Ralph. Ralph refers to Ralph Macchio. It sounds pretty with racism.

Mailman has an interview with Andrew Denton, and some of it's actually on YouTube. I'm going to watch it, and then read the transcript.

She reminds me so much of someone else. It's bugging me! It's probably someone I've written about before. Maybe Melissa George?

Yeah. I think that's it. It's something with their voice maybe. I won't say accent since Melissa George seems to change that every five minutes. Maybe Mailman does too. She sounds different, in the interview, from how she sounded in The Secret Life of Us.

It's her mother that's from New Zealand. She met Mailman's father when he came to do his rodeo stuff. How romantic.

Daddy Mailman retired from the rodeo stuff when Deborah was about six.

She says her backyard was the rodeo grounds. It had a big playground. Wow.

Oh my goodness. It even had rides. Mailman says they would sneak on them sometimes. Was this really her backyard? They lived at the rodeo? That's really a weird sort of way.

She says she didn't have a lot of friends in her childhood.

She was shy.

She didn't like school much.

She didn't like crowds. She'd stay in the car when her mom went shopping. These days people would probably get arrested for letting their kids do that. I don't know though. If the temperature is good, the child has a phone, and the doors are locked.... Well, they'd probably be safer there than with a distracted parent in the middle of a crowded shopping center.

I actually don't know if it's illegal, but I imagine it's at least looked down upon unfavorably. I can definitely see the danger with children under five, but older than that.....

Mailman says she was overweight, and that might have played a factor in her wanting to hide from people.

Oh. This is sad. In her class, they did a weight project. They weighed each kid, and wrote their weight on a leaf. They made a tree with it. The project sat there in the room for all the kids to see.

The stuff we force school kids to deal with....

How about the kids without mothers or fathers who have to sit and watch their classmates make projects for Mother's Day and Father's Day?

Denton asks how she went from being shy and avoidant to becoming an actress.

Mailman says she struggled with the whole career choice thing. She considered being an electrician because her sister took that route. She considered being a jillaroo. For some reason, her dad didn't support that.

She decided to go the teaching route. Then she ended up having a drama teacher that she really liked.

Mailman's first drama role was in The Wizard of Oz. She got to play Dorothy. Well, it turns out she didn't want that role. She wanted to be the witch. Her best friend got the witch part. They tried to change roles by asking the principal. Mailman told him she didn't want to be Dorothy because Dorothy isn't black. Okay. Yeah. But neither is the witch. Unless green is the new black. I guess I missed that memo.

Mailman ended up doing Dorothy.

She struggles with self-esteem issues regarding her appearance sometimes, and she sometimes worries about her weight. In other words, she's like most female humans.

Mailman talks about strangers who approach her, and are very affectionate. And, I mean, that's really sort of nice, but sometimes it is a bit weird to sort of have to...people have that ownership of you and sort of seem to know everything about you, and you not having any idea about who they are.

I feel that way as a blogger sometimes....especially since I write so often and reveal...A LOT. There's an uneven feeling to it. There's people who know so much about me, and I know too little about them. In a weird way, it sometimes makes me feel very lonely.

As a child, Mailman was called a coconut. This is a racial slur. It means black on the outside, and white on the inside. I think it's like the Twinkie term that's used for Asians.

Mailman says it was the other Aboriginal kids who called her that, and yes it hurt her.

Whoever made up that saying Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me was sure a fool.

Broken bones are much easier to heal....well, unless you end up with a bone that's totally shattered.

It seems like her father didn't really embrace his Aboriginal heritage. Mailman does. She struggles to explain what it is to her. She says it's a spiritual feeling. I think it works that way with any group. When people are connected by a certain commonality, there can be a spiritual-type connection. A sisterhood. A brotherhood. A tribal type thing. I think this is especially true when a group is oppressed and/or in a minority.

It sounds like Mailman's dad eventually embraced his culture. When he died, they buried him in his home ground. I guess that means the area in which his family comes from. That was in a town called Augathella. They had a ceremony there for him, and they also had another ceremony in Mt. Isa.

Mailman says she'd one day like to learn the language of her people. But she feels she'd need to take time off to do that. I kind of disagree. I feel if she really wants to do it, she could find spare time. But I might be wrong.

Oh, well....Yeah, I AM wrong. She talks about having to learn it from relatives. That's true. It's not like she can buy a Rosetta Stone program. She probably does need to take time off.

For more biography posts, click here.


  1. I'm so excited you've done Deborah Mailman. I love her. I was trying to remember the name of the play I saw in high school with her in it because the playwright had an amazing story that I thought you might like, but I still can't remember it.

    Mt Isa is a (metalliferous) mining town. Mining has a big influence in Qld, land rights for indigenous and it's a whole economy for this state. Does America have mining towns? My friend's family is from 'the Isa' and it's a rough place, so I'm sure the 'ugly' also meant a girl who could handle a bit of red-dust in her hair!

    Deborah Mailman and Cathy Freeman did a TV show where they went on a bit of a discovery, I think I saw TV clips about where they felt they were city kids and had no connection to their heritage. I always meant to watch it, but I didn’t.

  2. Amy Michelle,

    Well, tell me if you remember the name of the play.

    America does have mining towns. I think. I know we have touristy mining towns...places where you can mine for gold. And there's been mining accidents. I'm not sure if there are towns today where mining is central to the economy.

    I have the Mailman/Freeman book. I didn't realize it was a TV show. I bet the show came first though.