WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware this article contains references to people who have died.
Brooke Blurton is no stranger to reality TV. She appeared on Nick Cummins season of The Bachelor and then also went into Bachelor in Paradise in 2019. But now, in a huge win for diversity, Brooke is to be the first Indigenous AND pansexual Bachelorette.
"We are a nation of people from so many different backgrounds, so many different cultures and so many different experiences, yet we all have one thing in common – we all want to be loved in a way that is meaningful to us," Bachelorette host Osher Günsberg said in a statement.
A Noongar-Yamatji woman, and a youth worker, Brooke, 26, is so much more than just another reality tv contestant.
So just who is Brooke Blurton?
Born in Carnavon in Western Australia, Brooke's family moved around quite a bit when she was young. As a child she was always the new kid at school. Her mother was Aboriginal-Malaysian and her father is English.
She was often teased for being too light-skinned to be truly Aboriginal and not white enough to be accepted by the white kids.
"I remember feeling very confused, if I wasn't Aboriginal enough and wasn't white enough, where did I fit in in this world and where did I belong," she said in her TEDx talk.
Brooke also reveals she was brought up in a home where drugs and alcohol were considered normal. Her mum was addicted to drugs and would get quite volatile and her dad simply wasn't around. There were a number of times that she and her siblings were put into foster care.
"I figured out that the way that I lived wasn't exactly normal when my brothers and I went into foster care. We were treated well in care and that became the comparison that helped me to develop expectations," she told NW. "That doesn't go to say that my family didn't love me, I did have a loving family but my mum just struggled to provide us with what we needed."
When she was 11, her grandmother had a stroke in the backyard and it was Brooke who found her and called the ambulance. A few days after she visited her grandmother in hospital, her mother took her own life.
At her mother's wake, she was sexually assaulted whilst she slept. At that moment she did a brave thing for such a young girl, she found a phone, called her father and asked him to come and pick her up, which he did.
While living in Perth with her father and step-mother gave Brooke some stability, which helped her develop a love of sport, it was far from perfect.
At 15 she was kicked out of home. Luckily one of her teachers realised what was going on and took her in. "She didn't just give me a roof over my head. She gave me consistent encouragement and support which I never had before," Brooke said in her TEDx talk. "She gave me values - the value of respecting myself and respecting others... and things started to change for me"
She has now turned her past traumas and experiences into something positive by becoming a youth worker to help others.
"My biggest passion in life is mental health, from working and growing up with a lot of drug and alcohol violence in my childhood really," Brooke told SBS' Noongar Dandjoo.
Brooke now uses the fame she has garnered from her TV appearances to help young people, particularly those of indigenous background, navigate their mental health.
"I have such a huge platform … I don’t always want to be known for being on The Bachelor or being that girl that went on the show," Brooke told the National Indigenous Times.
But she is still looking for love and now she is giving The Bachelorette a chance to help her find it.
"I am so ready for this," Brooke said in a statement. "Having the opportunity to choose my person and who I want in my life, is a truly unique and special experience. My perfect person is someone that loves me for me. I hope they offer shared values and compassion for others," she added.
However during the filming of The Bachelorette this month, family tragedy struck once again for Brooke, her sister passed away.
"I do like to think I live a very private life but I kinda feel like I wanted to share with you where I’m at. Something hugely personal and vulnerable," she wrote on Instagram. "On the 11/8 I had just received news that my sister passed away. I’ve been trying to process that on my own being stuck in a Sydney lockdown without my family, off country and by myself."
With all Brooke has been through, and everything she has become, let's hope they have some worthy ladies and gents to vie for her heart.
And as she says in her talk, she may be an influencer but she is more a positive influencer of youth than someone who only spruiks products on social media as a job. "I'm simply not just an influencer," she says.
So do yourself a favour watch her TEDx talk and discover a beautiful, kind and genuine young woman she really is!
Watch The Bachelorette, 3 October 2021 on 10.
If any of the issues discussed in this article have affected you, help is available. Call 1800Respect on 1800 737 732, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, visit Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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