Moana Hope on balancing motherhood as sister's full-time carer: ‘A challenge’

Not only did Australians fall in love with Moana Hope over her two seasons competing on Survivor, but viewers also got to learn all about her younger sister Lavinia, nicknamed Vinny.

Vinny lives with a rare neurological condition called Moebius syndrome which affects the muscles that control facial expression and eye movement and has been under Moana’s full-time care for the past seven years.

Moana Hope and her sister Vinny.
Moana admits it’s been ‘a challenge’ balancing motherhood while also being her sister Vinny’s full-time carer. Photo: Instagram/moanahope

Moana has now spoken openly about what it’s like being her sister’s sole carer while also balancing motherhood, after she and her wife, Isabella Carlstrom, welcomed their daughter Svea into the world late last year.

“It’s been a bit of a challenge,” she admits to Yahoo Lifestyle. “When Svea was born, Vinny went from being the only one to now one of two.”


The former AFLW star explains that it was very important for Vinny to stay in a routine and keep doing “the little things that mean the world to her” during the transition period.

“We knew we had to make a conscious effort to make sure that we still did all those little things with Vinny, so the coffees in the morning, going out and cheering her on the treadmill, watching a movie,” she details.

“As exhausted as we were, we had to make sure we did it because we felt like she was starting to feel like, maybe left out, but I don't want to say left out because she was never left out. But we could see that with her.

“So what we did every morning was we had Vinny change a nappy or pick out Svea’s outfit.”

Although Moana acknowledges that there were “little challenges along the way”, she says that being a carer for Vinny “is like riding a bike”.

“I've done it for so long. I love her and I love her company. We just do everything together, she's pretty amazing to be around,” she gushes.

Moana Hope with her wife Isabella, daughter Svea and sister Vinny.
Moana says that Vinny calls Svea ‘her little sister’. Photo: Instagram/moanahope

On top of recently purchasing a new house and a new dog, Moana and her wife Isabella are currently planning for their second child.

While the couple’s first pregnancy saw Isabella carrying Svea, Moana recently began the IVF process for her to carry baby number two.

“I've always wanted to go through pregnancy myself,” she reveals. “I’ve really wanted to experience that my whole life, I promised that.

“And we always said we wanted three kids. Bel would go first because I was playing footy and stuff, and then I'd go second and then she would take the third.”

Moana also says that after turning down a number of projects over the past year to concentrate on her family, she’s keen to return to screens in the near future.

“I’m looking to do some more TV stuff, there are a couple shows I’d love to do,” she teases.

Moana Hope on Survivor.
Moana says she’d definitely go on Survivor again. Photo: Channel Ten

Despite competing on the show twice already, and coming in third place in last year's All Stars season, Moana says she’d “totally do it again”.

“100%, because I just think I should’ve won. Don’t tell Dave [Genat] that,” she laughs.

“I think everybody's a deserving winner if they can make it to the end. It’s the realest thing. There are no scripts, no extra food, no beds, no night hotels.

“The experience is one that you cannot pay for, to be put on an island and be told, ‘Live off what you have’. It was pretty amazing and I’d definitely do it again.”

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