Interview: Anthony Sharwood | Video: Emily Verdouw
Moana Hope used to draw the Nike swoosh onto her clothing with a pen because she couldn't afford to buy the real gear. This is true. She really used to do that.
Know what she does now? She headlines Nike sponsor events, that's what. It's been quite the ride.
SO WHO IS SHE?
Hope, 28, is a marquee player for Collingwood in the new AFL Women's competition, which kicks off on February 3. Her story has been well told, on the ABC's Australian Story and elsewhere.
She grew up as part of a family of 14 kids in Broadmeadows, a tough suburb in Melbourne's outer north. Ironically, that's the suburb where Collingwood president Eddie McGuire grew up. When she was 13, her dad died. Life was tough.
"I grew up sleeping with my football 'cos I didn't want anyone to steal it, I wanted to be the first one to wake up and kick it," she told The Huffington Post Australia when we met on Thursday in Sydney.
It was the first time she'd ever seen the Sydney Opera House.
YOU WON'T BELIEVE HOW HARD SHE WORKS
Think your days are long? Breathe in, breathe out, and get a load of this.
"I normally started at 3am and finish about 11pm," Hope told us. "I'll say it over and over again, I love my sport, I love my job and my fitness and I love my family so I do whatever it takes to make it work."
Hope crams a lot into her days. There's work -- she runs a traffic management company which does OH and S and for construction sites, where she does everything from sales to accounts to engineering to operations. There's footy, there's fitness, and there's caring for her disabled sister Lavinia.
But you know what? She doesn't complain. Quite the opposite, in fact. "
What I do makes me happy," she said.
HER ARM TATS HAVE A GREAT MESSAGE FOR US ALL
Hope has lots of tats. Almost as a throwaway, we thought we'd ask why she has a couple of Salvador Dali images. Her answer made us super glad we asked the question.
"He painted things that were just so beautiful. If you glance you see one thing, but if you really look at it, you see something else.
"I think there's a massive issue right now in society where people look at someone and they judge them for how they look as opposed to how they are. My sister Vinni [Lavinia], people stare at her 'cos she's disabled. Instead of looking at the person they look at the disability. So Salvador Dali for me is about not looking at someone and going 'you're this because that's how you look'."
Amen to that. And for the art lovers among you, here's Dali's 1937 painting "Swans Reflecting Elephants" which Hope has on her right arm.
THIS IS ALL VERY NICE, BUT SHOULDN'T WE DISLIKE YOU MOANA, SINCE YOU PLAY FOR THE AFL'S MOST DESPISED CLUB COLLINGWOOD?
"No I've actually found it the absolute opposite. Most people are coming over to the Collingwood side. Maybe love me, that would be great."
Love you? Easily done. Half of Australia is with us, too. And we can't wait till February 3, when Hope's Collingwood Magpies kick off the inaugural AFL Women's season against Carlton.
You can view the AFL Women's 2017 season fixture here.
Moana was joined by footballer Kyah Simon and Nike trainers in Sydney on Thursday to announce the team of NikeWomen athletes, an initiative that aims to inspire women to train with purpose and embrace sport.