Members On Their Way

Members On Their Way: Zufi Emerson

Meet the Canberra-raised actor who is sharing her Aussie adoption story to ensure no child is left behind.

By Natalie Cornish

Members On Their Way

Meet the Canberra-raised actor who is sharing her Aussie adoption story to ensure no child is left behind.

By Natalie Cornish

Zufi Emerson is an actor from Canberra. Born in Ethopia before being adopted by her mum and dad as a five-month-old along with her younger brothers, her Aussie adoption story is a happy one. Something she knows is not always the case. Now an ambassador for Adopt Change Australia and Future Women, she is a passionate campaigner for assisting adoption change and hopes to one day share her story at the UN. Here, Zufi shares her love for dad rock, her hopes for the future and what she’s doing to ensure no child is left behind.

Future Women’s founder, Helen McCabe spoke to me about Future Women. Knowing it wasn’t lighthearted, nor all talk, I was on board as an ambassador immediately. I liked that there was nothing like it, where content was based online, and I loved FW’s devotion to sharing many perspectives. The HerVote event was one of my favourites for this reason – women from different parties sharing a stage pre-election.

Having zero percent BS content that is focused on bringing women, world issues and change makers to the forefront of minds, Future Women is my daily dose of quality journalism. Seeing what women are doing around the globe – from editor Emily Brooks’ Note to Self to editor-at-large Jamila Rizvi’s thought pieces, and podcasts from Brooke Boney and Sylvia Jeffreys – it’s that higher thinking and reflective journalism, that provides social and political commentary. It’s sharing stories of professional women kicking butts in all fields, that aren’t found in mainstream media. FW’s Social Club events also inspire me to connect with people who I possibly never would have.

I’m passionate about assisting Adopt Change to change the trajectory of children finding a permanent home; creating equal opportunity for women in professional and social landscapes; and ensuring stories that are told on our screens and theatres in Australia represent all people who walk on our streets.

Aside from the usual iconics, my playlist has always mirrored 50-year-old men at the local pub! This means I play a lot of Paul Kelly, Hunters and Collectors and Fleetwood Mac. Exceptions include Jack Johnson and Norah Jones, but also songs like Islands in the Stream by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers played on repeat more than I care to admit. Aussie artists Kinder & Okenyo, with their song, Buckle Up, is my morning shower song for sure. Nothing beats listening to Australian female artists killing it!

“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept,” is the motto I live by. It gets me into trouble often. But, most of the time, leads me to be in rooms with phenomenal people contributing to areas I wish to see change in.

My mum is the most remarkable woman, she takes the cake. I’ve never met anyone as resilient and determined to improve the lives of others. She’s kept remarkable women around my brothers and I; women who are passionate about contributing to changing the world one person at a time, and bringing other people up along the way.

FW’s Helen is also remarkable. When she was on the board of Adopt Change, and I was a youth ambassador as a teenager, Helen always remained a frank adviser. Besides being ultra fabulous, she never asks a question she doesn’t want to know the answer to. I’ve always admired that ability to have interesting and genuine conversations, no matter who she was talking to. She also treats everybody the same. I don’t even think it’s that intentional, it’s just who she is. FW couldn’t be more indicative of her efforts to bring like-minded people together.

My driving force is thinking of others around me and those to come. I could do nothing with my day or time and be comfortable, but nothing would change.

Outside of work I love to spend time with my good friends or chill out solo— my down time is my reset. If I’m not with my friends, I’m exploring new places outside in Sydney for sure. I still feel like such a tourist, but there’s so many beautiful places in our backyard to take in.

The future for women is BRIGHT! Equal opportunity is the goal. I used to think the fight was about being the same. But then I realised it’s about equal opportunity.

We can lift each other up when being the ‘one woman at the table’ isn’t the pinnacle of progressive success. When instead of tearing others down, people help each other by not just passing the ladder down, but pulling out the chair for others to sit beside them.

Self-care means taking care of yourself without feeling guilty. Self-care shouldn’t be something invested in just when crap hits the fan. It should be a regular priority, so other things (family, exams, work) can all be handled with a clear mind. In reality, self-care isn’t pretty and I think we all need to be a bit honest about the more ugly days, instead of hiding what those look like.