Nell is a much sought after public speaker who works as a Mistress of Ceremonies and active facilitator for a range of events, from intimate panel discussions for the Powerhouse’s monthly 'Dfactory' design forum, to the massive 'Sydney Symphony Superdome Spectacular'.
She has hosted awards ceremonies for 'The Sydney Film Festival' at the State Theatre, and the 'Independent Film Awards' at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. At the Art Gallery of NSW she has been in conversation with people like designer Catherine Martin, and at NIDA, where she is an acting alumni, she has conducted talks for students with the likes of film director Dr. George Miller.
An actor turned activist, Nell has a rich lived experience of fame, fortune and fighting for the environment.
Reflecting on her time as a child star when at just 17 she played the lead in Bruce Beresford’s cult feature 'Puberty Blues', she recalls how she was drawn into a highly rarefied world - meeting Imelda Marcos at the inaugural Manila Film Festival, and dining with Prince Charles and Princess Diana at the Lodge in Canberra.
Teaming up with fellow teen actor Baz Luhrmann, Nell started a theatre company with the help of the infamous Harry M. Miller who later corresponded with her from Long Bay jail. When her 'Puberty Blues' co-star committed suicide she spoke out on ABC TV’s 'Australian Story' and helped raise funds for people living with schizophrenia.
Her love for the environment began when she bought a property in Central NSW which soon after came under a coal exploration licence. Forming a local action group to protect it was the first step in a long journey of activism which saw her at the frontline of many campaigns like 'Land Water Future' for the Lock The Gate Alliance and #StopAdani for the Sunrise Project.
She travelled to the Arctic and Antarctic to better understand our planet’s systems. She also trained with Al Gore as a climate leader and gave inspiring presentations on global warming for audiences all over Australia. However, her unwavering commitment to win complex battles on shoestring budgets inevitably led to burn out.
A subsequent quest to reconstitute herself through yoga, surfing and a positive mental attitude has motivated her to share her story in the hope that it will inspire others to rise to the challenges of our times by foremostly honouring themselves.
Photographs courtesy of Merette Boutros (NIDA)