fashion

'I'm a WAG and I'm sh*t scared about walking the red carpet at the Brownlow tonight.'

Hi. I’m Maddie, daughter, friend, reality TV enthusiast (oh my god, this season of The Bachelorette, right?!), law student and cheeseburger lover.

Oh, and my partner happens to be an elite athlete – he plays AFL. To some, all of the fun facts I just gave you about myself may cancel out and suddenly I’m identified as a WAG.

Western Bulldogs Best and Fairest @lachiehunter #BNF

A photo posted by MADDISON SULLIVAN-THORPE (@maddiesullivanthorpe) on

So what exactly is a WAG? WAG is simply an acronym for Wives and Girlfriends – in theory it seems harmless. However, in practice it appears we’re vilified for the very fact our partners are athletes.

Suddenly we’re held in a different regard and instead of taking us as we are, we’re suddenly part-time models and fashion bloggers gallivanting around drinking skinny cappuccinos attending Pilates classes… of course these are only the activities we partake in to fill the days we’re not off having hair and makeup done by our #glamsquad and donning designer gowns for an endless list of functions where we talk mindless chatter.

Happy 21st Birthday Hunts #LH21

A photo posted by MADDISON SULLIVAN-THORPE (@maddiesullivanthorpe) on

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By now you should know I am taking the absolute ‘piss’. Yes my partner is an athlete and so technically I am a WAG – but we don’t spend our days aimlessly wandering and living luxuriously.

Yes, occasionally we are invited to events such as the Best and Fairest or the Brownlow Medal (side note, five people from each club go every year so girls who set their sights on footballers in the hope of going to the Brownlows you might want to rethink things) but at the end of the day these are all work functions we attend in support of our partners. Who we are as people couldn’t be more of a contrast.

Just a Couple of Pale Folk Having a Swim @lachiehunter #Pickedthewrongtimeoftheyearforlazer

A photo posted by MADDISON SULLIVAN-THORPE (@maddiesullivanthorpe) on

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For starters, their work functions operate a hell of a lot different to mine.

Unfortunately for me, my partner’s work functions operate a little differently. Think cameras, cameramen and my favourite – couch commentary! Yes, tonight I gear up for the Brownlow Medal – a night to celebrate the league’s most decorated players.

Moments Like These ✨ #BringontheG

A photo posted by MADDISON SULLIVAN-THORPE (@maddiesullivanthorpe) on

Don’t get me wrong, it is so nice that our boyfriends and husbands are rewarded for their year of hard work and efforts – they truly do deserve it – however somewhere along the way the Brownlow Medal’s meaning got a little lost, and the event turned into a media circus in which the awards became less about the players’ seasons and accolades and more about the person that they chose to take along with them.

This year will be the first Brownlow Medal I’ve attended (*shudders*). And in the four years Lachie has played for the Western Bulldogs, I’ve heard enough horror stories from the fellow partners that the invitation was enough to make my stomach churn.

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So God Damn Proud of You ✨

A photo posted by MADDISON SULLIVAN-THORPE (@maddiesullivanthorpe) on

Not everyone has a designer on speed dial, or a glam squad at the ready. Getting Monday off isn’t easy, kids can’t feed themselves. And shoes?! Well thank god for online shopping, hey? Unless you are a well acclaimed model or a ‘somebody’ in the eyes of the designer, chances are you’re frantically buying or begging for a dress – and given that you receive under three weeks’ notice, I know it can sometimes take a turn for the worse.

Happier Times… Flying to Bali, not on a one way ticket to exam hell ✖#Lamedeparturephoto

A photo posted by MADDISON SULLIVAN-THORPE (@maddiesullivanthorpe) on

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Preparation for this thing has been rough, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t felt the weight of pressure that breeds from the fear of being vilified for anything and everything from my weight to my makeup and so forth.

The best looks from the 2015 Brownlow Medal Red Carpet. Post continues after gallery. 

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I have had my Cara Delevingne-worthy brows poked and prodded, I’ve had my lip hair waxed from my face, I’ve eaten spray tan, been to countless fittings praying that the chocolate I ate the night before hasn’t found its way onto my hips and apologised to my nail technician who was given the unfortunate task of giving me a pedicure…. I’m sorry again!

Unfortunately these are things that usually most women would enjoy – what an opportunity to see a designer create something bespoke just for you, and god knows I feel like Elle Macpherson when I’ve had a spray tan (the lip wax…. not so much). But the enjoyment of these activities is quickly overshadowed by trolls that ridicule and criticise the partners of players who are simply doing their best to show their support and transform their usual Monday night attire.

Bec Judd, married to Chris Judd, has an extremely successful career in her own right. Post continues below…

So before you go and criticise someone’s lipstick colour, or dress design remember that while we are wives and girlfriends of AFL players we are also teachers, nurses, students and stay-at-home Mums. And yes, you might find a few models too.

Be kind. We are not WAG Queen robots made of genetically blessed indestructible atoms, we’re just regular people whose partners’ jobs have suddenly thrust us into the limelight, a place where most of us feel rather uncomfortable. Be realistic, this is not how we usually look and yes it really does take a village to get us there.

I’m doing my best to look forward to the night, but to be honest I’m more excited to get in there, have a champagne, catch up with my friends and watch the vote count! But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to be at home in my tracksuit pants watching The Block.

Imagine going to your partner’s work event and having to walk a red carpet with hundreds of media who are going to judge what you’re wearing and how you look. That’s the unfair reality facing the women coming to tonight’s Brownlow Medal. Rather than judging these women, at Mamamia, we’re celebrating Red Carpet Kindness. This is a judgement-free zone. #MamamiaKindCarpet

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