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:: Spotlight :: 2008 YEN Young Woman Of The Year

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Eleven inspirational women across ten diverse categories were announced recently at the 2008 YEN Young Woman of the Year Awards (YWYA). Journalist Sophie McNeill took out the overall YEN YWYA for her boundary breaking reporting endeavours in some of the world’s most volatile war zones including Pakistan and Lebanon. Sophie now proudly bares the moniker of her predecessor, Torah Bright, as the YEN Young Woman of the Year 2008.

Created by the team behind YEN magazine (Australia’s #1 independent women’s title), the YEN YWYA aim to support and celebrate young women 35 years and under, who are making a difference across a wealth of industries’, and illuminate their exceptional achievements.

Held at the City Recital Hall, the exclusive red carpet event saw over 1200 celebrities, media and guests come together to celebrate Australia’s finest leading ladies. Guests included Ruby Rose (MTV & YEN YWYA Host), Marnie Skillings, Corbin Harris, Cheyenne Tozzi, Kirrily Johnson, Sarah-Jane Clarke & Heidi Middleton, The Grates, Lovers Electric, Renee Bargh (Channel V), Kate Miller-Heidke, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor (MCA), Mat McHugh (The Beautiful Girls), Harlee McLeod (Nova), Brad Ngata, Kath Robinson & Deborah Knight, Maeve Dermody, Pia Miranda and many more.

Opening and closing the event were live performances by The Grates who belted out hits from their album Teeth Lost, Hearts Won. Kate Miller-Heidke and Lovers Electric also took to the stage performing songs that were clear favourites with the audience, whilst a runway show unveiled brand new Autumn/Winter 2009 collections of fashion category finalists Anna Plunkett (Romance Was Born), Therese Rawsthrone and Tina Kalivas.

The inspirational winners of the YEN Young Women of the Year Awards 2008 are:

Art & Design - Ainslie Asher
Business - Lara Deutsch
Community Vision - Tania Major
Fashion - Anna Plunkett
Film, TV, and Theatre - Maeve Dermody
Hair Design & Direction - Ali Holmes
Journalism - Sophie McNeill
Music - Clare Bowditch
Photography - Liz Ham
Sport - Stephanie Rice
YEN Young Woman of the Year 2008 - Sophie McNeill

This year YEN announced the introduction of a special AWARD of EXCELLENCE which was presented to Dr Fiona Wood, for her tireless efforts as a Plastic Surgeon and Director of the Royal Perth Hospital burns unit in Western Australia. Dr Wood led the team who worked to save the 2002 Bali bombing survivors from life threatening burns, and in 2007 travelled to Indonesia to medically assist the burns victims of the Garuda Indonesia Flight crash landing. She is also well known for her invention of spray-on skin.

The celebration of all things girly continued late into the night at the lavish and exclusive after party at the Piano Room, where the champagne flowed and an impromptu jam session took place!

YEN Young Woman Of The Year Sophie McNeill Jacqui Thompson, Sophie McNeill & Melissa Bergin
YEN Young Designer Of The Year Anna Plunkett David Turley & Eden Boucher of Lovers Electric
Heidi Middleton & Sarah-Jane Clarke Darren McMullen & Ruby Rose
Bianca & Mat McHugh Kathryn Robinson
Kate Hurst & Elke Kramer Tina Kalivas & Mike Burnham
Maude Garrett & Paul Bertelle Talisa Sutton
Louise Olsen Martin Novosel & Alex Burnett
Danielle Ragenard & Kathy Ward Gabby & Alisdair Foster
Courtney Afrika Ainsle Asher
MsFitz & Elvis Di Fazio