‘When I threatened to move out, she would always say to me, “If you move out you’re not part of the family anymore”. At the start she said she’d disowned me. She didn’t talk to me at first. It was really messy. There were a lot of words and anger but she also grew up in a war zone and her family wasn’t the most affectionate. So I don’t really hold that against her. I understand her reaction and I expected it. She always threatened to do that and she did it in the end.

“I moved out of home last year and in Arab, but also Iraqi families in particular, that’s a really big no-no. I went through a period where my family’s relationship, until now, became very fraught because of that. It’s seen as betrayal to the family. The culture is rooted in family and you can’t break it up until you’re married and you have your own family.

“My family’s quite conservative and I just didn’t fit there anymore. I couldn’t really see myself growing as a person. I had to sensor my thoughts a lot and I didn’t want to live like that. As soon as I saw the opportunity to move I did it.

“It’s definitely a clash of culture. I’m a writer and I guess that’s also what my writing’s about – the relationship between first generation immigrants like my mum who came here in adulthood and their kids who came up here being Australian with different values.”

‘I’ve always loved writing stories and I’ve always been drawn towards fantastical stories and comedy. When I grew up I used to get quite frustrated with television because I didn’t see many female characters in the shows I used to watch. I write children’s television shows and I got to a point about a year ago when I had this opportunity to write and I just thought, it’s perfect – maybe I can help make a change – to try to even the playing field.

‘You don’t tend to see a lot of female main characters or even sub-characters on television. The shows tend to be about boy characters that are really great and fantastic and save the day. If it is a girl, they’re usually a sister or they’re in trouble or a bit of a sidekick.

‘It means that young girls don’t learn to see themselves as potential heroes. They think that adventures and journeys are for boys and that they’re maybe supposed to be the sidekicks. If you grow up seeing that message over and over again it must have some sort of impact on you.’

Did you have someone in your life that encouraged you to do what you want to do?

‘I have an awesome mother and also a super awesome grandmother. They’re both very strong women. My mother was a single mum – she’s a poet now. My grandmother was an actress, a director and a model before most women even had jobs. She was one of the first women on television back in Adelaide. I grew up around them and because I was exposed to women like that I never really doubted that I could do the same thing. There are a lot of girls that don’t have that growing up. It’s amazing how much just one role model can change that.’

What advice would you give to young girls?

‘Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what it is that you love. It’s probably unlikely that people will give you that positive message so you’re going to have to discover the courage within yourself to believe that.’