Angel Dixon OAM
Have you ever noticed the lack of or confusing representation of people with disability in media? For Mrs Angel Dixon OAM, this lack of inclusion drove her to seek equitable representation in media and advertising in Australia. She was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2021 Honours List for her service to people with a disability, and to social inclusion.
As a Director of the Attitude Foundation’s Board, and former Chief Executive Officer from 2018 to 2020, Angel has played a key role in furthering the Foundation’s goal to ‘shape a new understanding of disability through the promotion and development of media content that provides realistic portrayals of people with disability’. Angel is also involved in modelling for media and advertising material, and is currently working with Griffith University on research in preserving the dignity of people with disability when interacting with health services. On top of all this, Angel has designed a walking cane; however, going to market has been put on hold, as she embraces her most recent and special role as a new mother, welcoming her son Chester into the world with her husband Scott in late 2020.
Despite being Queensland Young Australian of the Year in 2019, Angel was still shocked to be recognised by the Order of Australia. “It was shocking, a mix of emotions, there’s no words. I’m very proud to be able to continue the work that I do and to know that it’s been recognised at this level”. As someone fascinated with the Honours system, Angel’s mother was extremely excited, while her husband Scott “is never shocked by these things happening to me anymore, he thinks I’m at ‘that level’. He is very supportive.”
For Angel, the highlight of her work is connecting with others. She also receives numerous messages from people with and without disability sharing that her work has changed the way they think about disability. Angel explains that this is where she finds her deep purpose.
Speaking about the Order of Australia, Angel admits “I’m always very humbled and wary of receiving awards because what I do isn’t a career, it’s my lifestyle. I have to advocate for myself every day anyway, so why wouldn’t I continue to advocate for others as well?”. This appears to be a common sentiment among Order of Australia recipients, with the Governor General His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) noting that “recipients have not put their hands up to be recognised. Most would consider the achievements that they are being recognised for to be ‘ordinary’ or just what they do.”
Despite this, Angel hopes that people will consider nominating those who work hard for the causes they believe in. “In those tough times, when you’re battling inequities and it’s really hard, it’s nice to know you’ve been recognised and it keeps me going. If you believe in someone’s work, you should nominate them. It can only amplify their message and help the work they do”.