This article is from the first issue of CommBank's magazine, Brighter.

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Ellyse Perry is famous for firsts. At 16, she became the youngest ever cricketer to represent Australia. A prodigy and an all-rounder, she went on to become the only Australian athlete to score both a century in an Ashes series and a goal at a soccer World Cup. And now she’s the first to feature in Brighter’s column on money.

Would you call yourself a good saver or are you better at spending?

I’m actually quite a good saver – it’s my personality. Growing up, any spare change I collected, whether it was pocket money or money from birthday or Christmas presents, went straight into my account. I’ve never been a big spender. Some would call me boring!

If you won a million dollars is there anything surprising you’d do with it?

I’d definitely buy my mum a new car. She’s reluctant to get a new one because she’s so attached to the prehistoric Subaru that she drives around in.

What about something for yourself?

I’d love to own a property in the country at some point... somewhere not too big and not too far from the ocean and maybe with a couple of horses. It would be a place I could escape to. That’s my pipedream.

Ellyse Perry Ellyse Perry

You often refer to yourself as a coffee nut and you even co-owned a couple of cafes. What did you learn from that experience?

I’m no longer involved in the cafés but running a small business was an eye-opening experience, understanding just how difficult it is. The pressures are so much harder than going out and playing cricket. I’ve always had a really strong interest in coffee. Travelling around the world a lot, the girls and I like finding cool coffee shops wherever we are. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local vibe.

How did the 2017 pay deal with Cricket Australia change things for you as a sportswoman?

There’s been steady progress around the professionalism of the women’s game and since then I’ve never looked back. As an athlete you have a finite career as far as your body is concerned so it’s good to be spending less time on promotional work and more time playing a game I really love – and hopefully getting better at it.

“Growing up, any spare change I collected would go straight into my account. I’ve never really been a big spender.”

With that said, there’s a big disparity between men’s and women’s pay at an elite level. How do you feel about that?

More improvements in parity will flow through [like April’s momentous new pay deal that makes cricketers the highest-paid female athletes in Australian team sports] but there are a lot of good opportunities out there. Generally speaking, female sport has a really positive narrative around it at the moment and I think that’s attractive to the public. That, in turn, attracts sponsors. 

Interview by Barry Divola. Photography by Steven Chee.

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