Shantae's starring role earns award

YOUNG STAR: Shantae Barnes-Cowan accepts the Whyalla Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year award from Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin.
YOUNG STAR: Shantae Barnes-Cowan accepts the Whyalla Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year award from Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin.

A TV star in the making, it's clear that Shantae Barnes-Cowan's future is bright.

That was recognised on Sunday when she received the Whyalla Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year award.

Shantae starred in ABC miniseries Total Control alongside well-known Australian actors Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths last year, gleaning some of their wisdom while getting experience in the industry.

She played Jess Clake, an escapee from youth detention, in a role that she described as 'fun' and 'different'.

Shantae's onscreen TV debut was recognised by the Casting Guild of Australia, who named her one of their Rising Stars for 2019.

"That was very exciting, being my first role on TV," she said.

"Acting is something I really enjoy, it was a good experience. You get to meet a lot of different people, the stars were very inspiring.

HAPPY: Shantae said she was 'very proud' to receive the award.

HAPPY: Shantae said she was 'very proud' to receive the award.

"Deborah Mailman was very welcoming to me."

While being mentored on the show, Shantae has also served as a mentor to other young Aboriginal people in the state through her role as Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) Ambassador for South Australia.

In 2018 she traveled to Melbourne with 14 other students to promote the importance of literacy to aboriginal children on Indigenous Literacy Day.

She supported the ILF's goal of raising $300,000 to gift over 30,000 new books to remote Indigenous communities by raising $100 through a book swap at Memorial Oval Primary School.

"It's really good to be able to give back to people in need," Shantae said.

Shantae has also excelled in local sport, representing Whyalla at a state level in both basketball and netball, playing locally for the Whyalla Steelers Basketball team.

"I really love playing in a team, because you get to work together - it feels good when we win as well," she said

Shantae said she was 'proud and excited' to receive the Young Citizen of the Year award - and said her mother was in tears when she found out.

"I was completely surprised but I was very proud of myself," she said.