ZOEY: The Woman Behind The Handshake

Writing by Freya Bennett

In the last few days, the image of above Cobargo woman, Zoey Salucci-McDermott refusing and then being forced to shake the prime minister’s hand has gone viral.

Zoey’s strength and resilience when asking the prime minister for more help for the RFS after she lost her home and him subsequently turning his back on her has become just another nail in the coffin of his leadership.

Photographs by Sean Davey
Photographs by Sean Davey
Photographs by Sean Davey
Photographs by Sean Davey

I reached out to Zoey to offer support from the Ramona community as well as finding out what she needs and whether I can share some of what I have with her. A kind soul, Zoey’s graciousness was evident in our brief chats over Instagram as she sheltered in a caravan on the town’s oval, the sky returning to the apocalyptic red of Australia’s national disaster. Her fear was evident as she protected her daughter and unborn baby from the smoke outside.

Although Zoey and her partner Michael were renters, they lost all their belongings as well as the house they called home. While the owners of their property were insured, Zoey and Michael weren’t and so have to rebuild while dealing with this disaster and preparing for the arrival of their baby.

Photographer Sean Davey has set up a GoFundMe that Zoey tells me is the only legitimate one and Ramona would love if we could gather this beautiful community together to support this family.


Freya Bennett

Freya Bennett is the Co-Founder and Director of Ramona Magazine for Girls. She is a writer and illustrator from Melbourne, Australia who has a passion for youth rights and mental health. To combat her own battle with anxiety and hypochondria, you can find Freya boxing, practicing yoga, taking sertraline and swimming in the ocean. She believes in opening up about her mental health struggles and shining a light on what is not spoken about. Freya welcomed her first daughter, Aurora into the world on the 21st of November, 2017 and spends her days building blocks, reading stories and completely exhausted. With a passion for grassroots activism and creative community, Freya began Ramona Magazine as an alternative to boring, image-obsessed teen media. The magazine is founded upon Freya’s core values of creative expression, equality and kindness. You can follow her on Instagram @thecinnamonsociety

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