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Rising stars: Meet the young West Australians lighting up our future

Bright. Young. Passionate.

And each is a rising star in their chosen field.

Their backgrounds are vastly different but they share common traits — an incredible work ethic and a desire to succeed. As part of a new series starting today, The West Australian will spend the next few weeks revealing who we believe are the State’s “rising stars”.

They’re names you may not have heard of before, but ones that in decades to come may be politicians, Nobel Prize winners or celebrities.

And while we have a strong list already, we’ve also left some spots in our 50 up for grabs. This is because we want you, our readers, to let us know if there’s a bright young rising star who we should call out.

Temur Kuybokarov, 17, Chess champion

Chess champion Temur Kuybokarov.Chess champion Temur Kuybokarov.
Camera IconChess champion Temur Kuybokarov.Picture: Danella Bevis

For Temur, chess is part science, part sport and part art. He has loved the game since his mother taught him to play at just five, and he now travels the world as a professional.

Last month he was crowned champion at the Australian Chess Open in Melbourne and has his sights set on the World Cup in Russia.

He moved to Australia from Uzbekistan with his parents three years ago and recently changed federations so he could represent his adopted country. “I work eight hours a day, sometimes more. We practise tactics and strategy,” he said.

“I want to inspire other young kids to take up chess.”

Carla Geneve, 20, Singer-songwriter

Albany singer-songwriter Carla Geneve.Albany singer-songwriter Carla Geneve.
Camera IconAlbany singer-songwriter Carla Geneve.Picture: Danella Bevis

Since coming to Perth from Albany three years ago, Carla Geneve has become one of the most promising talents in a music scene that boasts world-class stars such as Tame Impala, Methyl Ethel and Stella Donnelly.

She took out the Triple J Unearthed competition to win a spot on next month’s Laneway Festival in Fremantle, where she will share the stage with Gang of Youths, Middle Kids and her hero, Melbourne rocker Courtney Barnett.

Geneve has played east and west coast festivals.

The canny lyricist and ace guitarist turned heads with her second single, Greg’s Discount Chemist, a garage rock tune about a trip to the North Perth pharmacy now called Blooms the Chemist.

In November, the song was named best single at the WAMAwards, where Geneve also won the trophy for best rock act.

Frankie Galati, 29, Chief executive

Businessman Frankie Galati, heir to the Spudshed empire.Businessman Frankie Galati, heir to the Spudshed empire.
Camera IconBusinessman Frankie Galati, heir to the Spudshed empire.Picture: Danella Bevis

The Galati name is part of WA business folklore and while patriarch Tony remains the face of the Spudshed empire, son Frankie now works alongside him as joint chief executive.

Frankie has been helping his dad on the farm since he was seven years old. He cut his teeth as a door-to-door salesman in Queensland — which taught him life lessons of persistence, taking rejection, and getting on with the job — before university.

The retail side of the business has been his recent focus, with two more stores planned for Butler and Joondalup this year.

Frankie, who also models and has four children with wife Amber, inherited his dad’s business nous and work ethic.

“He also taught us whatever situation we were in we could always work our way out of it and find a solution. It’s about holding your head up and keeping going,” he said.

Iris Smit, 23, Beauty entrepreneur

Iris Smit, inventor of The Quick Flick.Iris Smit, inventor of The Quick Flick.
Camera IconIris Smit, inventor of The Quick Flick.Picture: Danella Bevis

The Dunsborough-raised entrepreneur has created a $10 million beauty business which is headed for huge expansion.

Iris started her winged eyeliner tool Quick Flick in 2017. Last year she launched in Priceline stores across the country, leading to cult status.

“I noticed people constantly having to ask for help at the beauty store to see how to use products properly,” she said.

“I thought, surely there’s a brand out there you can go to that has easy make-up solutions that anyone, of any skill level, could do. But there wasn’t.”

Ms Smit now has 14 staff in her Subiaco office and others internationally.

This year she plans to launch a new product every month.

Luke Jackson, 17, Footballer

Luke Jackson, the multi-talented 17-year-old who is a star at both basketball and AFL.Luke Jackson, the multi-talented 17-year-old who is a star at both basketball and AFL.
Camera IconLuke Jackson, the multi-talented 17-year-old who is a star at both basketball and AFL.Picture: Danella Bevis

This year is shaping as the biggest of Luke Jackson’s life.

The 200cm teen is touted as a first-round AFL draft pick after making the difficult decision last year to pursue footy over basketball — his first sporting love as a young boy. Clarity came half-way through a week-long basketball camp at Canberra’s Australian Institute of Sport. He found he could not stop thinking about footy.

“I enjoyed both just as much but I reckon I have more opportunity in footy, and it’s where I see myself in the future,” he said. “It’s my dream to play in the AFL.”

Luke, who is one of four brothers, said his family would help him to stay focused during his last year of school and as the draft approached.

“My goal is to have a consistent year in footy and in school and stay grounded,” he said.

Katharine Noonan, 28, Doctor

Dr Katharine Noonan is considered one of the brightest stars in WA health.Dr Katharine Noonan is considered one of the brightest stars in WA health.
Camera IconDr Katharine Noonan is considered one of the brightest stars in WA health.Picture: Danella Bevis

Katharine, a 2012 Rhodes Scholar, has already had a significant impact on the WA health system.

The University of WA graduate did a Masters in Global Health in Oxford in 2014 and after working in London returned to Perth to take up a policy role with the Australian Medical Association.

This saw her carry out public health submissions, including presenting to parliamentary inquiries on issues such as euthanasia.

Clinical work called again and last week Katharine started a new role at Perth Children’s Hospital.

“What I’m aiming to do is become a public health physician, combining policy and research with clinical work,” she said.

“I’ve always been interested in paediatric and with prevention, so much starts with childhood.”

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