Koalas are cute and cuddly right? Not always! We caught up with one Koala who can grapple with the best of them. Jess Fraser is the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt behind Koala Jiu Jitsu. She is an advocate for women in sport and our partner in the Koala Bio Protection Soap Bar.
The Koala Bio Protection Bar is our palm oil free, vegan certified, skin defence soap bar. Formulated with Eucalyptus oil and Tea Tree oil, it is packed with natural antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. This assists with fungal infections and helps to stimulate your immune system.
Lets find out more from Jess...
Who is Jess Fraser?
I am a loud, proud female Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt that is excited to focus on personal excellence within my sport as well as proactively focused on the growth and development of our martial arts community toward a more inclusive space for women & older athletes.
My friends would describe me as.
My closest friends would describe me as funny and smart as they see me beyond my role in sport and the community. Most people in my community would describe me as fearless and a trailblazer. Both groups would describe me as a visible and strong advocate for women in martial arts.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, tell us about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and your work in the sport community.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a full contact sport played in gyms against, with and by all sizes, abilities and genders. It is the ground fighting aspect of both Judo and MMA. It involves locks, controls and chokes but does not involve striking. BJJ is a game of strategy and skill over brute force or athletism (though this also can be played as a strategy) for this reason the sport can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
Though BJJ has recently become more visible within the wider community, it continues to be a male dominated sport. Having played the sport to a world class level (after starting at the age of 30) and as a woman I am keenly aware that this is a sport perfectly suited to women. My career outside my gym time focuses on the retention of women in the sport as I wish to see BJJ offered as the gender neutral sport it truly is. Much like weight lifting, this is a sport that could benefit everyone and has infinite ways to play that are suitable for each person's needs.
Through my work with Australian Girls In Gi, I create events, merchandise, uniforms and community for women. The group, AGIG, advocates for women and works to make us more visible, with our ultimate goal being to draw more women to the sport.
My spirit animal is...
The drop bear. Elusive, rare, small, sometimes cute, lethal. I have to show my public face, the koala, in social media and online so as to not scare too many people off. This is how I became Koala Jiu Jitsu.
Why did you choose to partner with nude beauty products on the Koala Bio Protetion Bar?
The nude Koala Bio Protection bar is an initiative and product that aligns with my personal ethics, needs and ideas. As a grappler hygiene is paramount to health and therefore, safety. I prioritise mine and expect the same of my team mates and training partners. Soap that can reliably cleanse the skin after training is essential kit for grapplers. The Koala Protection bar goes further to be all natural product, non harming to the environment. Eucalyptus is my fave because, well, Im a koala…
When I first spoke to nude and they suggested we send part of profit sales to Friends of Koala, it was the main reason I wanted to be involved. Any opportunity to support our endangered koalas is something I want to be involved with & I love that nude were keen to find a way that I could throw my support and influence their way.
Outside of sport, what’s your proudest achievement?
I’m most proud of creating and maintaining a nationally successful womens sports community for over a decade. I have achieved that epic effort without government funding or outside support.
Who are your heroes?
If I start to speak about my family & friends here I’ll cry. Because truly it is them that I pedestal the most and strive to be like. So they would be my heroes.
To answer the question more simply: Ripley. And Sarah Connor.
As a girl, seeing strong female characters represented in movies…. even if only two amongst thousands of representations of strong male heroes…. was deeply impactful. Since seeing them, and feeling awe, inspiration and adoration as a young child, I have never minimised the role and importance of visibility of women in leadership roles and their ability to change a person's view of themselves and what their opportunities, not limitations, might be. This visibility, even though small, inspired the entire direction and motivation of my martial arts career.