AFLW Player Moana Hope Announces Engagement to Partner Isabella Carlstrom
"Keeping this a secret was exhausting."
After almost two years of dating, AFLW star and vocal women's and LGBTQ equality champion Moana Hope has announced she is engaged to partner Isabella Carlstrom.
The Collingwood forward, who will play for North Melbourne in 2019, confirmed the news via an Instagram post in which she detailed the moving reason Carlstrom proposed in front of Hope’s father’s grave.
"I told her that if she ever wanted to marry me she had to ask my dad,” Hope stated. “So she asked me to marry her at my dad's tombstone, so he was there when she asked me. It could never, ever get any more perfect than this. I said yes. Wedding bells are here.”
I told her that if she ever wanted to Marry me she had to ask my dad...😇💍 So she asked me to marry her at my Dads tombstone, so he was there when she asked me.... It could never, ever get anymore perfect then this.... I said yes. 💍 Wedding bells are here. (Excuse the pun) @isabellasofiacarlstrom #engaged #happyplace #bellbell #lockeddown #thingsmoneycantbuy
Despite long facing criticism and ignorance, including Carlstrom often being referred to as Hope’s "friend" throughout Australian news media, the couple have remained steadfast about celebrating their relationship and championing LGBTQ issues.
In September 2017, just three months before Australia voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a nationwide plebiscite, Hope and Carlstrom made a high-profile appearance at the 2017 Brownlow Medal and called for marriage equality whilst walking the red carpet.
"I couldn't be more excited or more grateful to walk the red carpet with the girl of my dreams,” Carlstrom posted on social media. “Love is love,” she added, including the hashtags #equality, #voteyes, and #lovealwayswins.
The word you’re looking for is “girlfriend”. pic.twitter.com/S8DA1aTqh9— Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) September 25, 2017
Not only has the couple long championed LGBTQ acceptance, Hope has also been a longstanding advocate for women's equality across male-dominated sports. Just last month, Hope challenged renowned AFL coach Mick Malthouse over his comments which claimed "football is a man's game."
"He made comments that for me were from the 1800s,” she told the ABC, before taking to social media to announce she would never allow a man to tell any women they shouldn't or couldn't play top-level sports.
The AFL women’s league was first introduced in February 2017. Since its inception, game style, scoring, and tactics have been widely criticized and examined. Many, including Malthouse, have claimed the game should be modified because women lack the strength and agility to play the original male game.
"That pretty much upset me. I wasn't going to sit there and listen to it," Hope added. "I woke up this morning and trained again and I'll just be one of many girls who proves him and many others wrong."