ACTOR Nicole Kidman has made more than just a mark on Hollywood – she’s made a sizeable dent.
The elegant star has put Australia on the map in Tinseltown and around the globe.
The red-headed beauty has come a long way since being teased by classmates about her hair and fair skin.
Now she is considered Australia’s top international export, an exceptional actor – and the perfect ambassador from Down Under.
Today she is appointed a companion in the general division of the Order of Australia (AC) for services to the performing arts as an acclaimed motion picture performer.
Kidman was also recognised for her dedication to health care through her contributions to the improvement of medical treatment for women and children and her advocacy for cancer research.
This acknowledgment also took into account her passion for youth services and her support for young performing artists, and for humanitarian causes, both domestically and internationally.
Kidman, 38, in the US this week, said via her publicist Wendy Day that it was a great privilege to be honoured with an AC.
“I am deeply moved that I have been chosen to receive this prestigious award,” she said.
“It is an honour beyond any of my expectations, and I thank Australia for giving it to me.”
Since bursting on to the scene as a freckle-faced teenager in BMX Bandits in 1983, Kidman has been carving a name for herself in the world of showbiz.
She had already established herself in local productions, but when she began to take on the world, she did so with gusto.
When Kidman eventually made her US debut opposite Sam Neill in the thriller Dead Calm in 1989, Hollywood began to sit up and listen.
In 2003 she received an Oscar, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a Golden Globe award for best actress in her role as writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours.
No other actress has achieved this feat.
While Kidman has not been a fixture on Australian soil in recent years, she has always referred to her life growing up in Sydney – never discounting her Aussie roots.
Her children, Isabella and Connor, spend regular time in the country with her family.
Kidman has previously expressed her appreciation of the sense of privacy and freedom she is able to enjoy in Australia.
She has always said she is thankful for the breaks that her homeland has given her. “I am grateful for the opportunities that Australia has given me, and it has always been a privilege to represent my country wherever and whenever I can,” she said.
Far beyond her motion picture achievements, Kidman’s charity work is of enormous significance.
She donates her time to the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Faure-Alderson Romanian Appeal – a charity which provides disabled Romanian orphans with assistance.
Kidman was named NSW Australian of the Year in 2004, and received a United Nations Citizen Award in the same year.