Who is the Polished Man?

November 20, 2015

Everybody loves a good local success story.

Especially one that has grown from a grassroots movement.

Even better if it’s in the business of doing good.

And one that is a little bit quirky – that is, having the guts to break social norms – has the legs to go far.

Melbourne has been a hot spot for Victoria’s burgeoning start-up community and social innovation in recent years. It seems like the World’s Most Liveable City (for 5th year running) has created a unique environment where there is a palpable thirst to push the boundaries of social innovation. Movember and Who Gives A Crap are just a couple of noticeable campaigns that have gained international traction, while Streat and Crepes for Change are making waves in the local scene.

Polished Man - Hitting the trifecta

The recent Polished Man campaign by YGAP has hit the afore-mentioned trifecta of factors for a viral campaign.

From Oct 1-15, Polished Men paint one fingernail to represent the 1 in 5 children globally who suffer violence before the age of 18.

It's a Melbourne-grown campaign and in its the second year running, has gone global reaching the USA, and some parts of Europe.

The start of a global movement

This campaign evolved from an experience YGAP CEO, Elliot Costello, had when visiting Hagar International in Cambodia – an organization that restores wholeness to the lives of women and children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam that have been torn apart by human rights abuse.

There, Elliot met a young girl named Thea.

Despite their language barrier, Elliot and Thea connected over naughts and crosses. At the end of the night, Thea drew a love heart on Elliot’s palm, and coloured his nails bright blue.

The next day Elliot learnt about Thea’s life story. Thea’s mother chose to send her to an orphanage in hope that Thea would be granted a safe refuge following her father’s death. She was given anything but; at just eight years old, Thea was raped on a daily basis for two years by the orphanage carer – the very man who was meant to protect her.

Her tragic, yet hopeful story would be the start of a global movement.

Polished Man 2015 - Thea's story from YGAP on Vimeo.

Breaking social norms

For guys, painting a nail is extremely weird; it breaks social norms and creates great discomfort. But it gets conversation started. Ambassadors for the campaign comprise a tribe of men like Michael Klim, Hamish McLachlan, Josh Gibson, Jobe Watson, Chris Judd, and Waleed Aly, embody the polished standards of what it means to be a polished man and a change-maker in today’s society.  

This highly social campaign is live from Oct 1-15, and fundraising ends on October 31. 

Join in by signing up as a Polished Man to end violence against children, or donating to a Polished Man (how about us!), and tagging your polished nail on social media with #PolishedMan, and for the ladies, ‘I prefer a #PolishedMan’.