THROUGHOUT this interview, Krstel Petrevski referred to herself as being “lucky” on 14 occasions.

But in life, you have to create your own luck, and that’s exactly what she’s done.

With an incredibly positive outlook, a rare sense of humility, an endless love for her family and a gratitude for life itself, ‘KP’ has travelled the country and achieved more than most in her first 20 years.

And one thing’s for sure: she’s not done yet.

This is her story – a journey from rural Western Australia to the big city of Melbourne.

“I’ve been very lucky with my upbringing,” Petrevski told Melbourne Media.

“Growing up in Halls Creek, surrounded by my family in the community all the time, there was never a time where I wasn’t with some form of my family members.

“You know how they say it takes a community to raise someone, that is literally so true and that’s something I’m very grateful for.”

And the impact Petrevski’s family has had on her is profound.

“I was very lucky to have my family and to be surrounded by all my loved ones 24/7,” she said.

“The way I like to say it is: you can never do something wrong and not have mum and dad find out about it.

“You’re related to everyone and it’ll get to mum and dad somehow.

“That’s the way I always talk about it.”

If that fear or being caught is what helped shape Petrevski into the infectiously enthusiastic human she is today, then it’s not a bad system.

The Western Australian spent the first 11 years of her life living in the Kimberley region, 3000 kilometres from Perth.

And in this seemingly secluded location, she experienced a lifestyle fond to many, but one she absolutely adored.

“I was very lucky with my culture,” Petrevski said.

“Growing up, being in a remote Aboriginal community, our traditions and our culture was very strong.

“I learned the ropes from a very young age – I was brought up in it, basically.

“We followed our traditional rules right through our whole childhood – everyone was in the same boat.”

Traditional ceremonies would be held on the same dates each year, while Sorry Business, which occurs for an extended period of time after a family member’s passing, is also of enormous importance.

Petrevski would be required to miss days at school throughout her childhood, but when she was at Halls Creek District High School – where students ranged from Kindergarten to Year 12 – she had some of the best times of her life.

“In Halls Creek, when I was at school, the majority of kids were Aboriginal,” she said.

“You were surrounded by your cousins – your family members were your teachers.

“Being in a remote community we grew up going to school in bare feet and footy shorts.

“We never had a uniform – we literally wore what you would wear at home to school.

“It was a very small school … but it was really cool because at recess and lunch we’d all play together.

“We’d have one basketball court and it was just a madhouse.

“You had two different games going at one end, then two other games going at the opposite end.

“It was always crazy – someone was bound to get hurt.”

And the fun continued after the final school bell rang.

“Every day after school we were never on phones, we never had phones,” Petrevski said.

“We were spending time with each other; going out to the bush, doing stuff like that.

“The beauty of living in a small town and being surrounded by family the whole time, is you know everyone and it’s safe to let your kids have the freedom to do what they want to do.

“After school, a big group of us, there’d be a good 20 of us, would tell our mums and dads that we were going to hang out together.

“We’d just walk down to the creek and play hide and seek, or ‘cord game’, we call it. Cord game is a form of tag.

“We’d play a big cord game right through town, so you’ve got 20 or 30 kids just running around playing it all afternoon.

“And we had a rule: home before the sun goes down and the street lights turn on.

“So that was the number one rule – that’s how we knew we had to get home.

“As soon as the street lights turned on you knew you had to get moving or you’d have your parents driving around looking for you, mad.”

Petrevski had a passion for being outdoors and craved having a ball in her hands from a young age.

Basketball and football were not only common sports in her home town, they were obsessions.

“There was not one kid that you would find who didn’t know how to play – you were just brought up into it,” she said.

“When it was raining, we’d all just finish school and go and run around playing basketball and football in the rain.

“It rarely rained, so some days we’d just go run around like crazy.

“It’s so cool, the whole community thing.

"Every afternoon and night we’d just play big pick-up games.

“It was never communicated, but everyone knew to just rock up there.

“So, we’d have 20 games of football in the one afternoon – teams of six or seven.

“First to three, if you lose you come off and the next team comes on.

“There was just a constant keep playing – no winner, no loser.”

It was the perfect childhood for a sprightly ‘KP’, but by the age of 11 she recognised her growth would come elsewhere.

Thus, she packed her bags and made the move to Sydney, settling into an Aboriginal boarding hostel for Kimberley students.

And while she had six cousins living locally, making the relocation slightly less daunting, there were challenges to the new arrangement.

“The difference with the city and being in a remote community is we were able to mix with other ages,” Petrevski said.

“Back home, we would play with the older students and hang out with them all afternoon, whereas in the boarding house and at school, it was very segregated.

“I was very lucky that I had [my cousins] there in Sydney with me … but the only time we would see them was in the house.

“Then as the years went by, they all graduated, so I was one of the last in Sydney before moving to Melbourne.”

And that’s where the next chapter – the sporting one – begins.

Although football was in Petrevski’s blood, her professional ambitions grew stronger – and more realistic – when she landed in Victoria.

“When I first moved down to Melbourne I was playing basketball and footy, but then it wasn’t until NAB League where I had to make the choice,” she said.

“With the boarding hostels, anything co-curriculum, you have to get yourself from A to B after school.

“I was playing out in Craigieburn for the Calder Cannons, so that’s a fair hike from where I went to school.

“So, I made the choice to stick with footy and it was the best choice I made.”

But with that choice came an almighty commitment.

“I would finish school at 3:20pm, then I would literally have to run for the bus stop, get on the bus and then the bus would take us all the way to the train station,” Petrevski said.

“I was very lucky – there were a few of us girls that all lived in the area that I played NAB League with.

“Some of those girls are Georgia Patrikios (St Kilda) and Maddy Prespakis (Carlton).

“So, me and Georgia would meet at the train station and catch the train up together. Then once we got on the Craigieburn line, we’d stop at the stop we needed to stop at and jump on a bus straight after.

“It was literally quick switches … and we would just get to training on time.

“And some nights we would have to do the same thing going back.

“That was every Tuesday and Thursday – that’s what we had to do.

“And being from a small Aboriginal community I can tell you now, I reckon my parents would’ve been terrified – knowing I’m jumping on buses and trains at all times of the night.”

As per the rest of Petrevski’s life, the leap of faith to move states and the commitment to her passion paid off, being drafted to the Demons with pick No.78 in the 2019 AFLW Draft.

She has since played four games in the red and blue, but it’s her impact off the field that may leave the longest lasting legacy with the club.

Last year, the No.31 designed Melbourne’s AFLW Indigenous guernsey, which has become the club’s clash jumper in 2022.

“I’ve always loved art,” she said.

“I think it’s amazing how people can tell stories and put stories on an art design.

“I don’t know how people do it – I don’t know how I do it sometimes.

“It’s unreal to think you can tell a story through art.

“Growing up in a small Aboriginal community, my family were all artists – I was lucky to be brought up surrounded by people who always did art.

“And I learned at a very young age how to tell stories through art.

“But it wasn’t until the last two years that I’ve actually honed into it and wanted to do it for myself.

“If you know me, I’m a ball of energy and I never have the patience to sit there and do it.

“Even now I get 20 minutes in and I’m jumping around trying to sit still.

“But after growing up a bit I’m now getting the patience to do it, so actually it’s been really exciting to tell stories through art work and share a bit of my culture and my family background with everyone.”

Petrevski’s background is unique and a privilege to learn about.

And she wouldn’t change a single aspect of her journey to date.

“I always say I get the best of both worlds: growing up in an Aboriginal community then getting to come and live in Melbourne,” she said.

“I absolutely love Melbourne and love the people in Melbourne.

“The culture that Melbourne brings is very different and that’s something I fell in love with.

“I’m very lucky to have friends here who I get to call family as well.

“Melbourne is such a beautiful place and it’s the home of footy – there’s never a dull moment.

“There’s always something going on, which I love.”

There’s also always something going on in the world of Krstel Petrevski, and whatever it is, it’s accompanied by a trademark ‘KP’ smile.