Thousands of Australians are finding themselves cooped up in their hotels for two long weeks during the mandatory quarantine period.

Australian dancer, Ashleigh Perrie, an employee of Holland America Line’s MS Zaandam was sailing through Antarctica and onward to South America when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The performer has gone through quite an ordeal to get home.

After a 60-day stint stuck at sea, multiple quarantines, ship-wide lockdowns and outbreaks of coronavirus symptoms among hundreds of passengers and crew, Ms Perrie disembarked in the Netherlands and finally flew home to Perth.

While some might be hitting the bottle, or lazing about and binging on Netflix, Ms Perrie decided to find another way to bide the time.

Each day, the staff at the hotel deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner in paper bags.

Soon, an idea formed. She decided she would start fashioning outfits out of paper bags.

Ashleigh Perrie in her gladitorial outfit
Ashleigh Perrie in her gladiatorial outfit

“I am usually quite a creative person, I love doing art and I studied art for a bit — and obviously we have a lot to do with costuming and design within the theater industry and within the dance scene — so I do love making bits and pieces,” Ms Perrie told CNN Travel.

“But I think just the paper bags that kept coming and coming were really the inspiration.”

The bombshell made a number of different outfits – everything ranging from sportswear, gowns and cocktail dresses.

“The first design that popped into my head was a gown, I wanted something very extravagant, very formal, and as detailed as I could get with the items that I had,” she says.

“But the first one I actually ended up making was the tutu, in the end, the “Bag-erina” as I called it, because I needed the bags to stay in the form for that one and for a lot of the other costumes, I had to cut up the bags and use different shapes.”

Aside from the paper bags, Ms Perrie used anything she could ger her hands on – napkins, biodegradable containers and disposable cutlery.

Before she left, Ms Perrie filmed herself modelling each of her creations and took some of her favourites home.

“I’ve had great responses from everyone, just people appreciating how creative it was and how amazing it was to be able to do that when you’re locked inside a room for two weeks and you haven’t got anything else to do,” she said.

Ms Perrie said, after quarantine, how much she misses the sea and hopes to get back soon.

“The biggest problem we came up against was a lot of countries closing their borders, and the cruise companies trying to do everything they could to get us home, and just facing the difficulty of not having any sort of humanitarian help to let us disembark,” says Perrie.

“So, it would be interesting to see if, from this experience, something more positive can come out of it — and that maybe some policies can be put in place to deal with that sort of thing.”

Ashleigh Perrie in her gown
Ashleigh Perrie in her ‘gown’