Magnolia

Aboriginal teen model smashes stereotypes and makes history

Maminydjama 'Magnolia' Maymaru. (Instagram/Miss World Australia)

An Aboriginal teenager from the tiny Australian outback town of Yirrkala, hundreds of miles from the nearest city, is making modeling history. Maminydjama Maymuru, 19, will be the first indigenous model to represent the Northern Territory (the least populous of the nation’s eight major states and territories) in the Miss World Australia competition.

Modeling under the name ‘Magnolia,’ Maymuru initially declined an offer of catwalk work because she was focused on her high school exams, but after being spotted a year later by the same scout she decided to “try something different,” making her first fashion show appearance last October in the territory’s capital city of Darwin.

“Maymaru is smashing stereotyped notions of blonde, blue-eyed beauty,” wrote Aboriginal studies expert Dr. Liz Conor for The Conversation. “Still, the question remains whether Aboriginal women like her can assert a distinct Aboriginal beauty without falling into entrenched notions of the ‘Native Belle,’ with all its trappings of exoticism and objectification.”

Maymaru is enjoying her new career, and aims to “break the cycle of how people see life back in the community,” where — she added — she would “trade anything” to go for a weekend of fishing and camping.

“I want people to know that it took a lot for me to come out of my shell and do this,” she said.

 

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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