ABOUT

Hi I'm Ashlene! I started Aussie Women of Colour (AussieWOC) as an Instagram page in 2018 to celebrate Australian women of colour. After a lot of trolling and negativity which you can read about here, I changed the name to 'Unlearning Shit' to focus on a range of topics beyond racism in fashion and beauty. The journey has been an eye-opener and I'm proud to have a social community where we can exchange thoughts on anti-racism with both POC and Allies. On this blog, I post a little more about the unlearning journey.

I'm a proud Fiji-Indian woman in her forties. Born in Australia, despite the teasing I loved being Indian. Because of strict parents, I ran away from home at 18 and then left again at 22. I lived in New York City for 18 years and then Atlanta for 2 years. My parents had a traditional mindset at the time, which was rooted in white supremacy, Islamaphobia etc. The unlearning journey for me has always been about questioning the establishment & status quo. I want to find the hard truths. And it's been surprisingly healing so far. If you would like to support my work, you can check out my baby beauty business VAYCAY BEAUTY. I sell luxury shampoo and conditioner bars, and I love the thought that I'm helping people reduce their plastic. Now, back to unlearning together!

#PULLUPAUSTRALIA CAMPAIGN

#PullUpAustralia was a social campaign by Aussie WOC in 2020 aimed at addressing the lack of representation and/or misrepresentation of people of colour (POC) in Australian marketing and media. Unlike other social campaigns, we welcome everyone to "pull up". Anyone could participate by sharing the campaign on their social media and asking for more or better representation.

What asked for the following from brands:

1) 30% of POC representation

  • Race-conscience hiring across all levels of the company with importance on understanding how diversity helps your business

  • Non-performative inclusion of POC in marketing and advertising

  • For retailers stocking at least 30% POC-owned Aussie brands

2) Diversity and Inclusion training for existing staff with a special focus on education for white employees

3) Creating safe spaces for POC to operate and work in

4) Complete transparency of initiatives undertaken and ensure quotas and deadlines are attached action plans

Our current call to action is focused on fashion, beauty and media where we requested brands to commit to 1 in 4 people posts on Instagram being POC. Some of the brands that have committed are:

  • Vogue Australia

  • Zimmerman

  • Bec & Bridge

  • Frank Body

  • ModelCo & McoBeauty

The #PullUpAustralia campaign was a collective effort with Pull Up For Change Australia.