Words by @aiyanaalexander: “I was born and raised in Australia and have always relished in the multiculturalism that we have to offer here. And sadly, when I first started in the industry that beautiful multiculturalism wasn’t truly represented and celebrated. At the age of 14, being a black, size 10 girl, I found it extremely challenging to find my stride and completely break into the industry due to the beauty standards that Australia held so steadfast (typically, a size 6-8 blonde) and not seeing women that looked like me frequently book magazine covers, campaigns or runways. I found it hard to book jobs, often questioned whether being in this industry was something I really wanted to do, and went as far as relaxing my natural hair and trying to lose weight to try to fit into a mold. As I have gotten older, I have seen the barriers that surround the industry slowly begin to break down. While we still have a long way to go, I am seeing more ethnicities, body types/shapes, heights, and abilities celebrated. I want young boys and girls, no matter what they look like, to be able to identify with the models they see in magazines and shopping windows. And I hope that with more people asking for change in the industry that equal inclusivity will be the norm, because there is room for all of us.”
Words by Barsha (@chilli.flakez): “Modelling is definitely not about how glam or fashionable you are; it's about you, your story and your message for the young/future generations. I moved here 5 years ago from Bangladesh and I wanted to be model in my country, but had to start here. When I started, I was literally shocked at the monoculturalism of the modelling world and how it didn’t represent our beautiful diverse Australia. While people are so friendly, supportive and so diverse in Australia, unfortunately the media was not. That's where I stepped in because we need change and I want to be a voice for younger generations especially brown skin girls. I know so many Bangladeshi women that want to model but looking at billboards/campaigns they step back thinking we can't make it. I wanted to (show them) we can make it and I'm glad to see how the modelling world is changing. I want to be a part of the world where we welcome women of all colours, sizes, shapes, heights and we celebrate each other. Thank you Aussie WOC for your support!