Strong and proud: calendar celebrates Aboriginal beauty

The beauty of Aboriginal women is celebrated in a calendar launched this week – but it is expected to elicit more interest overseas than in Australia.

The swimwear calendar, aimed at promoting indigenous models, is being produced by Nova Peris, the former Olympic athlete. Ms Peris said she hoped it would raise the self-esteem of Aboriginal women. She said: "We want to say [to indigenous girls]: 'Get out there and be proud.'"

A similar calendar flopped five years ago, but the image of indigenous women has since been boosted by the rise of a schoolgirl model, Samantha Harris, tipped by some to become the first Aboriginal supermodel.

The 17-year-old was spotted by an agency three years ago after reaching the finals of a competition run by teenage magazine, Girlfriend. Since then she has modelled for David Jones, Australia's equivalent of Selfridges, for leading local designers including Alex Perry, and for Lancôme, the cosmetics company.

Last year she was flown to New York to take part in a fashion shoot for Glamour, conducted by the internationally renowned photographer, Patrick Demarchelier. Until then, she had never been abroad, and had rarely left her home town, Bonora Point, on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

Ms Peris, who won a gold medal in hockey at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said Aboriginal girls still faced discrimination. Her daughter, Jessica, a junior athlete, is one of 14 models in the calendar, which was shot by Wayne Quilliam, one of Australia's few indigenous professional photographers. He told The Australian newspaper: "I believe the beauty of Aboriginal women is the essence of Australia – strong, proud and unique."

The calendar's co-ordinator, Sharnee Hegarty, said the models' beauty was appreciated more abroad than at home. "It's sad," she said. "There's been interest from Europe and America. Australia is really missing out. These girls are no less than the models the industry already uses, and their difference shines."

Shannon McGuire, a 23-year-old who features on the calendar cover, told The Sydney Morning Herald that most people "don't see the beauty in the [Aboriginal] culture because everything in the media is so negative".

However, Samantha Harris, who has an Aboriginal mother and a German father, is playing a small part in changing perceptions. "I'm really proud of my Aboriginal heritage. I want to do well for my culture and for my family," she said.

Ms Harris, who has modelled at both Australian Fashion Week and New Zealand Fashion Week, said that indigenous girls rarely saw positive images of themselves in the media. She revealed her favourite model was Naomi Campbell, but she has yet to display Ms Campbell's temperamental behaviour.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project