Miss NAIDOC Perth 2014 will be crowned tomorrow at the Perth Concert Hall. Ten strong and proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women will contend for the title in front of more than 200 guests.
Many of the young women see participating in Miss NAIDOC Perth as a way to counteract negative stereotypes of Aboriginal people, 18-year-old Amy Groves says.
“I’ve always been brought up not to judge. But the media does judge and portrays Aboriginal people negatively. I want to change how the media thinks of my culture. There are a lot of racist comments, which are unfair, as we have never been given a chance,” says Amy.
For 24-year-old Sara Cooper the competition is a step outside the comfort zone for many of the young women, but one they have all enjoyed.
“I’m so excited to be part of such an uplifting program. It’s something I’ve wanted to for a long time, and I’m honoured that Miss NAIDOC Perth saw me as a positive role model for others,” says Sara.
The crowning is a celebration of the Miss NAIDOC Perth participants’ completion of a six-week long Empowerment and Leadership Program, where they have received training in modelling, cultural networking, leadership development and mentoring in professional and personal presentation.
Shannon McGuire mentor at the David Wirrpanda Foundation is the Miss NAIDOC Perth Mentor. She is a former contestant in Miss Universe Australia and Fox8’s Australia’s Next Top Model and has been the Program mentor since it started in 2011. Shannon is honoured to follow the participants’ developments throughout the program.
The NAIDOC Perth Chairperson, Glenda Kickett is proud of the girls and admires their diversity and the vibrant community they create through their participation in Miss NAIDOC Perth.
“This is our fourth year of Miss NAIDOC Perth. The calibre of girls that are entering each year seems to exceed our expectations and the girls this year are no exception. They are all leaders in their own right in their work, their studies and the community. It gives us great hope for our future,” says Glenda.
Four prizes will be awarded on the night including Miss NAIDOC Perth, Runner-Up Miss NAIDOC Perth, Miss Kworbadok and Miss Photogenic. Kworbadok means ‘beautiful’ in Noongar and will be chosen by the girls themselves, while Miss Photogenic will be selected by the renowned international photographer Mr Carlo Fernandez.
Krista McMeeken, Miss NAIDOC Perth 2011, will MC on the night, which will include performances by the entrants, entertainment from Kwarbah Djookan, ABMUSIC students Natasah Eldridge and Torriana Torres and the Dulcitones, and drinks and canapés for the audience to enjoy.
This year the girls are modelling the Urban Warrior collection from Aarli Designs by upcoming local designer Aboriginal Teagan Cowlishaw. Teagan is of Bardi descendent, with Bunaba / Ngikina and Chinese kinship. This heritage has led itself to the name of her label, Aarli, the Bardi name for fish. Teagan’s vision with the Urban Warrior collection is to use local resources by designing a ‘ready to wear’ sustainable collection using organic fabrics and upcycled dead stock from Australian label – Nobody Denim.
Miss NAIDOC Perth 2014 is organised by the Miss NAIDOC Perth Working Group that consists of Glenda Kickett, Helen Humes, Rishelle Hume, Krista McMeeken and 2013 Miss NAIDOC Perth participant Mikayla King.
Miss NAIDOC Perth is proudly sponsored by Woodside and Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
For the full bios of the finalists, click HERE
All photos courtesy Carlo Fernandes @ Mira Studios & Equipment