Have you ever flicked through a magazine or looked at a billboard and remarked to yourself just how similar all the models are? You know - tall, wafer thin, fair skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed... and did you think how this look wasn't representative of so many people you know?
I sure have. It was for this very reason that I decided at 14 years old to put down fashion magazines for good. What was in there just wasn't me, and thankfully I was smart enough at that age to realise that I was doing myself emotional damage by comparing myself to those types of images. And as my life went on, this feeling was confirmed, again and again, each time I turned on the TV or flicked through a waiting room magazine.
And then last week I came across something extremely cool and inspiring. Two models by the name of Mahalia Handley and Shareefa J were sick and tired of seeing this lack of diversity, and so did something about it.
They started Shine 4 Diversity (#shine4diversity) - a social campaign to raise awareness of the lack of diversity in not just the fashion industry, advertising, acting, the arts, you name it. They want to see people of all colours, cultures and walks of life better represented throughout industry. As Mahalia points out, "Australian is built on indigenous ground, I don't understand why we're not using more models of colour."
Our aim is to normalise the use of ethnic models and talent and to create equal opportunity for artists of all ethnicities.
Australia is full of diversity, and these ladies believe that what we see in our media should reflect this, and we agree wholeheartedly! You can see their goosebump-inducing campaign video below.
If you - like us - love what this campaign is about, or you'd like to learn more, go give them a follow at @shine4diversity and help spread the word. Together we can help re-create the face of Australia, to something that truly represents and celebrates our culture, our history, our colour and our diversity.