She is a true modern activist, literally shining from the inside out, with a beautiful inclusive vision for the future of the fashion industry. Her glowing beauty & refreshingly happy outlook simply radiate positivity, and it's contagious! There's no doubt in our minds that this woman, our muse, will achieve everything she puts out into the world. We can't wait!
Hey Mahalia, for those who don’t know you can you describe yourself in three words…
Thanks for having me! I would say Cheeky, Hard Working and Comfortable.
We are so excited to have connected with you and have you wear our jewels! It’s a dream come true as you really embody the MM Woman that we design for. Tell us how you got your start in the modelling industry, what you love about it and on the flip side, what you hate about it…
Starting in the industry wasn't easy for me - growing up in Darwin there isn't a lot of opportunity to branch into high fashion modelling. Upon moving to Sydney when I was 19 I was rejected by the agency I signed with in the past and had to spend a good year seeking and sourcing my own work, although it was tough it was the foundation that set me up to progress my career over the many years and an important lesson any model should learn! I moved over to London when I was 22 by myself and really saw my career take off overseas, finding my passion in body positivity and racial inclusion. Something I love about the industry is the ability to be the person who brings an idea and set together, I love extremely creative shoots and pushing boundaries, I love the boldness of the story telling by engaging people silently through one photograph. On the flip side I think what the industry is lacking or what I'm not too fond about is the lack of legislation, policies and laws that should be put in place to protect models, especially the younger models who are just getting started. As we have minimal laws and no unions many models are being exploited as they haven't been educated enough about their rights and obligations to themselves.
You are an absolute powerhouse honey! Not content with just taking over the fashion world in Australia and then worldwide, you have become a true activist and co-founded the movement Shine 4 Diversity. Why was this so important to you?
How does it make you feel to be making such a positive impact and to be considered a role model and change activist by women globally?
I know! So exciting! Shine 4 Diversity was such an important step in my personal life as well as my career. I felt that it was my obligation as somebody who had been in the industry for a long time as an established model to speak up. I guess in a way I see so many people talk about making a change but it's generally just self promotion, I wanted to establish change and with a worthy cause. I'm an activist verbally but I knew I had to do something bigger to bring the issues that I'm very passionate about to people's doorsteps to initiate that domino effect for change.
Growing up in Australia and witnessing the way media is established from TV to print- and as someone who's half indigenous and a first generation Australian from an immigrant parent I feel it's so important to do more than just writing posts. I owed it to all the women and men out there who didn't have a voice or platform like I do and to be Zeus with the lightning! Showing everyone that this is how you can do Diversity, and if i can do it, so can you and if you still claim that you can't, well your excuses aren't valid anymore. I guess what we really wanted was to take the subject of race being a taboo subject by creating something so positive and beautiful and having the campaign be a ice breaker into the topic of inclusion.
Happy, so extremely happy, seeing how many people reached out and spoke to us before the campaign launched, during and after was so humbling and made it all worth while. I truly deeply hope that what Shine did has helped and continues to help women for a long time. The next two campaigns we have planned I also hope will initiate change through cause of effect. I'm happy that I was able to do something I could look back on and be proud about.
Who do you personally look up to as a role model and for true inspiration?
I get asked this question a lot, and to be honest I don't have a role model, I'm my role model, I think every woman should be her own role model as it inspires yourself to be the best person you can be. If I'm ever questioning, i think of my favourite quote:
"So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in, breathe out and decide."
When I seek inspiration I listen to what the universe is guiding me towards, the answers it gives me and I look to my friends who are compassionate and strong.
Taking a leaf from your latest Shine campaign, what makes you feel most beautiful?
Oh mine is so easy! I feel so beautiful when I wake up on a mildly cold day in fresh white 1000 count sheets. For those brief moments waking up in that setting, I feel like a beautiful goddess.
Just like everyone else on the internet, we are total suckers for finding out the secrets to a good self care routine. What’s your tips and tricks?
Consistency! Its hard to get used to a 20 minute skin care routine day and night (and monthly facials) but the results pay off! I think the biggest thing we do is overcompensate by thinking we need peels and stuff to take away from the skin where realistically we need to hydrate the skin more than take away. A life changing facial for me was when i started doing Skin Needling, it completely regenerated my skin and moved scarring onwards and outwards.
Do you have a personal career highlight so far?
I feel like I'm blessed to have so many already! I got to work with Vogue Italia years ago, was Selfridges first Plus size model and got to release Shine 4 Diversity! I think so far those are some of my most proudest moments.
What’s next for Mahalia and what are you most excited about for the rest of the year?
I'm on my way to New York City baby! My Visa was recently approved and I'm just about to move abroad again which i am THRILLED about! ALSO Shine.2 comes out later this year and I am just super excited to get to come through and speak about a different area of diversity.
Can you tell us what your favourite MM jewels are…
I LOVE every single ring
that MM have! My Gloria earrings and ya know your girl loves anything to do with snakes! So the Cleo
earrings I LIVE for.