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New magazine hopes to give CALD women a voice and profile

15 October 20140 comments
Ascension magazine

Ascension magazine

A new digital magazine is hoping to change the way women from diverse backgrounds are represented in the media.

Ascension Magazine has been founded by former model Sasha Sarago, who was forced to quit the industry because of a lack of opportunities for models such as her from CALD backgrounds.

Ms Sarago, who identifies herself as Indigenous and African American, says the lack of diversity in Australia’s modeling industry has been a topic of debate for many years.

“When you look at the Australian fashion industry, there’s a breakdown of 1100 models. With that breakdown, there are 16 Chinese models and seven Indigenous models. Now that’s very minimal to say the least,” she said.

The Australian magazine industry is estimated to be worth nearly $900 million a year, with six magazines reportedly being sold every second. Ascension Magazine hopes to cash in on that.

It is Australia’s first indigenous and ethnic women’s lifestyle magazine. It aims to revolutionise how Australian indigenous and ethnic women look, think and feel about themselves by focusing on women of all shapes, sizes and diverse ethnicities.

It also aims to give a voice to Australia’s indigenous and ethnic women.

Ms Sarago says many women don’t feel represented by the industry.

“At the moment a lot of women feel invisible because they don’t have that representation back. It’s about feeling connected and having an identity that they can flourish in,” she said.

“When you don’t have the representation, you’re forced to look at certain imagery and identify with things that don’t represent you. So it’s really about bringing the power back to the woman and speaking the truth and embracing who they are as a person as well as their cultural identity,” Ms Sarago said.

She said the Australian fashion industry needed to start celebrating the nation’s diversity.

“It makes me feel really proud that Australian society is moving forward. We are rich, diverse and very unique as a nation and we need to start celebrating that,” Ms Sarago said.

“Australia’s cultural identity is further strengthened through the sharing of culturally diverse stories and experiences not readily available via Australia’s mainstream media,” she said.

South Sudanese Australian model Ajak Deng is in demand internationally but she says although she is highly sought after overseas she struggles to find work back in Australia.

Ascension Magazine is expected to hit digital news-stands later this month.

AMES Staff Writer