Ultimate slashie Nakkiah Lui has been receiving a host of praise after posting a preview of her Harpers Bazaar's cover photo, to be featured in the magazine's upcoming Australia and New Zealand September edition.
Lui shared the powerful image of herself, wearing Prada and adorned in Cartier jewels, to her Instagram page late on Thursday evening. In her post, she said she was uncharacteristically speechless at the life-changing opportunity.
"It’s very rare that I am ever at a loss for words but I am so overwhelmed that I’m not sure what to say!"
In a post on their Instagram page, Harpers Bazaar spoke about their decision to have the First Nations woman on the cover.
"Nakkiah is at once powerful and elegant, confident and considerate, raw and charming: in other words, the ultimate embodiment of the spirit and the future of BAZAAR," the post read.
The September issue marks an important re-launch of Harpers Bazaar into the Australian market, after the sale of publishing house Bauer Media in 2020 saw the fashion magazine axed.
Lui acknowledged her personal journey so far as being one of struggle, but that she found strength through her family and culture.
"I had a rough time from my childhood to my early twenties," Lui wrote
"I felt like I lived in a world that didn’t want me. It was when my nana passed away I realised that I was the legacy of her, of my ancestors, and that can make me brave and that’s what I try to do by telling stories.
The first Indigenous model to feature on the cover of a popular Australian fashion magazine was Elaine George, featured in a 1993 shoot for Vogue, and then again in 2010 with Samantha Harris.
While the aesthetics and beauty standards of the local fashion industry still has a long way to go, Lui's cover follows a recent trend in fashion, embracing and celebrating diversity in their coverage and cover models, and in particular First Nations women who are media and industry leaders.
Harpers Bazaar owner and publisher, Maureen Jordan told NITV that Nakkiah embodies characteristics that the brand and Australians aspire to, authenticity, humility, optimism and egalitarianism.
"When working on the shoot for Nakkiah Lui, our Creative Director, Jillian Davison, who put Nakkiah forward as a possible cover, said it was important to show this remarkable woman embodying her powerful femininity."
Davison said of the shoot, “We chose photographer Bec Parsons to capture Nakkiah Lui with her female gaze and it sends such a positive message for advancing the scope of the types of women we should expect to see on luxury fashion magazine covers."
"It was intentionally shot outside in the hard, direct Australian sunlight— a light you can’t hide in! — which brings a great power and honesty to the image. The image is at once sublimely elegant but also poignantly confronting in its gaze: you feel Nakkiah’s humanity and that she has an important message to share."
Jordan said that one of the main reasons she wanted to bring Harpers Bazaar back in The Australian/New Zealand market was to provide a platform for inspirational role models for all women.
"In a video taken while Nakkiah was engaged on the cover shoot with Jillian Davison and Bec Parsons, Nakkiah said 'I think it’s kind of amazing. My Mum grew up in a tent because of a lot of the things at the time with her racial status here in Australia. Now I get to sit here looking amazing. To me, that’s a journey. You could see it as superficial one but I think it’s kind of symbolic in some way'.”
In recognition of the cover's significance, the actor wrote that she hopes to be a role model for younger generations.
"Hopefully to anyone who sees this cover and feels like they they don’t have a place, they don’t fit in or their dreams are so big they’ll never happen: I hope you see this and know that you do matter, you deserve the world and your dreams belong to you.
"If this fat little Aboriginal girl from Mt Druitt is getting to live her dreams, you can as well. You deserve it. You deserve the world."