Araya shines in indigenous modelling competition
ARAYA Hammond has made it to the top five in the juniors section of the Aboriginal Model Search and said she's looking forward to the finals in Sydney.
"Going to Sydney, it'll be an amazing experience," she said.
The 13-year-old from Noosaville entered in the modelling competition on the advice of her mum, Judy Hammond, after she showed an interest in the fashion and beauty industry.
"I really wanted to do modelling so mum found this one for me," Araya said.
"I saw some models on Instagram and they inspired me.
"I want to be either a model, or a make-up artist, or involved in the beauty or make-up industry when I'm older."
Judy said she's always encouraging Araya to take on new hobbies, and Araya's latest venture into modelling has proved she definitely has a talent for it.
"She used to do ballet, and play the violin," Judy said.
"She's in a swimming squad at Good Shepherd, she likes swimming.
"I used to work in community services. I noticed if young people have a focus they're less likely to get into trouble. It's good to be busy.
"I'm very proud of her doing so well in the modelling competition so far."
Araya said the competition provided an opportunity for her to learn more about her family heritage.
"It let me learn more about my family history, which is from the Gungari and Kamararoi, and what mob I'm from," she said.
"I'm proud that I'm able to do this and they've got a competition for Aboriginal people and to meet others who are doing it, too.
"I met a lot of new friends there. I really enjoy walking down the red carpet and getting ready for it, and the friends I've met."
Judy said the competition had boosted Araya's confidence and introduced her to role models in the industry.
"Araya's always been shy but she really was more confident and out of her shell (while she was competing)," she said.
"We met lots of people from all over Australia. The indigenous model Samantha Harris, she saw how there was only a few Aboriginal people and was trying to get more faces in there (the modelling industry)."
After making it through the regional finals in Gympie and the state finals in Brisbane, Araya is ready to rock the judges once more in her beautiful frock supplied by Tigerlily.
"They (the judges) asked what it is to be a model," Araya said.
"To be a model you have to be yourself and stay true to yourself."