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diversity in beauty with Got Malual

dunkle muse Got Malual in front of studio

introducing dunkle muse Got Malual, founder of the Brisbane BIPOC platform. Got’s mission is to celebrate the diversity & talent of Black, Indigenous, & People of Colour within the fashion industry. it’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with Got & hearing her story.

Got’s Brisbane BIPOC platform is creating change here in Brisbane's local fashion scene. showcasing diverse models, photographers, stylists, & makeup artists to share what Brisbane truly has to offer, to stand up & pivot the spotlight. brands can use this platform as a tool to connect with industry professionals & in turn strengthen diversity within their communities.

Got’s story resonated with my values of celebrating diversity in beauty. noticing the vast array of foundation options for fair skin tones in grocery store aisles, cosmetic counters, & beauty boutiques compared to the marginal, if any, offering for deep skin tones was one of the reasons I founded dunkle. a platform to influence positive change, starting with a simple line of foundation that caters to all skin tones.

a huge thank you to Got for sharing her story with us, here she is.

dunkle muse Got Malual

tell us about your cultural heritage & how that inspires you
I am South Sudanese & my cultural heritage inspires me every day. I’m in love with my culture & the sense of community it brings. I was born & raised in Brisbane, Australia & my whole life I’ve had to balance two cultures – the aussie part of me that is second nature & my cultural heritage that I learned from my parents, grandma, extended family & community. I am from the Lou Nuer tribe & we are proud, tall people with rich, dark skin. we speak Nuer, have a strong sense of family & are natural-born athletes. as a nation we have gone through war, civil war, natural disasters & famine yet we still remain brave, hopeful & resilient. growing up in a western society that still operates & thrives off of racist, systematic structures that were put in place by colonisation, I am encouraged to reject my culture, to reject my beauty & to lessen myself to make others comfortable. my strong sense of identity & cultural heritage tells me to forget all that.

describe your personal aesthetic & who influences you
haha! I’ve never been asked that question before. I guess I haven’t really thought about it. when it comes to fashion or how I choose to decorate my room, or the colours I gravitate towards – it always been quite random. there’s so many different styles & vibes that I think are incredibly cool & I try to incorporate them all into my life. there will be days where I like dress super feminine or super alternative. there will also be days where I’m dressed as if I spend all day at a skatepark when in reality I’m too scared of breaking a leg to ever be real skater girl haha. however, I will say I will often opt for cute summery dresses & you’ll always catch me in Nikes or converse. oh, & my favourite colour is teal. in terms of my influences, I’m influenced by a variety of people. it might be someone I see on the street rocking an interesting outfit, or a post on instagram or Zendaya & her stylist Luxury Law who never fail to pull a look.

dunkle muse Got Malual

share the inspiration behind creating the Brisbane BIPOC platform
so, Brisbane BIPOC came about because back in August I received a DM by an African photographer, Masimba (@masimbasasa). he had recently moved from South Africa to our beautiful city of Brisbane & he wanted to know if I knew of any black makeup artists or hairstylists. I couldn’t answer him. since starting my modelling career in 2017, I had only worked with one black makeup artist & I didn’t have her details. our industry & the Australian industry, at large, suffers from a complete & utter lack of diversity whether it’s in front or behind the camera. it is important to note that out of the countless shoots I have done in my career thus far, only three makeup artists could properly do my makeup & before this year hairstylists had never done my natural hair. too often, I will sit in the makeup chair quietly wondering when I can leave to the bathroom so I can fix my makeup (yes, I’m a professional model but I still have to bring my own makeup just in case). or I will watch enviously as the fair-skin models I work with have their hair curled & styled while I’m told, ‘your hair is great as it is’ which really means, ‘I have no f*cking clue how to do your hair.’ which, by the way, begs the question, can you be considered a professional in your field if you can’t cater to ALL skin shades & hair types? this is the type of casual racism that I am subjected to on the majority of my shoots in Australia. so, after receiving that DM, I felt inspired & so I decided to start a platform that would connect black & POC creatives to people wanting to work with them & who realise the importance of placing diversity & inclusivity at the forefront of their work (as we all should).

what is the positive change you would like to see in the fashion & beauty industries? 
inclusivity. a seat at the table. unless you are black or a person of colour who grew up in western society, you won’t be able to quite grasp how devastating it is to be told directly & indirectly that your skin, your features, your body & your culture are not beautiful - that they & you do not belong. we are told every day. before the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in June of last year, the majority of magazine covers, runways, campaigns & commercials would only feature white people or models. we are told that euro-centric beauty is the standard & by default everyone else simply does not compare. I, as a dark skin woman, cannot walk into my local coles or woollies & pick up a foundation that will match my skin tone. you see, makeup companies do not think about me & they don’t want to. they think about the girls I see staring back at me when I’m walking down the aisles. with their fair skin & light eyes, these models always have a big smile on their face as they hold up the latest formula that I wish I could try. growing up, I would see this, & start to think there was a problem with the colour of my skin. this lack of representation fuelled insecurities that no child should ever have to possess. I distinctly remember coming home from school (my predominantly white private school) thinking, ‘I wish I wasn’t black, then I wouldn’t have to deal with all these issues.’ the issues of course being bullying, racism, racial profiling & my crushes never liking me back because, to them, black wasn’t beautiful. no child should EVER be made to feel that way. it was heartbreaking & it still is heartbreaking because I know there’s millions of young kids feeling this way & I can only hope that they find their power like I did. there were countless instances, moments & pieces of wisdom that helped me accept & believe that I was in fact beautiful. one of the things that helped were the incredibly powerful & inspiring instagram accounts that were dedicated to uplifting black women. I was able to scroll through post after post of beautiful black women from around the world who made me feel seen, powerful & loved. one of my favourite quotes is, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’ it is a large part of the reason I wanted to pursue modelling, I wanted young girls to never feel the way I did as a teenager. I wanted them to have someone to look up to so they too can accept the uniqueness in their beauty. this is the change I want to see in the fashion & beauty industries. – I want inclusivity for all, so that we all feel like the powerful kings & queens that we are no matter where in the world we hail from.

dunkle muse Got Malual

how can people of all colour help to influence this change?
Black & POC creatives can help influence this change by simply daring to occupy space in the industry. from the stylists, the agents, the models, the photographers, the videographers we need to unapologetically pursue these passions of ours & believe we can do it. we need to apply & re-apply for these roles until we’re in the position to initiate the change we want to see. we then need people of all colour to help assist this journey, we need opportunity. we need you to care about inclusivity as much as we do.

dunkle muse Got Malual

describe your vision for the future of Brisbane BIPOC
for me, the future of Brisbane BIPOC will include great things. I want the platform to eventually become a national organisation that works to diversity Australia’s fashion industry. I see incredible events with guest speakers who will share their wisdom & give valuable life lessons. I see incredible events showcasing the talent that we do not get to see because of the systematic racism and bigotry that is still present in Australia. I also see charity and community events that will target Black & POC youth so they might garner an interest in the fashion industry or encourage a passion they might’ve once thought was impossible to pursue.

dunkle muse Got Malual

Got wears the no. 4 foundation with Brisbane lipstick on lips & cheeks.

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