Breaking down barriers: The plus-size, mixed-race model who's landed a major UK modelling contract (and has already starred in a Kardashian campaign)
- Mahalia may be 23, but she already has an impressive modelling portfolio
- She has worked with Cosmopolitan and the Kardashians' clothing line
- She says that she wants to represent diversity in the fashion industry
- Mahalia is a plus-size, mixed race model from Darwin, Australia
- She talks about how she stays fit and how her life is a balancing act
- She also reveals why she would love to model for Victoria’s Secrets
- Do you have a story? Email FemailAU@
Model, Instababe and down-to-earth girl from Darwin.
If you don’t yet recognise the Northern Territories beauty, Mahalia Handley, you soon will.
Despite being just 23 years old, the Aussie model is a force to be reckoned with, having just scored a top secret major European modelling contract and already modelled for the Kardashians' clothing line.
FEMAIL sat down to chat exclusively about what motivates her, how she stays in shape and what’s in store down the line.
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Upcoming model: Mahalia Handley, 23, is a model from Darwin who has just scored a major European contract
‘The fashion industry can be a challenging place to cut your teeth,’ Mahalia says. ‘And some people find it hard to deal with the fact that curvy models are becoming more commonplace.
‘Luckily, I have a really supportive team of agents, many of whom are my role models. Agents work a LOT and don’t get the credit for what they do because people don’t see them.
'I saw a saying recently which reads “behind every successful woman is a tribe of successful women” and I totally believe that.’
While it may seem that Mahalia is well and truly breaking down barriers, both because she is a plus-sized model and of mixed race of Irish and Maori heritage, she says it hasn’t always been so easy to feel accepted.
Major campaigns: The Australian model has already modelled for the Kardashian clothing line and Cosmo
‘I still find it hard to see that many girls like me in mainstream media, which makes me think if I can’t see them then I have to become them. As a young girl, it was always my dream to model for Victoria’s Secret – it’s such a great platform for spreading a message.
‘Everyone is beautiful is the message I would like to convey to girls around the world,’ she says.
‘Mixed race, plus size women are also confident and beautiful women. Women derive so much confidence and power from models wearing swimsuits and lingerie – it’s massively important to me that I keep spreading a positive message and continue to represent a very real diversity in fashion.’
Staying in shape: She keeps fit via Krav Maga, an Israelian form of jiu jitsu, and sometimes goes to the gym
With big campaigns like Target, Cosmopolitan, Yours clothing and the Kardashian clothing line already under her belt, Mahalia is fast on her way to spreading a hugely positive global message. So how does she keep her young feet on the ground?
‘My parents always encouraged me to be independent and to take things in my stride,’ she says.
‘And while it’s obviously so exciting to see how far I’ve come, there’s so much more I want to achieve in the future. In 10 years, I’d love to see myself standing beside some of my idols like Robyn Lawley and Ashley Graham and be seen as someone who broke boundaries.
‘I’d love to work with young girls with self-esteem issues, and I’d like to see that my message had got through to people, even just two of them!’.
Hopes and dreams: The 23 year old dreams of modelling for Victoria's Secrets one day
Industry diversity: Mahalia says that it is most important she represents diversity within the fashion industry
From flying around the world and working on campaigns in both the UK, the US and Australia, Mahalia may not be as far away from achieving her ambitions as she might think.
But most importantly, she say, life is a total balancing act:
‘Staying healthy physically is staying healthy mentally – I totally believe in balance,’ she says.
‘I believe in nurturing my body. I do go to the gym, but not every day. Sometimes I’m tired and just need to go for a walk rather than work out.
Model icons: In the future, she says she'd love to be as big as some of her icons like Robyn Lawley
Home bird: However, for now she's happy on the road and spending a bit of time at home in Darwin, Australia
‘Having said that I have been doing Krav Maga, a kind of Israelian Jiu Jitsu, for the past two and a half years. It’s full on but really good for the mind and a lot of fun!’.
Based in the UK for the next six months, working on a soon-to-be-revealed top secret project, you better get used to seeing Mahalia’s face.
‘I miss home a lot, obviously,’ she says.
‘But I do love being on the road as there’s something beautiful in every country. I can’t wait to pop home to Darwin in a couple of weeks. That’s one thing I really do miss about Australia and home – the weather!’.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3411139/Mahalia-Handley-plus-size-mixed-race-Darwin-model-s-landed-major-UK-modelling-contract-starred-Kardashian-campaign.html#ixzz3xxrBpO4E
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