Miss Israel Yityish (Titi) Aynaw. Paved the way?
Photo: Rafi Deloya
VIDEO – In February this year, an Ethiopian beauty queen was chosen in the Miss Israel contest for the very first time in Israeli history. This reflects a growing trend in Israel, as more and more opportunities become available for local Ethiopian beauty to be exposed and promoted.
"This beauty contest in which an Ethiopian girl won, I think it's giving hope for Ethiopian girls to come and show themselves and believe in themselves in this country," says Maor Pinchasi of the TLV-Models agency.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv (Reporter: Sivan Raviv)
"If you asked me in the past if I could succeed here as a model in Israel, I would tell you this would be very very hard, but now I see all the Ethiopian models on the magazines and this is inspiring me," says Model Talia Yagzow. "Maybe I can do that too."
In the mid 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel, and have over the years gradually become a part of mainstream Israeli society, where it comes to military service in the IDF, in politics, in education, and now in the fashion and modeling sphere as well.
Titi Our Love
Yityish Aynaw's success in Israeli beauty pageant attracting media attention in her homeland
"In the last few years we can see change," says Pinchasi. "You can see a lot of Ethiopian and black models earn experience, and it's a big step for Israel because we're equal."
Model Smadar Rada adds, "In Ethiopia it's the same people and the same color, the same opportunity to succeed. Here I feel unique because my color is unique."
Fashion shows, modeling shoots, showing up on covers of magazines and more are slowly becoming common practice where it comes to Ethiopian girls, and these models are feeling more and more encouraged by this new trend, proud to belong to a state that grants them equal opportunity.
"This shows me that in Israel we have the opportunity for success, and gives me a push to work hard," says Smadar Rada.
Consumed with great aspirations and a drive to work hard, these girls, like others, are definitely making their attempt at success here in Israel, and perhaps later on around the world.