Contestants stand tall at Pilbara Girl heat

Alicia PereraPilbara News
The 2019 Pilbara Girl participants with heat judges and sponsor representatives.
Camera IconThe 2019 Pilbara Girl participants with heat judges and sponsor representatives. Credit: Pilbara Girl

Strong, beautiful and proud, 12 young indigenous women from the Pilbara stood tall as they strove to make the final of Pilbara Girl last week.

Walking the catwalk before a supportive crowd of family and friends, participants from Karratha, Wickham and South Hedland wowed the judges at the heat for the renowned indigenous women’s empowerment program, held at the Ibis Styles Hotel Karratha.

Selected to compete for the title of Pilbara Girl 2019 at the final were Brienna Barunga, 23, Crystal Pickett, 19, Juanita Namok, 22, Kiah Ryder, 17, Marli Ryan, 20, and Sharkira Taylor, 21.

Kiah Ryder.
Camera IconKiah Ryder. Credit: Pilbara Girl
Brieanne Barunga.
Camera IconBrieanne Barunga. Credit: Pilbara Girl

Pilbara Girl founder and Goolarri Media chief operations officer Kira Fong said the program aimed to equip young indigenous women with the tools and knowledge they needed to make positive life choices and strive for success.

She said the heat provided a chance for participants and their family and friends to recognise how far the young women had progressed in a short space of time.

“They get a real sense of pride in themselves, knowing that they can get up there and they can do it,” Ms Fong said.

“I think it’s also really important for the communities and families to see their young women up there doing something they never thought they could do.”

“(The participants) go away with a sense of accomplishment that no matter what happens, they did that.”

Pilbara Girl participants walking the catwalk to open the 2019 competition heat.
Camera IconPilbara Girl participants walking the catwalk to open the 2019 competition heat. Credit: Pilbara Girl
Allanna O’Donoghue.
Camera IconAllanna O’Donoghue. Credit: Pilbara Girl

Participants spent the weeks leading up to the heat in self-development workshops focused on developing self-esteem, leadership, communication, grooming and deportment.

Ms Fong said the finalists would spend the next two-and-a-half months undertaking more specialised training in the lead-up to finals.

“We now take it up to that next level for those girls, and if they don’t have the capacity to handle what comes next, then it’s very hard for them to do the finals because it’s completely next level,” she said.

The Pilbara Girl grand final will be held in Broome on October 11.

Winifred Jane.
Camera IconWinifred Jane. Credit: Pilbara Girl
Crystal Pickett.
Camera IconCrystal Pickett. Credit: Pilbara Girl

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