Nyanyuob Dau announced as winner of the Bella Unsigned Model Search

Words by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

Catch her in MFW’s Pop-up Runway 7.

It’s no secret that the modelling industry has long had a diversity problem. Just this week, a racially-charged slipup in Who Weekly proved that we have a long, long way to go before we reach fashion utopia.

Although a lot of brands and events are seeking out models of different races, sizes and gender identities, it’s important to question whether this is fuelled by real, systematic change beyond the surface level. 

One attempt by Melbourne Fashion Week to actively push for diversity this year was the BELLA Management Unsigned Model Search.

The search was open to anyone over the age of 18 looking to get a foot in the door, regardless of race, age, size, gender or physical ability.

BELLA has since named Nyanyuob Dau as its winner, awarding her a three-year contract with the company.

Nanie moved to Australia from South Sudan when she was six, and has been doggedly trying to make it as a model for a long time. She’s previously been turned down by modelling agencies for being a dark-skinned woman, often being told that the agency already had “too many of them” on their books.

Other winners of the competition include 6’3” Zoe Donne, Mahendar Mallagoud Gari, who grew up in a small village in India, artist and photographer Copper Taylor-Bogaars, and Bingbo Wang, a student originally from Northeast China.

Each of these freshly-signed models will appear front and centre at Melbourne Fashion Week’s Pop-up Runway 7. The show will also feature curve models Robyn Lawley and Stefania Ferrario, and model and actress from the ’60s, Nola Bonner.

The pop-up also serves to celebrate brands committed to size diversity, such as Forever New’s recently announced Curve range, which will be worn on the runway.

Pop-up 7 – BELLA Unsigned Model Search
Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC
Thursday September 5, 1pm
Free event
More information here


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