Beza can be intimidating to most who meet her. She is aesthetically pleasing, hence her chosen profession, but above all, she carries an irreplaceable confidence, one that has come over time. Beza is full of worldly experiences, she was born in Ethiopia and adopted into a family in Australia. Her knowledge of the world, poverty and all things business has given her the opportunity to demand the world’s attention. She is one who uses social media to express her unique attributes of the body and the mind, one who appreciates and embraces ‘different’ in every way possible and one who believes hard work and dedication can trump any natural beauty. From Ethiopia to New York and back to Australia, Beza has a compelling story to tell. We spent some time getting to know her.
When did you start modeling? I’ve been modeling for six years, grew up in Adelaide, I started very late, I was super sporty and modeling and fashion were far from what I was interested in. 18 was probably when I started…
How old are you now? I’m twenty-four. I had a choice to make over a course I was doing because I didn’t feel like I was interested in it.
What course was that? Nursing.
Nursing! Yeah… I was interested in the nursing aspect of things. But the idea for me was more along the humanitarian-aid side of things, which is something I have always been interested in. But going through the whole nursing process and working in a hospital, I wasn’t ready for that.
How did you get your break into modelling? I got a job at Footlocker, I was an assistant manager and while I did that I met an amazing girl called Simmone. She had her own fashion label ‘Simmone Standing the Label’ and she made me the face of her label and also her brand manager. I got an opportunity to go to New York for fashion week.
Oh wow… Yeah haha, she literally walked in, this beautiful girl wanting to buy a basketball. She was in heels holding this basketball like it was a foreign object and she looked at me and said: “I need this!”. She said it was for a photo shoot and asked me if I model. So we did the photo shoot and I ended up going to New York with her. I hadn’t been to New York before, or The States—
What a way to see it! Yeah, backstage at a fashion show seeing these towering models made me put things into perspective. I knew my look was unique and I had girls asking me to look at their photos to give advice and from then I was shocked, because I never aspired to be a model, I never aspired to be a supermodel.
Do you ever get nervous or embarrassed when you’re modelling? I can imagine it may be intimidating at times? I still cringe when I see videos of myself, I get embarrassed after. There’s an art to it, it takes practice and time. I have a love for the cultural side of fashion, like an African print and the vibrancy and how you can show your own style is what I love. I love combining my love of street style, colours and prints to create something unique. I love how you can make something boyish like an oversized jacket, which is street-style and make it feminine and sexy. There are so many avenues to explore and going to New York was insane. The street-style is crazy, people just taking photos in the street, you see it on Instagram.
How important is it to have a manager? They see who you are now but they see the potential you have and figure out how you are going to get there and let you focus on the here and now. On the exercise, the grind and the here and now. You have to trust them for that to happen though. You can channel your energy into the right path.
How important is it for a model to be an influencer on social media and how do you manage your own pages? I still struggle with it to be honest, I never really wanted to be an influencer, I never felt I was going to gain anything from it. But I like taking photos and being creative, so when I post them I love seeing the reaction people have. If you have a look through my page very rarely will you see a photo of me just in a bikini or in lingerie, that’s not my style. People know my style is edgy, I like colour and I’m more street. So when I do wear something in heels and a dress people comment that I look great. But the best reaction is when I post a photo of me being just me. If I post something provocative that’s just people looking at my page for my body, not anything else.
Has Instagram helped empower models to be themselves? Yeah, I love seeing models that have interesting features, big lips and a wide gappy-smile, they have big-bug eyes, they have unique features that wouldn’t be what was normal in the modelling world generally, um but they post photos and they have a following and people like that, it allows people to bypass the agencies and those who set the standard of what beauty is. It allows models to create their own pathway. It allows others to say “hey… look at this person, they aren’t the conventional model and look at what they have created and the following they have, maybe I can just be me and people will like that.” I mean maybe it’s because of my background, my journey, I was born in Ethiopia and adopted into an Australian family. I came here when I was five. My parents are Australian, my siblings are Australian and I’m one of six and an auntie of ten. My whole life has been about Australia, to fit in, to be loved and to be like everyone else. I never wanted to stand out. I just wanted to blend in. I always wanted straight hair, I wanted blue eyes and blond hair and I thought it was beautiful. It took a long time to say I like my curly hair and I love my brown skin, to appreciate every part of me took a long time. If I couldn’t accept me how could anyone else do the same? I wanted to show other girls that you are beautiful how you are and you don’t have to straighten your hair. I want to be able to tell, you know, my daughter that you are beautiful how you are.
As a model how do you keep in shape? It’s more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I used to row a fair amount. The wakeup calls at 4:30 am was always something that I struggled with but it’s fantastic for keeping in shape. I eat healthily, a great mix between meat and veggies helps me keep a balanced diet and love my basketball so I try to play when I can. It’s all about a balance, I have a drink here and there but never drink excessive amounts, everything in moderation and Friday night is a pizza and a beer!
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? Oh, that’s a hard one…
You have one cheat meal, what would it be? Ok… It would have to be the chicken burger from Belle’s Hot Chicken, it’s an expensive burger like they are taking your money, but it’s the best burger I have ever had. Don’t eat too much before hand haha.
Any other hobbies? I was always a bookworm, I love reading.
What’s a favourite book or author? I’ve always been into fantasy, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are two amazing book series. I love The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. George Orwell is another favourite author of mine. My love for reading also bleeds into my love for film, I love Eddie Murphy, I can pretty much give you his lines from Shrek from start to end haha! I love reading and playing sport.
Before you go on… who did you have in the last boxing fight? Ah ha ha, it was a novelty fight, I mean Mayweather is such a smart boxer, he is defensive and he wasn’t ever going to lose. McGregor didn’t know how to defend, he went all out and had no endurance. Any sport, a good defense wins a game. I’m not a massive fan of Mayweather but I knew he would win.
Lastly, what’s some other advice you’d give to models or anyone who wants to enter the industry? You have to find your core sense of gravity, you have to know what makes you happy and what sets you apart. You need to find a gap in the market. If you can find that, you have no reason to fail, if you are failing it’s because of your productivity. For me, it’s finding where you excel and figure out how serious you are about it. What is driving you? Why is it your passion? You need to ask those questions, you need to be dedicated, as well as, loving it and loving you. As an Ethiopian Australian, I have had a worldly experience and an Australian upbringing, so people will always see a different person and having a manager helped me uncover that. Don’t let someone dictate what you may be doing wrong, listen, but don’t put your head down.
To see more of Beza head over to her Instagram: @miss_be_za.