Popular Angolan model Maria Borges has become the second African to appear on the cover of Elle magazine, since 1997, when Sudanese model Alek Wek graced the magazine’s first-ever “Black Cover Girl” edition.
Borges, a 24-year-old supermodel, is mainly celebrated for her iconic natural hairstyle that she wore at the popular Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York in 2015. She was the first Black girl to wear short natural hair on the annual show.
The young model has been selected to appear on the cover of Elle’s May 2017 Swimsuit Issue, among other five stars, making her the second African to grace the prestigious cover since its inception in 1945.
Honored to be the First African Woman of the Century to be on the cover of @elleusa. Thank you everyone for your support. #AFRICAxELLEUSA pic.twitter.com/n3z7hHd3vM
— Maria Borges (@IamMariaBorges) April 11, 2017
Inspiration for African Girls
Born in October 1992 in Luanda, Angola’s capital, Borges has quickly grown to become a symbol of resilience and determination as well as an inspiration to many African girls.
She has gone from struggling to make ends meet to multi-million-dollar editorials and signing deals with some of the largest brands in the world.
Borges was raised by her siblings in Luanda during the Angolan Civil War and was discovered in the 2010 Angolan edition of the popular Elite Model Look, where she finished second.
“It’s all about inspiration. When I was growing up, I never saw someone like me, and now the other girls can see someone like them,” Borges told Elle.
“The fashion industry is here for everyone, regardless of color or race.”
Borges has appeared in numerous international magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Numero, Interview, and more.
She has also participated in many fashion shows and was recently named as one of the African models breaking barriers by CNN.
“I believe in the beauty of diversity. The empowering message that a girl who started from the bottom can be an international beauty symbol and be living proof that our dreams are valid, and the future ahead of us is bright,” Borges said in a press release in February when she became the face of L’Oreal Paris.
The Angolan beauty queen has also appeared in major campaigns for brands, such as Givenchy, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Bobbi Brown, C&A, L’Oreal, Mac Cosmetics, and Forever 21.