We are so honored to have siren Juliana Maiava as our premier Model highlight! Juliana was so sweet to answer some burning questions we had about her experience as a model and her inspiring mindset. Juliana is not only gorgeous but fearless in her message of body positivity and being real about the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. Fa’afetai tele lava to Juliana for opening up to PFM and for giving us this amazing opportunity to share more about you.
Q. What is your full name, your background and where were you born/ raised and where are you currently located?
Talofa lava, my name is Juliana Maiava. I am a proud Woman of the Pasifika and of Samoan descent. My Father is from the village Fale Ula and my Mother is from Pui Pa’a. I was raised in Otara, South Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and currently based in Brisbane, Australia.
Q. Can you share what inspired you to get into modeling?
It’s something I’ve wanted to pursue for a long time but I had little-to-no confidence so I kept this secret to myself for too long! When I moved to Australia 3 years ago, I slowly, but surely, became confident and started wearing clothes not typically worn by the ‘bigger’ woman – mini skirts, crop tops, two-piece ‘exposing midriff’ outfits, skinny jeans, bathing suits etc. I started taking pictures of the bold outfits I loved wearing and posted content online. It was liberating! Shortly after, a friend of mine sent me an application form for the Pacific Fashion Festival 2018 and as soon as I hit the runway I knew for a fact – this is where I belong and I’m not going anywhere!
Q. What has your experience been like for you, as a model? Has it been challenging, rewarding? And how have you grown from those experiences?
Overall, the experience has been both great and challenging. It goes hand in hand. Great – in the satisfaction that I’m doing something I genuinely love and believe in. Challenging – in the realisation that hard work and resilience is the key. I’ve grown to accept this and that’s why I know I’ll be successful. Dad always told me ‘Nothing important ever comes easy Baby’ and I believe this wholeheartedly.
Q. Are you inspired by a specific model/ designer?
Tara Lynn – Model. When I was younger, she was the first plus-size model I saw baring it all. I saw a picture of Tara Lynn naked, sitting on a chair in all her glory and hip and stomach rolls. For the first time, I wasn’t ashamed of my body. It’s my go-to picture whenever I find myself feeling drained, exhausted or self-conscious, I look at that original picture and I’m reminded that she is… and I am 100% that b#@ch! Haha
Q. If there was anything you could change about the current fashion scene, what would it be and why?
MORE BOLD OPTIONS FOR THE PLUS SIZE WOMAN! I’d especially love to see Pacific Fashion Designers create more daring, sexy and fierce outfits for the luscious Pacific Islander Woman. I’m size 20-22 and I’m not trying to hide under a loose-fitted mumus. I’m proud of my body and I have no desire wearing outfits that hide it. I love our traditional patterns and I just want to see out of this world designs plastered with our traditional patterns everywhere.
Q. Do you have dream designers you’d love to model/ walk for? If so, who and why?
Valdrin Sahiti. He creates the most beautiful, bold and elegant gowns. He needs to design for the Plus Size Woman. When he’s ready, I hope he comes my way! Wait, I know one day he’ll come my way! We’re speaking what we want into fruition!
Q. Top 3 songs on your playlist right now
Lizzie: Truth hurts
Patoranking: My Woman, My Everything
Childish Gambino: Summertime Magic
Q. Do you have any future projects in the works you don’t mind talking about? Are there events you’ll be showing/ walking at in the future?
For the next few months, I’ll be creating content for my online base and portfolio. It’ll be back to back weekends of photo shoots and collaborations with designers, photographers and beauty gurus. I’m also working on creating a YouTube channel to really get involved with the plus size fashion scene. I love fashion and I love wearing clothing that inspires our fellow women to be fierce and edgy in what they choose to wear. To end the year, I hope to walk in the Pacific Fashion Festival 2019, so fingers crossed!
Q. Can you share a unique and/ or important fact about yourself?
Birthdays are very important in my family At midnight, on our birthdays, we visit each other with cake and ‘pretend’ to be surprised. We’ve been doing this since we were children (my siblings and I are all in our 20’s, 30’s and 40’s) and it’s my most favorite family tradition. We love! That’s just what we do!
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring models, words of wisdom?
Only you have the power to speak what you desire into fruition. Stop waiting for an opportunity! Back yourself 100% and be fearless. What anyone thinks of you is none of your business so stay focused, be courageous, fight the good fight and always have faith. There is no need to build walls… we must work together in building a table big enough for everyone to have a seat. This is true confidence!
Want to know more about this amazing beauty? Check out Lady Pasifika’s “The Fall Issue” for the printed article on this Pasifika model!