Its been Twenty years since Elle’s U.S. edition featured an African model on the cover of its magazine. Maria Borges became the girl to change that. Borges was born in Angola, and was raised by her siblings during he Angolan Civil War. Borges has walked runways for Dior, Balmain, Elle Saab, Tom Ford, Versace, Victoria’s Secret among others. She has also appeared in several editorials for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Interview, I-D, V, W and French Numero.
The first African model to ever grace the cover of Elle Magazine is supermodel Alek Wek in November 1997.
In her interview, Borges has the following to say:
“The fashion industry is here for everyone, [regardless] of color or race,” she told Elle. “When I was growing up, I never saw someone like me, and now the other girls can see someone like them. It’s all about inspiration.”
BorgesDubbed one of the African models breaking barriers by CNN, Maria Borges became the face of L’Oreal Paris in February. At the time, she spoke about inspiring other women.
“I believe in the beauty of diversity,” she said in a statement at the time. “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.”