Sasha Sarago is a proud Aboriginal woman of the Wadjanbarra Yidinji and Jirrbal clans ‘Rainforest People’ of Cairns, Far North Queensland. Sasha is also of African-American, Malay, Mauritian and Spanish descent.
A former model, Sasha grew frustrated by the invisibility of women of colour in fashion and media. Tired of importing oversees publications to see reflections of herself Sasha had an epiphany. In 2011, Sasha founded Ascension Australia’s first Indigenous and ethnic women’s lifestyle magazine.
Ascension is a new dialogue of cultural identity and self-representation – a haven for women of colour to see, hear and know thyself. Sasha’s inspiration during the editorial process is the intimacy and depths of the women’s stories. She is grateful to be entrusted to step into their shoes; get inside their head and open the door to their heart. Sasha hopes Ascension can inspire women to grab their courage before they walk out the door to face the world.
Sasha Sarago examines Australia’s perception of Aboriginal beauty through the statement: “You’re too pretty to be Aboriginal.”To try and understand the origins of this phenomena, Sasha interviews four Aboriginal women to find the answers she is seeking. What surfaces are personal stories enmeshed in racial complexities – navigating through two worlds – a place where Aboriginality is questioned and Australia’s past still lingers. Dr Liz Conor helps Sasha uncover evidence of the statements’ history found deep within colonial white Australia. Left with uncomfortable truths, Sasha faces her own issues with identity and femininity to determine where she stands with ‘pretty’.
Raising The Bar Podcast: Sasha Sarago & Nayuka Gorrie: Beauty and the Beast: Indigenous Beauty Decolonised