Maria Borges redefined beauty standards when she opted to rock her natural hair in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show two years in a row. Now, the Angolan model is at the center of another groundbreaking moment as the first African woman of the century to grace the cover of Elle—since Alex Wek in 1997.
For the fashion magazine’s swimsuit issue, the new face of L’Oreal Paris shines bright with fellow May 2017 cover stars Jasmine Tookes, Bella Hadid, Candice Huffine, Hailey Baldwin and Elsa Hosk. “It’s an honor to be on the cover of the AMERICAN ELLE, feeling beautiful and rocking my afro!” she expressed on Instagram.
Within the pages of Elle, the 24-year-old model further weighed in on the power of representation. “The fashion industry is here for everyone, [regardless] of color or race. 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.”
May the first not be the last. Congratulations!