Building confidence in young Indigenous women

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“I’m not teaching them makeup to go out to Discovery. I’m teaching everyday women and girls how to feel good about themselves” said Barkindji woman Kani Tezaris who ran the hugely successful Youth Empowerment Program at the Larrakia NationHosts shop in town on Monday April 12. 


Massive turn out for first session 

Seated around long tables in the shop with pretty pink table cloths and baskets of makeup were 22 14–15-year-old Indigenous girls who learned how to put on makeup as a way of building their self-esteem.

“Makeup makes me feel confident. I’ve come to love myself, but this helps the girls to feel good about themselves and how to look good when they are going for jobs and that kind of thing” said Briane who was attending the class.  Briane said she and her friends were already wearing makeup and it was good to be taught how to put it on.

This is a self-empowerment workshop 

Kani believes makeup is an effective way for women and girls to empower themselves. “This is not really a makeup class. This is a self-empowerment workshop. I am teaching them how to do makeup and how to be presentable for job interviews because that’s what we need to know”.

Larrakia Nation Board Director Nicole Brown personally sponsored the event and assisted organiser Kani to bring together the young women and was blown away by the interest when advertised on social media. This session was targeted specifically at 14-15 year old girls, but both Nicole and Kani believe the concept can work with girls and women of all ages.

Using her own hardship as an example of how to build confidence  

Talking from experience, Kani knows how makeup can help to build confidence. “I got cancer and was very sick and when I went through my really low stage, if I didn’t put on that bit of makeup and try, I had no self-esteem or confidence. Makeup helped me to grow my confidence when I was very very down”.

Huge potential for this program 

Kani sees huge potential for her business and believes her program could go into Don Dale and into foster carer organisations or even for child therapists. “The way that social media portrays women and girls isn’t real. They don’t look like that in real life. Young girls want to be pretty like the women they see on social media, but they are not real”. Kani believes it is important that young women value their own beauty and stop comparing themselves to fictional people on social media. “I know how much makeup is needed and how much photoshopping goes on to make those women look perfect” said Kani.

Funding and sponsorship 

The program was funded by a grant from the Northern Territory Government and sponsorship from Coles, Paul Kirby, Kate Worden, Eva Lawler, Ngaree Ah Kit, Nicole Brown, Biiard Uninyee Productions and Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation.

As a business owner, Nicole is passionate about supporting other Indigenous women in business and sees the program as an important way to provide skills to young women in the community.

Contact Kani for more information 

If you think this program is something you’d be interest in, get in touch with Kani from Beauty of Tatum on 0406222784.