An Australian beauty queen claims she is regularly discriminated against for her good looks.
Model Maria Thattil, 27, was crowned Miss Universe Australia in October but spends her days working in a high-flying role as a talent recruiter for the government.
The influencer has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in human resources – but says her traditionally attractive looks have led to strangers making assumptions and questioning her success.
Speaking to news.com.au, Maria said she struggled with ‘a number of feelings’ after being singled out for having ‘beauty and brains’ when she was younger.
Girls in her class would question how she had been accepted onto her psychology course, she claims.
This ‘gut-wrenching’ treatment has continued into her career, with the fashion blogger saying she is often ‘told things based on how I look’.
She said: ‘I was told even in my internship, very early just starting my career, “you need to be extra nice to people because you’re pretty, therefore they’re going to assume you’re stuck up”.
‘It was from a female senior actually and it was very disheartening.’
Maria was once advised by a recruiter she had likely only gotten a role because her male employers liked her looks – despite being interviewed for the job by two women over the phone.
She also recalls another incident in which a male manager commented on her glamorous dress sense and how much make-up she wore at work.
While Maria accepts it’s ‘human nature to make judgements about people based on their physical appearance’, she wants people to know ‘who you are isn’t dictated by someone else’s perception’.
The young woman, who was born in Australia to Indian migrants, says she has also experienced prejudice due to her ethnicity.
She said: ‘I think it’s really important to acknowledge that society has very changing standards of beauty and right now a lot of the things that come natural to me – whether it’s my skin tone or the fact that my lips are bigger – that at the moment is being glorified as a trend and now the media and society has determined that is attractive.’
She has acknowledged she has ‘certain privileges’ because she meets ‘certain ideals’ – but says it is important to speak out about different forms of prejudice.
She added: ‘Having that means I need to use that responsibility to speak on the things that matter, but I’ve also experienced prejudice, and I’ve also been othered and I’ve also been someone who is excluded because I didn’t always meet the threshold for what it is to be successful, beautiful, worth or valuable.’
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