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2023 Kimberley Girl celebrates 20th anniversary in spectacular final show

Katya MinnsBroome Advertiser
2023 Kimberley Girl winner Djai Hunter, 18.
Camera Icon2023 Kimberley Girl winner Djai Hunter, 18. Credit: Katya Minns

It was a night of empowerment, glamour and celebration on Friday as the 2023 Kimberley Girl program marked its 20th anniversary with a spectacular show.

Combined with the Pilbara and Goldfields competition, the Kimberley Girl finals saw 15 young Indigenous women take to the stage to showcase their skills and talent as eight judges looked on.

Taking to the catwalk wearing garments and accessories handmade by the region’s talented First Nations designers, the finalists demonstrated what they had learned in the program’s workshops in the lead-up to the finals.

The 2023 Kimberley Girl finalists.
Camera IconThe 2023 Kimberley Girl finalists. Credit: Katya Minns

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For the past two decades, Kimberley Girl has provided valuable opportunities for personal growth, career development and self-confidence to the hundreds of the young women who have taken part in the program.

The finals tested the abilities of the girls and demonstrated what they had learned.

The 2022 Kimberley Girl winner Jahn-Edda Petrevski joined the finalists on stage to ask them questions about themselves, what changes they’d like to see in the world and what they loved most about being Aboriginal.

“What I love most about being Aboriginal is how connected we all are to our cultures, our families, and our sense of humour,” 2023 finalist Amy Howard said.

As the judges tallied their votes, audiences were treated to entertainment in the form of dancers, singers and a keyboard soloist.

Live performances throughout the show kept the audience entertained.
Camera IconLive performances throughout the show kept the audience entertained. Credit: Katya Minns

As the night neared the end there was one last catwalk parade by the contestants and winners from previous years, before the big announcements.

Meeia Smith from Beagle Bay received the Most Photogenic award, while Broome’s Kloemeesa Riley took home the Leadership Award.

Scarlet Howard, 16, and Chantay Cooper, 17, were second and first runner-up respectively, while Djai Hunter, 18, was crowned the 2023 Kimberley Girl.

Speaking to the Broome Advertiser after her win, Miss Hunter said she initially joined the program because she wanted to kick-start her career and obtain leadership skills.

“I’m still in shock, I’m still processing what is happening to be honest — having all these photos, lights flashing and being around family,” she said,

“Going through Kimberley Girl, there is just so much love and care for others, myself and learning about the girls that I was doing the program with — I just loved everything.”

Miss Hunter reflected on the highlights of the program and how seeing the proud faces on her family made all the hard work worth it.

Djai Hunter, 18, from Broome.
Camera IconDjai Hunter, 18, from Broome. Credit: Katya Minns

“The girls have just been so loving and caring, such a supportive group — I love all my sisters,” she said.

“You’ll never know what you’ll get out of the program. It’s not just workshop knowledge: it’s life skills, network building with other people around you, so many opportunities and it’s exactly like what everybody says.

“I’m so grateful for watching every worker be so dedicated to this program, setting up, editing the videos and everything.

“It’s just been so great, I’m so grateful for all of them — thank you all so much.”

The girls who took out the top spots will now move on to become Kimberley Girl ambassadors — making themselves role models for future participants and young Indigenous women.

The 2023 Kimberley Girl's Scarlet Howard, Djai Hunter and Chantay Cooper.
Camera IconThe 2023 Kimberley Girl's Scarlet Howard, Djai Hunter and Chantay Cooper. Credit: Katya Minns
The finalists on stage.
Camera IconThe finalists on stage. Credit: Katya Minns
Taking to the catwalk.
Camera IconTaking to the catwalk. Credit: Katya Minns
The grand finale, marking 20 years of Kimberley Girl contestants.
Camera IconThe grand finale, marking 20 years of Kimberley Girl contestants. Credit: Katya Minns
Live performances throughout the night kept the audience entertained.
Camera IconLive performances throughout the night kept the audience entertained. Credit: Katya Minns
2023 Kimberley Girl finalist Meeia Smith.
Camera Icon2023 Kimberley Girl finalist Meeia Smith. Credit: Katya Minns
Chantay Cooper, 17, from Derby.
Camera IconChantay Cooper, 17, from Derby. Credit: Katya Minns
Scarlet Howard, 16.
Camera IconScarlet Howard, 16. Credit: Katya Minns
Tamika Lawford, 18.
Camera IconTamika Lawford, 18. Credit: Katya Minns
Tiger-Lily Ogilive-Dia.
Camera IconTiger-Lily Ogilive-Dia. Credit: Katya Minns
2022 Kimberley Girl winner Jahn-Edda Petrevski questions Tamika Lawford, 18.
Camera Icon2022 Kimberley Girl winner Jahn-Edda Petrevski questions Tamika Lawford, 18. Credit: Katya Minns
The 2023 Kimberley Girl's Scarlet Howard, Djai Hunter and Chantay Cooper.
Camera IconThe 2023 Kimberley Girl's Scarlet Howard, Djai Hunter and Chantay Cooper. Credit: Katya Minns

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