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Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil shares why her national costume is a ‘symbol of hope’

By CAMILLE SANTIAGO Published Apr 22, 2021 10:48 am

Miss Universe Australia 2020 Maria Thattil has revealed her national costume for the upcoming pageant on May 16, and in true Australian fashion, it has raised a few eyebrows.

Instead of a gown, Thattil wore a body sculpture of feathered wings. The 26-year-old fashion blogger and influencer from Melbourne shared on Instagram the meaning behind the striking, black and white feathered piece.

"This costume was Inspired by the Black Swan—a native Australian bird, the emblem of Western Australia and a symbol of HOPE," she wrote. 

"Following its discovery, the Black Swan is a symbol of the unexpected and overcoming the impossible. It symbolises the beauty and wonder in being open for CHANGE," she continued.

Moreso, the beauty queen shared that as an Australian born to Indian migrants, she is like the Black Swan "breaking barriers and expectations of women and people of colour in society."

"It is imperative that I embody this symbolism of the Black Swan because it is in line with the true Australian spirit of challenging moulds to be more inclusive and open to ALL."

The costume was made by Perth designer Nicola Yeung. It consists of a black corset-style off-shoulder top, tight-fitting pants with white stripes and red detailing, and a 2D-like hand-cut feathered wings. 

Thattil said that Yeung was inspired by the Black Swan "for it’s bold symmetrical features, the stark contrast between the black plumes, the richly coloured red bills, and the panels of white that are visible when the bird is in flight."

Even the smallest detail from the costume such as the sequins on the bodice and positioning of the wings have meaning. "The body of black sequins on the bodice imitate glistening water. The wings are poised open, as though about to take flight," Thattil explained.

Thattil is among the 74 contestants who will compete on May 16 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States.