Angolan model Maria Borges follows in the footsteps of Alek Wek as the second ever African model to grace the cover of Elle US. The 24-year old is one of six stars on the cover of Elle’s May 2017 Swimsuit Issue alongside Bella Hadid, Jasmine Tookes, Elsa Hosk, Candice Huffine and Hailey Baldwin.

In 1997, Sudanese model Alek Wek graced the cover as the magazine’s very first black cover girl since it was first issued in 1985.

 

On the power of representation, speaking to Elle, Maria said, “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.”

PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 30: Maria Borges walks the runway at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on November 30, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret)

Maria has in the recent years become one of the top models of choice, from her stunning Fashion Week appearances to rocking her natural hair at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

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