A Miss Israel to be proud of
Hours after Israelity posted about the current IDF soldiers vying for the title of Miss Israel, the competition took place Wednesday night at the Haifa Congress Center and a surprise winner emerged – a former IDF officer Yityish (Titi) Aynaw. She’s made history by becoming the first Ethiopian-born Israeli to win a beauty pageant.
At a time when Ethiopian Israelis are making their mark in more and more realms of society – from up and coming acclaimed r&b singer Esther Rada to the first female Ethiopian MK, Pnina Tamano-Shata – it’s only fitting that the natural beauty of the Ethiopian community in Israel is recognized.
“It’s important to have a first (beauty) queen from the Ethiopian community. Israel has many ethnic groups and many colors, and it’s important to show it to the world,” Aynaw said during the competition in response to one of the judges’ questions.
She cited Martin Luther King as the historical presence that influenced her the most: “He fought for justice and equality, and that’s one of the reasons I’m here – to show that there are also good things in my community, which are not presented in the media.
“I see it as a mission to represent Israel’s different colors. There are not enough dark-skinned models in Israel. I hope to become a successful model thanks to the contest and create a change in the perception of dark-skinned models. I would be happy to be the first Ethiopian television host, an Israeli Tyra Banks.”
That lofty goal is a far cry from Aynaw’s beginning in the country, where she arrived at age 12. She admitted that it was a rocky absorption.
“I’m lucky to have had a friend, Noa, who befriended me from the start and helped me out. I didn’t study in a ulpan. I was thrown into the deep water and learned the best that way,” she told Ynet.
Less than 10 years later, Aynaw is now a role model, not only for other young Ethiopian Israelis, but for anyone facing adversity.