Why Turia Pitt’s Cover For Australian Women’s Weekly Is Important

Turia Pitt: Kween.
Photo: Australian Women’s Weekly

In an industry that’s been criticized for not featuring women of a certain size, color, or unedited photos (let’s face it, we live in a world where actresses and models are constantly Photoshopped and #nomakeup selfies are seen as “very brave”), the July issue of Australian Women’s Weekly is refreshing. The cover’s been lauded as a game-changer. Why? The magazine prominently features former model and current mining engineer Turia Pitt whose appearance and extraordinary story defies conventions of beauty and challenges the current status quo in terms of whom you might expect to see on a cover.

Pitt was trapped in a brushfire in 2011 while running a marathon in Western Australia. She sustained burns to 65% of her body. Since then, she’s had multiple surgeries, exceeded doctor’s initial expectations regarding recovery (her chances of survival post-accident were minimal), and written a novel. Furthermore, she rode a bicycle from Sydney to Uluru (a distance of 1,675 miles), swam a 20K, and walked the Great Wall of China all in order to raise money for Interplast. Interplast is a reconstructive surgery charity staffed with volunteer health professionals who provide free surgical treatment for patients with congenital or acquired medical conditions who wouldn’t be able to afford care otherwise.

Furthermore, Pitt’s message of self-confidence (“We’re all so much more than our bodies”), cheeky sense of humor, and moving relationship with her long-term boyfriend Michael Hoskins have personally moved her to the top of my crush list. Editorial staff of Australian Women’s Weekly? I am also crushing on you, super hard. Editor-in-chief Helen McCabe has been quoted as saying: “Any attempt to describe the magic and beauty of Turia seems to get lost in platitudes or clich├ęs. Yet I have never met a more remarkable person.” And though I personally haven’t met Turia (though, like, wow I’d like to), I couldn’t agree more. Well played, AWW.