Rosa Shirley Marie Loutit, a Métis woman from Hay River, is vying for the chance to appear on the cover of a future edition of Maxim magazine.
Loutit says being a part of the competition is “exciting but nerve-wracking,” adding she never would have guessed she would reach the quarter-finals.
At this stage, the Maxim website declares only the “top one percent of models” remain in the competition. The winner will receive $25,000 and a photoshoot with a renowned photographer.
Loutit says she has been published in other magazines and has always talked about wanting to enter Maxim’s annual contest. She has wanted to be on the cover, she said, since the age of 13.
Afraid of embarrassing herself, she said she “had to start thinking about what could go right” and decided to apply.
“I never thought I would have the opportunity,” she said. “I was told I should do it but never did, now here I am diving headfirst.”
Originally from Hay River, she now lives in Edmonton where she takes care of her mother, who had a double lung transplant 16 months ago. Loutit says the support she has received is a confidence boost.
“Coming from a small town or small community in the NWT, the support is just there. It’s crazy how close-knit everyone is,” she said.
Loutit is one of the few Indigenous women in the competition. She feels empowered to represent Indigenous women and to show they can overcome some of the hardships they may face.
“It kind-of pushes me a little bit more because of the times we live in right now, with everything going on being an Indigenous woman,” she said.
“I want to be able to represent Indigenous women and show that we can do this. Anybody can do this, don’t let anything stop you.”
She says the racism that is experienced by Indigenous women may stop some people from trying to do things they want to achieve in life, but she encourages them to continue to strive for their goals.
“Go for what you’re dreaming about, don’t let anything get in the way – whatever is going on in the world and in your life – as hard as it is,” she said.
Loutit will find out if she advances to the next round late next week, as voting ends on July 16.