Too Pretty To Be Aboriginal


Writer and director Sasha Sarago examines Australia’s perception of Aboriginal beauty through the statement: “You’re too pretty to be Aboriginal.”

To try and understand the origins of this phenomena, Sasha interviews four Aboriginal women to find the answers she is seeking. What surfaces are personal stories enmeshed in racial complexities – a place where Aboriginality is questioned and Australia’s past still lingers.

Indiah Money (Wiradjuri), a fashion model, explains why her European features are a blessing and a curse – how her beauty is sexualised and the white privilege her light skin affords her in comparison to other Aboriginal women.

Rachael Carter is a Gunaikurnai woman who was also told she was too pretty to be Aboriginal as a child. Now a mother of two daughters, she is determined to give them access to images and stories that affirm their blackness.

Merlene Young Scerri, a Gunnai and Gunditjmara elder, paints the scene of what it was like growing up in Fitzroy, Victoria in the 1950-60s, being labelled half-caste and mistaken for other nationalities.

Kirsten Bonds, a Yamatji and African-American woman, navigates between two black cultures and the dichotomy of Australia’s acceptance of Black American culture yet its contempt towards its First Nations peoples.

Sasha turns to Dr Liz Conor, author of Skin Deep: Settler’s Impressions of Aboriginal women, to help uncover evidence of the statements’ history found deep within colonial white Australia. Sasha comes to understand, through her journey of making this film, that it’s the unspoken truths behind the phrase “Too pretty to be Aboriginal” that are the real issue. In order to heal not only her own, but many other Aboriginal women’s trauma, those truths must be told.

Aboriginal people are not one shade of black; we do not derive from one set of features, language or nation. We are diverse, but we are one.

— Sasha Sarago, director


Release dates
8 January 2019 - Premiere on NITV's 'Our Stories'
PG - Parental guidance

Screened as Episode 17 of the SBS documentary series Our Stories (Season 2018).

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View article sources (1)

[1] 'Too Pretty To Be Aboriginal Premiers On Nitv 8 January', Ascension Magazine 6/1/2019,, retrieved 15/1/2019

Cite this page

Korff, J 2023, Too Pretty To Be Aboriginal, <>, retrieved 30 May 2024

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