Festivals of South Asia Inc’s youngest ever brand ambassador is all set to walk the talk on women’s empowerment, mental health and equal rights for all
This year, Festivals of South Asia Inc. introduces their youngest ever brand ambassador, Delilah Cutinho.
The 20-year-old, currently a third year Psychology student at the prestigious University of Melbourne, migrated to Australia as a child. She is the epitome of a young Indian Australian, defined by her Indian looks, Australian dialect along with her strong sense of Indian and Australian values and culture. She lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne with her mother, brother and grandmother.
Delilah, a full-time student, does a bit of modelling in her free time apart from working part-time at a medical centre.
Growing up, Delilah was known as a “jack of all trades”—she mastered the piano at a young age, was a state level tennis competitor as well as a highly well regarded state level debater. She also excelled in academics, attending one of the few academic selective schools in Victoria, John Monash Science School. All through her school years, says Delilah, she had a strong sense of community involvement and was secretary at the Youth Advisory Council of the Royal Children’s Hospital as well as is an active member of the Melbourne Konkan Community, a non-profit cultural organisation hosting events for people from the Konkan region in the western coast of India.
Delilah’s modelling career began at the age of 18 when she participated in the national Miss India Australia 2015 competition, where she became a finalist and then brought back the Ms India Australia Public Choice 2015 title. Since then she has modelled for various companies, including Brides of Asia and says she has some major projects lined up in 2017.
Delilah talks about how her upbringing was defined as “unconventional, full of challenges and with multiple identities” as she always experienced being a part of the “minority” community, in terms of culture and outlook. “My father is of Roman Catholic Konkan origin and therefore singled out in my birthplace of Mumbai,” says Delilah. After moving to Australia, she feels “unique” having experienced life as a migrant growing up in a foreign country.
Over the years, says Delilah, she learned that leadership isn’t always about winning, recalling the time where she was nominated to be school captain during her final school year but failed to achieve the position. “I believe leadership comes from within. Believing in yourself and finding creative ways to support your values and ideas despite criticism and setbacks is what can truly be called an achievement,” says Delilah.
Delilah says she takes inspiration from her late grandfather JB Sequeira who was a Sahitya Academy Award winning Konkan poet who always supported the language, arts and education of his community and cultural roots.
“Growing up in a single parent home, and in a new country was difficult at first,” says Delilah. “I grew up in Australia at a time when the Indian community experienced cultural unfamiliarity, lack of recognition and little community support. I hope that as ambassador I will inspire others to actively work for the community,” says the passionate activist, who adds that her areas of focus are to raise awareness about women’s empowerment, mental health and equal education and rights for all.
“I am thankful to FOSAI for the opportunity and hope it will help me build on the solid foundation of community work they have laid,” she says.