ALEXIA FULLER flicks through the Pacific’s trendy – and crucially important – new magazine.
Sitting in the foyer of Chifley library in her floral print skirt, she flips the pages of the latest issue of Stella, the newest women’s magazine out of Port Moresby. Emma Filer, a previous Stella covergirl of Papua New Guinean descent, couldn’t be more elated that this creative outlet is now a presence in PNG.
In 2012, Stella was launched at Vision City Shopping Mall in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. It hit the ground running and has grown its following with a distribution area spanning across the Pacific region. The magazine covers topics including politics, fashion, finance, travel and art, all with a distinctive Pacific flavour. Described by editor and founder Amanda Donigi as a “thinking women’s magazine from PNG for the Pacific”, it doesn’t disappoint.
Stella aims to celebrate indigenous Pacific voices and provides a platform through which a community of creative Pacific women can connect with one another. It is a modern day manifestation of Epeli Hau’ofa’s “sea of interconnected islands”.
From the Australian perspective, often the narrative of Pacific women is one of crisis. Disempowerment, violence, lack of agency are commonly used to describe women’s place in many Pacific societies. In literature on the Pacific these negative images frequently dominate the narrative and positivity such as that which radiates from the pages of Stella is shut out.
For Pacific women, Stella is a beacon of positivity in a sea of negativity. Emma Filer believes that the image of Papua New Guineas should be changed because “a lot of the time with aid projects….women are treated as victims” and rarely become more than that. However, the Papua New Guinea women Emma knows are “not oppressed in any way. They are incredibly strong and creative and generous and I never see that in the media.” This is what Stella does, gives these stories a a voice.
Stella is the magazine many Pacific women have been waiting for. With a growing readership and it’s continuing to commitment to authentic Pacific content, Stella lives up to its name of the ‘Star of the Pacific’.
To learn more please visit: http://www.stellamag.com/
Research for this article comes out of a research project undertaken for PASI2001 in conjunction with Alexandra Kenny. I would also like to thank Emma Filer for giving her time to be interviewed.