Yityish Titi Aynaw, a 21-year-old from Netanya, was chosen Miss Israel 2013 on Wednesday night — the first Ethiopian-born contestant to win the title.
Aynaw, who came to Israel with her family when she was 12, was entered into the competition by a friend, and had no previous modeling experience.
She said during the competition that she hoped to go into modeling “to change attitudes to dark-skinned models. I’d love to become the first Israeli (TV) host, the Tyra Banks of Israel.”
Interviewed on Thursday, Aynaw, who served as an officer during her military service, said her integration into Israeli society had been greatly eased because she had been “thrown into the deep end” in the state school system, “and I learned to swim,” rather than placed in separate Ethiopians-only classes.
She also said she hoped “to represent all Israelis” as Miss Israel, rather than specifically championing the cause of Ethiopian Israelis. She said it would be an honor to represent Israel on the international stage, and that she thought it would reflect well on Israel to have an Ethiopian-born beauty queen.