Maria Thattil (she/her)

Maria Thattil is Australia’s most celebrated contemporary South-Asian media personality and Miss Universe Australia 2020.

A staunch diversity advocate, media personality, commentator, panellist, writer, model, creator and speaker Maria uses her voice and words to create meaningful dialogue and campaign for change. 

Crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2020, Maria placed in the top 10 in the international pageant in Florida in 2021 and was lauded for breaking several barriers. She was only the third woman of colour to represent Australia in the pageant’s then 69-year history and was also the shortest international entrant standing at a proud 5’3. 

A current panellist on Channel 9’s ‘Talking Honey’ and ‘Today Extra,’ Maria is also a contributor/columnist for top lifestyle site 9Honey and national publication Stellar Magazine. Her appeal continues to escalate given her warm personality and ability to speak and write eloquently on a wide variety of issues. Many of Maria’s discussion topics and projects target social justice issues including anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, representation, youth empowerment, mental health, sexism, gender equality and LGBTIQIA+ issues. 

 She has also featured numerous times on Channel 7’s The Morning Show, ABC News Breakfast, Channel 9’s The Today Show, Channel Ten’s Studio 10 and Have You Been Paying Attention, showcasing her intelligent insights, sense of fun, quick wit and ability to switch between serious and light subjects. As an insightful and skilled opinion writer, she has also authored powerful pieces for a variety of reputable outlets including News Corp’s Body+Soul, Mamamia, Women’s Agenda, The Carousel and Kiddipedia.

Maria has been a guest speaker for global conglomerates including Verizon Media, Procter and Gamble, and L’Oréal, and keynote speaker for She’s On the Money and Monash University. She is a regular interviewee on various podcasts, radio and digital outlets. She has also been the cover star of Body+Soul, Star Observer and BEAUTYcrew magazine.

Leveraging her degrees in psychology and management in her creative endeavours, Maria has collaborated with major brands on panels, campaigns and content geared toward representation and equality. She has headlined national campaigns as a face and ambassador for iconic brands including Olay, Clinique, L’Oréal, Witchery, Adore Beauty, Elite Eleven, ulta3, Seamless1 and Eimele. Not only did she serve as the 2022 Mardi Gras Ambassador for Olay, but she was also the 2021 and 2022 Australian Open ambassador for Piper-Heidsieck.

Maria’s appearance as a cast member on Network Ten’s I’m a Celebrity …. Get Me Out of Here in early 2022 gained national attention when she came out as bi-sexual on-air, helping to de-stigmatise people’s sexual preferences. This led to her charity affiliation with Minus 18 – an Australian organisation which supports LGBTIQIA+ youth. 

Maria has also added creator/executive producer to her belt as the creator of the sexual wellness digital series ‘Getting Intimate’ and the empowerment series “Mind With Me”.  She has also collaborated with Meta, Olay and Mardi Gras, to host the Facebook Watch series Queer Thinking Live.
Maria also serves as a member of the United Nations Association of Australia. She aims to develop her career further in Australian entertainment with an ongoing interest in hosting, presenting and acting.

A photograph of model Maria Thattil standing side on and looking over her shoulder smiling

Acknowledgement of country

Sydney WorldPride will take place on the lands of the Gadigal, Cammeraygal, Bidjigal, Darug, Dharawal people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney Basin.

We pay our Respects to their Elders past and present. Always was Always will be Aboriginal Land.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people come from many different clans and communities across Australia & in 2023 will come together as one, to celebrate with our global LGBTQIA+ community.