Born and raised in an Indigenous community in the remote Brazilian Amazon, Zaya Guarani (b. 2001) belongs to a line of strong women who have led their communities as both shamans and spiritual guides. Continuing her ancestral tradition of political and spiritual engagement, Zaya has chosen to dedicate her platform to the ongoing global struggle for Indigenous rights and climate justice.
A member of the powerful Kamurape and Guarani Mbya ethnicities, Zaya initially infused her traditional Indigenous upbringing with a German school education after earning a scholarship in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 16. Shortly thereafter, Zaya was spotted by Dayana Molina, a prominent Brazilian Indigenous rights advocate, stylist, and columnist, with whom Zaya would found the first Indigenous Creative Collective dedicated to Indigenous representation in the fashion world.
As an Indigenous Brazilian activist and speaker, Zaya first achieved fame in her country as the first fully Indigenous model raised in the Amazon rainforest before gracing the pages of Vogue Brasil, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar. In the last few years, Zaya has also relentlessly devoted herself to working with partners who understand and support her political and climate activism, both within and beyond the fashion industry. Currently based in New York City, Zaya is a model, activist and speaker, she is a board advisor for Slow Factory Climate Innovation Hub in New York and works with the United Nations among others initiatives.