Defining beauty

I am so excited to bring you this little movie today. If it's the only thing you watch in the busy lead-up to Christmas, you won't regret it. It is challenging, funny at times, inspiring, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and incredibly important. But what's the movie about?It's a movie about a beauty pageant.

A beauty pageant for men.

Men who are HIV positive.

No, I'm not kidding. Take a look at Walk the Talk: Talk the Walk below, a short documentary covering the inaugural "Mr HIV Positive Living" beauty pageant in Gaborone, Botswana.

I promise, you will be so very glad you watched this. You'll be thinking about it for days later, and telling your friends about it at parties. [vimeo w=525&h=295]

WALK THE TALK: Living Positive With HIV from THINKBOX on Vimeo.

I interviewed one of the producers of this video last year*, a Botswanan PhD student at the University of Sydney, Kabo Matlho, who now spends his days researching answers and improvements to HIV/AIDS resistance at the Westmead Millennium Institute just west of Sydney, Australia.

After the footage was recorded, Kabo spent three years travelling back and forth between Botswana and  Australia for this video, checking facts and providing cultural advice and interpretation services. I loved my time talking with Kabo. He is one of the nicest people you could meet, deeply committed to his research and to the message of this video.

“AIDS affects everyone, regardless of gender, social class or culture," Kabo told me. "Australia has developed excellent management of HIV and the rate of infection. It is inspiring to see HIV-positive people in Australia step up and take charge of their own destiny, fight for their own lives. Our documentary represents the beginnings of something that I hope will be similar in Botswana. It is a small step, but it is a step forward.”

Talk the Walk: Walk the Talk won the Juror’s First Prize and the People’s Choice Award at the Association for Consumer Research Conference film festival in the USA in 2010. Well deserved, I think.

*Interview was conducted for the Westmead Medical Research Foundation

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