Journalist becomes first person with face tattoo to present primetime news

In Kenya news anchors are given strict rules regarding their physical appearance.

Oriini Kaipara

Oriini Kaipara from New Zealand has become the first news anchor in the world with facial tattoos.

Kaipara recently hosted the prime time news bulletin for Newshub, a popular station in New Zealand, rocking her traditional tattoo on her chin.

The facial tattoo is locally referred to as a moko kauae. It represents a rite of passage, marking the passage between girl and adulthood and symbolises a personal process of transformation.

Speaking to CNN, the 37-year-old said that she was overjoyed at the opportunity of a lifetime.

Kaipara previously hosted the 4.30pm news which is not regarded as prime time.

She first made headlines in 2019 when she became the first person with Maori tattoo to present in a mainstream news channel.

The facial markings were a personal decision she made to remind her of her power and identity as a Maori woman.

"When I doubt myself, and I see my reflection in the mirror, I'm not just looking at myself. I'm looking at my grandmother and my mother, and my daughters, and hers to come after me, as well as all the other women, Māori girls out there and it empowers me," she said.

Her story is unique given the high standards and strict appearance guidelines that news anchors are supposed to adhere to.

In Kenya, news anchors are put on a pedestal because they are largely seen as the faces of the media stations they represent.

Former Citizen TV anchor Joey Muthengi in a past interview said that she had to starve herself sometimes in order to maintain a certain image.

"I got it under control for a few years after, then somehow I landed on TV. Then I stopped eating at all. I looked great in those dresses they gave me, but underneath I was suffering," she explained.

Media personality Karungo wa Thang'wa was also asked to shave his dreadlocks in order to secure a job in the media.

"Although I had a Job on Radio, I wanted to look for greener pastures. That is why I went for a TV interview.

"After the condition they gave me, I asked myself if I cut the hair, I will look photogenic? I had to forego the job and keep my hair," he said in a past interview.

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