In February, we’re celebrating the confident and gorgeous, Alvine!

Hailing from Amata, a village located on Western Ambae, Alvine knows how important it is to cherish family and appreciate them when you can.

Currently a Second Lieutenant in the Vanuatu Mobile Force, Alvine shows us the elegant and bubbly side of her as she shares what it’s like being a woman in such a heavily male dominated space.

She understands that when she’s in uniform, she not only represents herself and the VMF, but all the other women wearing the same uniform, and the many more women to come.

Alvine lives by this quote, “In life, there are always challenges but it is how we cope with these challenges that matters.

#SistaGatStyle #WomanAmbae #Beautifu #WomenInLeadership #WomenInVanuatuMobileForce

Name

My name is Alvine Kweviradiu Vira. Those close to me call me, Ally, or Vine. My brothers on the other hand, like to call me Als!

Age

27 years old.

Where are you from?

I come from the island of Ambae, specifically from “Amata” – a small village on the West part of the island.

 

Tell us about your family.

I have a huge family!

I was born into a loving family with six sisters, whom I still very much appreciate even though I don’t see them very often.

I was later adopted into a family with only three siblings. My older sister, Anna Kweto Vira Yaviong, who is married, and my two brothers Steward Vira and Bob Natukokona.

I am forever grateful for my mother, Salome Vira. She is a strong and courageous woman who supported me through all lessons that life threw at me – she’s one of the main the reasons that I am where I am today. Someone who I dearly miss is my father, Arnold Vira, who sadly passed away 6 years ago but will forever be cherished in our hearts.

Wherever I go in this world, I remain grateful for my families from Ambae – the Viramalakwai and Ngwangokelekele family – and from Santo – the Tomker family. Their prayers, and continuous love and support, has shaped the woman I have become today – thank you!

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?  Any hobbies?

I use my free time to rest and recover! I like to watch movies at home, especially ones that can make me laugh. I enjoy sunsets and going for a run in the evening – running is my way of relaxing after a long stressful day, or after having a bad one. I also love going out for good food and drinks with my friends.

Do you work?

I joined the Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) in 2019 and got posted to the VMF Engineers Platoon.

Later during my probation, I had the privilege to be one of the first two Ni-Vanuatu Females to attend Officers training at Royal Military College-Duntroon in Canberra, Australia alongside my colleague, Second Lieutenant (2LT) Doriel Nancy Alick.

I am now, a 2LT and employed as a Platoon Commander under the VMF Infantry Company (INF COY), working alongside my colleagues 2LTs, Braxton Gilbert, Leo Matias and DanFord Lui.

Being a woman in a leadership role in the VMF, which is already a Male dominated work environment, can be challenging in all senses of the word.

It’s physically challenging because you are expected to have the same fitness level as your male colleagues so that you’re not seen as a ‘burden’ to your team.

It’s mentally challenging because there are times where you’re criticized for your mistakes, and you’re expected to make tough decisions which could cause tension amongst the team.

Regardless of what the issue is you must be mentally strong and not be afraid to take risks.

If I have learnt anything since being part of the VMF, it’s to be confident and learn from your mistakes, to understand that respect works both ways, regardless of rank and that trust needs to be built and connections made with people.

 

What do you aspire to do in the future?

I strongly believe that women will always have a place in any work environment, especially those in male dominated areas. So, I aspire to see more women in leadership or decision-making roles in these spaces, like the VMF.

What is a quote that you live by?

In life, there are always challenges but it is how we cope with these challenges that matters.

If you fail, get up, gather your strength, and try again! You will get there. Things won’t work out the way you want them to if you don’t try.

 

How would you describe your style?

My definition of style depends on the occasion, location, and weather.

 

Why do you like fashion?

I think fashion is a way to embrace your beauty and what you have. At the same time, it pays gratitude to someone else’s creative skills, like through jewelry, bags, clothes and more.

 

Who influences your style?

My line of work has more influence on what my day-to-day style looks like.

 

What beauty products do you use (including perfume)?

I use Aelan Curls products for my hair, Nivea body lotion for my skin and will occasionally wear Red Door, BLVCK Opens or Sweet Hope perfume. Other beauty products are used for special occasions.

 

Any fashion tips?

Keep it simple! Simple is beautiful.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Confident. Caring. Friendly.

 

What is one thing you wish you could tell your younger self?

Be proud of who you are and be more confident when making your decisions.

 

What does being a Ni-Vanuatu mean to you?

Being a Ni-Vanuatu means being proud of your brown skin, charcoal black hair, and rich knowledge about our traditions – our traditional food, traditional dancing and handicrafts.

As a Ni-Vanuatu woman you love and care for others and have that underlying respect for your elders and the men in your life – your brothers, partner, uncles and father. You also know your worth!

Don’t put other women down, instead, encourage, guide, and support them. And most importantly, be proud of who you are and where you come from.

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Photographer: Navara Nomads

Nails: Mesika’s Beauty

Assistant: Sharon Nicholls

Location: Cooks Barrack

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This article was originally published in the February, 2024 edition of the Vanuatu Daily Post’s Life and Style magazine.

We are proud partners with VDP and Sista’s time to implement this project which is covered by CARE Vanuatu.