Model, actor, comedian and Mr World entrant Jony Berry, has been creating waves ever since he burst onto the scene several years ago as one of Australia’s most successful Aboriginal male models.
Melbourne-based Jony grew up in Tasmania’s south and is of Lutruwita (Tasmanian Aboriginal) and Portuguese heritage on his mothers side.
His first modelling experience was at the age of 3 when Jony modelled for Oshkosh children’s line. Jony moved to NYC at the age of 18 where he was picked up on the street by 17 magazine for modelling re awoke his passion and dream of being an entertainer.
Once back in Australia Jony studied acting with NIDA ( The National Institute of Drama) Having starred in the 2020 feature film Dash Board Dogs, and as one of the stand-outs from Melbourne’s Hard Knocks’ Comedy workshops, Jony is fast proving he’s a star on the rise.
In 2019, the then-24-year-old took the title of Mr World Australia and went onto represent the nation at Mr World International in the Philippines. Proud of his culture, Jony had chosen to wear a robe displaying the Aboriginal flag with message “free the flag” on the back but was asked to remove it by organisers who viewed it as being too political.
Jony says his Aboriginal heritage is something in his family which has always been respected and celebrated. “My father really taught it to us and made sure we know what we have, and how to be respectful of the land and the culture,” he says.
Having experienced his fair share of hard knocks, enduring homelessness and surviving other traumas at a young age has been character building for the young Australian. “I have overcome a lot in my life,” he says. “That’s how I’ve got here — if I’d had a normal life, I wouldn’t have learnt the lessons I’ve learnt. I wouldn’t have seen the sides to life that I’ve seen and I wouldn’t have the drive to make change.”
In fact, one of Jony’s main aims was to use the Mr World platform to make others aware of the issues surrounding Indigenous suicide. His chosen charity is Black Rainbow, an organisation that works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTI people. Jony says it is a tragedy that Indigenous suicide rates are at crisis levels. “Sadly, we’re losing the First Nation, the oldest culture on Earth. I really hope by me advocating for the Black Rainbow it will somehow help.”