In celebration of NAIDOC Week, Cocktail Revolution salutes Aboriginal models along with those from the Torres Strait who are working in the fashion industry today.
Each July, NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia to commemorate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Indigenous voice of Australia is over 65,000 years old, and events held throughout NAIDOC Week aim to create further awareness and a better future for all Australians. This year’s theme is Voice, Treaty, Truth.
The industry in Australia has frequently come under fire for its lack of cultural diversity and representation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander models remain heavily underrepresented in fashion and modelling today, but there’s some serious talent out there.
From the names you know, the up-and-comers and even those who have given up the catwalk to pursue other dreams, here are just a few of the deadly faces who currently make up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander modelling scene in Australia.
After a 15-year strong career, Samantha Harris is one of the biggest names in Australian fashion. Harris is the second Aboriginal woman, after Elaine George (1993), to land a Vogue cover. Samantha began her career through Girlfriend magazine at just 11 years old.
Sarsha is a Perth based model and daughter of former Fremantle Dockers player Scott Chisholm. While she’s only been agency signed for a couple of years, Chisholm has already shot for the likes of Target and M.A.C Cosmetics, as well as landing a RUSSH magazine cover.
Melbourne based artist and model, currently in Switzerland, Iluka Sax-Williams is one of the rising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander faces in the industry today. He is signed with Jira Models.
Ceduna-born beauty Katarina Keeler began her modelling journey as the first Aboriginal model to be the face of the Adelaide Fashion Festival in 2014. Keeler has since followed her passion for nursing, completing her studies in Adelaide and is currently working as a registered nurse in Darwin.
Cassie Puruntatameri was born in the Northern Territory’s Tiwi Islands, a remote community of fewer than 450 people. She was scouted by Perina Drummond of Jira Models after arriving in Melbourne on a one-way plane ticket.
Former rugby league player turned youth worker, underwear model and all-round role model, Casey Conway came out in 2015 during an interview in which he discussed homosexuality and Aboriginal culture, and has been an active voice within the community since.
Kaitlin Dodd began modelling at 16 after being named one of the national winners of an Aboriginal Model Search. She has walked at Fashion Week in Brazil as well as in the Seychelles for Work Indigenous Fashion Week.
Lilla Lowanna has fronted many fashion campaigns and graced catwalks during MBFWA and Australian Indigenous Fashion Week. This stunner is bound to continue making waves as a model.
This year NAIDOC week runs from Sunday 7 July, 2019 to Sunday 14 July.
Tap here to see the first Aboriginal fashion runway at the Perth Fashion Festival.