A Pinjarra model has taken Perth by storm, becoming one of the first Aboriginal models to participate in the Perth Fashion Festival and taking a modelling award home.
18-year-old Raquisha Kearing hit the catwalk last Saturday to model in the Chirriger Aboriginal Runway, a collaboration between Red Opium designer Sandra Rives and Noongar artist Peter Farmer.
The collection featured five of Mr Farmer’s Aboriginal artworks printed onto Ms Rive’s ready-to-wear fashion designs and was modeled entirely by Aboriginal models.
Ms Kearing also participated in this year’s Multicultural Runway and won an award for the best walk at the Women in Business Luncheon event, a competition judged by international Aboriginal model Samantha Harris.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said said.
“We had Samantha Harris come down and model with us and she was amazing, she is one of my biggest inspirations.”
Ms Kearing said she had already received calls from modelling and photography agencies interested in taking her on board.
“It’s all gone so fast,” the 18-year-old said.
“One day I was modelling in my house and the next day I’m on a catwalk at Perth’s Fashion Week, it’s crazy.”
However, she is determined to become an international model to fight the under-representation of Aboriginal people in fashion and to help lift the profile of indigenous models.
“There’s only one international Aboriginal model and that’s Samantha Harris, one out of all of the beautiful Aboriginal girls we have in Australia,” she said.
“It’s really upsetting that you only have one person that’s ever been on Vogue, one person that’s ever been noticed for their natural native beauty.
“We need to step up, take the spotlight.”
She would like to use her exposure and modelling experience to mentor other young indigenous girls and help them build up their confidence.
“We need more girls to do it, and a lot of the reason why we don’t have models is because they are unconfident,” she said.
“I want to help people with their confidence, I wan to help girls to realise that they are beautiful the way they are and that they can do it, they can model.”
Ms Kearing, who is currently modelling for Peter and Miranda Farmer and All Seasons Models, said she hoped to be able to start modelling full-time in the near future.
“There’s definitely a lot to come, I’ve got a lot of things coming up and big things planned for the future,” she said.
“I’ve got a bit of a way to go but stepping stones, and that’s all I’ve got to do, keep on stepping on those stones.”