TBM favourite and Models By Models alumni Jade Willoughby talked to Indian Country Today about her first Fashion Week, her future plans, and what it's like being in a category all on her own.
You recently concluded your first Fashion Week in New York City. How’d it go?
That was my first experience doinganyfashion week, and of course it had to be New York City, which is one of the toughest. It was very demanding in terms of time. I think for two weeks straight I was waking up at 6:30 or 7 o’clock every morning and going to bed at night at 10 or 11 o’clock. … There was one day where I sort of had a little bit of a moment to myself to pull myself back together because it was so challenging. … The demands in terms of time management -- I could have anywhere from five or six castings that were all in the same time frame in uptown, midtown, Brooklyn, and they took a half-hour to travel in between -- there would need to be four or five of me in order to complete a full day.
I’m still in development and a new face, so it was sort of, like, a test run to get responses from clients and get my bearings, essentially to prepare me to travel and do all the fashion weeks: Paris, Milan and London. And so it was a really good learning experience. It was nothing I had expected, but it was great.
What are some of the difficulties you face as a Native model in this industry?
The biggest thing that I found so far is the fact that there are so few First Nation models that the majority of the time, for clients, I’m not sure if they know how to handle where I’m coming from as a person. ... I don’t fall under the category of being booked as a black model or any other ethnic models, so it’s sort of -- I’m in a category all my own and that can be tough at times. They do use the term “ethnically ambiguous” because I am mixed. And so I can look like several other races, but again it goes back to the fact that I’m one of the very first ones doing this, and sometimes it is met with a little hesitation because something so new and so different can scare people at times or they may just not know how to handle it.
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