May 4, 2010

Article | Aboriginal Model A Stir At Fashion Week

Thought this article was interesting, considering the majority of models in the industry are white. Here is one Australian Aboriginal model making headlines:

Aboriginal model a stir at Fashion Week

May 4, 2010 - 12:04AM

The face of Aboriginal model Samantha Harris has created a major stir on the Australian Fashion Week runway.

The stunning beauty, who transformed herself from a beauty pageant hopeful who wore op shop clothes into a Vogue Australia covergirl, has emerged as the essential drawcard at Fashion Week, which kicked off in Sydney on Monday.

At just 19, Harris is scheduled to appear for 18 designers including Lisa Ho, Camilla, Dion Lee, Rachel Gilbert and Alex Perry, many of whom will use her to open their shows.

She proved herself a fast-rising star by landing a Vogue Australia cover, 17 years after the magazine last featured an Aboriginal model in the coveted spot.

But she's no overnight success story.

Harris started modelling when she was 13 and had worked her way up before Vogue Editor-In-Chief Kirstie Clements felt she had the maturity to be the face of the fashion bible's June issue.

Now, Harris feels ready for the spotlight.

"It took a while to build up to this, so I'm definitely ready now for success," Harris told AAP backstage at RAFW.

"I hope I get a huge cult following."

Harris realised her dreams of modelling only after she endured years of rejection in beauty competitions while the family struggled to finance the striking beauty's ambitions, says her mother Myrna Sussye.

"It was a bit sad, because we would go to competitions and we'd hear other girls with their parents spending $500 on outfits, and we just go to the op shop," Sussye said.

"I would say to Samantha: 'It's okay, I'll take them home, wash them up and iron them and you'll look beautiful, anyway.

"Beauty is from within, anyway, and so I would always say to Samantha, you've got to be beautiful on the inside before it becomes visual.

"That's my Mother's Day present, the (Vogue) cover," adds Sussye.

"I love it ... That was one of the goals, to get the cover of Vogue, and she's made that one as well."

Harris describes the experience of appearing on Vogue's June cover as "so strange, it doesn't seem real".

"It's really overwhelming and it's different to seeing yourself on the cover as opposed to inside the magazine."

Proud father Andrew Harris, who travelled from the Gold Coast with Sussye to celebrate his daughter's breakthrough, says she was always unique.

"She's always being different and there's something special about her," he says.

"She's just pure beauty."