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From model to role model: Quannah Chasinghorse is changing everything

With the illusion of finding a real and inspiring connection, in a hyper-connected world by leaps and bounds after more than a year of confinement, I entered a Zoom session to meet with Quannah Chasinghorse.

Face to face on the screen, I began by sharing how strange – even as a digital editor – this human interaction was still for me, with that feeling that “I already felt that I knew her” by following her on social networks or seeing a couple of videos in which she was interviewed by Jane Fonda herself. So without a coffee in between, as I would have preferred our meeting to be, I started to ask her a series of questions to find out a little more about her, your career in the fashion industry and about his well-known activism for causes that, today more than ever, concern us all.

Who is Quannah Chasinghorse?

We start with the basics, and when I say basic I mean two questions that I usually ask when looking to connect with someone. The chosen ones were: What inspires you? And what makes you happy? Although they seem clichéd questions, the funny thing is that whoever is about to answer them, almost always does so with a very peculiar phrase or a list of activities that instantly put a smile on their face. It’s a good start.

Fortunately, such was the case with Quannah. At eighteen years of age and a growing career as a model, her live voice responses denoted a maturity and great knowledge that I would have liked to have at her age. He shared with me that his inspiration came from many things, but mainly from “seeing the Indigenous villages emerge and reclaim her power and identity ”and that what made her happy was something that, within the dynamism of the city and current life, tends to dissipate:“ I am going to hunt and fish, so traditional foods are something that really makes me very happy; to the practice my culture and tradition, and thus reconnect with my spirit ”, affirmed the model. Meanwhile, in Mexico City, I reflected –through the Zoom screen– an expression of longing to change the panorama of my window (a gray landscape of buildings), for which Quannah surely had and enjoyed in full color. en Alaska.

The next question came just in time, and accompanied by my virtual wallpaper alluding to a fictional beach. Suddenly, I heard a murmur that seemed familiar to me and felt like I’d heard before. It was her mother who was on the other side of the camera supporting her and, conveniently, present to hear the response addressed to her. I asked for: “Who you admire?”, to which Quannah responded without hesitation: “It was always my mom who played the role of mom and dad, and I grew up with two brothers, so I’m the middle daughter” and added, “She taught me everything I know, hunting and fishing ”.

Female figures, like her mother, have always been present in Quannah’s life. “I think it is something that I will always treasure and something that she has repeated to me throughout my life. For as long as I can remember, he says never forget who I am and where I come from ”. His eyes drifted away from the video call for a moment, as if to convey this message to his mother live and direct. Quannah even added references to the conversation about her aunts (as she affectionately says to the powerful women who have guided her), naming them as a squad she has been able to count on during her search for identity and path to pursue her firm ideals, sharing your appreciation for the unconditional support you have received in achieving your dreams.

At this point, as a avid snowboarder, guitarist and an apprentice to a traditional indigenous tattoo artist, Quannah showed much more than just being a cover model. His career began in a campaign with Calvin Klein, precisely projecting herself as a voice for change, “Becoming a model was always my dream, since I was little, since I was three or four years old,” she commented. “I think it’s so beautiful because now it’s not just about my image; it is my voice and who am I. I was raised in the movement [land back] and the women around me raised me ”.

Being faithful to echo the message that representation is extremely important in all industries, Quannah mentioned what it has been like to be part of the change from her experience and, at the same time, noted the impact she has made as the face of fashion. of a new generation. “You know, being hugged in the world of fashion is so big for me, because it’s not only my dream, but it happens with such grace. Growing up with truly indigenous facial features, I was greatly annoyed by it, so I never thought I met the beauty standards. And now, being a model, I have fully embraced my traits. I have fully recognized how I look, that my facial features come from my ancestors, and now every time I look in the mirror, I am not ashamed of my nose or my cheekbones. I hug them and I think it’s beautiful because that’s how my people looked back then ”.

Quannah calls the modeling its platform and thus finds the opportunity to spread calls to action. In this way, we go into detail regarding something else that united us in this call, the digital world. “The call to action is very powerful because I feel like people with big platforms don’t always use it for the common good and that’s my goal, to make sure that I can do something through my personal account. But I also want people to remember that we need to refocus on the issue. ” “Everywhere, wherever I go, I like to post and I make sure to tag every indigenous person I meet, because everyone is doing important work and I am using my platform to share and spread awareness.”

With a vast community of followers on your Instagram account, clear messages and a firm conviction that you are right on the right track and fulfilling your dream. I closed this call with a brief reflection: “Quannah, do you realize that you are redefining being a model to become a model to follow? ” and immediately I smiled. “When you say you are a model and a role model, I think it’s crazy to me, because I think about it a lot, but I never thought about it that way,” she nodded. “I would have wanted to grow up seeing someone like me, you know. Now I have that platform, I have that image, I have a voice and it would have helped me when I was younger. ” With that answer, I couldn’t help but think that it is exactly what I would also have loved when I was making the collages that hung on the wall in my teenage room.

Quannah, meanwhile, remained thoughtful and added: “It is a great responsibility, because there are so many eyes on on me, but it is definitely an honor and a blessing that I am given these opportunities to use my voice on a larger platform. “

Quannah Chasinghorse comes from tribus Han Gwich’in y Oglala Lakota, lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is a protector of indigenous lands for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Protect sacred lands from oil development and fight for climate justice, indigenous rights, MMIWG and representation. If you are looking who is Quannah Chasinghorse You will find these words in a short biography of her profile as a model. However, without a web search engine involved and after an enriching interview, Quannah is the one who will accompany my nieces, girls of a similar age to her, and a whole generation of young people as the face of this adventure called fashion.

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