By Alexandra Mae Jones
TORONTO (CTV Network) – Stand aside, models – The supernatural is here.
It’s the name of a new Indigenous modeling agency with a mission: to bring representation to the world of fashion.
Joleen Mitton, one of the co-founders of Supernaturals Modeling, told CTV News she didn’t have that portrayal when she was younger.
“Growing up, not seeing someone who looked like me, my mom or my grandmother was really a challenge, so we’re hoping to change that,” Mitton said.
The agency – based in British Columbia on unceded land – is brand new, but already has more than 10 models, and its long-term goal is to become a serious player in the industry. According to its website, the focus is on “healthy and upscale cultural representation.”
“Especially in the modeling world, indigenous people are not represented at a very high level, and it is not a common thing for us to still be considered ordinary people,” said one of the co-workers. -Founders, Patrick Shannon, at CTV News. .
The two co-founders have worked together for years. They say there is a need to showcase indigenous peoples and fashion globally. While there has been more diversity in the fashion world in recent years in terms of advertising campaigns and catwalks, they say indigenous people are often left behind.
“It’s that community support that has always been lacking in this kind of industry, which has always been very hostile.” Shannon said.
Shannon, originally from Haida Gwaii on the West Coast, is an entrepreneur and director who also operates InnoNative, a creative studio based in Haida Gwaii and Vancouver.
Mitton is a former model herself and ran Vancouver’s Indigenous Fashion Week. Now its goal is to increase Indigenous representation and change stereotypes.
“[It’s] for representation, for people who see themselves on billboards, Tim Hortons ads, ”she said.
One of the people looking to get noticed with the help of Supernaturals is Tiana Oostindie, one of the agency’s models.
“I’ve always wanted to get into modeling, but I never really felt confident and I never really took pride in my Indigenous background either,” she said.
For aspiring models, the agency accepts applications from Indigenous models aged 17 and over who reside in Canada. Aside from these stipulations, the agency is open to all applicants “regardless of age, body type, sexual orientation or nation you are from,” according to their website, where applicants can apply.
The agency is already making waves, landing an interview with Vogue Magazine last May. They have also already signed a contract with Roots Canada and hope this will be the first step towards success.
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