At just 18, model Quannah Chasinghorse breaks down barriers for Indigenous girls by providing representation in an industry that has long excluded Indigenous peoples.
The Alaska-based model proudly displays her traditional tattoos, cradles authentic Indigenous style and has an impressive array of activist work to her name. Chasinghorse is Hän Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota and is still relatively new to modeling when she signed to IMG in December.
One of her first big modeling jobs was in a Calvin Klein campaign in October of last year, and since then she has been involved in filming for “V” and “Thunder Voice Hat Co.”, a native-owned hat company.
“I’ve always wanted to model. But growing up, I never saw any Aboriginal representation in fashion or beauty, ”said Chasinghorse, according to Vogue. “I never grew up confident because of the negative stereotypes of Native Americans. But that is changing. Today, the younger generations will be able to witness Indigenous excellence on the covers of magazines – and, hopefully, everywhere.
She is also known for her activism in the fight against climate change. In the past, she fought to conserve the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – a 20 million acre ecosystem that continues to be threatened due to global warming.
“I am extremely passionate about [activism] work that I do, ”she says. “I get young aboriginal people to contact me and tell me that I am encouraging them to use their voice and to look more at their identity as aboriginal as well.
Chasinghorse also uses his platform to discuss the silent history of Indigenous peoples, and one way to do that is to use his traditional Hän Gwich’in tattoos in Indigenous fashion.
“I’m a storyteller,” she says. “I would have liked to be able to see [someone like myself] child because I would have felt much more confident in myself.