Supermodel And Activist For Land And Climate Change, Quannah Chasinghorse, Is Using Her Cultural Landscape And Traditions To Alter The Runway Like Never Before.
Growing up, supermodel Quannah Chasinghorse rarely saw her culture represented in the fashion she voraciously consumed.
“I was obsessed with watching runway shows on television, and I was always posing for pictures,” she told Vogue. Still, because of this lack of representation, “it was tough for me to feel like I had the potential to be a model.”
But that all changed when she became the first Indigenous woman to walk for Chanel in October’s Spring-Summer 2022 Ready-to-Wear show.
Quannah Rose Chasinghorse is an American model and land protector based in Fairbanks, Alaska.
She appeared on the 2020 Teen Vogue list of Top 21 under 21, and since starting her career, Quannah has walked on many high-fashion runways, including Chloé, Savage x Fenty, Gabriela Hearst, and Prabal Gurung.
Before breaking out as a model, Chasinghorse gained a large following on social media for her activism work – and she’ll continue to use her ever-growing platform to address critical issues close to her heart, including climate activism.
What people might first notice about Quannah Chasinghorse is the Indigenous history on her face. I do, too, and it’s beautiful.
Chasinghorse was “14-years-old when she received her first Yidįįłtoo, a traditional face tattoo done by her people,” says Elle.
I admire her so much because Chasinghorse makes a point of celebrating indigenous fashion and promoting sustainable indigenous brands for many Native Americans and Indigenous people across the globe.
Originally born from the Han Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota tribes, her passion for representing her people, began much earlier in life.
Today she is making history as one of the first Indigenous people to reach the highest echelons of modelling.
When it comes to fighting advocacy Chasinghorse is a fourth-generation land protector for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Her mother, Jody Potts-Joseph, has been working to protect the land most of her life.
She aims to use her platform to educate and encourage people about how profound climate change is and address indigenous people’s stereotypes.
In an interview with Elle, she stated that her “motivations have never been about the fame or glory that comes with being a supermodel but rather about representing indigenous culture and fighting the climate change crisis”.
But while her accomplishments in fashion — which include introducing the industry to native traditions and style — are only getting started, Chasinghorse’s passion for representing her people and demanding action to combat climate change has been her passion since childhood.
Through the fashion industry, one of the most-watched empires globally, the superstar is redefining her people with the hopes that her voice, fighting for her cultural landscape, will hit home.
Her role in the climate change movement alongside many other young activists is critical.
But she claims that sometimes she feels out of place in a world based on pride. For example, during last year’s Met Gala, Chasinghorse told DailyMail that she felt out of business.
“I just don’t think I belong in spaces like that because I’m not an elitist,” she said. “My way of walking in this world, in the industry, is so different compared to everyone else because I feel like I constantly have to break barriers. No one knew me; no one cared to ask,” she added. “People are there for themselves, and it shows.”
But as she highlights, one of her people have battled for decades.
Chasinghorse aims to encourage other indigenous youth to step up, use their voices, and be proud of who they are. This idea motivates her to keep going and doing what’s right.
Quannah Chasinghorse is an advocate, an inspiration and a model we need to look out for on the runway as she makes her way down the platform of cultural advocacy.