Kawerau model goes international
5 March 2018
KAWERAU has a new aspiring model, ready to debut her talent on the international catwalk.
Akeylah Wade, 16, has been selected from more than 500 applicants worldwide to strut the catwalk at Virgin Australia’s Melbourne Fashion Festival this month.
The 16-year-old Tarawera High School student isn’t a newbie to the catwalk or shy in front of the camera.
Akeylah has modelled at several fashion shows in the Bay, including Whakatane’s Too Pretty show last year.
She also featured in Plenty Magazine, a publication promoting the Eastern Bay and the people in it, after she was photographed by Kawerau model, Danielle Hayes.
“In July I saw a Facebook post asking for submissions to be photographed by Danielle Hayes.
“I sent in my expression of interest, and to my luck she chose me. She photographed me, and I featured in the Plenty Magazine. I was pretty stoked,” she said.
In October, Akeylah showcased her skills on the runway at Huia Fashion Show in Rotorua for prestigious fashion designers Mereana Ngatai, Taongahuia Maxwell, Anna Hayes, and Leilani Rickard.
Akeylah said the fashion shows, photo shoots and magazine features were good experiences, giving her confidence, networking, and professional knowledge helpful for her international modelling debut.
As part of Huia Fashion Show Akeylah attended model training sessions in Rotorua organised by ex-Miss Aotearoa New Zealand, Marlena Martin.
In December, she tried her luck and applied to model at the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival 2018 – Melbourne.
“A few weeks after applying they told me I had been selected from over 500 applications worldwide, it was a cool surprise.
“I’ve never modelled internationally before. It’s a dream come true.
“I’m nervous and very excited at the same time, but I will do my best.”
The show is organised by Global Indigenous Management chief executive officer Tina Waru and will be held in Melbourne’s central business district on March 9.
Akeylah is modest about her achievements thus far.
She has been active in the Kawerau community by fundraising at events, and she has also been helping at the newly-developed Kawerau Urban Food Forest.
Many Kawerau groups and members of the public have assisted in support – Kawerau District Council, Kawerau Cross Fit, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Tarawera High School, and the Kawerau Youth Council.
Akeylah hopes that the wonderful modelling opportunity she has been given will inspire others to follow their dreams too.