(from Left) 2015 Miss Universe Ashley Callingbull; Jada Raphael; Callingbull’s mother Lisa Ground, who was named Mrs. North America Globe Classic in 2015; and Jada’s brother Joel Raphael in October 2015, when Jada and Joel modelled alongside Callingbull in Kamloops. Jada will be on the runway at a major fashion show in Melbourne, Australia in March 2018. Photo: Cheryl Billy.

B.C. Indigenous teen model to walk in major Australian fashion show

Jada Raphael of the Cook’s Ferry Band will represent the Nlakapamux and Secwepemc Nations

Kamloops student Jada Raphael—who grew up in Spences Bridge and Ashcroft, and is a member of the Cook’s Ferry Band—will soon be flying to Melbourne, Australia to take part in the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival as an Indigenous model.

Raphael—who turns 17 just before the festival in early March—has been modelling since she was 14, mostly in small shows where she wore clothing designed by her aunt, Nadine Spence. In 2015 she had an opportunity to model clothes alongside Ashley Callingbull from Alberta’s Enoch Cree Nation, who in August 2015 became the first Canadian woman, and first Indigenous woman, to be crowned Miss Universe.

The opportunity came about because Raphael’s mother, Cheryl Billy, contacted Callingbull prior to her appearance at TRU in Kamloops in October 2015. “It was a big show,” says Raphael. “I got to meet a lot of Indigenous people.”

Raphael was tagged in a Facebook post about the Melbourne fashion festival, and she applied online and sent in an application. “More than 1,000 people applied, and I was shocked and very emotional when I found out I’d been accepted.” All the models are aged between 17 and 25, and the event is open for both beginners and professionals.

Raphael says there is a week of intensive training for all the models before the actual show. “The training is worth about $3,000, and will help me in the future. I don’t have stage fright, and I’m not scared walking down the runway, so I think I’ll be fine. I’m just scared of tripping.” During the training, models cannot wear make-up or use hair products, and cannot show any body piercings. “They want to get to know us as natural people.”

Billy says that the training is an elite program that will benefit her daughter and help in her runway future. Raphael confirms that modelling is a career she would like to pursue, but adds that the Melbourne festival will help her decide if that’s what she wants to do.

She currently attends Valleyview High School in Kamloops, in order to take advantage of the varied sports opportunities available there.

“I’m really into sports, and am more of an athletic model,” says Raphael, noting that she is involved in kickboxing, hockey, and rugby. “I won’t stop doing these.”

A request for sponsorships or donations to help defray the costs has already produced a sponsor for the flight to Melbourne and a donation to help with spending money, and Billy says they are still looking for sponsors.

“Modelling agencies will be looking at her for their shows, and we’re looking for funding for these opportunities.” She adds, however, that her daughter is remaining humble, and is willing to come back and speak to other youth about sports and how she got to where she is.

“My family has been very supportive,” says Raphael. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom, who taught me to stay humble and stay classy. And my grandmother, Shirley Raphael [who passed in January 2017], taught me so much. I wouldn’t be here without her, either. I got quite emotional when I heard about the festival, and wished Grandma was here.”

Raphael—who will be representing the Nlakapamux and Secwepemc Nations, as well as the Cook’s Ferry Band, at the Melbourne festival—is keenly aware of her roots. “I’m proud of who I am.” Billy notes that her daughter is a leader of her own already, something that is very empowering for the little ones.

“She was raised very intensely in regard to Nlakapamux rules and laws,” says Billy. “She knows how to hunt and fish, and has done some drumming.”

“I tried for my first buck this year,” says Raphael, adding that it was too far away for her to be assured of a clean shot that would kill and not wound it. “I was taught to only hunt for food, and to honour the land and be respectful. I leave tobacco and sage to thank the fish for sustenance.”

Looking ahead to March, Raphael says “I’m very excited; and the closer I get to it the more excited I get. There will be Indigenous people there from all over the world, representing different countries. I’m really looking forward to it, and to building my portfolio.”

Says Billy, “It’s amazing how her life has turned from just being Jada to being a global Indigenous model.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Raphael, or make a donation, can contact Cheryl Billy at (250) 571-9314, or email her at cbjrjb@hotmail.com.

 

Jada Raphael from the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, who will be walking the runway at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in March.

Just Posted

Port Alberni city council to ‘stay on course’ for five-year budget plan

Next budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m

Alberni businesses nominated for Island excellence

Coulson Ice Blast, Port Posh Wash, the Blue Marlin Inn and Totem… Continue reading

BCHL: Speedy left winger commits to Bulldogs

Forward Ethan Jang will be suiting up for the 2018-19 season

Rollin Art Centre open now

Make sure to renew your Community Arts Council membership

BCHL: Bulldogs take the ice after trade deadline

Alberni team picked up one loss, one win with new roster

Parksville MakerSpace members ride the rails

New room added for model train enthusiasts; workshop set for Jan. 21

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Woman in Nanaimo buys $70 worth of ice cream with allegedly stolen debit card

Purchase said to have occurred on Jan. 11 at 2 a.m. at Nicol General Store

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

Most Read