(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

Vancouver Island wife brings husband back to life with CPR, thanks to 911 dispatcher

‘The only reason he was alive was that 10 minutes of CPR before paramedics got there’

Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni hopes to ‘raise the reds’

Lily Diotte of Swale Rock Cafe is fundraising to replace the theatre’s red curtains

Alberni’s development soccer program doubles in size

Development practice had hardly started, but there were already more than 30… Continue reading

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Alberni university zeroes in on disability and poverty

BY MIKE YOUDS SPECIAL TO THE NEWS The road to poverty can… Continue reading

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

RCMP investigating after gunshots fired in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating after gunshots rang out in Courtenay… Continue reading

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Most Read