Fashionista: Australian Aboriginal culture isn’t something that people overseas know much about, what would you want people to know?
Samantha Harris: I want people overseas to know how special our culture is. I hope next year when the Indigenous Fashion Week starts the rest of the world will stand up and take notice of such a unique heritage. We are an old culture that is very rich in the arts, sports and fashion. I want the world to know how talented the Australian Aborigines are.
Aboriginal culture is very connected to the arts, how would you describe that relationship?
The arts over the years, especially the cave paintings, have told our story. We are a very creative race and fortunately we can express ourselves in artistic ways such as painting and even design. Hopefully this strong connection will be upheld for many years to come.
Did your diverse background help or hinder you when you started modeling?
My background helped me when I started modeling because there weren’t many aboriginal models at the time and everyone in the fashion industry embraced both me and my culture. It was an exciting time, but I hope that now people accept the fact that I am successful not because of my background, but because of my hard work and disciplined approach.
What did it mean to you to land your first Vogue cover?
It meant so much to be on the cover of Vogue; I was truly honored and proud, especially as only the second indigenous person to ever grace the cover of Vogue Australia. Words can’t describe how happy I was. It was an absolute turning point.
What do you think people can expect from the upcoming launch of Australian Indigenous Fashion Week?
I think people will be blown away by this project. I haven’t seen all the designers and artwork that will be involved yet, but from what I have seen I can say there is so much talent, and I just can’t wait for everyone else to see what I have witnessed already.
Do you have favorite Aboriginal designers?
I love Roopa Pemmaraju, her graphics are amazing, and I love her silhouettes.
Last year there was a huge controversy when Rodarte used Aboriginal prints on garments. Do you have a comment about that?
I thought it was a great thing. I felt it gave Aboriginal art a fashion edge and helped raise its profile. I just wish I could have afforded to buy some of the garments.