DeKalb, IL — At only 18 years old, model Quannah Chasinghorse is breaking barriers for Indigenous girls by providing representation in an industry that has long shutout Indigenous people.
The Alaska-based model proudly displays her traditional tattoos, rocks authentic Indigenous style, and has an array of impressive activism work under her belt. Chasinghorse is Hän Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota and is still relatively new to modeling when she signed to IMG in December.
One of her first big modeling jobs was in a Calvin Klein campaign in October last year, and since then, she has been cast in shoots for “V” and “Thunder Voice Hat Co.,” an Indigenous-owned hat company.
“I’ve always wanted to model. But growing up, I never saw Indigenous representation in fashion or beauty,” Chasinghorse said, according to Vogue. “I never grew up feeling confident because of the negative stereotypes of Native Americans. But that’s changing. Today, younger generations are going to be able to witness Indigenous excellence on the cover of magazines — and hopefully everywhere.”
She is also known for her activism in fighting climate change. In the past, she’s fought to conserve Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a 20-million-acre ecosystem that continues to face endangerment due to global warming.
“I’m extremely passionate about the [activism] work that I do,” she said. “I get Native youth reaching out to me and telling me that I inspire them to use their voice and to look more into their identity as an Indigenous person too.”
Chasinghorse is also using her platform to discuss the silenced history of Indigenous people, and one way she’s doing that is through Indigenous fashion her traditional Hän Gwich’in tattoos.
“I am a storyteller,” she said. “I wish I was able to see [someone like myself] as a kid because I would have felt so much more confident in myself.”