23/07/2024 4:36 AM

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Piece of That Fashion

How Indigenous Model Quannah Chasinghorse Is Redefining Beauty

Photo: Keri Oberly/Courtesy of Quannah Chasinghorse

Chasinghorse also embraces her individuality in modeling through her traditional Hän Gwich’in tattoos, called Yidįįłtoo, which are a striking part of her signature look. “They make me feel more confident, because [by having them] I’m carrying a part of my ancestors that was almost completely lost,” says Chasinghorse. She got her first tattoo, a singular line running down her chin, at age 14. It was done by her mother in a hand-poke style. “My mom has been educating me about our sacred tattoos since a young age,” says Chasinghorse. “The meaning of my first tattoo is all about becoming a woman. [In my culture] when someone steps into her womanhood, she is now able to give birth, get married, and start taking on more responsibilities. With that comes a ceremony; we always hold a ceremony when we do traditional tattoos. It was such a powerful experience. When I got the tattoo, I really felt myself connecting to a deeper part of myself.”

She got her second traditional tattoo—three dots at the corner of each eye—last year. It was also done by her mother, and inspired by a dream she had about her. “I’ve been battling with depression and anxiety since elementary school, and I realized I needed to start focusing on my healing,” says Chasinghorse. “I had a dream that my mom was tattooing around my eyes, and she said, ‘You need to start your healing journey.’” She decided to get the tattoos done as an homage to the resiliency and constant healing work that Indigenous people have to go through. “I remember when I was done, I felt like a different person,” says Chasinghorse. She wants to continue adding to it too. “I’m not done with it; I want to connect the three dots to form a line,” she says. 

Photo: Grace Wilson/Courtesy of Quannah Chasinghorse

Like all of her activism work and impactful fashion choices, she sees her tattoos as an opportunity to educate others about a lesser-known aspect of her culture. This is especially powerful in a space like modeling, where models were once expected to have a uniform look. “The world is slowly recognizing that Indigenous people are not only beautiful and strong, but we hold values that are solutions to a lot of today’s problems, such as the climate crisis,” she says. Though she loves modeling and fashion in general, she wants to use it for something bigger. “I am a storyteller,” Chasinghorse says. “I wish I was able to see [someone like myself] as a kid, because I would have felt so much more confident in myself.”

Vogue Mexico May 2021 cover credits
Photographers Inez & Vinoodh
Realization George Cortina
Hairstylist James Pecis
Makeup Artist Fulvia Farolfi using Chanel Beauty products
Hair Assistant Anton Alexander
Fashion Assistants Moses Moreno y Andrew Bruggerman
Lighting Jodokus Driessen
Studio Manager Marc Kroop
Producers Inez & Vinoodh Tucker Birbilis
Produced by Michael Gleeson and Valentina Collado
Casting David Chen
Location Hotel Cuixmala and Hotel Las Alamandas, Jalisco
Model Quannah Chasinghorse