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From Instagram to International Runways: The journey of Lisa Fatnowna

Phoebe Blogg -

Whilst many models would agree that being scouted on social media is not a new or an emerging trend, it was definitely something proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander model, Lisa Fatnowna did not see coming.

Having grown up on Gimuy-Walubara Yidinji Country in Northern QLD, Fatnowna only moved to Gadigal Country in 2021 to pursue a career in modelling.

Whilst her grandfathers (maternal and paternal) are Kuku Yalanji from the Port Douglas and Mossman region, Fatnowna's grandmothers are from Moa Island (paternal) and Ugar Island (maternal) in the Torres Straits.

Despite loving the travel aspect of her career, Fatnowna is significantly close with her family, sharing with Style Up that she is already looking forward to going home and visiting her family after walking at New Zealand Fashion Week, Kahuria.

"I would love to just go back home to Cairns to see my family once my NZ trip comes to an end. I love going back home to ground me and to also be surrounded by them before I head back to Sydney", said Fatnowna.

Speaking of New Zealand, this is actually the young model's first time walking in New Zealand Fashion Week.

Amidst the chaos that is New Zealand Fashion Week, Style Up spoke with the Australian model to find out more.

Lisa Fatnowna on the Viva Next Gen runway at New Zealand Fashion Week, Kahuria (Image: Supplied Getty Images)

Despite the model not being scouted the old-fashioned way, Fatnowna was thrilled to be signed by international modelling agency, IMG.

"Once I was scouted by IMG via Instagram, I knew this was something that I needed to go for"

"Having the background of working with indigenous kids, I knew this was the best way to help others go for their goals and dreams and it doesn't matter how much experience or time you have", said Fatnowna.

Whilst modelling is now her primary focus, before this Fatnowna was working with Indigenous at-risk youth in Cairns and surrounding regions.

Still passionate about this advocacy and awareness, Fatnowna continues to spread her time evenly between her two passions.

Model Lisa Fatnowna (Image: Raex Murillo)

Having made her New Zealand Fashion Week debut this week, Fatnowna is as bubbly and excited as the energy she radiates when speaking about this opportunity at NZFW.

"I feel quite honoured. It's nice to try out a new market… This is my first time walking NZFW", said Fatnowna.

With her culture as the backbone of all she does, Fatnowna definitely does not shy away from speaking up and voicing her opinion on the state of the industry and ways both mob and the general public can shift and improve.

"I'm always so grateful to represent my culture. It's beautiful being surrounded by mob and we need to uplift each other not tear each other down",

"Just remember who you are and where you come from", said Fatnowna.

Model Lisa Fatnowna (Image: Raex Murillo)

Despite having featured in the pages of Vogue and the runways of Australia Fashion Week, Fatnowna has many hobbies not related to the creative industry at all.

Like most in her field, Fatnowna finds that many are often shocked to find out that does indeed have have hobbies and interests outside of her successful modelling career.

"I'm very athletic and very competitive. I was playing hockey from the age of 7 and only last year I started playing AFL for my local club in Cairns called the 'Cairns City Lions',

"I feel like a fair bit of people get a bit surprised about hearing that", said Fatnowna.

When discussing the future of First Nations fashion and further gauging her opinion, on the subject it's clear that Fatnowna absolutely adores the variety of First Nations creatives she is able to work with.

Similar to Style Up, Fatnowna believes that the stories told through Indigenous creations is significantly special and therefore should be provided with an opportunity to present and showcase on an international runway.

"We have so many amazing and beautiful talented designers," said Fatnowna.

"Our (referring to Indigenous designers) designers tell a story throughout their artwork and that's something that needs to be shown worldwide.

"I feel like the exposure is slowly increasing as other major designers are collaborating or AAFW taking on our designers to show off their work on the runway".

Lisa Fatnowna on the Juliette Hogan runway at New Zealand Fashion Week, Kahuria (Image: Supplied Getty Images)

When the topic of future projects and runways is raised, the young creative is quick to confirm that she is very much open to seeing what the future holds.

"We will see where life takes me", Fatnowna told Style Up.

With her open mind, radiation of positivity and passion for modelling, Fatnowna is destined to reappear on many more catwalks…not just in Australia but the world.

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