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Staying grounded while reaching for the stars

Phoebe Blogg -

Beach blonde hair paired with a sun-kissed glow and a charming down-to-earth personality, few would argue that Billie Jean Hamlet was destined for anything but a career in front of the camera.

Known for being one of Australia's top-performing First Nations models, Billie-Jean has now progressed to supermodel status. After a series of international and local opportunities putting her on every agency's radar, Hamlet has secured her status in the fashion industry's elite.

Having grown up in a remote community near Fitzroy Crossing called Ngurturwarta – prior to relocating to Perth – Hamlet's connection to country, culture and community is an aspect of her upbringing she continues to hold close to her heart.

"Spending my formative years immersed in nature and culture has allowed me to take away some important values that have helped me on my journey as an international model," she said.

"Being away from family and culture has been the biggest sacrifice in modelling for me thus far but it's where I find my strength to keep doing what I do as well as my complete and utter love for fashion and creativity."

Image: Nicole Bentley

Hamlet always had a passion for sports and exploring the outdoors, and dreamed of playing netball at the highest level before her path took a turn.

"My upbringing consisted of netball, athletics, karate, acting and modelling classes. I've always been highly ambitious with whatever I've set out to do. As a child my dream was to become an Australian Diamonds Goal Attack player until I discovered the world of modelling and photography," she told StyleUp.

"My first job was photography assisting in Perth at age 16. Being behind the lenses made me extra eager to get in front of them. Fashion became my whole world and there was nothing more I wanted to do than travel the world as a full-time model."

Hamlet said that among many amazing memories and opportunities, one particularly special moment was shooting with Country Road alongside her mother for the Australian brand's special Mother's Day campaign.

"My top career highlight was shooting the Country Road Mother's Day campaign with my mother who travelled all the way from Fitzroy Crossing to Sydney. It was a very special moment for me because time with my family it's rare and precious and being able to share my passion and give my mother a glimpse into what I do was so important to me," she said.

Now collaborating with Country Road for the brand's 50th Anniversary campaign, Hamlet says shooting and working with the brand feels effortless, noting that Country Road are setting the standard for greater representation in the fashion and creative industry.

"Since a new face in the industry I have had such a strong love and connection with Country Road, nowadays shooting with the brand feels effortless and it's always so memorable. I am so grateful for my experiences with Country Road," she said.

"I do believe Country Road has definitely set the standards for greater representation and it's great to see so many other amazing Aussie brands joining in."

Whilst the opportunity to work with both her mother and an iconic brand remains the young model's most fond career moment, Hamlet has also worked with several other major brands including both Sir the Label and Bec + Bridge.

Hamlet noted that working with Vogue Australia was yet another amazing, career-defining moment.

"Another massive career highlight was shooting my first ever Australian Vogue main fashion spread, this was such a dream come true."

Image: Nicole Bentley

Being an international success, it comes as no surprise to find that Hamlet does have plans to continue travelling back and forth between Australia, New York, London and Paris.

"New York City has my heart. It's the city of dreams and whilst I continue to embark on my journey as a model, there is no place I'd rather be. The atmosphere is electric and I find inspiration all around," she said.

"I am headed back to NYC later this year to hopefully tick off some more goals of mine and I couldn't be more excited. I also have my sights set on London, Paris and Milan."

Hamlet said finding time for herself to relax, unwind and recollect her thoughts, is crucial to her maintaining a healthy mindset and routine.

"The most important thing for me when I'm away from home is always staying grounded, I like to find a quiet park, river or beach where I can gather myself, recollect my thoughts and stay focused on my path," she said.

Despite posing for the likes of Vogue and walking on the catwalk at several international runways, Hamlet has not forgotten her roots and has not lost her down-to-earth nature.

Full of energy and drive, the young model is striving to reinforce the idea (to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous young women and models), that whilst it is normal to doubt yourself and your abilities, you should always believe in yourself, strive, and chase your dreams.

"Chase your dreams, believe in yourself and work hard. When doubt creeps into my mind I remind myself where I come from and I feel invincible," she said.

Billie Jean Hamlet has already achieved much in her career but it seems almost certain that the best is yet to come.

Honouring her upbringing, staying humble and working hard has seen Hamlet grow not just as a model, but an inspiring influence for other young women. Often compared to fashion industry icon Elle Macpherson, Hamlet's career is flourishing.

With a year of international travel, local opportunities and more ahead, in 2024 Billie Jean Hamlet will further demonstrate she is not just a pretty face, but a thriving influence for First Nations women all over Australia.

Photographer: Nicole Bentley

Photographer: Nicole Bentley

Creative Director: Rupert Carr-Gregg

Stylist: Kate Gaskin

Hair Stylist: Joel Forman

Make-Up Artist: GIllian Campbell

Location: Broome Beach.

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