People hear the word Instagram and think celebrities showing off their flash lifestyles or fitness videos.
But Kija/Bardi Jawi woman Fallon Gregory wants to use the social media platform for more.
The 28-year-old has been leading the charge for better representation of Indigenous Australians, using her Instagram feed as a personal placard for issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement.
So far, she said her stance against racism was yet to cost her an endorsement deal as her followers grow towards the 23,000 mark.
Most importantly, she wants to create a place that young First Nations people can look to for representation.
“I aspire to be someone that my younger self would’ve needed and wanted to see,” she told the National Indigenous Times.
Ms Gregory’s passion for social justice issues stems from her upbringing in the Kimberley region where she was an eyewitness to “things within our community that you wouldn’t be exposed to in a city or even in a small country town … these were remote communities”.
“A large percentage of Australians aren’t even aware of issues, and if they are aware, they have these stigmas around them that make them unapproachable,” she said.
“My passion is to become someone I admire myself, to take that back to my communities and create change — much-needed change.”
Having worked independently in the modelling industry for several years, Ms Gregory recently signed with BELLA Management.
She said last year’s world-wide Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of African-American father George Floyd at the hands of police saw “so many Indigenous influencers and creatives come up”.
“Brands and businesses were scrambling to get Indigenous representation,” she said.
“Our stories, our style, our firsthand experiences — we were the new wave — people were getting blown away by our rarity because we have never been on that platform before.”
Ms Gregory admits that so much exposure in such a short amount of time has been “very overwhelming”.
“Especially getting big jobs because you have that internal fight of, ‘I feel like I don’t deserve this’. But I do, I need to do this for my mob,” she said.
Ms Gregory says no matter where fame takes her, she will always be alongside her mob every step of the way.
“As (Aboriginal) people, we’re very community- orientated,” she said.
“We’re always around people, we automatically are ‘people-people’ because we grew up like that. You can’t be stand- offish when there’s six-plus siblings.”
Ms Gregory told the National Indigenous Times that her grandmother was her biggest role model.
“She is just the epitome of what a matriarch would be,” she said.
“While raising 11 children, she simultaneously was a very active member of her community and church.
“Just to see her and how selfless, giving, strong and affirmative within herself that she was. I can’t even describe it, just amazing.”
By Rachel Stringfellow