(from Left) 2015 Miss Universe Ashley Callingbull; Jada Raphael; Callingbull’s mother Lisa Ground, who was named Mrs. North America Globe Classic in 2015; and Jada’s brother Joel Raphael in October 2015, when Jada and Joel modelled alongside Callingbull in Kamloops. Jada will be on the runway at a major fashion show in Melbourne, Australia in March 2018. Photo: Cheryl Billy.

(from Left) 2015 Miss Universe Ashley Callingbull; Jada Raphael; Callingbull’s mother Lisa Ground, who was named Mrs. North America Globe Classic in 2015; and Jada’s brother Joel Raphael in October 2015, when Jada and Joel modelled alongside Callingbull in Kamloops. Jada will be on the runway at a major fashion show in Melbourne, Australia in March 2018. Photo: Cheryl Billy.

B.C. Indigenous teen model to walk in major Australian fashion show

Jada Raphael of the Cook’s Ferry Band will represent the Nlakapamux and Secwepemc Nations

Kamloops student Jada Raphael—who grew up in Spences Bridge and Ashcroft, and is a member of the Cook’s Ferry Band—will soon be flying to Melbourne, Australia to take part in the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival as an Indigenous model.

Raphael—who turns 17 just before the festival in early March—has been modelling since she was 14, mostly in small shows where she wore clothing designed by her aunt, Nadine Spence. In 2015 she had an opportunity to model clothes alongside Ashley Callingbull from Alberta’s Enoch Cree Nation, who in August 2015 became the first Canadian woman, and first Indigenous woman, to be crowned Miss Universe.

The opportunity came about because Raphael’s mother, Cheryl Billy, contacted Callingbull prior to her appearance at TRU in Kamloops in October 2015. “It was a big show,” says Raphael. “I got to meet a lot of Indigenous people.”

Raphael was tagged in a Facebook post about the Melbourne fashion festival, and she applied online and sent in an application. “More than 1,000 people applied, and I was shocked and very emotional when I found out I’d been accepted.” All the models are aged between 17 and 25, and the event is open for both beginners and professionals.

Raphael says there is a week of intensive training for all the models before the actual show. “The training is worth about $3,000, and will help me in the future. I don’t have stage fright, and I’m not scared walking down the runway, so I think I’ll be fine. I’m just scared of tripping.” During the training, models cannot wear make-up or use hair products, and cannot show any body piercings. “They want to get to know us as natural people.”

Billy says that the training is an elite program that will benefit her daughter and help in her runway future. Raphael confirms that modelling is a career she would like to pursue, but adds that the Melbourne festival will help her decide if that’s what she wants to do.

She currently attends Valleyview High School in Kamloops, in order to take advantage of the varied sports opportunities available there.

“I’m really into sports, and am more of an athletic model,” says Raphael, noting that she is involved in kickboxing, hockey, and rugby. “I won’t stop doing these.”

A request for sponsorships or donations to help defray the costs has already produced a sponsor for the flight to Melbourne and a donation to help with spending money, and Billy says they are still looking for sponsors.

“Modelling agencies will be looking at her for their shows, and we’re looking for funding for these opportunities.” She adds, however, that her daughter is remaining humble, and is willing to come back and speak to other youth about sports and how she got to where she is.

“My family has been very supportive,” says Raphael. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom, who taught me to stay humble and stay classy. And my grandmother, Shirley Raphael [who passed in January 2017], taught me so much. I wouldn’t be here without her, either. I got quite emotional when I heard about the festival, and wished Grandma was here.”

Raphael—who will be representing the Nlakapamux and Secwepemc Nations, as well as the Cook’s Ferry Band, at the Melbourne festival—is keenly aware of her roots. “I’m proud of who I am.” Billy notes that her daughter is a leader of her own already, something that is very empowering for the little ones.

“She was raised very intensely in regard to Nlakapamux rules and laws,” says Billy. “She knows how to hunt and fish, and has done some drumming.”

“I tried for my first buck this year,” says Raphael, adding that it was too far away for her to be assured of a clean shot that would kill and not wound it. “I was taught to only hunt for food, and to honour the land and be respectful. I leave tobacco and sage to thank the fish for sustenance.”

Looking ahead to March, Raphael says “I’m very excited; and the closer I get to it the more excited I get. There will be Indigenous people there from all over the world, representing different countries. I’m really looking forward to it, and to building my portfolio.”

Says Billy, “It’s amazing how her life has turned from just being Jada to being a global Indigenous model.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Raphael, or make a donation, can contact Cheryl Billy at (250) 571-9314, or email her at cbjrjb@hotmail.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jada Raphael from the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, who will be walking the runway at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in March.

Jada Raphael from the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band, who will be walking the runway at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in March.

Just Posted

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

Robert Emms spotted these beauties in a waterway in downtown Penticton. (Robert Emms)
Trumpeter swans visit downtown Penticton

The beautiful birds are regulars near the shores of Okanagan Lake on Highway 97

Ecologist and writer Don Gayton wraps up the Penticton Arts Council’s March events. (Submitted)
Penticton Arts Council unveils March’s programs

Making your own comics and short stories highlight March events

After 20 years in the community, Pathways Addiction Recovery Centre has had its funding cut by Interior Health, who says they are bringing addictions services in-house now. (Facebook)
Community outraged at Interior Health’s decision to cut funding to Penticton addiction services centre

People question why Pathways addiction services would be cut during an overdose epidemic

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Most Read