Q & A with Phillipa Steele the face of WFJ21
Updated: Apr 17
The Wearing Fiji Fashion Project believes in creating spaces to exchange fashion knowledge we do this through our student designer mentorship program and this year we're extremely proud to have on board our first model mentor and co-ordinator Phillipa Steele who is also one the faces of the WFJ21 Campaign.
Editorial for Huf Magazine shot in London
Phillipa was first scouted in Fiji at the age of 17 by Trump Model Management in New York, she signed to different agencies around the globe including Marylin Agency in Paris, Independent Models in Milan, LA Models in LA, UNO models in Barcelona, Vivienne Model Management in Sydney and Storm model management in London.
She has featured in editorials for Vogue Italy, Teen Vogue USA, Cosmopolitan Italy, British Instyle magazine, Schon France, LOVE magazine and collaborated with celebrity make up artists of singers such as Pink, Camilla Cabello and Jennifer Lopez.
Steele has also done campaign and catalogue shoots in Morroco, Switzerland, Manhattan, Paris, Milan and Sweden for the likes of Prada, Rodarte, Roberto Cavalli, Yeezy by Kanye West.
The Kulukulu native has also worked as a runway model for New York, Paris and Milan Fashion week and alongside supermodels such as Gigi hadid, jordan dunn and Kelsey Merrit for a Maybelline commercial.
Her credentials speaks for itself and we're excited to catch up with her for a Q & A
As a model mentor and coordinator for WFJ what are your observations of the new generation of models?
There are a lot of young, new faced models this year which I feel is very refreshing. We definitely have our work cut out for us in terms of getting them runway ready especially the models coming into this for the first time. But they're eager to learn and I see heaps of potential with them.
What attracted you to the Wearing Fiji Project?
Initially what attracted me was the positive atmosphere and good vibes I experienced coming in on the night of the show last year for the first time as I wasn't a part of the project from the beginning but just immediately feeling at home with the show organizers and designers backstage . Then later slowly getting to learn more about the project, I feel like their whole drive and mission is something totally different from what we're used to seeing locally and I'm proud of them for that.
How important do you think it is to create spaces for mentoring?
I think it is so important which is why I felt the need to start my own project called 'New Faces Fiji'. Apart from seeking out fresh talent, we're all about building their potential and raising the bar for local artists in Fiji especially the models. I'm grateful for all the different platforms provided to them to participate in fashion events but I feel like we have an organization or something that's devoted to training them and offering them the guidance they need to turn this side hobby into proper source of income.
I was blessed to be given that chance when I was scouted and it took me to places I've never dreamed of reaching someday and I was able to do that through my teen years because I turned it into a career and I want other Fijian models to be able to have that experience as well.
Your skin is flawless, do you have a skincare routine?
I'm someone that doesn't really have a skin care routine. I usually just rub Dilo oil onto my skin an hour before I shower and then rinse it off. I've noticed during my career that I would try any and everything I'd find on Google but nothing really worked for me as I have sensitive skin and I'm prone to breakouts. After returning to Fiji, I try to go natural for as long as possible without having too many products on my face and skin. That includes make up and getting my hair done which I only do for shoots. Now my skin is the healthiest its ever been.
Phillipa with her daughter Tazanya
As a young mother whose career is modeling what is your advice to other young Fijian mums wanting to do the same?
Thats a tough one because becoming a mother has changed me in so many ways and I feel that is my greatest accomplishment and my biggest blessing. But what I would say is becoming a mum shouldn't hinder you from continuing to do what you love and achieving whatever it is you wanted to achieve prior to having your beautiful baby.
No one ever told me once you became a mum, thats all you should be. No, you can still be whatever it is you were planning on becoming and still be a great mum at home to your child. It's called multi tasking. Something our parents have all excelled at. So go out there and don't be afraid to be an inspiration to your kid.
Phillipa with her younger brother Royston who are the faces of the WFJ21 Campaign
Lastly, what's it like working with your baby brother on a campaign shoot?
I don't know how to describe the feeling. As the third child of seven siblings, I'm very close with all of them and I try to get them involved in my life as much as I try to involve myself in theirs.
I'm just so proud of my little brother. I figured he was 16 now and I was 16 when I got scouted, it was just the perfect timing for both of us because he plays rugby and surfs so I just wanted him to see what I've been doing since I was his age and hoped that he would have just as much fun I have. He has and he does.
And it is such a great feeling to be able to share these moments with each and work together. We did his first run way walk together and photoshoot and it was such a joy for the both of us because we're just so comfortable around each other so it was easy to let loose and do what was asked of us