Meet The Coolest Models In New Zealand

    kiwi chic

    by zara mirkin · March 03, 2016

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin.

    The following feature appears in the March 2016 issue of NYLON.

    Growing up in New Zealand was, in retrospect, like winning the birthplace jackpot. We were so far removed from what was going on in the rest of the world: Musicians rarely toured here, trends arrived two years late. Mostly we were bored as hell, so instead we had to make our own fun in our back lawns, which just so happened to be a slice of the most beautiful, untouched paradise on Earth. The black sand beaches, deep-blue crystalline rock pools, seemingly eternal waterfalls, impossibly multi-hued lakes, magical bubbling mud, and a population ratio of four sheep to one person—it was all ours.

    Surrounded only by nature, we really made use of our imaginations and creative potential. Most New Zealand kids do. I started doing fashion shoots when I was 18, packing up the car with a model and tons of old clothes for epic road trips in the countryside. And this kind of scrappy ethos is still at the heart of New Zealand youth culture. You can always see our roots in everything we do: a natural lo-fi vibe, no done-up hair, no makeup. Sometimes it takes leaving to realize it, but New Zealand really is the most magical place in the world, with some of the most interesting, down-to-earth people. Here, get familiar with NZ, or in Māori Aotearoa, “the land of the long white cloud,” from some of its freshest young faces. 

    Click through the gallery to continue.

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Top by Karen Walker, vintage dress from The Mercantile, sneakers by Vans.

    Becky Skirrow

    Age: 15

    Occupation: Art student and model

    Based in: Muriwai Beach, Auckland

    My hometown highlights:

    One of my favorite memories from growing up in New Zealand is Muriwai’s Waitangi Day music festival organized by locals. All of the families would go up to the Houghtons Bush Camp with their picnics. It was always such a joyful atmosphere. 

    The Muriwai arts trail makes me inspired and amazed by how talented our community is.

    I like NZ-based artist Bill Hammond, because there is a lot of depth to his work and he uses a lot of symbology that I find intriguing. I also like Amanda Jakich, who is a local Muriwai artist. I love her use of color. 

    The scene: Waiotapu is a geothermal wonder, with its volcanic steaming multi-colored lakes and champagne pools of bright greens and pinks. You can stare down into the Devil’s Bath and see craters full of bubbling hot mud or watch geysers shoot 20 meters into the sky. -ZM

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Top by Search + Destroy, vintage bodysuit from Fast & Loose, sneakers by Vans, earrings by Kate Sylvester.

    The scene: Piha is a west coast black sand beach, reachable by a twisty drive down a scenic route past waterfalls where it’s said fairies live. You’ll see Lion Rock when you arrive; climb it and feel like you’re on top of the world. -ZM

    Imogen Watt

    Age: 21 

    Occupation: Student (working toward a Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of Auckland). I’m currently completing a Summer Research Scholarship with Dr. Monique Jonas. Hopefully at the end we will get a paper published, which would be the first time my name would appear in academic print!

    Based in: Auckland

    My hometown highlights:

    I couldn’t pick a single favorite New Zealand beach. I often go for a morning or afternoon swim at Cheltenham, a beautiful, calm beach looking out toward Rangitoto Island. Then there are “day-trip beaches” such as Goat Island, a marine reserve with amazing snorkeling, or the black sand beaches like Piha. If I am feeling really adventurous, I go to Hot Water Beach, which is famous for its underground hot springs. At low tide, you can dig a hole in the sand and watch it fill with warm water. 

    Vixen on Karangahape Road is my current go-to local shop because of its high-quality vintage pieces. My mother is head of the fashion department at Whitecliffe College in Auckland, so I grew up in her sewing room. I love fashion—it is fun and creative, and it allows people to express themselves—but I don’t like the “consume-consume” mentality of fast fashion. I usually buy secondhand or make my own clothes.

    My favorite spot currently is the Blue Springs. You follow the Waihou River for just over an hour, walking through wetlands and native bush, past a waterfall until you end up at the freshwater springs, where you can swim in the bluest water you will ever see. The water takes around 100 years to filter into the springs and is incredibly clear. There are lots of trout and watercress, and a big rock to jump off of. My friends and I have just started an “adventure team” where we are aiming to
    do at least one or two activities like this a month. 

     

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Jacket by Merch Junkies, vintage T-shirt and shorts from Fast & Loose.

    The scene: Herne Bay wharf is on a city beach across from the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, a pink building that looks like a castle. -ZM

    Sophia Louise Bogiatto

    Age: 16

    Occupation: Student and model. I recently did a Stephen Marr campaign that was really fun!

    Based in: Auckland

    My hometown highlights:

    My favorite thing to do in Auckland is go to the viaduct. I love how on one side there’s the city and on the other there’s the ocean. That balance makes me feel at peace.

    The most incredible natural site in New Zealand is probably the Milford Sound. The mountains and the water are so picturesque, and when the sun sets it is just stunning.My favorite NZ band is Six60, because their songs just have a chill vibe. If I ever felt homesick overseas I would listen to them because they remind me of NZ.

     

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Top by Holly Meyers, jeans by B Side from The Mercantile, necklace by Karen Walker.

    The scene: Rotorua was always referred to as “Rotovegas,” since people played the pokies (slot machines) there. It smells like rotten eggs from all the sulfur and geysers. There are  luges, gondolas, blue and green lakes, hot pools, bubbling mud, and a lot of ugly-cool hotels—it’s just so weird and pretty. -ZM

    Coco Reardon

    Age: 18

    Occupation: Fashion student

    Based in: Auckland

    My hometown highlights:

    New Chums in the Coromandel is the most spectacular beach, as one of the only undeveloped beaches in New Zealand. It’s about a 30-minute walk through the forest to get there, but well worth it for the golden sand. It’s clear to see why it has been voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world.

    Being surrounded by water, we have such amazing seafood. One place in particular that I love is Mission Bay Café right on the beach in the eastern bays of Auckland. I order the fresh calamari every time.

    My favorite museum in NZ would have to be Te Papa on the beautiful harbor in Wellington. I went to the World of WearableArt exhibition there, which was incredible. Yellow Brick
    Road Boutique in Ponsonby has always been a favorite of minefor its unique ‘50s-style dresses and jewelry as well as its cute knickknacks and stationery.

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Sweater by Harry Were Handknits, earrings by Kate Sylvester.

    Sophia Frankish

    Age: 16

    Occupation: Student and model. I’ve walked during New Zealand Fashion Week and I’ve recently done campaigns for Huffer and Kate Sylvester, as well as editorials for Fashion Quarterly, M2woman, Charta, Canvas, and 1am, to name a few. 

    Based in: Auckland

    My hometown highlights:

    Some of my fondest memories from growing up in New Zealand are of going to my family’s bach [that’s NZ speak for beach house!] in Kinloch (Taupo) and learning to water-ski. Also, the Huka Falls in Taupo are stunning.

    On top of the gun emplacement in Bastion Point or on an old warehouse roof in Orakei are both really chill spots to picnic and admire Auckland’s scenery.

    I’d describe the NZ music scene as alternative and fast-changing.I like listening to KVKA from Hamilton. 

    NZ is special not only for its physical nature, but the nature of the people. I always appreciate the kindness and friendliness from strangers and the respect we all have for one another. 

    The scene: Lake Ohau is a glacial lake in the South Island. You have to drive hours to get there, but the payoff is like a dream: hundreds of bright pink and purple delphinium flowers, super-blue water, and mountains that stay snowy through the summer. -ZM

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Top by Karen Walker, shorts by Aztec Rose from Fast & Loose, vintage earrings from The Mercantile.

    Jade Woods

    Age: 20

    Occupation: Student (studying communications) and model. I also recently worked on a music video—it was my first acting experience!

    Based in: Auckland

    My hometown highlights:

    The best place to see in Auckland is actually about 40 minutes outside of the city. It’s called Warkworth, and it has these amazing old ruins that have been turned into a freshwater oasis.

    The most breathtaking natural site I have visited has to be the top of The Pinnacles. It is a hike and a half to get to, and it definitely tests my fear of heights, but on a clear day you can see for miles, and the natural rock formations are insane.

    A little restaurant in Browns Bay called Takara does the best ramen in town. Charlies Gelato Garden in Matakana is the best place to get your ice cream fix—my favorite is the feijoa sorbet. There is a very laid-back vibe to Aucklanders’ looks, but at the same time a bit of glamour. My favorite NZ fashion brands include Ruby, Miss Crabb, Ovna Ovich, Rebe, Stolen Girlfriends Club, The Mercantile, Deadly Ponies...and there are so many more!  

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Vintage swimsuit top and pants from Fast & Loose, sneakers by Adidas.

    The scene: Muriwai Beach is a black sand beach on the west coast of New Zealand. It’s filled mostly with surfers, as it’s one of the best surf spots in NZ, and it also has a huge gannet colony. But the coolest thing about it is that you can drive a four-wheeler up and down the beach, so it’s like Mad Max over there with people riding their buggies over the sand dunes! ZM

    Bianca Henry

    Age: 17

    Occupation: Full-time model

    Based in: Auckland 

    My hometown highlights:

    The best activity in Auckland is visiting New Zealand’s first cat café, The Cat Lounge, because…cats. 

    Two Birds eatery in Hamilton is the best for organic food. 

    Music here is really unique. My favorite artist that started in NZ is Lorde!

    Recycle Boutique in Hamilton is my favorite because it’s all secondhand and you are bound to find little treasures.

    Photographed by Zara Mirkin. Styled by Zara Mirkin and Paris Mitchell. Top by Merch Junkies, vintage pants from Fast & Loose.

    Talea Tatupu

    Age: 16

    Occupation: Student, model, and surfer in my downtime

    Based in: Hamilton

    My hometown highlights:

    The best beach in New Zealand for surf is Raglan, definitely! My favorite local surf shop/brand is North Beach.

    The Whanganui River has the most stunning natural scenery. It’s a definite must-see for anyone in or out of NZ—and Whanganui is where I’m from!

    Our multicultural society is particularly important to me, as I’m part Māori and Samoan. NZ is unique and beautiful and I am proud to call it home.

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