As holiday season is going to kick off, we are taking you back to our days in Paris, the city which was our own very discovery of 2015. This week we are glad to introduce Shanali Martin, a young woman with a genuine interest for the world around her and for fashion in all its perspectives combined with eloquence and thoughtfulness. Out of all the models we met she was probably the furthest away from home but we can well picture her making it far in whatever she goes for, anyway.
We wish her and you all a wonderful time with your dearest in the next days. We will be sticking to our routine with a new feature every Monday!
Shanali, it was a pleasure to meet you in Paris. Was it your first time there? How was your first impression?
It was my absolute pleasure as well, I loved the natural way the shoot happened. It is my third time in Paris, first time as a model. Despite having been here before I believe I was looking at the city with fresh eyes and the whole place seems new. I was excited to be able to spend time here to get to know the city really well.
You were discovered on Australia’s Next Top Model and were pretty successful on the show. We can imagine such an intense television experience at a very young age does not come without some lessons. What do you feel you have learned from such an experience? How far has it helped growing into the person you are now?
I learned a lot about how to be independent, it was of course my first time living away from home and I learnt quickly that I needed to be a lot more self-supportive. I also gained the ability to really enjoy life, I valued the experience I had so much on ANTM and was determined to make the most of every second, therefore I believe the most valuable lesson I took from the show was a great appreciation for the great pleasures life offers.
TV and social media can create immense visibility. Do you think that there is some sort of responsibility coming attached to it? Do you personally feel like you have to be a good example for young girls watching up to you?
I forget the platform that I have a lot of the time with this job, it helps to be reminded of how much influence you can have on the people that surround you. Being a model today means accepting that more people than ever have access to fashion which also means accepting the responsibility of being role models to young girls.
Although you are pretty known in Australia, how is it like to be a fresh face in Paris? Is it exciting? New city, new start?
Actually I feel I have dived into the deep end with a million other fresh faces ready to give fashion week a shot. I don’t think I was intimidated by the scale of the industry in Paris; more, realistic about my chances. This didn’t dampen my excitement though, Paris has been what I have been working towards since almost the start of my modelling journey, so I was excited about fulfilling something I have wanted to accomplish for some time.
On our walk through Montmartre, we went through rue Seveste and you were fascinated by all the fabric stores there. It seems like you have a genuine passion for fashion beginning from its very materials. Have you always been this fashion-interested?
Since I can remember, I have had this undeniable fascination and love for fashion. This naturally evolved into wanting to do sewing lessons so I have a great appreciation for many facets of fashion from materials to the construction of garments.
Has your view of fashion changed now that you are experiencing it as a model?
Most definitely, I have such a broader view of what the industry consists of. My perspective of certain roles in fashion, particularly a designer’s has come to encompass so much more than I originally thought it did. I also recognise the mass of people that make a brand happen, as opposed to just the designer being in charge of everything.
Australia has a very young and lively fashion scene while in Paris you have all these long-established houses and a remarkable couture tradition. How far do you think designs can manifest the spirit and culture of the country they originate from?
I believe clothing does have geographic ties, as there is no mistaking the quality of a European design. Each market has its unique signature and Paris’ especially reflects the women and men that wear the clothes; sophisticated, stylish and confident.
Given your passion and insight, is there a special piece in your wardrobe with a special personal story attached?
I rarely get to wear them, but I have two hand-made pieces from the island of Burano (one of the islands of Venice) which are so beautiful and unique and I have such distinct memories of when my Mum and I were in the shop buying them and somehow communicating with this Italian lady that couldn’t speak English but we were still able to understand each other. I will always treasure those two tops I bought as artisanal techniques are a rare find today.