'We need more representation': Inuit sister models from Yellowknife appear in Vogue

·4 min read
Evangeline, left, and Linda Charlie posing side-by-side in an editorial photo published online in PhotoVogue. The Inuit sister models are from Yellowknife.  (Submitted by Katherine Kingston - image credit)
Evangeline, left, and Linda Charlie posing side-by-side in an editorial photo published online in PhotoVogue. The Inuit sister models are from Yellowknife. (Submitted by Katherine Kingston - image credit)

In March 2021, Linda and Evangeline Charlie travelled to Edmonton for an editorial photo shoot.

"We just went out there and did our best," said Linda, who is 23. "We actually waited for over a year to see the results so we were like 'oh, the photographer didn't like the pictures. I guess it just didn't work out well.'"

Just as the sisters began to forget about the photo shoot, the photographer told Linda the big news a few weeks ago during a different photo shoot.

Their faces would be appearing in Vogue.

"A few days later I was just checking Vogue, checking Vogue. And then when I found the picture I was like 'no way!'" said Linda. "I went over to Evangeline. We screamed and we went and showed our mom. It was pretty exciting."

In a black and white photo published online in PhotoVogue on July 11, there were the Charlie sisters, side-by-side. The photo was taken by photographer Katherine Kingston.

"I couldn't believe it. Like a part of me doesn't believe it still, but it's an amazing opportunity so I'm so happy," said 19-year-old Evangeline.

Representing Inuit 'Such an honour'

The Charlie sisters were born and raised in Taloyoak, Nunavut, moving to Yellowknife when they were 10 and six years old.

Their father is renowned artist Inuk Charlie, and their mother, Dorcas Okado, is from Kenya.

Growing up in the North as Black Inuit, Linda said they often felt like outcasts. But in becoming models they have grown to embrace their differences.

Submitted by Linda Charlie
Submitted by Linda Charlie

"We always found it important to be representation for Indigenous people. Indigenous people come in a lot of different colours, shapes and sizes," said Linda. "We're just happy to represent our community."

They emphasize how meaningful it is for them to represent their Indigenous community on such a large public platform such as Vogue.

"It is such an honour. Like you rarely ever see Indigenous people in Vogue. I've only seen it once so far and we need more representation," said Evangeline. "It's really important so I'm so grateful that we got to be a part of this and I hope we can see more in the future."

And they've seen a huge outpouring of support from other Inuit and the Yellowknife community. When they shared their modelling milestone on social media, it was reshared over 200 times, according to the Charlie sisters.

Becoming models

Both Linda and Evangeline are relatively new to the modelling scene.

Linda was the one who first showed an interest in modelling, getting her start with Mode Models in Edmonton four years ago.

"For me, I think I always wanted to be a model but I didn't expect to have so much success," said Linda.

Evangeline soon followed with a push from her sister who thought she'd make a good model because she's tall and she's "got the look."

Submitted by Linda Charlie
Submitted by Linda Charlie

"Growing up, everyone was like 'you should be a model' and you don't think it would be an actual thing. But I'm glad my sister pushed me toward it," said Evangeline.

"Since Linda posted me on her Instagram, her agency saw me on it and scouted me out," said Evangeline.

"I don't really have much experience so I just went into it with high hopes and since then I've been getting amazing opportunities and having a fun time."

The budding models have travelled to Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal for photo shoots, appearing in ads and editorials for brands such as Edify, SSENSE, BASIC Magazine, Shuba, Lis Simon and Mark's.

Submitted by Katherine Kingston
Submitted by Katherine Kingston

But their appearance in Vogue marks the first time they've been in an editorial together.

"This was actually the first shoot we did together and the only shoot that we've done together, and it was a huge success," said Linda.

"So I hope that photographers see that and we get to do more shoots together."

We always found it important to be representation for Indigenous people. Indigenous people come in a lot of different colours, shapes and sizes, - Linda Charlie, model. 

As for next steps in their careers, Evangeline hopes adding this shoot to her portfolio will give her better opportunities that will allow her to travel to Europe. She said she'd be happy with "anywhere really" but "of course Paris" most of all.

Linda would like to continue to do editorial shoots and ad campaigns, but also would like to someday be a part of a TV show.

"I think it's only going up from here," said Linda.

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