Supernaturals Modelling, a new boutique modelling agency has just launched — the first of its kind in the modelling and fashion world.
Founders Joleen Mitton and Patrick Shannon say the culturally-focused Indigenous agency will address issues of representation, mental health awareness and poor cultural sensitivity.
Mitton is a veteran Cree model and the founder of Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week (VIFW). She brings decades of modelling experience and her expertise in working with at-risk Indigenous youth to the foundations of Supernaturals.
“Our mission at Supernaturals is to celebrate and make visible Indigenous Peoples at a high level in media arts, culture, community, land-based wisdom, and the global market,” writes Joleen Mitton in a press release.
When Mitton isn’t playing basketball with the All My Relations women’s team, she works weekends with the Indigenous Urban Butterflies Day Camp, a program for children in foster care and the Mentor Me program, for Native girls aging out of foster care.
Supernaturals plans to focus on uplifting and supporting talent “from an Indigenous worldview” that prioritizes people and culture over profit. The team intends to provide clients the opportunity to be a part of “healthy reconciliation within the media, fashion, and modelling industries,” according to the press release.
“Indigenous people are in high demand right now, and we want to be at the forefront of this new wave of cultural awareness supporting our own people in an industry that has traditionally been very difficult to thrive in,” explains co-founder Shannon, a member of the Haida Nation and the founder of InnoNative, an Indigenous B.C. based film production company.
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“We are so excited to kick off this journey with our amazing team of models and creatives, to provide healthy and high end Indigenous representation in the fashion and modelling world.”
An extension to the work that both Mitton and Shannon have been involved in for years in their respective fields, Supernaturals Modelling, aims to “uplift communities and emerging Indigenous talent” the release states, through skills development, employment opportunities, and collaborations centred around healing.
‘Representation matters, but good representation matters more’
While conversations around cultural representation, misrepresentation and appropriation continue in the modelling, fashion and design world, Supernaturals aims to bring education opportunities to those wishing to collaborate with Indigenous cultures and Peoples, facilitating “Indigenous-Ally relationships and healthy representation at the highest level,” the release states.
Supernaturals Modelling feature models from a variety of Nations including Cree, Dene, Sechelt, Salish, Squamish, Métis, and more, and their website invites other Indigenous models who may be interested in joining the team to apply.
“The best part about working with Supernaturals is that I’m working with my people and I’m represented by my people. We are a stronger community, we are a family,” says model Talaysay Campo in the release.
“I’m looking forward to showing the world my culture and where I come from, because not a lot of Indigenous models are represented in the media and that needs to change.”
“Supernaturals believes that representation matters, but good representation matters more,” the press release states.
The agency claims to focus on clients that are helping “shift the perception and narrative of Indigenous people in media.”