If your first-ever campaign is for one of the biggest fashion designers in the world, shot by a truly iconic photographer and featuring a huge roster of international talent, including fashion royalty like Kate Moss’s daughter Lila Grace and modern muses like Alek Wek, it’s safe to say that you’ve firmly arrived on the fashion scene.
24-year-old Carlow native Nathali Turner is truly one-to-watch. The fashion model, who is also a graphic design graduate, burst on to the international fashion scene last summer when she starred in Marc Jacobs’ latest fragrance campaign.
Born in Nigeria, she moved to Limerick at the age of 11, where she was subjected to racial abuse growing up.
It’s fitting that Nathali’s first fashion campaign celebrated individuality, self-love and authenticity because modelling has helped her in her journey to self-acceptance.
Fashion, and modelling, wasn’t always on her radar for the up-and-comer tells EVOKE. ‘When I was younger my mum always tried to encourage me and my twin sister to try it, everyone would always say it to us too. But, I never saw myself doing it because I was kind of a tomboy.’
It felt truly significant to be speaking with the young model in the immediate aftermath of Joe Biden’s inauguration as the President of the United States. While the world watched in horror at the unfolding racial atrocities in America last year, racism is still deeply ingrained in the Irish landscape too.
‘People need to know that it happens here, a lot of people say it doesn’t happen in Ireland but they just mightn’t see it, because it doesn’t happen to them,’ Nathali says.
Reflecting on her experiences with racism while growing up in Enniscorthy, she explains: ‘You’re the only one who sticks out and everyone was always pointing out all the things that makes you different, it has an effect.’
The fall-out of those experiences was huge for her, as she struggled with low confidence: ‘I didn’t feel accepted growing up, a lot of the time I felt outcasted and I just felt like I didn’t belong.’
‘I think growing up I had to go through that self-love journey. I know some people wouldn’t think modelling is a kind of thing that gain confidence, but I saw it as a way of loving myself and getting comfortable with myself, so that’s why I started to do it when I went into college.’
Fashion truly runs in the family. Nathali’s twin sister is a budding fashion designer and she credits her mother as her style icon.
‘I would look at pictures of her when she was younger and how she would dress in Nigeria and she just really loved her style so that inspired me.’
The model reveals that she applied for the Marc Jacobs campaign after seeing an open casting online. ‘It all happened so fast. I was so shook! The fact that I was coming from a small town in Carlow and flying the whole way to New York. I’d never flown that far away from home before. It was really crazy.’
Shot by the globally-renowned photographer Juergen Teller, the Marc Jacobs advert was chock full of 42 fashion trailblazers, from Icelandic body-positive activist Isold Halldoruddottir to the transgender twins and TikTok sensations Maddie and Margo Whiteley.
Reminiscing about shooting the campaign, she shared: ‘I thought I would be nervous but I wasn’t when it came to shooting, I just did my thing. The vibe was very chilled, everybody was so lovely and it was a real nice environment…’
‘It was such an amazing experience to be part of the campaign as my first-ever modelling gig.’
Nathali is signed with London-based agency Revolt and while the pandemic has forced her to push pause on her fashion shoots and projects, we are certain we will be seeing her grace the pages of glossy magazines soon and lighting up our TV screens in the future!
You can check out Nathali in the Marc Jacobs fragrance campaign below: