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Indigenous model Wahatehontsatshén:ri (Waha) Delormier, a member of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) community, is set to take the runway at the upcoming Santa Fe Indigenous Fashion Week, scheduled from May 2 to May 5 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Organized by the Southwest Association for American Indian Arts (SWAIA), this annual event showcases Indigenous creativity, featuring runway shows, cultural performances, and workshops. Dolormier will join a diverse lineup of Indigenous fashion designers, models, and artisans from across North America.  

Stepping onto the runway, Delormier will display the designs of Orlando Dugi and Victoria's Arctic Fashion, adding his unique flair to the event. 

Beyond modeling, Delormier is also involved in other creative endeavors. He is passionate about scriptwriting and film, using these mediums to tell compelling stories that reflect Indigenous experiences and perspectives. 

Delormier also enjoys styling, particularly with local designers, because it allows him to express his individuality and contribute to the Indigenous fashion scene.

Native News Online spoke with Delormier to discuss his journey in modeling, infused with a passion for scriptwriting and film. Delormier shared his unexpected entry into modeling, excitement about participating in Indigenous Fashion Week, and commitment to authentically representing his heritage along with his career aspirations and advice to aspiring models. This conversation has been condensed for clarity and brevity. 

Can you tell us about your interests outside of modeling?

Apart from modeling, I have a deep passion for scriptwriting and film. I love crafting stories and exploring different narratives. I've been fortunate to work on a few film projects and video productions, which have been incredibly fulfilling. Additionally, I enjoy dabbling in styling, particularly for local designers. It's a creative outlet that allows me to express myself in different ways.

What initially inspired you to get into modeling?

Funny enough, my journey into modeling began somewhat unexpectedly. It all started when my mom casually suggested I participate in a photo shoot for a local designer. I didn't have any prior inclination towards modeling, but I decided to give it a shot. Surprisingly, I found myself fascinated by the experience—trying on different outfits, posing for the camera—it was great. From that moment on, I was hooked.

What motivated you to participate in Indigenous Fashion Week?

Indigenous Fashion Week held a special allure for me. I had wanted to participate the previous year but missed the deadline, which left me feeling a bit disappointed. However, I made a promise to myself to seize the opportunity the following year. So when the applications opened up, I jumped at the chance and applied. To my surprise, I was accepted, and the excitement of being part of such a culturally rich event is honestly indescribable.

How do you infuse elements of your heritage into your runway presence?

Incorporating elements of my Indigenous heritage into my runway presence is incredibly important to me. Whether it's through traditional jewelry, unique garment styles, or symbolic accessories, I really strive to authentically represent my cultural background. It's a way for me to pay homage to my roots while also including Indigenous traditions and craftsmanship.

What aspects of Indigenous Fashion Week are you most looking forward to?

There's so much to look forward to. Firstly, I'm eager to connect with fellow participants and attendees, sharing stories and experiences. The sense of community and camaraderie at events like these is truly special. Additionally, I'm excited to witness the creativity and innovation displayed by Indigenous designers. Each designer that is attending will be bringing a unique perspective and aesthetic to the runway, and I can't wait to see their creations come to life.

Where do you envision your modeling career heading in the future?

My aspirations for my career extend beyond the runway. While I'm committed to continuing my journey as a model, I also see myself exploring opportunities in other areas of the entertainment industry. Whether it's through acting, filmmaking, or creative collaborations, I want to continue pushing boundaries and challenging myself creatively. Ultimately, I hope to be a positive influence within the industry, inspiring others to pursue their passions fearlessly.

What advice would you offer to aspiring models?

Embrace every opportunity that comes your way and approach it with an open mind. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Modeling is not just about striking a pose—it's about self-expression, confidence, and authenticity. Stay true to yourself, hone your craft, and most importantly, enjoy the journey.

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About The Author
Kaili Berg
Author: Kaili BergEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Reporter
Kaili Berg (Aleut) is a member of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Nation, and a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. She is a staff reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Berg, who is based in Wisconsin, previously reported for the Ho-Chunk Nation newspaper, Hocak Worak. She went to school originally for nursing, but changed her major after finding her passion in communications at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.