Despite making major strides in recent years, the modelling industry has a long way to go when it comes to representation on both a local and international stage— leading the charge in Australia is Billie-Jean Hamlet.
Having grown up in Ngurturwarta (an Aboriginal community in the Kimberly region of Western Australia), the now Bondi-based Billie-Jean, has fronted campaigns for brands like Country Road, Bec + Bridge and SIR the Label, most recently adding Wanderlust Wellness activist to her resume.
“Coming from such humble beginnings where I had literally nothing but my family, nature and culture to now living in the big city and working for such iconic Australian brands is something I still struggle to wrap my head around. It is a dream come true,” she tells Centennial Beauty. “I think the most important things from my childhood and culture that I carry with me in my life and in my career today are always to remember where I came from and remain grounded,” she says of the traits that have served her; as she navigates inadvertently becoming a role model for a new generation of aspiring Australian models.
“From as far back as I could remember, I had a passion for fashion and photography. I looked up to models like Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford,” Billie-Jean explains. Now, with a platform and following herself, the model acknowledges the responsibility and privilege that comes with it: “I believe when given any sort of platform it comes with a responsibility to use your voice and do your part [to] make the world a better place. As well as keeping in mind there may be younger people who look up to you. Being a good role model is important [to me], especially for the younger generation,” she says.
When it comes to the issues important to her, her childhood plays a major part, with Aboriginal rights and environmental protection at the forefront. While she uses social media “as another way to express [her] personality, style and creativity,” she also acknowledges its role when it comes to sharing her views and speaking up for things she is passionate about.
“I hope to use my voice and platforms to educate people on remote communities like mine and how they are neglected and taken advantage of,” she explains; lending her influence to partnerships like David Jones and the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, a campaign that works to close the literacy gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous children across Australia.
“I also want to help encourage young people to prioritise their physical and mental health,” she says. The latter, where her most recent partnership comes in; as a Wanderlust Wellness Activist, alongside Adam Goodes. Named “activists” as opposed to a more traditional title of “ambassador”, Billie-Jean’s promotion of both physical and mental health aligns with the event company’s first foray into wellness products, making it a natural fit.
Of her own wellness practices, Billie-Jean says her priority is starting her mornings right. “The better the start, the better the day,” she explains. “I do this by not checking my phone first thing in the morning, stretching and yoga, noting down three things I am grateful for and having a glass of water or coconut water with the Wanderlust Collagen Booster.”
Despite her undoubtedly packed schedule and quickly growing resume, her practice, childhood and family ties “have allowed [her] to persevere through all the highs and lows of life and given [her] incredible willpower,” says the model.
I find strength in knowing that spiritually my ancestors are always with me, guiding me through life”.