Indigenous Model Quannah Chasinghorse Was The Epitome Of American Fashion At The Met Gala

Photo: Getty/quannah.rose/Instagram
Quannah Chasinghorse

Last night's 2021 Met Gala celebrated the opening of the Costume Institute's exhibit, "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion." 

Among the well-known faces in the crowd, one person in particular stood out and earned massive approval across Twitter — none other than Quannah Chasinghorse, an impressive 19-year-old model who is here to shape the fashion world. 

Who is Quannah Chasinghorse?

Quannah Chasinghorse is a Native American model and activist of Hän Gwich’in and Oglala Lakota ancestry. 

At only 19, Chasinghorse already has an impressive portfolio under her belt. She was first cast in a 2020 Calvin Klein campaign and signed with IMG Models a few months later. 

“I was obsessed with watching runway shows on television—Dior, Chanel, Prada—and I was always posing for pictures,” she said in a Vogue interview. But due to the lack of representation in fashion media, Chasinghorse admitted that, “it was really hard for me to feel like I had the potential to be a model.”

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Now, the rising star is in the spotlight and paving the way for Indigenous representation in the industry. 

Quannah Chasinghorse is also a climate activist. 

Before her big modeling break, Chasinghorse gained a massive following on social media thanks to her dedication to activism.

To this day, she continues using her platform to address all causes near and dear to her, particularly climate justice. 

She’s already spoken at the 2019 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention and has spoken at length about the importance of protecting indigenous communities from oil and gas development.

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Quannah Chasinghorse stunned at the 2021 Met Gala. 

Just last night, social media went wild over her stunning look. Chasinghorse oozed radiance in a golden DUNDAS X REVOLVE gown. 

"quannah chasinghorse looks SO STUNNING i am in awe...she absolutely understood the assignment #MetGala," gushed one user.  

"I WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD TALK ABOUT HOW QUANNAH CHASINGHORSE SERVEDD AT THE MET GALA??!! INDIGENOUS QUEEN," exclaimed another.  

Chasinghorse prompted a conversation about Indigeous representation at the Met Gala. 

Chasinghorse proudly represented Navajo culture by sporting authentic turquoise that was reportedly lent to her by Former Miss Navajo Nation '06, Jocelyn Billy Upshaw.  

While Chasinghorse was applauded, many on social media expressed their disappointment with the event's lack of Indigenous American representation. 

One user wrote, "honestly im disappointed at the lack of Native American guests at an event literally themed AMERICA but i guess that fits the theme lol."

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Others also pointed out that no Native designers were showcased on the red carpet. 

For an event celebrating the diversity and history of "American fashion," many people were dismayed to see the lack of Indigenous representation beyond Chasinghorse— especially considering how traditional garb and customs are often appropriated by both the fashion industry and non-Native individuals. 

Indigenous fashion is steeped in a rich, cultural history. 

Louise Erdrich, an Indigenous author, penned a heartfelt piece for Vogue earlier this year that highlighted Indigenous exclusion from the fashion industry. 

"Indigenous people create tribally specific clothing for many reasons—to express belonging, enter ceremony, show resistance, and to dance. More important, I think our clothing makes a simple point. We are still here." 

Erdrich added that, "These days, the only way I have to express Indigeneity in public life is to wear jewelry, especially beaded earrings, on Zoom appearances.

Like Erdrich, the young model also makes a point of wearing her cultural jewelry.

She often incorporates it into professional photoshoots as well as her own personal style. Fashion, to Chasinghorse, is an "impactful and eye-catching medium" that lets her share her culture and help educate others. 

We thank Quannah not only for her work, but for also showing us how we can each embrace our own heritage with a fashionable flair. Here's to wishing her the utmost success in her ever-growing career! 

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Yona Dervishi is a writer who is currently working at YourTango as an editorial intern. She covers topics pertaining to news and entertainment.