Good People: Model Rhondell Williams


(from L-R Mable Daylight, Letisha Gabori, Rhondell Williams, Alma Williams)

The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) which was held earlier this month, hosted an exciting fashion showcase celebrating Indigenous design- Birrimbi Dulgu Bajal. The showcase celebrated the vibrant cultures of Far North Queensland, through an integration of dance, music & fashion.

A number of models from North Queensland and the Torres Strait were invited to participate and share story and tradition on the contemporary catwalk. One of those models was the amazing Rhondell Williams (pictured second from the right). In her own words, Rhondell shares her story and a bit about her journey to VAMFF.

I grew up surrounded by lots of mums and dads.

My Mum is one of the traditional owners of Bentinck Island and Dad is from Birri Country of Mornington Island. I spent a lot of my young life at the outstation of Birri, watching the stars at night as Pa Johnny Williams explained what the stars meant and the traditional stories of our mob.

He was one of the famous Woomera Dancers in his young days.

He travelled all over the world. He is still a very respected elder and artist in our community.I still like to watch him paint, sit down with him and listen to him yarn- learn about our culture and country- and hear him explain what he’s painting that day.

My Mum Betty is also an artist.

She paints at the art centre (Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation) and she makes lovely silk felts. One day she came home excited- telling us her collection was going to be debuted at a Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Who would have thought that I would become one of the six girls selected to take our art all the way to Melbourne!?

We girls were so excited to be a part of the show. It’s funny to think that in the not too distant past, we were running along the beach as kids- fishing and camping- even hunting for wild honey, goannas and wallabies. Goanna is my favourite tucker- especially cooked over coals…and it’s true- it tastes like chicken!”