10 things you need to know about joanna dias: activist, club kid, model

Joanna Dias could just as easily tell you about a Detroit house classic as she could read you natal chart. You could see her on a billboard at the airport or on the dance floor at Sydney's Club 77. It’s those dualities that make her one of our absolute fa

by Isabelle Hellyer
07 June 2017, 2:20am

Joanna was born in the Netherlands, but travelled extensively in her childhood...
"I was born in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where my mother is from and where I spent the first few years of my life before moving to Bangkok for five years. I was lucky enough to travel across Asia and Europe quite broadly in my formative years, and I moved to Australia when I was nine. I have one younger brother (who just started year seven and is not allowed to do any more growing up after this) and is the most beautiful boy in my life!"

She went to school out in the bush...
"I always had a bit of a foot in both worlds growing up. I loved (and still love) to learn, but at the same time I was always fascinated and enamoured by what lay beyond the rigidity of structured academics. I went to a conservative Christian school in the bush, and while I always had a group of friends, I felt pretty isolated there. I could not wait to get out and find my people. Drama class was my sanctuary, I pursued theatre and singing heavily throughout high school. I may have been on the greening committee and the debating team, but I'd still out-dance anyone on the table tops once the weekend rolled around."

Her modelling career began in the club...
"Modelling is something that happened really organically for me. I have a lot of crazy colourful friends that work across fashion and other creative fields that I have collaborated with in the past, but writing and directing had always been where I thought I resonated most. Once upon a Pavlova Bar, a photographer I hadn't seen before — Elliott Lauren — approached my housemate Meg and I. She ended shooting me for Catalogue Magazine, and I was styled in the most beautiful Dior garments by Charlotte Agnew. To say I was literally gagging would be a severe understatement. Elliott and Charlotte were the first two in my corner and I have been so blessed to work with them further. One of my best friends, [stylist] Kurt Johnson, has also been a major key in my journey. He was actually the first person to put me on a runway, and he also introduced me to my amazing agent! To say he's my greatest life inspo wouldn't even come close to cutting it, and is a huge reason I'm pursuing fashion in this way."

She's politically engaged, and thanks her upbringing for that...
"Being able to stand for marriage equality [in Air BnB's marriage equality campaign] together with my mother was really special, she's a huge reason for me being the person I am, and I can't imagine life without my queer family either. She has always raised me to be conscious of the disparity that exists in our world, and bring about change. When I first moved to Australia and would walk my dog, I spoke to my mum about how there were no bins around and so much rubbish. She told me to write a letter to the mayor, and he actually wrote back to my nine year old self and honoured my suggestion! When I finish modelling, I'll be returning to Aboriginal studies at university, as Aboriginal sovereignty and reconfiguring our understanding of nationhood is something that I am very impassioned by."

She's got killer taste in music...
"Today I revisited The Knife, Dr Dre, and have been working my way through my housemate Leon's wax collection but Erykah Badu is more often than not still playing somewhere in the distant background. There's so many incredible musical forces in this city (Sydney), and it would be a travesty to not bask in it and defy those pesky party poopers that are hell bent on keeping our decibels down. Kate Doherty, Ben Fester, Simon Caldwell, Ben Drayton, Carla Uriarte and Kato are up there in my favourite DJs in Sydney right now."

She's a homebody, except when she's not...
"Modelling is a really fast paced flow, and has made me appreciate my down time a lot more. I recently got a record player so you'll rarely find me out of the house much these days. I'm a self confessed crazy plant lady, as lame as it is I spend most of my time gardening and cooking with my housemates. That being said, you can't always keep it wholesome and there's no greater release for me than on the dance floor at Club 77 on a Sunday or a House of Mince party."

She's an Aries...
"I'm a mystic millennial and unabashedly admit it, haha. I more follow collective planetary progression than specific sign based astrology. I'm an Aries, but my rising is in my opposite sign Libra, like Beyoncé. I'm definitely fiery, hyper independent and also resonate with the masculine edge of the sign. Nicki Minaj once said she has a gay man living inside her and I have never felt MORE READ."

She's always got a few good books on the go...
"I have a habit of reading multiple books simultaneously, right now I am reading a book called How to Murder Your Life by a writer who used to have a column for Vice, Cat Marnell. I used to read her column years ago when she was writing for xojane and she finally released her explosive memoir this year. Heavy read, but I really enjoy her candid writing and self reflections. I'm (almost ironically) also re-reading Siddartha by Herman Hesse, placed on my journey again by someone really important to me. "


Photography Isabelle Hellyer
Art Direction Charlotte Agnew
Makeup Katie Angus
Joanna Dias @ Debut

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