dara allen speaks out about never feeling limited
“I’ve never felt limited by anything that people told me was limiting... It was the greatest gift my parents could have given me.”
This article originally appeared in The Radical Issue, no. 351, Spring 2018.
What does it mean to be a model? i-D has always believed in the power of speaking out. Today, the voices of models are more vital than ever. Here, Cameron Russell, Adwoa Aboah, Dara Allen, Christy Turlington, Anja Rubik, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Teddy Quinlivan, Paloma Elsesser, Liya Kebede and Doutzen Kroes champion their passions, causes, fights and beliefs.
“I’ve never really looked at myself as one thing, changing into something else. I’ve always had instincts about life and myself and what I felt was right. Even if that didn’t go along with what everyone else said to me. I’ve never really made strong definitions about where I stop and start, and who I was and who I am and who I’m going to be. Fashion gave me a language. Fashion saved my life. It allowed me a way into other people that I have come to love – my friends and the people I hold dear. It was this thing that we all had in common.
My dad is such a geek about what I do. He’ll go to work and brag to his to co-workers about it. It’s really hilarious. To me, this is such a big deal, but for him, it’s like glitzy and shiny and funny and exciting. Both of my parents have always been very supportive. They’ve always let me do what I wanted and listened to me when I’ve said I wanted things. My parents hated these crazy outfits that I’d want to wear to school, so I used to come out and parade around and be like, look at my great outfit. And then they’d be like, ‘No, you have to go change’. But they just got used to it and figured it out. The most important thing that my parents did for me was to create a foundation of confidence and strength in whatever it is I wanted to do, even if they didn’t always agree with it. I’ve never felt limited by anything that people told me was limiting... It was the greatest gift my parents could have given me.”
Photography Inez & Vinoodh
Fashion director Alastair McKimm
Hair Christiaan. Make-up Kabuki at Kabuki Magic using M.A.C Cosmetics. Nail technician Daria Hardeman at Starworks using Deborah Lippmann. Lighting director Jodokus Driessen. Digital technician Brian Anderson. Photography assistance Joe Hume. Studio manager Marc Kroop. Styling assistance Maggie Foster, Desiree Adejde and Umi Jiang. Hair assistance Taku. Make-up assistance Yumi Kaizuka, Michael Chua and Satsuki Soma. Nail assistance Gladys Castillo. Production Tucker Bibilis at VLM Productions. Executive production Stephanie Bargas at VLM Productions. Production co-ordination Eva Harte at VLM Productions. Production assistance John Nadnazi and Michelle Murray. Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING. Models Christy Turlington at BMC. Liya Kebede at IMG. Cameron Russell at The Lions. Doutzen Kroes, Anja Rubik and Adwoa Aboah at DNA. Teddy Quinlivan and Hanne Gaby at Women. Paloma Elsesser at Muse. Dara Allen at Heroes. These interviews have been condensed and edited.