Fashion full circle for retired model Fong
WHEN Perth-raised model Kira Fong (42) came out of retirement for Cable Beach Resort’s Fashion Friday on the eve of Broome Cup this month, she was surrounded by graduates from the Kimberley Girl program she established in 2004.
Model Elesha Millar, make-up artist Marlikka Perdristat and hair stylist Kartika Eades all completed the program that promotes personal and professional development for young girls in Aboriginal communities.
Elesha and fellow Fashion Friday model Stephanie Heil are in Perth this week for a Perth Fashion Festival casting call.
“Each year we go out to communities and deliver personal and professional workshops so they learn things like how to pay themselves compliments and overcome adversity,” Kira said.
“We’ve had 323 girls in the program since it started and in 2010 we expanded in to the Pilbara. It’s really satisfying watching the girls grow.”
The red dirt is a far cry from catwalks in Sydney, Hong Kong, Madrid and Europe where Kira worked after being discovered by Western Suburbs Weekly fashion write Des Eddy at the age of 16.
“I moved to Sydney when I was 18 and was the first Asian model in WA to make it big overseas,” she said.
“Asian models weren’t in vogue at the time but I was very tall for any girl let alone an Asian model.”
At 30, Kira - mum to Jordan (10) - retired from modelling.
“I’d done what I needed to do,” she said.
The daughter of a Chinese father and English-Scottish mother started a business in Perth before returning to her family in Broome where her grandparents owned the general store in China Town.
“I came back up here and felt like I was home,” Kira said.
She started working for Goolarri Media Enterprises when she established the Kimberley Girl program.