Hong Kong–born Rachel Rutt began modeling just last year in Australia. I’ve seen her walk for 3.1 phillip lim and Doo.Ri at New York Fashion Week. Industry insiders are calling her the next big thing. With an Eastern Western combination and shared culture to match it’s no wonder Rachel is causing quite a riot! I wanted you to get to know a little more about this upcoming sensation.
ASIANCE: First, give me a mini bio of yourself. Where you were born, how you got to Australia, and where you are headed..
Rachel Rutt: I was born in Hong Kong but my mother was originally from Singapore and my father from England. My four brothers and I were raised in Asia and we spent a lot of time as a family in Japan. By the age of 15 I moved to Australia with my mother and we have been living there for the past four years. My grandmother from my mother’s side is still in Singapore.
I’m half Caucasian, half Asian, so it’s kind of a melting pot. Western and Eastern cultures are totally different from each other, so sometimes I feel a bit conflicted.
ASIANCE: How were you discovered as a model?
Rachel Rutt: I took an interest in modeling when I was 17 but I really didn’t start to pursue it until last year after I had completed high school.
ASIANCE: How many shows did you walk in during Australian Fashion Week? And how was the experience?
Rachel Rutt: I walked in 18 shows total during Australian Fashion Week. It was so exhilarating to be able to take part in a project that holds so much value to someone. To think that someone is entrusting me to represent a piece of work that they had poured so much of their time and effort into, really is an honor for me. I was also really excited to work with Kirrily Johnston on a video that was played before the show started. I’ve never been in a film before so that was an amazing experience to see myself on screen for the first time.
ASIANCE: Any memorable moments in your modeling career thus far?
Rachel Rutt: I got to meet Scott Schuman for Vogue Italia. It was a real pleasure to work with him. We spent a lot of time just hanging out in different scenes in New York. We shot right down the road in the East Village from where I was staying. It was the perfect location to achieve a certain look that we were going for in our shoot. I recently moved to New York to walk in the Spring/Summer 2010 shows, and will be walking in Europe. Neither of my parents have been to America before, so now they will have an excuse to come see me.
ASIANCE: You’re starting off at quite a young age. Do you feel that you’re prepared for the ruthlessness of this industry?
Rachel Rutt:I haven’t had much experience since that time I’ve started modeling. I believe that you can only prepare yourself so much in advance and just brace yourself for change. It’s important to have the support of your friends and family. Sometimes I get really lonely so it’s nice to be able to call my parents and let it all out and hear their words of support. Although my mom is a nurse and rarely has much free time away from her job, she still manages to come out to my shows in Australia. It makes me really happy to know that my mom is really proud and appreciates my work.
ASIANCE: What are your other goals besides becoming the next ‘It’ model?
Rachel Rutt: If I hadn’t chose to pursue modeling, I would have gone into the fine arts field. But by total chance I ended up modeling. I have a strong interest in ceramics and illustration but I haven’t really created anything since I’ve started modeling. I’ve seen a lot of artists and designers collaborate to create some beautiful pieces. I didn’t realize that art and fashion were so similar, so it’s nice for me to be able to view the fashion through the eyes of an artist. Australian designers called Romance Was Born are truly amazing–they collaborated with a few artists to create fabric prints based on the things that they saw in nature. I really appreciate their designs because it combines the natural beauty of Australia with their own interpretation of what they see. Being able to integrate your culture into what you do must make them happy.
When I’m among an Asian culture, I don’t know whether they see me as a native or a foreigner. I’ve always felt like a foreigner, whether I’m in Japan or Australia.
ASIANCE: The blogosphere is buzzing about you, stating that you’re the one to watch. What do you think makes you stand out from the rest of the models trying to make it to the top?
Rachel Rutt: I think I’m pretty much a normal girl but it’s exciting to see others see me in a different way! Nowadays, it’s not about one set identity, but more about merging identities. To a lot of people my ethnicity is ambiguous to them. Some think I’m Asian, Russian, South American or even Filipino. I just feel very fortunate to have gotten into the industry while I’m still young and I’m really looking forward to being able to work with other designers in the future.
ASIANCE: On that note, readers want to know about your Asian heritage. Do you still keep the Singaporean culture a part of your life? How?
Rachel Rutt: I’m half Caucasian, half Asian, so it’s kind of a melting pot. Western and Eastern cultures are totally different from each other, so sometimes I feel a bit conflicted in some ways. When I’m among an Asian culture, I don’t know whether they see me as a native or a foreigner. I’ve always felt like a foreigner, whether I’m in Japan or Australia.
I grew up eating Asian food, so when I cook I will make food that my mom used to make for me. It’s something small but it gives me a sense of home and security, especially when everything is so fast paced around you.
Throughout my childhood, my parents had a variety of jobs. My father worked at a printing company and at a university, so we lived all over Asia. We didn’t spend much time at one location so my knowledge of each place is limited but I hope to learn more about the different Asian cultures in the future.
ASIANCE: What will you be wearing this Fall season?
Rachel Rutt: I really love wearing this amazing blue trench coat that my mom’s friend gave to me. I consider it one of my greatest treasures at the moment. Her friend had worn it during the 80’s while she was touring with her band. I like to wear outfits that keep me cool and not too warm. Colorful items keep me cheerful such as knit caps, colorful scarves and tights.
ASIANCE: How is fashion a part of your life outside of modeling?
Rachel Rutt: I am a creature of comfort so I like to shop at second hand stores that have more affordable items. My friends make amazing clothes so I get inspiration from them. Sometimes I like to step away from the fashion world and submerge myself into my other interests. I love to read, enjoy nature and going to art galleries. I have friends who are really into music so I like to take part in that and go into other cultures to learn about another people.
Photographer: Amanda Lim