Dani.  Kawerau, NZ

What gets me going in the morning is a large cup of soy coffee, and about five to six cigarettes in the space of half an hour. In spite of this, I have great skin, thanks to genetics.

 

I’m the middle child of five, so I tend to push the boundaries on everything in life, which is a good quality to have. I’ve always had to try and voice my own opinion and stand out from the rest of my siblings. 

 

People see me as ‘free-spirited Dani’, but I still have struggles. Sometimes I wake up and I just feel like shit, and I don’t like the way that I look, I don’t like my imperfections on my body, but I can’t fix that, I have to embrace it, so I do, it’s as simple as that. I have those moments everyday, but I get over it real quick. I put it down to growing up in Kawerau.

 

The other kids used to bully me at school because I didn’t look like the other Maoris, which kind of made me like, “Eh? I’m Maori, my tribe is Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. East coast!” But it was just hard to sort of persuade them, they’d just say,  “you’re not Maori because you’re not poor” Or,  “you’re not Maori because you’re not black” and just dada dada da, but you know, I’ve got freckles - that’s my Irish side - I’ve got big lips - I don’t know where they came from… I feel connected to my ancestors and I feel connected to my family history, how my people got here. I mean, I understand that I’m not fully blooded Maori, but I understand enough. 

 

I help mum, dad and my brother out on the farm, picking up horse shit. One day I’m modelling, the next I’m picking up horse shit, it’s a pretty simple life. I love that it’s so extreme. All the other models that I know are either at school or they’re 100% into modelling and they would never pick up horse shit. I don’t mind picking up horse shit, I get to think about my values, what I’m up to that day, take in the smell.