It has been an extraordinary year for Willow Allen.
The 22 year old Inuvialuit woman, originally from Inuvik, NWT, launched an unexpected modeling career a few years ago after the agency saw her on social media.
Now, after traveling the world and modeling for greats like Canada Goose, New Balance, Sony and Prada, he’s taken a step back to focus on his studies.
Allen attended school in Saskatchewan, with the goal of following in his mother’s footsteps towards a career in social work. He hopes to work in mental health and addiction, with a focus on indigenous peoples.
“It’s a culture that I really understand, and where I feel like I’m going to do the most meaningful work,” he said.
Modeling, however, has been a “great experience,” he says – and he’s not giving up completely. She’s still represented by Fashion Models, the same agency that signed her up a few years ago, and says she’d take jobs “here and there,” especially if they were in Canada.
Several years ago, he was went to live and work in Singapore, and last year he spent three months in New York “just to build a name for myself” there.
“I worked with a lot of amazing people, and ended up booking a job for Louboutin, which is a really big thing,” he said.
He also appeared in the music video for Canadian singer Tyler Shaw When You’re Home, filmed in Toronto.
“I’ve never watched a music video and I thought it would be a really cool experience,” he said.
“Filming that, it’s just kind of a ‘natural act’. And Tyler is a really friendly guy, so a lot of the scenes where we have a laugh conversation and such, they’re like shooting us, what feels like real life conversation.”
Things are slowing down a little because of the pandemic, he said, and that’s why he’s decided to focus more on his studies now. She completed two years of her degree program, and will be entering her third year.
He also hopes to return to Inuvik soon, to meet his family and gain work experience.
“I hope to come back over the summer and work in social services or mental health and addiction, again, as I have been doing in the last few years,” he said.
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