Ollie Henderson is no regular model. As well as a successful career on the catwalk and gracing the pages of magazines, Ollie is also an activist. Launching her own not-for-profit, House of Riot, in 2014, her aim is to get young people engaged with political issues and have their voices heard. Which is why she is a perfect fit for Westfield’s S/S 16-17 campaign ‘The Front Line’.
To celebrate her new ambassador role and to find out more about her ambitions, we caught up with Ollie to chat about why fashion is important, and whether she sees a future career as a politician. Keep scrolling!
Who What Wear: What makes you most excited about working with Westfield?
Ollie Henderson: I’m really excited because I really appreciate their message, ‘The Frontline of Fashion’. They’re showing style leaders are people that have been on the runway but also have interesting things going on off the runway—I think it’s really amazing that they’re showing great people in a new way. I’m humbled to be a part of it.
WWW: So, is fashion important to you?
OH: Yes! I think fashion should be important to everyone.
WWW: And why is that?
OH: I feel like fashion contributes to the cultural texture of the world and it’s a great tool for communication. We’re all involved in fashion whether we’re conscious of it or not and we all communicate to each other through the clothes that we wear. And being able to harness that and utilise that, I think, is a great skill to have and an important tool for life.
WWW: What made you decide to become a model?
OH: Well for me it happened quite early. I was scouted at 16. It was something that I never really considered for, I grew up in a very, very small town.
WWW: Where were you scouted?
OH: In a shopping mall in Melbourne—it’s a very typical model spotting area, but yeah, when I was first approached, it was so far removed from my country-bumpkin lifestyle, so the prospect of modelling was very exciting. I guess it was just a way to get out of my small town.
WWW: Okay, so let’s talk about your initiative, House of Riot—what do you aim to achieve?
OH: I really want to help other young people find their political voice. I think often, as a young person, it can feel like there is no channel for you to voice your opinion, and if you do, it feels like you don’t go anywhere. So I really want House of Riot to support those people to have their voices heard. One voice might not do it, but united, our voices are loud and can make a difference.
WWW: Do you see a future career for yourself as a politician?
OH: I think politics will always be something that is a part of my life, just as a personal interest and passion. As for being a politician, I’m not sure—it’s a very difficult job with a lot of responsibility… not that I’m not up for responsibility but who knows, who knows where life will take me.