Nicole Chinuntdet: Teen model inspires young girls to build self-confidence with fashion blog
Editor’s note: Nicole Chinuntdet submitted her following personal story to Global Young Voices. You too can submit yours to us here.
My name is Nicole Chinuntdet and I am an 18-year-old youth delegate from the United States. Growing up in North Carolina, I have always had a pure joy of being in the outdoors. When I was younger, my family and I often took trips to the mountains and national parks - which built my appreciation for the environment. So when I heard about global warming and its impact, I started to feel disheartened that such a vital crisis was still being neglected. The more I learned about the environment, the more I became passionate about it. So much that, in the future, I want to pursue a career in sustainable businesses or environmental policies.
Another field that I am interested in is child policy. In fact, I am currently in Saint Lucia doing service work. I will be here for one month, working at a child advocacy home that shelters children who have been abused or neglected. Although I have only completed a week so far, I am already incredibly moved by these children’s strength in finding a way to navigate the world. Moving forward in my stay, I hope I’ll be able to learn more about how a child advocacy home works and overall helps the children. As of right now, I am doing activities that include journaling and outdoor explorations that allow the children to appreciate this beautiful island they call home.
But here’s a little bit more about me: at age 13 I signed a contract with my first modeling agency. During this time, I had to transfer from traditional school to online school in order to be able to pursue a career in modeling. My mother and I traveled to New York City, Los Angeles and Miami for segments of times to meet with agencies and clients. When I turned 16, I began traveling and working on my own. I’ve worked with clients such as Seventeen Magazine, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister. After all these amazing experiences, I was also hired to be an intern at Oscar de la Renta in the Archive department, which made me the youngest intern to ever work for the company.
I grew a lot traveling on my own. I became really curious about the world, how it works, and its many complexities. I wanted to share with people what I was experiencing, and what better way to tell that story than through words and photographs. So, in 2014, I founded my blog, nicolechinuntdet.com. Soon after the blog went public, my audience started to grow immensely. I was initially shocked to see that so many people were interested in it. Then, I started to receive e-mails from young girls asking how they could build their own self-confidence, find inspiration and how they too could build their own social platform. With these new suggestions rolling in, I felt a new sense of responsibility.
So, I started to look beneath appearances, something that is uncommon in the fashion industry. I wrote about women leaders, how to apply bravery to one’s life and the importance of love and kindness. Receiving e-mails from young girls and boys saying that I helped them get through a rough patch in their lives was the best reward of all. Knowing that, somehow, I can help is extremely humbling. Through what started out as a simple fashion blog, I discovered a new fulfilling feeling: the pure joy that comes from writing, photography, and helping others through my social platform.
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV
Photos credit: Nicole Chinuntdet