Teen model Nicole Chinuntdet inspires young girls to build self-confidence through fashion blog
My name is Nicole Chinuntdet and I am a 19-year-old youth delegate from the U.S. Growing up in North Carolina, I have always had a pure joy of being outdoors. When I was younger, my family and I often took trips to 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 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 consulting and building sustainable businesses.
Another field that I am interested in is child policy. This past summer, I volunteered in Saint Lucia. I was there for one month. I worked at a child advocacy home that shelters children who have been abused or neglected. I worked alongside two other volunteers to implement activities and tailor events to accommodate all children, taking into account emotional and health concerns. I also gained insight into the social and political structures of the Saint Lucian government, especially in relation to child protection, social work, lawmaking, and government funding. Overall, I was incredibly moved by the children’s strength and the workers’ lifelong dedication to helping those in need.
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 to meet with agencies and clients. When I turned 16, I began traveling and working on my own. I have so far 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 am still working for the company today and I recently celebrated my third year with the fashion house.
I grew a lot traveling on my own. I became curious about the world, the way 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 emails from young girls asking how they could build their own self-confidence and find inspiration, and how they too could build their own online platform. With these new suggestions rolling in, I felt a new sense of responsibility.
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 emails from young girls and boys saying that I helped them to 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.
In the fall of 2018, I will be attending the University of California, Davis. I am majoring in International Relations and Business. I look forward to collaborating with others, expanding my mind, and building a platform to help me succeed in the future.