“The indigenous beauty is of different sizes and heights, it is very diverse, it does not have an established canon and we work to spread our identity from modeling”, defines Samuel Chimborazo his initiative to create the Runa Model Management agency.
Ten years ago, this young man of 26, is immersed in the world of runways and campaigns, through which he promotes indigenous modeling as a symbol of resistance of native peoples, who seek to preserve their language, customs and traditions. “I always had an interest in transmitting the culture that my parents have taught me, they always told me: ‘You should not be ashamed to be indigenous’; and I’ve always had that in mind, “says Samuel, a native of Cañar and Quichua-speaker.
Runa Model Management has 20 models, they are men and women of different cultures, among them, from the Puruhá people, Cañari, Quichua-Saraguro, Quichua-Chibuleo, Salasacas, Otavalos; and from the Amazon, Quichuas and Cofan.
The criticism of people who believe that an indigenous person cannot be a model have been a source of inspiration. “In addition to strengthening our identity, we raise awareness and prepare the models to have a strong character in the face of the discriminatory gaze of those who believe that they do not fit the traditional modejale standards,” says Samuel Chimborazo.
One of the models is Miriam Velázquez, from the Cañari culture. The 20-year-old says she recently began her career in indigenous modeling; she is also a dancer. “I am proud to wear the clothes of my people and to be indigenous,” says Miriam.
The preparation of the models includes image management, diction, catwalk and, above all, the teaching of understanding the true meaning of the indigenous struggle and the challenge of working for the cultural heritage. Samuel emphasizes that “our models do not disguise themselves, they project an image of beauty, art and identity”. (I)