Nothing short of an adventure and not without hard work and sacrifice, Charlee Fraser’s modelling career has seen her shoot to international stardom, from walking New York Fashion Week with Alexander Wang to shooting the cover for Harper’s Bazaar Australia in support of the Great Barrier Reef. And as her star continues to soar, the Australian beauty says there’s still no place like home. The proud Awabakal woman and Australian Fashion Laureate’s Model of the Year for 2019 has become one of our country’s loudest voices for change, catching our attention at Auguste quite some time ago. And now, back on Australian soil, we’ve finally had the chance to work together for our new‘Home’ campaign – fitting, right?
Read about her return to Australia, her Indigenous heritage and our time shooting in Yuraygir National Park on the New South Wales Coast below.
How has it felt returning home?
It's been super amazing to be home in Australia. I haven't stopped travelling since I started in this industry and this has been the longest I've been able to spend with my family in the last four-and-a-half years so it’s been really really nice for me to slow down.
What do you miss most about Australia when living overseas?
Oh my goodness, so many things. OK so food is definitely one of them because I love Australian produce, especially compared to some of the places overseas. In Sydney we have really beautiful fresh produce. I feel like people who live here don't know how fresh and amazing our produce is, so I really miss the food. I also really love the weather, because I'm Australian-born I run really cold so being in the heat for me is amazing. I'm a summer baby, I was born in December, so good weather is really big for me. I miss the weather, I miss the food, I love going to the beach. All the good Aussie things.
What, if anything, have the last couple of months taught you?
I think the biggest thing for me in the last few months is that I've been able to stop, re-ground myself and clear my mind because when you're constantly on-the-go you just feel so flooded all the time with what’s next. I've been able to stop and really appreciate how far I've come and what I've been able to do with my career, and then hone in and focus on where I want to take it from here instead and plan for that.
Rather than use your social media to further your profile we have seen you use it to shed light on important issues in the industry. Do you consider yourself a role model for other Indigenous women?
When people call me a role model I just really kind of get a bit blushy about it. I never really thought of myself as a role model but I guess now with what I've done I kind of am. It's really humbling and really grounding and very sweet. I still feel like I'm out here and I'm learning and I'm growing, and I don't always have all the answers but I hope that everything I do is being translated in a very positive way.
How connected do you feel to your Australian and Indigenous heritage?
I feel very very connected, especially when I'm here in Australia and I'm spending time in Newcastle with my family where I was raised. I feel very connected to the land there. I love the environment. I love being outdoors. I love being in nature. That's very important to me so being back here is super grounding and it clears my mind.
Have you seen diversity in the modelling industry improve over the last couple of years and do you feel there is still a long way to go?
We definitely have come a long way and even moved forward a lot since I started. The industry is way more inclusive now of different ethnicities, different ages and especially different sizes. There is always more to improve on and we can always do better, but I am happy with the changes we're going through right now and how far we've come. Right now, I'm happy that we're moving in that direction.
Tell us about the shoot with Auguste.
It was really amazing! We got so lucky with the weather. It was a beautiful sunny day and we started really early in Yuraygir National Park near Yamba. We were shooting at sunrise so it was chilly in the morning but then the sun came out and it was beautiful. We were in the middle of Winter, but in Australia it is just stunning no matter what time of year it is. We were shooting on this amazing beach with these deep red rocks and there were kangaroos jumping in the field. It was just stunning – the colours of the landscape complimented the collection so perfectly.
What was your favourite look from the shoot?
So my favourite look was this baby blue dress that had a floral print all over it, the Sadie Poppy Wrap Mini (if you're looking to buy it). I really loved that.
What was it about Auguste that drew you to working with the brand?
This was my very first time working with the brand and they’re super amazing. The founder and designer Ebony told me that her whole brand is very inspired by vintage pieces, which I really enjoy about it. We also connected upon the fact that her label is built on a foundation of environmental consciousness, which is something that I'm very aware of as well and something that I really support so I love that about Auguste.
What was it like working with an Australian team after living and working overseas the past few years?
My favourite question! I love working with the Australian market because now I've worked with the majority of creatives in Australia so it's like coming back to these familiar faces and people that I love, really care about and love working with. I believe in all of them so much – everyone's so good at what they do and it's such a relaxing environment to work in. We often have really good days catching up together, so I love coming home and working in Australia.