Fernanda Ly isn’t your average Australian model. For starters, she’s cooler than you. This isn’t just a statistic, it’s a known fact. Along with Lineisy Montero's do, the bubble gum pink-haired, Australian-Asian model was the model with the mostest at fashion month for Fall/Winter 2015. Hailing from the sunny south-west suburbs of Sydney, Australia she’s since appeared on the covers of Vogue Japan, Vogue Australia’s Chinese special edition cover, Vogue Italia, i-D and Teen Vogue. She closed for the Louis Vuitton resort show in Palm Springs, California, starred in the brand's Fall 2015 campaign and walked in the Spring 2016 show.
The pink-haired, bubbly Australian beauty has always taken matters into her own hands, first dyeing her hair at fifteen and making the life-changing decision to defer from study at university to pursue a career in the fashion industry. “I did it because I felt like it,” she says, and since that time her hair has gone through several incarnations and radical changes. "I tried to go blonde, only to end up a very coppery orange. It was a disgusting orange, so I dyed it red, and slowly made it lighter and lighter”. A few years ago, she bought a bottle of pink hair dye, Manic Panic’s Cotton Candy Pink, to be exact. She still remembers the shake of disapproval from her mother upon seeing the transformation but the damage was done and that decision lead to her being scouted at a Sydney shopping centre at age sixteen. One might think the upkeep for her rose-coloured tresses would be quite lofty, but as it turns out her regime is easier than you’d think. Among her favourite hair care products are Redken’s all soft shampoo, daily conditioner, and hydrating mask, washing her hair every third day to revitalise its colour.
After initially being scouted, Fernanda’s introduction into the modelling world was gentle enough to allow her to continue study at university, while flying across the country undertaking a myriad of modelling gigs. She maintained this balancing act for a number of months until one of the industry’s top casting agents, Ashley Brokaw, offered her the opportunity of a lifetime. This didn’t come without sacrifice, with Ly deciding to defer from university in order to travel to New York and meet Ms Brokaw face to face. ‘I thought she was so unique,’ Ms Brokaw said of Fernanda. ‘Here’s a girl with confidence who doesn’t look like anyone else’. Within days she met with artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière, and was booked in her first runway show in the fashion brand’s fall 2015 show. When she found out she’d be opening for Louis Vuitton S/S 16 she didn’t believe it. “I thought I’d be in the middle somewhere, because you never know with the line-up, they always change it at the last minute.” There were no pre-show trips to the salon or last-minute gimmicks leading up to Ly’s statement-making debut at the fashion house’s fall show. As it turns out, the gamble paid off. Her rose-colored hair inspired a double-take reaction in Paris, with her signature hairstyle distinguishing her from her blonde and brunette counterparts, prompting showgoers to ask “who’s that girl?”.
Despite her many successes, the 20-year-old remains a mystery. Unlike her contemporaries (think Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner with millions of Instagram followers), Ly rarely posts on social media, and instead prefers to fly under the radar. In comparison, this Sydney-sider has a relatively small Instagram following of only 60,000. Despite her barely-there presence online, she’s managed to impress fashion’s elite, including former creative director at US Vogue and former model, the legendary Grace Coddington, right-hand woman to the unparalleled Anna Wintour. " I like the slightly more quirky girls ... There's an Asian-Australian girl I love called Fernanda Ly. She's got pink hair. Love her. If you think about it, [she's] a little bit special," she told Vogue.com. I couldn’t agree more, it’s so refreshing to see someone unabashedly be themselves, embrace that makes them unique but bring that to the world. Not many girls would be able to pull off a leather choker, bomber jacket and flatforms combination unironically, but few have the same star power as Fernanda Ly.