In Conversation With - Roda Alfred

Recently, when the COVID19 restrictions were relaxed in Victoria, Australia, we decided to take a trip to the affected regions of the 2019-2020 bushfires in regional East Gippsland to contribute to the recovery and rebuild of the local communities affected by bushfires and COVID19. Our team of four visited Bruthen, Tambo Upper and Metung and brought our #EmptyEsky to support the local communities. On top of that, we were also able to put together an incredible shoot with the talented Roda Alfred, a young Sudanese model living in Melbourne, to highlight the beautiful scenery of regional Victoria where the ethos of S-kin Studio Jewelry was birthed.

Model: Roda Alfred
Photographer: Eloise Boissevain
Styling: Chi Mai

We sat down with Roda after our shoot (who is such a delightful to work with and all round amazing human, we are so blessed to have met and been able to shoot this incredible beauty), to chat all things life, Black Lives Matter, and living in Australia as a person of colour.

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? How long you have been in Australia & where do you currently live?

I was born in Sudan; my family and I moved to Egypt for two years as refugees before I came to Australia in 2003, where I resided in Tasmania during my schooling years.

Tell us about your career so far as a model.

I have lived in Melbourne since I finished high school in 2018. For those two and a half years  I have worked various agencies and currently am with WINK Models. During my career, I have done various campaigns, worked in runways and eCommerce. I have also been lucky enough to have some experience in commercial work, including ads for Deakin University and for Mars. During my career, I have also been studying a double degree of criminology and forensic psychology.

Tell us how you find studying and living in Australia?
I originally moved to Melbourne from Tasmania to study forensic psychology, as Deakin was the only university at the time that offers the degree in Australia. I have always had an interest in how the brain of criminals work and love that I can also be flexible with my work studying at Deakin. Living in Melbourne has also given me a lot more opportunities compared to Tasmania and definitely Egypt or Sudan. I have been able to travel to London and LA while completing my degree remotely as well as attend various Fashion Week shows so I’m grateful to be able to have such a flexible lifestyle.
There has been strong attention focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement recently – how has this affected you?
I don’t think it has affected me as much as it has affected my non-BIPOC friends and people around me. I think the difference is because it’s nothing new to me as a woman of colour; I have always been aware of racism and do listen and follow the movement in America. I do appreciate that this has moved everyone deeply and has made a lot of people aware of the struggles that we [people of colour] face in our every day lives and prompted people to look after the BIPOC community around them.
Tell us about your aspirations and dreams?
Growing up, being quite dark it has always been frustrating to me to see brands, campaigns and the industry portraying black women when watching movies and mainstream media. The representation of black women were always the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, Zendaya, who are exceptionally talented women and strong black individuals yet they still look nothing like me. I would hope that I can be a role model for the women and girls who are darker and find themselves not being able to relate to the average diversity spokesperson. I would love to continue my journey in modelling and be someone that darker young girls can look up to.
What does jewelry mean to you?

I always feel quite naked without my jewelry and watch, growing up I was a tomboy but since recently discovering jewelry I find it quite empowering and a luxury that I enjoy. It definitely lifts my mood to wear jewelry and decorate myself.

What do you hope will come out of this turbulent time?

I hope that it makes people aware of what is going on around them, for people who aren’t of colour to understand how life might be different for your BIPOC friends. We get too caught up living in our little bubble and I hope we take the energy that has been generated by the movement to continue learning about lives for BIPOC individuals. On a larger scale, I think it’s great to be aware of what’s happening outside your home turf and not just focus on what’s here in Australia but also what is happening in the world; and just because we don’t have it anywhere as bad in Australia doesn’t mean we can’t listen and understand their suffering and educate ourselves on the current state of the world.

Anything else you want to share?
I would hope that people learn how to listen to both sides. I believe the only way to fix the current climate is by listening to each other, learning from each other, and finding the middle ground—and that goes for racism, homophobia, and even COVID19. If we can listen to each other and learn from each other I think it would help us get better through the current difficult time.
With love,
Team S-kin x

1 comment

I love this story. And Roda is so empowering.
Keep pumping out content like this please. 😍

Alex mclean June 27, 2020 #test_email {

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