An 18-year-old First Nations model is making a name for himself in the fashion industry, after being selected to walk in Paris Fashion Week next month.

Samuel Lecuyer, a model from Airdrie, says he is half Cree, half Saulteaux, and has been pursuing modelling for the past six months.

He says he was introduced to the modelling world after going to a casting call for a movie that needed Indigenous actors.

“After the audition, the casting director told me I did really well. She asked if I had an agent — which I didn’t — and she said that I should probably get one because I could make a good career out of this,” he said.

This prompted Lecuyer to sign with the Patti Falconer Agency in Calgary and try a career in modelling.

“My whole family always told me that I could have been a model so it was kind of like a curiosity,” he said. 

The young model hasn’t heard back yet about the movie role, but he says that within the first few months of his career, he’s already gained experience from walking in Vancouver Fashion Week.

“That was my first really big entryway into the fashion world and because it’s the biggest in Canada, that was when I realized how big fashion shows can really be,” he said. 

A few months later, Lecuyer says, his agency sent a video of him to casting calls for Paris Fashion Week, just “for good measure.”

He says that late last year he found out he had been selected for the world-renowned fashion show out of 10,000 submissions

“It feels like I was just at the right place at the right time. All the signs were telling me I was supposed to be a model,” he said.

Lecuyer says he has been confirmed to walk for at least one day at the fashion show — which runs from Feb. 24 to March 3 —  but hasn’t found out which designer yet. 

“How it works is you go to the show and you wait backstage and different designers will come up to you and say like, ‘Hey, I want that person to walk for this outfit for my collection,'” he explained.

What’s next for the budding model?

Lecuyer says that right now, he’s balancing his modelling career with a serving job, as well as upgrading courses at Aboriginal Futures, a career and training centre in Calgary.

“My goal is to go to school eventually, but since I’m dabbling in so many different fields such as modelling, acting and music production — which is what I do want to go to school for — whatever happens first will just happen naturally,” he said.

“I’m still doing this on the side but I am putting 110 per cent of my effort into this.”

He adds that after he completes Paris Fashion Week, he hopes to do more international modelling as well as be part of New York Fashion Week.

Proud to represent First Nations community

Lecuyer says that he is mindful of his culture and hopes to see more of his community members join the modelling industry.

“I want to leave the message that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.… I want to instil more confidence into my community,” he said.

Lecuyer says that since there aren’t a lot of Indigenous models to begin with, that representation matters.

“We need more, you need more First Nations people in any industry whether that be acting or welding or modelling,” he said.

He says that one day he would like to teach modelling classes to his community — that or music production and acting.

“Just giving back in some way where I know that I made a difference,” he said.