Today’s Top Indigenous Model: Linsay Kendall

Linsay Kendall is a 35-year-old Indigenous woman who is mixed with Woodlands Cree from her dad’s side and Hungarian from her mom’s side. ‌She‌ ‌was‌ ‌born‌ ‌on‌ a reserve in Sucker Creek First Nation, Alberta, and later moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she lives now.

Linsay is an influencer on Instagram and TikTok (@linsaykendall). ‌She‌ ‌has‌ ‌quickly‌ ‌gained popularity as she shares that she has only been consistently posting content for the past two‌ ‌months. ‌Being an influencer has allowed Linsay to share her authentic story with others. ‌Her experience with creating content, particularly in the fashion and film industries, has helped to create momentum and allow her to express creativity in a way that ‌best represents‌ ‌her.

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Linsay is a trained actor and has some exciting projects planned for the near future. Her determination in her career is inspired by having a young daughter, “Now that I have a daughter I want to accomplish as much as I can and bring her with me. Just to open up every door and expand the horizons for her,” she shares.

In addition, Linsay expresses a desire to return to theatre, something‌ ‌she‌ ‌had‌ ‌dabbled in‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌past. ‌In addition to wanting to break barriers for Indigenous peoples in general, Linsay strives to improve‌ ‌Indigenous‌ ‌representation‌ ‌in mainstream‌ ‌media‌ ‌and‌ ‌entertainment especially. Recently, she filmed a pilot for a TV show. Although she can’t share too many details about it, just yet, ‌she was able to share that it is a drama television series in which supernatural elements are woven into the storyline, similar‌ ‌to Sons‌ ‌of‌ ‌Anarchy or Charmed.

Linsay shares that, along with her involvement in the entertainment industry, she has been modelling since the age of‌ ‌18. One of the earliest experiences in her modelling career was during the Western Canada Fashion Week, which truly sparked her love for the field.

One of her most notable accomplishments in modelling was her placing second on Canada’s Next Top Model in 2009. She says, “That was really huge for me because it was one of the first times an Indigenous woman from a reservation was on that big of a platform. It allowed me to really just be proud of being First Nations.”

After‌ ‌the‌ ‌show‌ ‌aired, she received many supportive messages from viewers,‌ ‌who‌ ‌appreciated‌ ‌her‌ ‌representation‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌show ‌and‌ ‌her‌ ‌authenticity‌ ‌as an‌ ‌Indigenous‌ ‌woman. In her career, Linsay has continuously broken the mould, especially by challenging the age-related expectations which are placed on women in the modelling and acting industries. She‌ ‌wants‌ ‌to‌ ‌prove‌ ‌to‌ ‌others‌ ‌that‌ ‌your‌ ‌career‌ ‌does‌ ‌not‌ ‌end‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌certain‌ ‌age ‌and‌ ‌that it is never too late to follow‌ ‌your‌ ‌dreams.

Linsay‌ ‌then‌ ‌described her experiences as an Indigenous person and how growing‌ ‌up‌ ‌in‌ ‌her community allowed her ‌to feel strong ties‌ ‌to‌‌ ‌‌her‌‌ ‌‌Indigenous‌‌ ‌‌identity. ‌However, she acknowledges that within her community, as for most Indigenous nations throughout Canada, certain cultural practices and ceremonies were abolished or surpressed under ‌Canadian‌ ‌law. ‌Linsay recalls that there was a residential school about 15 minutes‌ ‌from‌ ‌her‌ ‌home, as well.

She described a time when there was an eventual shift, and people in her community began reclaiming‌ ‌‌traditional‌‌ ‌‌practices‌‌ ‌‌and‌‌ ‌‌ceremonies‌‌ ‌‌as‌‌ ‌‌a‌‌ ‌‌nation. ‌Linsay’s experience is a testament to how important reclamation of culture and tradition is for Indigenous‌ ‌communities, as it was for hers.

In her 20s, Linsay began reclaiming her cultural practices as an individual, which began with her taking fancy dance lessons at a local Friendship Center. She says, “I didn’t care if I was too old to be learning something new, I just knew that my spirit wanted to be dancing”. ‌Linsay’s spirit and willingness to learn can be observed throughout her life, and she inspires many to never let anything hold them back.

Additionally, Linsay completed her Bachelor of Child and Youth Care in her early adulthood–having this educational background is important to Linsay since she views youth as the cornerstone‌ ‌of our‌ ‌future. ‌Working with youth is another one of Linsay’s passions, and she especially appreciates the truthful and honest interactions she has with them, which she describes as especially refreshing to her. ‌Linsay‌ ‌recognizes the vast potential observed within‌ ‌our youth‌ ‌today and looks forward to taking part in guiding and supporting youth in any way she can.

Linsay‌ is a multifaceted person who ‌plans to keep creating content and continue pursuing her passions in life. ‌Following her social media accounts is a good way to stay up to date on her personal life, entertainment, modelling, and art-related endeavours.

Breanne Forest

A part-time writer for Rated Viral, Breanne currently attends university in Calgary and is planning to become a social worker. In her spare time, she participates in charity events and Indigenous activism.

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