My feature article profile on Shontina Rose Rickeard, a local Sunshine Coast girl who recently joined the ‘wandering wombat club’ (not yet an official club – just really cool Australian’s travelling the world!) and is now modelling in Milan for a list of extravagant clients, including non-other than Versace! This interview was just under a month ago for an assessment piece, and all photos featured are by Luke Middleton Photography for C-Heads Magazine.
Behind the scenes with Shontina Rose
By Ashleigh Davis
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘big fish in a small pond’? Well, local beauty Shontina Rose Rickeard, or otherwise simply known as Shontina Rose, is one very big fish making waves on the Sunshine Coast. The rising model is turning heads around the South East, with her coastal trademark long blonde tousled hair, golden skin and wide eyed smile. At a glance you can see why she’s been offered a three-month contract at Milan’s prestigious agency Das Models. But like most regular-girl-turned-international-model stories, there is more to Shontina than meets the eye.
By age 15, the desire to achieve greater things stirred within her. Remove her exquisite exterior, and you are faced with a determined young woman, possessing endless drive and motivation, with the dream for something different, and to move forward from the everyday life on the Sunshine Coast. And now she’s preparing and packing for her three-month modelling contract with Das Models in Milan. Her energy is infectious and she is clearly overwhelmed with excitement.
“It will be a lot of hard work but hopefully it all pays off and we’ll see where it goes from there on,” she says.
When asked how it all started, how a dream so big turned into a living reality, she answered thoughtfully. “It was always something I admired and wanted to do but I never really thought I had the ability,” she says. “I was lucky when I was 17 to be asked to go to an interview with an agency in Brisbane then it all started from there. It definitely took a lot of sacrifice to get to where I am now. I love my friends and family but I knew from my young teenage years that the coast wasn’t where I wanted to be 10 years from now. I wanted to achieve greater things and be successful in whichever career I chose. So I got dedicated, moved away and put everything into my modelling.”
Through the ups, downs, and rejections, her awe-inspiring attitude never faltered, instead rewarding her with an impressive catalogue of clients, including QT Fashion Week, Miss Universe Australia, Stefan Hair, Lisa Blue Swim, Orbit Magazine, 400co, C-heads Magazine, and Stelly Clothing to name a few.
“One thing I love about the fashion industry is that you never have the same day or week twice,” the blonde beauty exclaimed. “Every week there are new jobs, new clients and awesome people you get to meet. I’m also so lucky that I get to travel frequently for my job; lately I have been working a lot each week in Sydney and Melbourne as well as around Queensland.”
Not only popular around the South East, Shontina has a massive global following on social media. With more than 15,000 followers on Instagram (@shontinarose), and an equally as impressive number of viewers on her Tumblr blog (shontinarose.tumblr.com), I ask her what it’s like being ‘famous’ on social media, and the secret behind her online success.
“I wouldn’t call it ‘famous’,” she answers laughing, “But I honestly have no idea. People just kind of came to me over time and my followers have built up over the years. It’s nice to know people like following me on my journey.”
The Gold-Coast-raised model shares that it’s not all positivity she receives online. “A couple of years ago I would get constant doubt from people, mostly anonymous on Tumblr saying that I would never make it or even land a job,” she says. “I received a lot of negative messages every day but I tried my best not to let it get to me and never gave up.”
Her humility is made clear, when she reveals that she doesn’t believe she is one of those ‘lucky models’ that every agency wants on their books.
Kathy Castens, founder and manager of Katz Model Management on the Gold Coast, would disagree, after signing Shontina Rose to her agency 14 months ago, and being immediately impressed with her professionalism and keen-to-get-going attitude.
“I knew that most fashion clients would like her,” says Kathy. “She has had a lot of repeat business.”
Aside from an endless list of designer photo shoots, and a previous modelling contract in Hong Kong, Kathy saw more potential in the young model, and helped her land a contract with Das Models in Milan.
“We presented her file and they loved her”,” Castens says.
Although her agency has helped her career progress rapidly, Shontina’s biggest backing comes from her loving family, whom she moved to the Sunshine Coast with when she was eight years old, and have supported her journey ever since. Her adoring mother Shiree Rickeard, business owner of Boutique Angels Formal Wear, reflects back to moments she realised her daughter was born to model.
“I have a really funny photo of Shontina when she was three years old, when I found her standing on a stool in my bathroom, wearing my pink high heals, putting lipstick on in the mirror! I thought there and then she was born a natural poser!”
And now it’s only a matter of time until we see Shontina Rose’s name featured in magazines, headlining runway shows alongside the likes of McPherson, Hawkins, and Kerr.