Tribal member to model in New York Fashion Week

by Apr 18, 2020A&E, COMMUNITY sgadugi





Along with London, Milan, and Paris, Fashion Week in New York City sets the tone for the fashion world.  New York Fashion Week will tentatively be held in September, and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will be one of the models participating.  

(Photos by Donald Latham Photography)

Tsini McCoy, a freshman at Swain County High School from the Birdtown Community, will model in a show hosted by Marc Defang, one of the nation’s leading prom, bridal, and pageant footwear and accessory designers.  

She said she is very excited about the opportunity, “It means I can actually accomplish something that I’ve always dreamed of doing.  I am excited to experience something like this.  For me, it’s a dream come true.”  

McCoy has been involved in the Miss North Carolina pageant system for years, on a local and state level, as a Carolina Princess which has involved a lot of charity work, photo shoots, and pageantry.  “It’s one of the reasons I have been exposed to the amazing opportunities I have experienced.”  

Runway modeling will be a new experience for her, but McCoy has done some modeling locally for Madison’s on Main.  “This will be my first time doing something on this level, so we will see where this leads.”  

McCoy admires Defang and his work immensely.  “Marc does such a wide variety of fashion designing, but what I love the most are his shoes!  I absolutely love shoes – heels, sneakers, sandals, boots, platforms – I love shoes!  Marc’s shoes are incredible, and many are customized with different crystal/rhinestone color combinations.  They sparkle and are just incredibly gorgeous.  So, of course, anything like that I would be more than happy to model.”  

Even though it is a new endeavor, she is enjoying modeling.  “The opportunity to tell a story in the photos is definitely a fun challenge.  The photographer, or the designer, tells you what he or she envisions, and it’s my job to translate that into the photo.  For me, that’s fun!”  

Defang said McCoy will most likely walk in his show set for Sept. 12 at 2:30 p.m.  “She’ll only have that one moment to present herself on the stage.  Yes, it’s a very precious moment.  We have photographers and videographers ready so after the the show is over, we will have photos and short video clips for Tsini.”  

He added, “I have worked with many models in my life.  This would be the first time I am working with a Native American!  I am very proud and excited about that.  Initially, I had no idea she is Native American, but the feature of her look caught my eye.  She just looks very unique and has very distinctive features which led me to contact her mom Rosie to invite Tsini to the show.  And, of course, diversity is always great.”  

Rosie McCoy, Tsini’s mother, said she is very happy to see her daughter get an opportunity of this magnitude.  “Anytime Tsini can experience a different positive journey or adventure, Dan (Tsini’s father) and I fully support that.  It’s important that Tsini is exposed to challenges that help her grow into a successful adult, and we feel this will be one of those experiences.”

Tsini McCoy said the opportunity means so much to her.  “I fully intend to take advantage of this and share as much information on my home and culture as I can during my trip.  I know I will be extremely busy, but the support I’ve already received from my community has been a blessing.”