'Farm girl' in Hokonuis return

Waipahi teen Linda Bos is more at home in gumboots on her parents' South Otago farm but happy to...
Waipahi teen Linda Bos is more at home in gumboots on her parents' South Otago farm but happy to strike a pose on the catwalk. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
Waipahi teen Linda Bos is more at home in gumboots than high heels, and could not name a supermodel if her life depended on it, but she will be taking to the catwalk again in Gore tonight.

Linda (17), who describes herself as a "farm girl", surprised friends and family - and perhaps even herself a little - when she replied to a Facebook call-out for models for the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards last year.

Linda Bos models the winning entry, created by Sonya Leusink Sladen, of Nelson, in the Recycled...
Linda Bos models the winning entry, created by Sonya Leusink Sladen, of Nelson, in the Recycled category of the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards in Gore last year.Photo: Still Vision Photography
But the experience turned out to be so enjoyable she is coming back for more this weekend, as the high-profile young and emerging designer event returns to rural Southland for its 30th anniversary outing.

More interested in science and mathematics than the pages of Vogue and Cosmopolitan, Linda said her friends had done a double-take when she announced her imminent rise to catwalk fame last year.

"I think they thought it was a bit out of character. I'm not a naturally confident person, although I do enjoy studying drama at school, so everyone was a bit surprised."

Despite any initial reservations, friends and family alike had been "very supportive", she said.

"My parents and brother encouraged me, and there ended up being some other school friends modelling too, so it was a really good experience overall."

Modelling for the Hokonuis was a way of building confidence, and saving some money for planned varsity studies the year after next, she said.

"They teach you how to walk confidently in high heels and things like keeping your shoulders back and head up. All the things your mum tells you to do anyway, really."

Being on the catwalk was as much about serving the designers as any personal ambitions, however.

"There are some amazing creations, so you just want to make sure you're making the garments look as good as possible."

Linda said she had been "privileged" to model one of the winning designs at last year's awards, in the shape of Sonya Leusink Sladen's Recycled category winner, constructed from recycled curtains.

This year she was simply looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and enjoying the "fun, social" side of the backstage experience.

"We'll all be working hard to show off the designs once again. I've got a bit more practice to do on my walk, then I'm ready."

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