Growing up in the Dehcho region of the NWT, it was difficult for Inuk’s parents to find clothes for her. Inuk, who goes by her traditional name, describes her body type as plus size or “big and fluffy”.
Now she’s using her social media channels, where she already has a large following — 26,500 on TikTok and 15,300 on Instagram — to achieve one of her bucket list goals: becoming a model.
About three or four months ago, Inuk, the artist behind jewelry brand Inuk360, began creating dedicated TikTok videos inspired by stars like Tess Holiday, Lizzo, and the late Candy Palmater also showing off their plus sizes.
In her videos, Inuk wrote a few goals, one of which was to model for the Penningtons’ clothing line, now renamed PENN.
She said her followers started tagging the clothing company in her videos and “next I got a message from one of their PR [representatives].”
PENN contacted her and asked about her model portfolio. She didn’t have one, but used her social media content as an example of her work.
“We started talking back and forth. And that went from modeling to collaborating,” said Inuk.
She was asked to shoot a 30-second video featuring outfits from the company’s new fall collection.
Inuk said she hopes to continue making such collaborations.
“I hope it won’t be a one-time deal,” she said.
While this is all for her collaboration with PENN, Inuk said to keep an eye on her art, Inuk360, as “a lot of good things come out of the line.” She is also known for being the first Inuvialuit model for PENN.
“One of the things I’m learning is that even if you’re being passed over, you’re different and you get a lot of rejections about things you want to do, you just keep at it,” Inuk said.
She said it means a lot that a big company like PENN is working with her and that it shows that if you have big dreams and keep working on them, you can achieve big goals – even if they seem unlikely.
She said now is the time to “take back those spaces that were never allowed to us [in] Before.”
Inuk plans to continue using the power of her social media platforms to tell positive stories about the North and to encourage spiritual well-being and self-love.