Mila is a model and skater from Auckland, New Zealand. Growing up, she earned herself the title ‘tomboy’ because she was drawn to a lot of things people perceived as more ‘masculine’ and ‘boyish’, but in her eyes, it was just freedom of choice. “There are no boy or girl roles when you’re a kid!” she says. “You don’t see that. I just started skating after school one day on a little king kong graphic skateboard and kept practicing from there!”
In her downtime, the little ray of sunshine likes to dance with friends, enjoy music, play guitar, make memories and start some ruckus (of the good kind) wherever she goes. Her favourite skater is Jesse Alba, because of his “cool street style”, and her favourite subject at school is history, because “there’s a lot to learn about and it’s also interesting to reflect on the world’s mistakes and see what’s changing over time.” The best advice she’s ever received is: “Take what resonates with you.” (Now that little nugget of gold resonates with us).
Mila counts herself lucky to have been brought up in a loving, caring, accepting and supportive family. She was always encouraged to be herself, and believes that has helped to influence the way she perceives the world now. “If there is love and compassion, room to grow, and an awareness of the things around you, then you’re living your best life,” she believes.
Sentinel Beach in Herne Bay is her go-to spot when people are in town visiting. It’s a really sweet, secluded, cheeky little spot (her words), where you can see the Auckland Harbour Bridge clearly from the beach. To unwind, she likes to crawl into bed and watch Netflix until she passes out or come up with little riffs on the guitar, but real talk, she favours bed over everything else. Speaking of bed, she’s a certified night owl who finds it almost impossible to voluntarily get up in the morning unless it’s important. She thrives in the night time, and finds it to have a calm yet exciting vibe. It’s little wonder then that her morning routine goes a little something like this: “Roll over and fall right back asleep until mum or dad comes rushing in yelling that I’ll be late for school, climb out of bed and deal with that ~ever-so-desirable~ morning grogginess.”
If she could only eat one meal for the rest of her life, it’d be for sure be a McDonald’s McChicken because it “never fails to satisfy and always hits the spot” and she “could not find one thing to complain about that stupid good burger.” The coolest thing she’s learned recently is that a single strand of spaghetti is called ‘spaghetto’, and the thing she’s most looking forward to for the remainder of 2019 is making more outrageous teenage memories with the people she loves and adores. Friendship is a big part of her life. “Friends help you learn, grow and look at things in a different perspective,” she says. “They uplift you and keep you grounded. Friends are what keep the world going ‘round.”
In the next ten years, she hopes to see people become more educated on mental health within society and how to appropriately approach and treat it. “There’s a lot of fog in some people’s minds about what mental illness actually is,” she says. “I’d like to see more school-oriented education on the subject. If we created awareness for symptoms and causes I think that would make an important difference, especially in adolescent’s lives.”
To her, ‘cool’ means something inspiring; something that you genuinely think is sublime, impressive or badass!
Feature: Madeleine Woon Photos: Daphne Nguyen Fashion: Chloe Hill & Charlotte Jennings
Mila is represented by Clyne AUCKLAND
Shot on location in Auckland, New Zealand