American Eagle tapped a cast of young talent to share their personal messages of empowerment in images and videos for its second #WeAllCan campaign, for Spring 2017. One millennial to keep an eye on? Fernanda Ly, the adorable, pink-haired Aussie mod du moment, who walked the runway for Louis Vuitton before reaching the U.S. legal drinking age and has an Instagram feed worth following. Ly, who joins the likes of Cameron Dallas, Zella Day, Jacob Whitesides, and other Gen Zers in the campaign, caught up with us about American Eagle, what inspires her, and more.
Fernanda, what was your first modeling gig?
My first test shoot was in a Bondi apartment with me silently confused the entire time, just listening to everyone’s instructions. I never actually saw the photos until about a year after. My first proper job was for Bonds, which I did once more last year. It was for their Bestie campaign and I was still very much confused about everything.
How did you get discovered?
The usual model discovery story! I was shopping with my mom back in Sydney, where I was approached. However, I didn’t sign with my mother agency until a later date.
Have you starred in a campaign for American Eagle before?
This is my first time with American Eagle! It was exciting—shooting with Cass Bird is always fun and not stressful at all. Everyone else was pretty chill, as I was the last to shoot for that day. In mid 2016 I was also a part of a campaign for Tiffany & Co. along with Imaan Hammam and Pyper America Smith.
What kind of perspective did you bring to the campaign?
Hopefully one that has everyone see from my experiences as a first generation Chinese female born in Australia and how this has affected my entire being—though that is somewhat of a long shot! So I suppose I wish to show everyone that you are not limited by the thoughts and expectations of others. All things are your own decision.
Did you get to meet any of the other cast mates?
I didn’t, unfortunately, as we all shot staggered, though Heather and Dilone from the last campaign are two of my favorite people.
What are some of your favorite pieces in the SS17 collection?
The patched denim jacket is definitely my favorite. Quite a bit of the menswear—matching track jacket and pants—are also up there on my list.
How do you describe your personal style?
Nowadays it’s sort of like flavor of the day. Occasionally I prefer to dress like a boy, whereas other days I go for uniformed or military-esque attire. It is pretty much determined by how I feel in the morning when getting ready. All in all, just whatever I like.
What inspires you these days?
Childhood nostalgia and experiences of that period in my life influence everything.
Yuka Mannami and CreepyYeha, definitely. Yuka is like a free spirit who does whatever she likes. Her presence alone is like a charger for me. The Mitograph + Yuka combo (Mannamitograph) results in such an atmosphere, but also produces some very amazing photos. Yeha (of CreepyYeha) is such an amazing woman overall. Her work and work ethic are something I have greatly admired since getting to know her.