Challenging diversity within the fashion industry and working to empower others by ditching labels in favour of uplifting and supporting one another, Nile Goodlad is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Passionate about animals, Nile balances his day job at the rescue centre with the hectic schedule that comes with being an emerging model. Featuring on the River Island campaign one minute and jetting to New York Fashion Week the next, he’s certainly here, there and everywhere. We chat to this exciting rising star about how vitiligo has affected his outlook, meeting Winnie Harlow and what he hopes to be doing in 10 years’ time!
Tell us a bit about you, and your route into modelling…
I’m from the West Midlands, I’m Jamaican and English mixed. I’m a massive dog lover and aside from modelling I work with animals and I’m a trained mixologist. It’s kind of a weird story, but I was originally scouted through Twitter, and then was signed by AMCK London.
You studied animal management because of your dream to work with animals, this is clearly something that is still important to you, so how do you manage your day job at the rescue centre while trying to make it as a model?
When I left high school, I travelled outside my town to study animal management at a land-based college. I’ve always been a geek and obsessed with anything related to animals or nature. I knew I didn’t want to do anything else. After graduating college, I decided to have a break from education to work and travel. Luckily, I’m in position that allows me to do both. The other volunteers and staff at the rescue are all my close friends and almost family. They support me to the full in terms of my modelling career, and luckily my agency is understanding of my job back home, so the balance works quite well.
You’ve openly spoken about the importance of difference within modelling, how do you think growing up with vitiligo has affected you, your outlook and what you do?
I didn’t have vitiligo until I was around 9, so it did definitely affected me. But, it wasn’t until I was older and started modelling that I really realised how it had changed my thoughts and views of others. It is frustrating being in the industry and experiencing the lack of diversity and opportunities offered to models of colour or who have any difference.
I just got back from New York, and I feel there’s such a difference in the industry with the celebration of difference. There’s more of a common use of models of all different shapes, sizes and shades over there. It was so refreshing and exciting, and hopefully a demonstration of change.
And you’re certainly an inspiration to many, so what piece of advice would you give to a 15-year-old who also has vitiligo?
I don’t know if I’m really in a position to give advice, I’m still in need of advice myself! One piece of advice though would be: do what you’re doing and pay no attention to looks, words and comments because what people think of you is none of your business and the only person that could ever stop you doing what you want to do or loving yourself is you.
Talking about advice, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think the best advice given to me was: never compare yourself to anybody else, which is so true because in reality no matter the similarities or differences, there’s only one you and you were designed to only be you.
Tell us a bit about your first catwalk show – what was that like?
Luckily for me I got to tiptoe my way onto the catwalk, my agent coached me a little bit and then I was booked for a couple of shows in Graduate Fashion Week, which was intense at the time, but nothing compared to actual fashion week. So, my first show was for DeMonfort and I was the only new face in the show, all the other boys had experience, which made me feel 10 times more nervous, but after my first walk and the buzz of coming off the catwalk, I was ready to go straight back out.
And what is your favourite and least favourite thing about doing a catwalk show?
I love walking because on the day there’s always an excitement and cool energy. It’s a nice feeling knowing that the designer and the team have chosen you to showcase their work. I suppose the only thing that can be a pain is the really early call times and really late ends, but it’s worth it in the end, when you can appreciate your work.
Who’s the most inspirational person you’ve ever met? Tell us all about it!
Since modelling and learning about fashion there are so many creatives and artists that I’ve worked with or met that were either my role models beforehand or are now my role models. So many of my friends are also a massive inspiration to me.
I met Shaun (Ross) and Winnie (Harlow) independently during Milan Fashion Week, they were definitely people I wanted to meet because as artists and creatives I think that they are the pioneers in the industry and have opened the doors for and brought awareness to diversity for so many.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, although I think I may somehow still work within the creative industry, I will hopefully be working back with animals and perusing a career in conservation hopefully abroad.