Not in at least a decade has Singapore had a model moment like Nadia Rahmat’s. Face of Marc by Marc Jacobs’ (MBMJ) Spring/Summer 2015 campaign. In April, a contract with British agency Nevs, whose stars include Sudanese supermodel Nykhor Paul and Chanel catwalk staple Brad Kroenig.
Born and bred here, the 24-year-old isn’t typical model material. She’s petite at 1.65m tall, and is more exotic-looking than traditionally beautiful – almond-shaped eyes, olive skin, high cheekbones, thanks to her Arab-Malay-Indian heritage.

Nadia Rahmat
Felt fedora with feathers, Bimba Y Lola.

Scroll through her four-year-old Instagram account @skinnykatwoman and what stands out most is her style – FKA Twigs-inspired braids and a sexy punk/goth wardrobe a la Tank Girl – along with a seemingly rambunctious personality to match. (The photos are mostly of the partying, random yoga pose, and just-chilling-and-looking-fly variety, and have captivated a following of 10.6K as of press time.)

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It’s tempting to stereotype her as another Gen-Y Insta-famous personality – she scored the MBMJ gig by entering the brand’s Instagram-based casting call #castmemarc after all. But meet her and, like pink-haired Louis Vuitton star Fernanda Ly, or alienesque Japanese-Mexican model Issa Lish (two of the most unusual and wanted faces in fashion now), her edgy star quality is undeniable.

Off camera, the events coordinator for hip small plates restaurant Kilo is down-to-earth, affable and most passionate about what she calls “creating experiences”. (The best events, she says, are so immersive that people forget to take photos.) In front of the lens, a cool confidence takes over – she’s perfected her gaze; takes art direction like a pro; and gamely shows off her geek dance moves if you ask her to.

Steven Haynes, head of new faces at Nevs, says: “Nadia immediately grabbed our attention with her unique style and personality that really shines through in photos. She’s a great fit for the London market, which embraces (unconventional-looking models)… We expect big things to come for her.” We do too.

Photography Ivanho Harlim & Shysilia Novita, assisted by Marie Liang Styling Imran Jalal, assisted by Karin Tan Hair Peter Lee/Hairloom Makeup Ros Chan, using Urban Decay

A version of this story first appeared in Female‘s August issue, out on newsstands now.

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