Young people doing cool things: Raenee Sydney

Pretty bloody impressive.

At 22 years old, Raenee Sydney’s CV is pretty bloody impressive.

She’s a face of Calvin Klein’s latest global #mycalvins campaign. The very same campaign that features Kate Moss, Bella Hadid, Zoë Kravitz and Frank Ocean.

She’s also one half of streetwear label, China Girl, a model with Chic Management, a uni grad, works two jobs and rocks blue hair better than anyone we’ve ever seen (not that it’s relevant).

Impressed by just how much she’s achieved, we caught up with the model to find out how she landed the Calvin Klein gig and how at just 22, she manages to balance everything in her life.

Tell us about yourself (and make sure to show off, please).

I was born in Singapore but grew up in Malaysia, Singapore and Sydney because my Dad moved around for work. I grew up in a male-heavy household, with three brothers. Besides just finishing my last semester of uni, I’ve been working at two different stores, Ellery and Supply, and am also signed to Chic Management.

When did you start modelling?

I don’t really know, I guess it just started with helping out friends for their own fashion labels. It sort of grew from there. 

Congratulations on scoring the gig in Calvin Klein’s huge campaign! How did it come about?

It’s quite a wild story. I was approached on Instagram by a Calvin Klein casting director from LA. When I told her I lived in Sydney, she said it probably wasn’t worth me flying over, as it wasn’t guaranteed that I would get the job. 

But my boyfriend pushed me to take a chance and booked me a flight to LA that same day! I flew over, did the casting, came home and didn’t hear anything back for a week and half. One day at work, the casting director called me letting me know I had been booked for the job and was flying over the next day! 

Any advice for girls wanting to break into modelling or business?

It always seems more glamorous and appealing from the outside. You have to have thick skin and learn to take rejection. But there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now tell us about your label, China Girl. How did it start?

China Girl began as a platform where my partner Lily and I could express our interests. It grew from the idea of just wanting to create tees for ourselves and our friends, because we often found ourselves having to buy men’s tees. We were lucky to have friends that supported what we were doing and the positive feedback we received motivated us to turn it into something more substantial.

Describe the label in three words.

Rebellious, unpretentious and spontaneous. 

What are the best and worst parts about running China Girl?

It’s great to have the freedom to make whatever you want and to have a creative outlet. 

I guess the worst part would be trying to consolidate Lily and my ideas together into one series. Sometimes we tend to clash on certain details!

How do you balance your time between your jobs?

Well I work from Wednesday ’til Sunday and on my free days I write lists of what I need to get done. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My spiritual Uncle Tristan once told me that nothing in this world happens in vain. Everything happens to show us something, it’s just sometimes we forget how to see it.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were 15?

To start saving your pennies because blue hair is very expensive to maintain!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully travelling the world. I get bored when I stay in one place for too long.


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