Byline: Braden Harper/Reporter
NEW YORK CITY, New York – When most people go to Times Square in New York City, they are exposed to dozens of bright, colorful digital billboards advertising everything from entertainment and restaurants to everyday products. However, most people do not expect to see themselves illuminated by dozens of digital pixels on one of those massive billboards. This was not the case for twin sisters Autumn and Raini Deerinwater.
According to Raini Deerinwater, seeing her and her sister on one of those bright billboards was a milestone.
“It means a lot to me to be someone out of Oklahoma, be Muscogee and making a mark and saying ‘I can do this,'” Raini Deerinwater said. “I will always hold it close to my heart because it means more than just a picture. It’s two Native American Women from Oklahoma.”
The sisters had previously modeled merchandise for the Mvskoke Media Department. A year later, they have now been featured in one of the largest commercial junctions in the world.
“You see it on tv all the time, but seeing it in person is a whole other experience,” Autumn Deerinwater said. “I really want to go back again.”
The sisters modeled original designs by Anishinaabe Ojibwe artist Sheila Tucker. In the photoshoot, they are seen sporting bright orange designs with beaded fedoras. The billboard campaign can be described as a triple threat. It features Indigenous Designs, Artists, and Models.
“From the very start to now, Sheila has been amazing to work with.” Raini Deerinwater said. “She has an idea in her head and wants it a specific way.”
According to Autumn, Tucker’s inspiration for the designs in the billboard campaign came from a high-profile celebrity. “It was something that Rihanna had worn,” Autumn Deerinwater said. “I was like, ‘ I can’t wait to wear something that was inspired by Rihanna, made by Sheila.'”
This was not Raini’s first time in New York City. However, it did mark Autumn’s first time visiting the Big Apple. The siblings got to take a carriage ride through Central Park and see the Brooklyn Bridge.
Autumn and Raini have always had a special connection with each other. “It’s literally like a best friend that’s your age,” Raini Deerinwater said.
“Being able to do things together made things growing up that might have been a little harder seem easier. Or things that were fun together were made even more fun.”
Although the siblings have begun to follow their paths in life, they’re still close. The billboard campaign is a testament to that.
When asked how they complement one another, Autumn described herself as more outgoing while Raini is calmer. “She thinks a lot about things, and I’m just kind of like, let’s do it, why not?” Autumn Deerinwater said.
The sisters understand the mentality of what it means to be a role model. Even before being featured on the billboard, they always considered how their actions would be perceived by others looking up to them in school and sports.
“I’ve always known that I’ve had that role model aspect in my life, and now that I get to put it on a bigger platform and more people can reach it, yes, I do feel like a role model,” Raini Deerinwater said.
To view, prior coverage of this story, visit: https://www.mvskokemedia.com/muscogee-models-make-fashion-history-in-nyc/