There is something magical about Indira Scott. Sure, she is striking to look at, smart and engaging, but she also has an intoxicating energy. After spending time with her you somehow feel more positive, leaving her presence with perhaps more of a spring in your step than you had before. She casts a spell, if you like, and thankfully she is using that power for good. But before we get to her stardust qualities, Indira is first and foremost, a model. And after just four short years (losing almost two to the pandemic, after all), she is already a great one. Importantly, she isn’t one that claims to be a model / actress / musician / influencer, instead she is totally delighted to ‘simply’ be a model. “I can’t lie, I love it,” she beams when asked about her job. “I’ve always loved fashion. It has always been the way I express myself. As a child I often felt like the black sheep in my family, as they didn’t quite know where to put me, so fashion became the main way for me to express myself. I would shy away from my words, so used clothes instead.”
From the moment she started modelling, Indira wanted to be about more than just a face and body, she wanted to bring change. Walking with her box braids had Dior paved that way, as she knew she was making history and it felt aligned with her purpose. “When I first started modelling, it felt like a completely different environment to what it is now. There was a division, that was nobody’s fault, but it was just there. At fittings, or backstage, all the black models would sit together, all the Asian models, and then all the white models. It seemed so weird to me, as I grew up in Queens where everything was diverse and inclusive, so it became a personal mission to me to bring everyone together.” She thinks of her role as someone who is creating opportunities for younger generations. For those who can see, because of models like Indira, that the world of fashion is much more inclusive than it once was. “All the girls I work with are passionate about making change, and leading the change, and that is so important to me. It’s also what fashion should be about, let’s get bold, let’s get weird, as if it’s art and art is supposed to be confusing and uncomfortable sometimes. It is meant to make you think, and feel and be moved, otherwise, what is the point?”
She rates Gabriela Hearst, Chloe and Prada for setting good examples in the luxury market, and Reformation for offering the high street a different path. Indira’s personal style is mood related, not trend driven. “I never stick to one way of dressing,” she says. “I like to wear whatever is speaking to me in that moment. I am fluid in all senses of my life, and that allows me to be tantric with what I am feeling, and I can express that through what I am wearing.” But when on the road, she admits to wearing the same thing on repeat, either oversized dad shirts and baggy pants, or miniature kid’s shirts and baggy pants, there is no in between. When it comes to shopping, vintage is always her go-to. “I have my favourite vintage stores in New York and prefer the smaller ones that aren’t trying to be big retail stores. I find all of them turn into that in the end. To be honest, I think that if you know what to do with clothes, you can shop anywhere. And the better you know yourself, the better you dress, as you aren’t trying to be anyone else.”
Indira was working in Reformation when she was scouted (alongside her sister), and when the brand was called out in 2020 by a former employee, who accused them of routinely overlooking people of colour for promotions, Indira worked with them to educate and change. “I wanted to use my voice, and that led me to having hard conversations with senior members of Reformation. I was part of seeing the steps that needed to be taken and watching them listen and implement those changes. It already has better working conditions, and they really took the time to oversee diversity issues. I think we all underestimate the power of our own voices. I mean if I can create this change on my own, imagine what we can all do collectively.”
You see, don’t you already feel more positive just reading about Indira Scott? That is her superpower, being an inspiring and energising presence. And yet she wasn’t always this way. In her late teens she describes herself as being toxic and draining. “I was manipulative, and as I had a sweet aura, I would let people get close to me and then I would hurt them. I was always rebelling and would do awful things, in all the ways.” When all the storms she had created for herself and others started to pour down on her at the same time, she found her escape from rock bottom in a book. She started reading Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain, and it became her lifeline. At the end of each chapter, it explained a factor of life, followed by a meditation. So, she thought, ‘why not try it’. Of course, just trying it by sitting cross legged on a mat, waiting for your problems to magically melt away, is not how it works. You have got to put in the practice, which is what Indira did. “I had to force myself every day to try and not think of anything besides breathing and seeing what would happen. It took about a month of everyday practice, and it is similar to falling in love, you can’t really explain it, but when it happens you just know. You must work at it and when you have the breakthrough, it is worth it.
“There are lots of things that are a supposedly quick fix, but nothing compares to meditation, and so now it is my vessel for everything in life. Everything I have in life has come from this well that is my spirituality. It has changed my life and the way that I treat people and how I react to people.” If, at any point, Indira does want to branch out from the world of modelling, I think ‘Spiritual Guru’ has a nice ring to it.