Get to know FQ’s winter cover star Jordan Daniels

29 June 2023
By Fashion Quarterly

At 25, Jordan Daniels has already walked for some of the biggest names in the business. Now based in New York, she reveals her career highlights, her favourite NYC haunts, and the highs and lows of her home away from home.

Meet our winter issue cover star Jordan Daniels
Jordan wears: Christopher Esber ‘Diane Car’ coat, $5715. Sir the Label ‘Jacques’ top, $352. Bulgari ‘Serpenti Viper’ rings, $8450 and $14,850, ‘B.zero1’ necklace, $13,350, and $10,250 and $17,350.

She’s only 25, yet South African-born, Aoteroa-raised model Jordan Daniels has already walked for some of the biggest names in the business — Alexander McQueen, Prada and Valentino, to name just a few. In the past six years since she made the move from New Zealand to New York, this beauty’s career has gone from strength to strength, further proving Kiwis can indeed fly.  We caught her after posing for our pages to get the ins and outs. 

I was raised in Panmure/Glen Innes, and then we moved to Highland Park — I’m an East Auckland baby! I recently bought a house in a small town a little bit south of Auckland and will always call New Zealand home. The first places I go when I return are my parents’ house, then probably my favourite South African store for some treats. 

My big break was walking for Prada. It was my first show and really kick-started my career. Another ‘big break’ moment was being part of’s Diary of a Model series. To this day, people stop me on the street about that video. 

Every single show has been memorable. I’ve grown so much since my first Prada show — become more sure of myself, my body and my walk. I feel like the experience of walking in shows changes as you do more of them. In my first show, I was so young and nervous— I didn’t know what to expect and was scared of so many people staring at me. In the last show I walked in, I felt confident, beautiful and almost powerful with all those eyes on me. 

It seems crazy that I’ve been in New York for six years! I’ve embraced everything about it. It’s easy to be chewed up and spat out when you’re living in a huge city like this, especially being a girl from little New Zealand. I’ve seen it happen to a lot of girls from small places like I am, but I think having my head on straight, making and keeping incredible friends that have turned into my chosen family, and speaking to my actual family as often as I can has enabled me to sustain this life. 

I’m a New Yorker for now, I love it here and I can’t imagine myself anywhere else for the time being; however, I am a Kiwi girl at heart, and don’t see myself living here forever. I don’t know if I’ll move back to New Zealand again in the near future, but I definitely need to be somewhere I can walk barefoot on the grass, and possibly hear the ocean. I want a chill farm life eventually. I do get homesick and don’t think that feeling ever goes away. I miss my parents and brothers the most, and of course all of my extended family. I miss their cooking too! My biggest influence has to be my parents. I’d be embarrassed if you saw from my phone record how many times a week I call them. I always make my own decisions but I need them to listen before I make them. 

I was so young and naive when I arrived here. A lot of people around me were making decisions for me for a long time in my career, and I went along with them because I didn’t know any better. I was stuck in a bit of a toxic situation in Los Angeles with an agent there, but [head agent and manager] Andi Plowright at [New Zealand’s] 62 Management managed to get me out and place me with The Society in New York. Everything worked out with such divine timing for me and I was then able to walk in Prada’s Spring/Summer ’19 show. After I walked in my first Fashion Week, I moved my whole life from LA to New York and never looked back. New York is extremely dirty and smells really bad, especially in summer. No one cares about you, no one’s looking at you, everyone’s just trying to get to wherever it is that they’re going. You could run down the street in a wedding dress and most people would mind their own business. It’s eclectic, insane, fast and incredibly fun. 

I’d describe my day-to-day style as elevated-casual and sexy. Sometimes I’m in baggy clothes, and other days it’s a dress and heels. I don’t like to confine myself because I’m always just whoever I want to be that day. My favourite brand is The Row; I’m obsessed with their shoes — they’re so comfortable and stylish. My favourite piece of clothing in my wardrobe right now is probably a white tank top. I don’t want to be boring, but I could wear it every day, style it differently every time and it’ll always look put together. 

Shooting for a New Zealand publication was amazing. Clara Pafundi has photographed me since I was around 16 or 17 and first started modelling, so it was so cool to see that she has also moved to New York and could be a part of this shoot with me. The highlights were having armed guards with me for the fine jewellery shots, and all the laughs I shared with everybody on set — the team was incredible. 

The best place to shop in New York? The RealReal. The best place to eat? Kings Co Imperial. The best place to stay? The Lower East Side. The best place to sightsee? The Upper East Side. The best hidden haunt? Queens.

Words: Sarah Murray
Photography: Clara Pafundi


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Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover
Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover

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