Kenyan kids inspire model move

22:18, May 02 2013
Kiwi Kenya Project Charity Fashion Show
FASHION FOR GOOD: Ceara McAuliffe Bickerton, second from left, Claudia Walker, Ella Gunn and Mia Jonesse are organising a fashion show at The Boat House to raise money for an orphanage in Kenya.

Nelson's Ceara McAuliffe Bickerton is living proof that you don't have to wait until old age to start ticking off your bucket list.

Ceara, 21, graduated from Victoria University of Wellington last year with a science degree majoring in psychology.

Upon completing her studies she decided to spend a year focussing on things she wants to do outside of more study and pursuing a career. Since then she has travelled to Kenya where she volunteered for five weeks at an orphanage just outside Nairobi.

While there she and another Kiwi, Emily Reeves, launched a fundraising campaign on Facebook. Initially, they hoped to raise enough money to buy the orphanage a goat but the response was so great they ended up with $3000, enough to buy three goats, a goat hutch, a water filter, a fully stocked medical kit and a very large cooking pot. It also paid for the building of a basic girls' dormitory.

Back in Nelson, Ceara decided the next thing she wanted to do was organise a charity fashion show. A part-time model since 2011, Ceara has brought together 14 models and fashions from Trouble & Fox, Kilt, and Profile for the Kiwi Kenya Project Charity Fashion Show at The Boathouse this Saturday night.

She said the aim was to raise $8000 to build a boys' dormitory, a kitchen and a shared living area at the orphanage.


Ceara is looking forward to the night and seeing the models, some of whom she approached in the street, strut their stuff.

"I wanted to engage healthy looking girls who represent the Nelson community," she said.

As if working at an orphanage in Africa and organising a fashion show wasn't enough, next week Ceara flies to Queenstown to model in a bridal show and then next month she is off to the United States to study at the New York Film Academy. Ceara said she had always wanted to study acting so she applied to the academy and was lucky enough to score a place on its three-month acting programme.

She suspects one reason she was successful was that during the application process she pushed her interest in psychology and the fact she already has a degree in the subject.

She said the course fees were steep but they should be worth it.

"Kevin Spacey is a visiting tutor for the acting students," she said.

Ceara is keeping an open mind about what comes after acting school but whatever she does, it's unlikely to be dull.

"This is my bucket list year. I can't wait until I retire, I want to do these things now," she said.

DETAILS The Kiwi Kenya Project Charity Fashion Show this Saturday The Boathouse 8pm. Tickets are $25 from Trouble & Fox in Bank Lane, Profile in Hardy St and on the door. To find out more about the project visit cearabickerton.