“If you want to know who I am, you have to acknowledge where I come from.” These are the opening words of Walking Two Worlds, a new documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last week exploring the meteoric rise of Indigenous model Quannah Chasinghorse. The movie, directed by Maia Wikler, follows Chasinghorse and her mother, Jody Potts-Joseph, as they grapple with the two realities they currently exist in. One world they inhabit is the more familiar one—living on their Alaska homelands and engaging in their traditional hunting, fishing, and dogsledding practices. The other world is newer and perhaps more foreign, arriving thanks to Chasinghorse’s newfound status as one of the high-fashion world’s most in-demand new faces, taking over the runways for labels such as Gucci and Chanel and even attending the Met Gala twice.
The documentary was filmed over three years beginning in 2019 and charts the model’s rapid rise to fame. Chasinghorse was first scouted for a Calvin Klein campaign in 2020 and has since been signed by IMG Models. In the film, Chasinghorse admits she was nervous about allowing viewers into her story but excited to showcase all the sides of herself. “I was anxious because I’m very raw and vulnerable in the movie,” Chasinghorse tells Vogue. “I show parts of myself that I don’t normally show. But I wanted to show a sense of realness of the Indigenous experience. The doc shines a light on multiple issues within our community and how people really struggle with them. With myself, people will be like, ‘Your life seems fine—why do you care?’ But I’m not fine. These things affect me.”
The film opens with Chasinghorse at an Alaska fish camp back in the winter of 2020, where she’s seen hunting and fishing alongside her mother. “I’m so grateful that my mom taught me how deep and sacred the practice of hunting really is,” the model says in the film. “Take care of the land, and it will take care of you.” The documentary proceeds to touch on the growing climate crisis in Alaska and Chasinghorse’s advocacy work within the region, where she has tirelessly fought to conserve the state’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—a vast, 20-million-acre ecosystem that continues to face endangerment due to global warming and fossil fuel extraction. Later in the film, she also candidly shares her struggles with rising fame and constantly being away from this urgent work. “I’ve been having a lot more anxiety attacks because I’m not home anymore,” Chasinghorse says in the film. “In my spirit, I’ve felt a loss—all I’ve thought about is missing out on hunting and fishing. Everything is under threat, and if I’m not able to go back home within the next few years, those things might be gone.”