Nalin Satearrujikanon
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Nalin Satearrujikanon
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When Nalin Satearrujikanon describes herself as a "creative person with many passions", she isn't exaggerating. Not only is she a model, photographer and designer with her own fashion brand – the forward-thinking Nalinchan Studio – she is also helping to redefine Thai nightlife as part of the Cayenne Peppers party collective. "I'm someone who likes to be trying something new all the time," she says with an infectious zeal. "I try to have no limit on my life at all."

Nalin feels an affinity with the iconic Keep Walking campaign from Johnnie Walker. "Keep walking and keep doing – that's exactly my attitude," she says. Hopefully, through doing what I do, I can inspire others who might be going on a similar journey or looking for similar life experiences."


And Nalin's incredible journey is inspiring. As a teenager, she was profoundly affected by Lady Gaga, who stormed onto the pop scene in a swirl of eccentric fashion and heartfelt, pro-LGBTQIA+ messages. "She taught me that it's OK to be brave and different – and OK to be yourself," says Nalin, who is transgender. Gaga also showed her that "there's no one way to be a woman", but when Nalin began her fashion studies around a decade ago, the idea of modelling for a living seemed out of reach. "There were no transgender models in Thailand back then," she says. "There were some successful gay and trans people, but they were all comedians or working in TV."


Still, Nalin kept saying yes when friends asked her to pose for their photography projects. "I was like, this is so fun!" she recalls. "But I still had no aspiration to be a model because it felt so impossible at that time."

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Eventually, she attracted the attention of a top casting director, who booked her for a game-changing gig. "I became the first transgender person to walk in a big Thai fashion show as a model [as opposed to] as a celebrity," she says. Now, Nalin pays it forward by operating her own Instagram-based street casting business with a focus on "diversity" and "alternative" looks. "I want to give other people the amazing opportunities I've had," she says.

Nalin supports diverse representation just as fervently through the club nights she puts on with the Cayenne Peppers party collective. These nights began around five years ago and have evolved into a safe space where everyone can be themselves. "I wasn't seeing many transgender DJs so we gave them an opportunity to play at our parties," she says. "You know, it's not necessarily about having an amazing creative production, but about making a night where no one is judging anyone." Nalin says she feels a burst of pride whenever she looks around and sees "everyone looking so comfortable in their skin and their clothes".


As for the future, Nalin’s purpose is to always "keep walking". "I'm someone who always thinks, 'What can I do today?' Even if it's just making one little thing or doing research for a project," she says. "I want to keep working on my design, my photography and my parties. I definitely want to keep going in all these areas because we still have so much that we can change for the better."

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In February 2023, Johnnie Walker Australia partnered with Sydney WorldPride, working with the LGBTQIA+ community to co-create the Keep Walking Proudly campaign. This was brought to life via a residence at Kinselas in Sydney; an inclusive space that was open to all and headlined by performers across all queer