Trisha Cortaville-Smith

Believing in the power of inspired young people is more than just a slogan for the Y, it’s at the core of everything they do. That’s why when an inspired young person comes forward with an idea to truly change their community and empower others, where possible, the Y offers their full support.

Trisha Cortaville-Smith is an indigenous woman, model and Youth
Ambassador at the Y in Taree, on the mid North Coast of NSW, and is the brains
behind the NAiDOC Indigenous Fashion Show (NIFS) that made waves in the Manning
Great-Lakes area last year.

Starting out as an employee of the Y’s recreational centre in Taree,
Trisha went on to grow her relationship with the organisation through her work
as a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Youth Ambassador. The idea for NIFS
emerged from Trisha’s love of fashion and her local community, combined with
her passion for inclusivity and representation.

“The Y came to us and asked, ‘what can we do to bring the community
together?’” says Trisha.  “I’d done some
modelling in Melbourne and I really enjoyed it and I wanted to bring that here,
so I said ‘let’s do a fashion show’.”

When Trisha presented her idea to the Y, they offered their full
support without hesitation. The Y committed all available resources to bringing
NIFS to life, and a few months later a diverse group of young men and women
aged 13-20 took to the catwalk in a display that moved the local community in
Taree.  The event also provided an
incredible platform for local designers to have their work seen on a large

On top of tangible resources, the Y were also able to offer
something that Trisha could not have sourced from anywhere else; their
reputation. “Working with young people, all their parents said, “ ‘Oh it’s the
Y, they’re in safe hands’, so the Y lent us their reputation,” Trisha explained.

The event and the response from the local community exceeded all
expectations. “Coming up to it a lot of people thought it would be a little
fashion parade,” says Trisha, “but after it ended they all realised ‘hey these
guys are serious’ and they wanted to get behind it in the future”.

For Trisha, the NAiDOC Indigenous Fashion Show is only the
beginning. And thanks to the support of the Y, another young person has been
empowered to see their bold ideas to fruition and to fight for the change they
want to see in their communities. We can’t wait to see what Trisha does next.

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