Fernanda Ly

Photography Christian Brylle

Published January 31, 2017


Fernanda Ly wants to be “someone who can make [her] parents proud, someone who is comfortable in their own skin.” The Australian model is certainly on her way: she had her fashion industry debut in Louis Vuitton’s FW ’15 show—pale pink locks, blunt bangs, and all—and has since seen a swift rise. Ly has appeared in many a Vuitton show and campaign, as well as in the pages of British and American Vogue, Dazed, and CR Fashion Book, and on the runway for Simone Rocha, DKNY, Courrèges, Fendi, Mary Katrantzou, and DSquared2. Her staying power seems certain, too, and is in part a credit to her down-to-earth demeanor; she says her greatest adventure (one that’s still a work in-progress) is “living and the path of continually attaining happiness.” 

PEOPLE I ADMIRE THE MOST:The parents of my home community of first generation children, of which mine are a part of.

I genuinely do not believe any award or achievement I may receive will stand equal to everything my parents have had to discard and sacrifice in an attempt to start anew in Australia from Vietnam. As I grew up, I continually heard stories of how and why entire communities were left with no choice but to abandon their lives in search of safety. Nothing was ever guaranteed—yet the people all chose to gamble on these feelings of hope.

When you hear first hand of these events, it feels unreal. Even at this moment, it still feels somewhat unreal. I had a hard time believing these recollections until my own schooling education caught up (we are, however, only taught the Australian side of the world wars; the Vietnamese perspective was barely touched upon) and independent research.

For choosing to put their entirety on the line in order to provide a better standard of living for our family, I both greatly admire and forever thank my parents for their self-sacrifice.

EVENTS I WISH I’D WITNESSED:The space race between the USA and the USSR, especially the landing on the moon. It is awe-inspiring to believe the human species had advanced to set foot on the moon in only a few decades of stating the intention of doing so. 

MY IDEA OF HAPPINESS:Easily a combination of all my favorite things: sharing a meal with my most beloved. Having meals together is such fundamentally human social behavior, so this includes from coffee and tea dates with friends to family dinners at home. I am a simple and easily pleased girl (and perhaps due to the fact that I live alone for the large majority of the year I enjoy such things). 

GAMES I PLAY:What I am currently playing: Love Live! School Idol Festival (EN and JP servers); Final Fantasy XV; Animal Crossing: New Leaf; Overwatch; The Last of Us; The Sims 3; and a lot of phone puzzle games (Blendoku 2, 1010!, etc.)

MY VICE:An addictive (and bordering obsessive) personality. There are many activities and social circles I choose not to join due to this. My desire to avoid the potential aftermath were I to begin is much greater than my curiosity.

Discovering this trait early on in life has honestly, I believe, rescued me from all sorts of unsavory circumstances—even if it requires self-bargaining or potential loss. However, this unfortunately does not mean I always choose the more correct path. 

THINGS I’D LIKE TO IMPROVE ABOUT MYSELF:My speech. My speaking abilities, especially the way I enunciate, are not very strong. Chinese especially does not sound as precise when coming from my mouth, so I prefer to not speak. It is odd and very accurate when I am told I pronounce English words with a Chinese accent and vice versa.

I also have trouble speaking truthfully, largely choosing to say whatever first comes to mind. Thus even now, I feel as if I have yet to completely show my utmost appreciation to an endless number of people (my family, friends, agencies, industry individuals).

THINGS I’LL BE REMEMBERED BY:“The girl with the pink hair at Louis Vuitton” and the year 2015 overall career-wise. My breakthrough year as a model saw Louis Vuitton claiming many of my industry “firsts,” which include opening and closing a show as well as starring in both their FW and SS campaigns, along with various international magazine covers including Vogue Italia.

However, I do hope to accomplish something positive to be remembered for, rather than a physical attribute.

MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT:I caught my falling earring at the end of the runway during DSquared2 SS17, without flinching or hesitating.QUESTIONS I CAN’T ANSWER:Many “why” questions about my intentions, as I have no answer to give (at least consciously). 

ONE LAST FAVOR I’D LIKE TO ASK:Please let everyone who has taken a part of my life, minimally or majorly, know that I am deeply grateful to them for shaping who I am today. Also, I apologize for how very troublesome I am. 

For more from our “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” series, click here.