Column Dusk Devi | Photos Mona Seiuli
JANNIKE LARAE SEIULI is the founder/producer of the globally renowned Pacific Runway, Australia’s most prestigious fashion event for Pacific origin designers.
Jannike is also one of the most humble humans you will meet. Pacific women are doing great things worldwide and their achievements – and the struggles it takes to get there – must be shared, which is why this InterSTELLA column exists. Even though you will never really hear about the struggles... women like this just get the job DONE, with aplomb and with a smile and with a core of steel. Like Jannike. Humble she may be but don’t confuse humble with meek. This woman is a warrior.
Maori-Samoan, NZ-born Australian-bred, Jannike runs a Sydney based event management company, K&D Management, with a particular focus on supporting and creating Pacific endeavours. K&D Management (named after her sons) produces and coordinates everything from fashion shows, movie premieres, dance competitions, prestigious awards nights to Empowering Women seminars, stage management and community involvement.
Pacific Runway is the flagship of K&DManagement and Jannike’s brainchild. She started Pacific Runway in 2012 as a platform to showcase the best of Pacific fashion and fashion creatives – stylists, make-up artists, hairdressers, models, photographers – to Australia. Jannike saw that there was a lack of exposure and therefore a need for an inclusive platform that represented Pacific island creatives in Australia.
Through Jannike’s determination, perseverance and optimism, what was once a small event held in community halls has now become the premier platform for Pacific origin designers, not just in Australia, but for all Pacific communities worldwide.
Influenced by strong role models in her parents, Jannike is following in their community leader footsteps by creating opportunities for Pacific youth, tirelessly working to break barriers, both self-imposed and inflicted. Jannike has made it her mission to show Pacific people that nothing is impossible to achieve.
Prior to becoming an event organizer extraordinaire, Jannike was firing up stages singing and dancing! This quiet multi-skilled achiever doesn’t seek the limelight, often choosing to remain incognito, but with Pacific Runway now being a part of Carriageworks’* official program for 2017, Mrs Seiuli needs to take a bow. Centre stage.
*Carriageworks is the home of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia making the inclusion of Pacific Runway a huge accomplishment and a huge endorsement of Pacific fashion and its global future.
1. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?
Growing up, performing arts was a huge passion for me and still is. After an injury, I realised I had to think about what else I was passionate about and that was events. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was so focused on dancing, but I was an organising freak and still am! I like organising!
2. Time travel: when, where and why?
I would say back to my young teenage years 14/15yrs old. Back then my friends and I would walk to the school basketball court in the late afternoon and put up our hoop. Play till the sun went down and then all walk home eating oranges. Those were some of my best memories growing up.
3. What are you most grateful for?
My family and the handful of good friends. My husband is my number one supporter. He is the only person that sees exactly how much work goes into a project. My children fuel my drive. They lift my spirit throughout any challenging time and remind me of what’s really important in life. My good friends are the best friends one could ever hope to have. The support and happiness that they bring to my life helps to keep me grounded.
4. What are you best traits?
Hmmm.. that’s an interesting one. Those who know me, know that I’m not one to say what I’m good at! I would like to think that I am a caring/giving person. I love to do things for others.
5. What colour would you use to describe yourself?
6. Do you read? If so, 3 favourites and why.
No. I always feel like I don’t have time but I need to make time.
7. What’s the first place you go online? Your 3 best sites?
Helloworld. I’m Always looking for places to go in the world.
8. How do you deal with stress?
Go on an adventure.
9. What is the craziest thing you have ever done (so far)?
Parasailing and Tube riding in Hamilton Island. I hate the open sea so I held on for my life!
10. What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?
A trip that includes Disneyland. I am on a mission and only have a few more to visit.
11. Would you rather fly the plane or be flown?
Be flown cause I’d probably crash the plane!
12. Do you have tattoos? Do they mean anything?
Yes I have 3 small ones.
My first one says Fruean. This is my Maiden name and was done when I was 19. This represents my family. My parents Malaemie and Ariel Fruean and my four siblings Del-ray, Byron, Kendall and Sade.
My second tattoo is on the left side of my neck up behind my ear. It is in Japanese and translates into DREAM in English. 2015 ended tough for me so on the second day of 2016 I went into a store and had this done. As a teenager I always had a fascination with Japan. The people, food, fashion and culture. I chose to have it placed on my left side because this is my strong side. The word DREAM would be a constant reminder that anything is possible.
My third tattoo was done in New Zealand in 2016 while on tour with American Idol finalist DeAndre Brackensick. I’ve always wanted a Maori piece. I had a contemporary fishhook placed on my right wrist to represent my Papa Pene who was a fisherman. My Papa passed away the day after my 16th birthday so it is always a bittersweet time of the year.
13. What’s your biggest indulgence?
My friends will laugh when they read this one. It’s definitely desserts.
14. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Thai food. I can’t pick one dish.
15. What is fashion to you?
A way to express yourself without having to say anything.
16. Do you have a signature outfit?
It depends where I’m going. But if it’s for something fancy then I’m always in a Sheike number.
17. What do you believe in?
18. What do you want to be remembered for?
My work. My number one rule whenever I host an event is that people enjoy the experience.
19. What’s the one thing that people misunderstand about you?!
That I’m not Filipino. I get it all the time.
20. What do you wish someone would ask you?
Questions that require the truth.