A SAINT star Naki Depass comes into her own

June 01, 2023
SAINT International’s Naki Depass on set for Banana Republic’s e-commerce summer 2023 collection in San Francisco, USA, last month.
SAINT International’s Naki Depass on set for Banana Republic’s e-commerce summer 2023 collection in San Francisco, USA, last month.

Naki Depass attained financial independence while she was a student at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, reading for her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.

The Clarendon-born Depass, who enrolled as an 18-year-old three years ago, read for her degree while travelling the world on model assignments and working for the biggest names in the fashion industry -- from Armani to Balenciaga.

"My life changed tremendously in so many ways since I became a SAINT model. I had the opportunity to become financially independent at a young age," Depass said.

"I'm extremely proud of the fact that I was able to fund my own way through college. The changes haven't strictly been financial either, as I have grown so much as a person from all the new adventures and experiences I've had," she added.

Depass was discovered in 2015 at her alma mater, Edwin Allen High School, at age 17 when SAINT CEO Deiwght Peters was then scouting for new talent in an extensive islandwide high-school search. At the time, she had no interest in modelling.

"On that day, I had a class close by the room where the audition was taking place and my teacher, Miss Newman, saw me as I was passing by and insisted that I give it a shot, even though I was hesitant," Depass recounted.

The youngster relented, and as fate would have it, Peters was immediately impressed with the statuesque, adolescent beauty when she strode into the room. Unbeknownst to Depass at the time, life as she knew it was about become different. Within two months, she was on a flight to London, England, to make her international modelling debut for Burberry's Fall/Winter 2016 show.


Breakneck success came almost overnight for the rookie model. She strut the runway for luxury fashion houses Prada, Givenchy and Celine in her first fashion season, and created such a stir in the process, it led to the revered fashion and lifestyle outfit, vogue.com, penning a profile on the rising Jamaican star.

The UWI freshman had to navigate the world of fashion while also hitting the books.

"Balancing college and modelling was extremely challenging because my classes were face-to-face, and more than half the time I was in another country," Depass said.

Depass, who turns 25 this month, now resides in New York, USA. Hers is an established face in the billion-dollar fashion business. She has shot major advertising campaigns for the likes of Michael Kors, Thom Browne, Marc Jacobs and Helmut Lang, and walked for hundreds of labels from Milan to Paris, which still remains her preferred fashion capital.

"Since the beginning of my travels, Paris has been my favourite city to travel to," she shared.

"It's absolutely gorgeous, with so many beautiful and exciting sites to see. I never get tired of it, no matter how many times I've been [there]."

Her crowning achievement to date is being a cover girl on Harper's Bazaar Brasil magazine in August 2021.

"I had that goal on my vision board for a while, and to see it come to pass was an incredible feeling. I'm also extremely thankful for my first beauty campaign for NARS cosmetics. All my friends and family saw my photo in Sephora at multiple locations and sent me video clips and expressed how proud they were of me, so that made me really happy."

Taking a break from the San Francisco set of her latest e-commerce shoot for current client Banana Republic, she looks forward to big things and looks back, too, with a heart of gratitude.

"Deiwght is the best manager, supporter, friend and adviser. Since day one, he saw the potential in me even before I could see it in myself. With his guidance and the training sessions, along with words of encouragement, I was confident to give modelling a try and I'm very happy I did, as I have no regrets."

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