International Model Keke Lindgard Returns Home for HONOLULU Fashion Week

Local surfer-girl-turned-superstar-model Keke Lindgard returns home for the second annual HONOLULU Fashion Week. Here’s what she’s been up to.
Keke Lindgard backstage after walking the Live Aloha fashion show at HONOLULU Fashion Week last year. 
Photo: Eli Schmidt 


You’ve seen her face in ad campaigns for Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci and DKNY. She’s modeled in publications ranging from Glamour and Allure to Elle France and Vogue Germany. This week, Ka‘a‘awa native Keke Lindgard returns to the runway for the second annual HONOLULU Fashion Week. We caught up with her before a fitting to talk about her career, turning 21 and being a role model.


HONOLULU Magazine: What have you been up to since last year’s HONOLULU Fashion Week?

Keke Lindgard: I’ve just been working a lot; it’s been a really busy year for me. But it’s been good stuff. I’ve been working for Ralph Lauren a lot and done a couple other campaigns.


HM: What’s different about being here this time?

KL: It’s a little more hectic, because I’m actually working for Ralph tomorrow in Miami. So I’m here for like two days, I came in for the fitting, then I have to fly out for two days, then come back for Fashion Week. I think last year was a little more leisurely. But I’m so excited to be doing it again! It’s a good excuse to come home.


HM: What are you looking forward to the most? Do you have a must-do list for when you come home?

KL: Just being in the ocean and immersing myself in water. Poke’s a must, no matter where I get it from. I surfed this morning and it’s like a thing I have to do. And spending time on the beach and seeing my family. I think I come home probably five or six times a year, so I get to come home pretty often. I make it a priority.


HM: Do you get nervous about hurting yourself or getting sunburn before the shows? I know you got stung by a jellyfish last time you were here and had marks on your arm.

KL: This time, right before I was coming here, I ate it really bad, and I just have this little rash on my arm from the board. When I first started [modeling], I was so crazy about it, but now I’m just like, I’m going to live life. I’d rather have fun and be able to experience things. I’m just really excited to be home.


HM: What are you looking forward to at HONOLULU Fashion Week?

KL: I think just seeing everyone again. It was really well put on last year, very organized, everyone was on top of their game, so I’m excited to see what they’re going to do differently and all the different styles. It’s really cool seeing fashion come out of local designers. And last year was amazing! I can’t wait to see what you guys are doing this year.


HM: How is it compared to other Fashion Weeks you’ve been part of? Is it super different?

KL: No, I mean, it’s different, in a way, that other fashion weeks I’ve been part of have been a lot more busy, because there are fewer shows here, obviously, but the way it’s put on, the way the ideas have been developed and the teams have been working together, it’s all very professional and very on point. So it’s very impressive. Especially for Hawai‘i, there aren’t a lot of fashion-oriented things going on here, so I think they’ve done a really good job. I love that everyone from New York is coming in, like Lynne [Hanzawa O’Neill] and Don [Sumada] and the boys from Wilhelmina (Roman Young and Bobby Gutierrez).


HM: And they’re all originally from Hawai‘i!

KL: That’s what’s awesome! We all work in New York and we come home to show what we’ve learned to all the people here, and everyone’s learning from each other. And we all love it. I’m like, Yeah, look at what we can do!


HM: Last year, your sister, Lilli, got to walk in a few shows with you. What’s she up to now?

KL: She’s actually in college in San Diego. I wanted her to fly home for Fashion Week but she’s a water polo player. She just made it to states. She needs to be there for it. I’m sad she’s not with me here.


HM: Besides having her with you, what was your favorite part of last year’s HONOLULU Fashion Week?

KL: It was so surreal that this was happening in Hawai‘i, and all the people I know and love in New York had come here to put this on. I was so incredibly honored to be a part of it. I think my favorite part was walking down the runway for the first time and feeling that “oh my gosh,” and in Hawai‘i! This was so crazy.


HM: Are a bunch of your friends from high school excited to come see you?

KL: Yeah, they’re all messaging me like, “We want to come, we want to see you!” Everyone did a really good job getting the word out through social media and the news. I mean, everyone knows about it. People were messaging me about it even before I knew what the dates were!


HM: What else has been going on in your life?

KL: I turned 21! It’s opened up a whole new step of relationships with clients and, like, after work, being able to go to a bar with everyone, and I’ve been able to experience New York in a different way I never got to before. It was fun, and I actually came home for my 21st and just went to Waikīkī.


HM: Anything else you want to say?

KL: I want to emphasize the fact that I’m really honored to be a part of it, and to come in and be able to teach girls what I do and have people look up to me. It makes me feel like I’ve conquered, in a way. I love that you guys are bringing the young ones into it [with Reach the Runway] and showing the community how everyone can be incorporated. That’s awesome, I love that. I want to meet them!


HONOLULU Fashion Week presented by Hawaiian Airlines will be at the Hawai‘i Convention Center Nov. 20–22. Visit for show schedules and event information, including details on the shoppable Marketplace.