Montana Lower is True Blue
When brainstorming who could become the face of our Lucy True Blue jean, Montana Lower was an obvious choice.
The 22-year-old from North Queensland has the kind of fierce determination and carefree attitude that characterise the somewhat paradoxical Australian spirit, not to mention the sort of effervescent personality and love of life that endears you whether you meet her in person or via her Instagram.
But more than that, she's challenging the status quo. Like the women we support to create paths to prosperity in Cambodia, Montana is pursuing a road less travelled by tackling an engineering degree while also building an impressive modelling portfolio.
In an industry dominated by men (statistics show women currently account for just 12 per cent of Australia's engineering workforce), Montana is somewhat of an anomaly.
But perhaps, growing up with brothers in a small town, she has always been.
"I went to a very small high school," she tells us. "At the time all the boys were arguing over who would get the 'Cane Growers' award, which was the best scholarship to get. They'd all kept it a secret from me in case I would apply."
"But I saw a brochure for Supporting Women's [bursary to study architecture and design at the Queensland University of Technology] being advertised and went for it instead. A couple of months later my mum came screaming down the stairs saying I'd been awarded the full scholarship! Small towns can be so fickle."
That win under her belt, it wasn't long before she made the switch from architecture and construction to engineering.
"Engineering was something I always felt I should do but was told I wouldn't enjoy it," she says.
"I love how the possibilities for it really are endless and are developing every day. Being an engineer in this day and age is the opportunity to make a difference with the way the world works in ways people haven't even thought of yet! I think that's pretty exciting."
This altruistic vision for engineering was bred into Montana with her upbringing on the Coral Coast in Fiji before a move to North Queensland to complete her schooling.
"I always had an inkling that I wanted to give back to the environment in some capacity. When I was little there was no talk about climate change yet, but I could feel there was something unbalanced about the equation in the way that humans were living. I was a very thoughtful little girl. I wanted to know where things came from and where they were going. Looking back at it I can see how where I am was just a natural progression of that."
Another scholarship win took her to Cambodia last year where she attended the annual Humanitarian Design Summit through Engineers Without Borders.
"It was a conference teaching about the principles of human centred design and how we can transfer our skills between contexts. It was essentially about breaking down our ideas of and redefining 'underdeveloped' communities. A lot of NGOs get caught up in trying to bring these places things that we have in say, Australia. But that doesn't work. The gap's too large and they don't necessarily need OR want it."
"There's a very big possibility to make a lot of money in engineering. A lot of people are drawn to it for this reason. It's sold as a stable career path. I wanted to know more. Give more. Do more. Engineers Without Borders do just that. I could go on and on about all of the wonderful things they are doing and are going to do, but mostly for me it looks like applying a different mentality to the things that I have learned. And searching for bigger answers than just my own personal bank account."
This holistic life philosophy now extends to her work with sustainable fashion brands such as Outland.
"I love the connection you make to the Cambodian community and the amazing things you're doing for the women there - women everywhere. There's a lot of heart in it. Responsibility in fashion is everything. Working with brands like Outland Denim gives me a chance to align so many important values - women, independence, sustainability and modelling. It's a dream!"
Shop the Lucy True Blue modelled by Montana and help Outland support women in Cambodia.