“This Was An Emotional Appearance For Me”: 21 Celebrities Who Wore Stunning Red Carpet Looks Inspired By Their Heritage


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1. Drew Afualo and her boyfriend Pili represented Samoa head to toe at the 2022 Black Adam premiere. I still have an obsession with her tapa corset-wearing clothing because I am a Samoan woman. The Polynesian civilizations hold great significance for this bark-made textile. Pili donned an ie faitaga, a necklace often worn by men to formal occasions, along with the red necklace known as ula fala.

    Drew posted on Instagram, saying, “A Samoan woman named Nancy Elizabeth XO made me a custom dress.” A Samoan HMUA named @adamlesimmons did my makeup, and I also got to go for a walk with my Samoan lover, @billythekidd_. We’re out here, darling.”

    2. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was present at this week’s Gold Gala, the annual celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander achievement hosted by Gold House. She accessorized with jhumka earrings and a gorgeous Indian lehenga.

      3. Kelly Marie Tran made history on the 2022 Oscar red carpet by being the first person to wear a Vietnamese áo dài, according to designer Thai Nguyen. He said that six artists were needed to produce the appearance in a Facebook video.

        4. At the 2016 Moana world premiere, Auli’i Cravalho gave a hula performance. The actress from Hawaii was dressed in a lei po’o, a hula skirt, and what appeared to be dangling plumeria earrings.

          5. Vanessa Hudgens donned a captivating black outfit at the 2022 Met Gala. She posted on Instagram, saying, “There are so many reasons why I was and still am obsessed with this dress.” A friend of mine, @jeremyscott, who is familiar with my true self, designed it. B. In actuality, the silhouette fits the Gilded Age concept historically. C. I became the glam witch I am, and D. The puff sleeve honors my Filipino ancestry.

          6. Iam Tongi, the winner of American Idol, wore a Tongan ta’ovala around his waist to the Unforgettable Gala last year. The pandanus fruit pieces that are painted red are used to make the red necklace, known as an ula fala.

            7. Kumail Nanjiani donned a Pakistani sherwani from the House of Umar Sayeed at the 2021 Eternals premiere. According to him, “I wanted to wear a sherwani because, 1. they look awesome, and, 2. my costume in the film always reminded me of sherwanis.” He said to The Hollywood Reporter. After giving him the names of three Pakistani designers, the actor called his mother.

            Kumail’s stylist, Jeanne Yang, sent over images of his superhero suit for inspiration once they decided on the House of Umar Sayeed. “I wanted the hues to resemble the hues of my outfit, and purple and gold make a stunning duo. Additionally, the paisley pattern is quite classic,” he remarked.

            8. Naomi Osaka dazzled at the 2021 Met Gala, which had the theme “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” wearing a Louis Vuitton gown that her sister Mari Osaka co-designed. The Japanese-Haitian tennis player looked stunning with an obi-style belt with a koi fish motif and vibrant Caribbean-inspired colors.

                Mari stated to Vogue, “I think it truly embraces who we all are and how we all contribute to the American Dream. The design we ultimately created relates to our multiracial ancestry. Like America itself, it’s a celebration of civilizations, a mingling pot of so many distinct and exceptional aspects.”

                9. Saweetie donned a custom Christian Cowan gown with a trailing cloak that had the colors of the Filipino flag on one side and the Black American Heritage flag on the other at the same Met Gala. “That’s what makes me an American girl,” she replied.

                  10. Parris Goebel looked stunning in a Polynesian gown at the 2016 VMAs. As stated by designer Priscilla Ale to The Coconet, “Her inspiration was to go traditional Polynesian with a poppin’ color and a tatau [tattoo] print to represent her Samoan heritage.”

                    11. In 2019, the Marrakech International Film Festival recognized Priyanka Chopra for her contributions to the film industry. She was dressed in an ivory Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla sari that was hand-embroidered with “sequins in a geometric jaali leitmotif” and “doused in mukaish work,” according to Vogue India.

                      “This sari is an ode to her brilliance and beauty,” the designer declared. Even while a sari is distinctly and iconically Indian, a slinky, seductive blouse perfectly complements its elegance.”

                      12. Sandra Oh shined on the red carpet at the 2008 SAG Awards in a black and pink outfit. The garment was a couture rendition of a Korean hanbok, according to E! News.

                        13. Dinah Jane wore traditional Tongan attire created by Afa Ah Loo at the 2022 API Excellence Celebration. She said, “This is a custom top made out of Tongan Ngatu,” on Instagram. Traditionally, the bark of the mulberry or hiapo tree is used to make this material. This is how our forefathers made the Ngatu, and most of the time, women do it by hand. Even now, it remains a highly valued treasure (Koloa) for our ancestors. It is presented at esteemed occasions honoring life’s achievements and the spirit of our people.”

                        We like to refer to this particular necklace as Heilala. adorned with the important hue of red, which stands for my lovely Tongan people… For me, this was an emotional appearance. Because I was able to accept and represent my family and culture on these Hollywood floors for the first time in my many years in this industry. Being who you truly are feels freeing.”

                        14. Tan France represented his Pakistani ancestry in 2019 by attending the Emmys while wearing a sherwani by Varun Bahl Couture. The gown appeared at Kensington Palace’s Crown to Couture display, according to the designer’s website.

                          15. Ali Wong, a Chinese and Vietnamese woman, wore a áo dài and a headdress to the Time 100 Gala last year. Designer Thai Nguyen expressed gratitude to the actor on Instagram, saying, “For this iconic moment representing the Vietnamese culture and the beauty of the áo dài.”

                            16. Richa Moorjani wowed audiences during the debut of the last season of Never Have I Ever last year. She was dressed in an Amit Aggarwal ensemble, according to Vogue India, which included a structured palla with geometric designs, a hand-embroidered blouse, and a lehenga.

                              “I am deeply touched and delighted to have this beautiful artwork by @amitaggarwalofficial on my body,” Richa posted on Instagram. “He brought me to his atelier in Delhi and immediately made me feel like I was a member of the parivaar. A big thank you to the entire staff for making this priceless moment possible and for granting me the chance to ably represent the excellence of Indian handicraft. The polymer materials used in the brand’s hallmark pieces push the boundaries of contemporary Indian handicraft and silhouette, as well as the piece’s light weight and ethereal emerald color.”

                              17. Simone Kessell wore a hei tiki, a tiki-shaped neck jewelry, to this week’s Gold Gala. The pendant and her earrings are crafted from pounamu, a material that is unique to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and holds great cultural and historical significance for the Māori people.

                                18. Drawing on her ancestry, Janel Parrish wore a blue dress with a mandarin collar at the Bratz premiere in 2007. She said, “I wanted to stay true to my Chinese roots,” in an interview with OK! Magazine. especially while portraying a Chinese persona. I adored this appearance.”

                                Woman in a high-collared, Chinese-style blue dress poses on the red carpet

                                19. Riz Ahmed donned a pink Prada kurta to the 2021 Encounter premiere. Despite having grown up in London, he told the New York Times that his Pakistani ancestry caused him to be shunned at school. An act of reclamation and a chance to challenge “Eurocentric and precolonial” conceptions of masculinity was to wear a kurta to a cinema event.

                                him wearing the long kurta over suit pants and under his blazer

                                “These days, I’m becoming more and more interested in not having to leave part of myself at the door as I enter a room,” he stated. “Sending out a signal to the world about the kind of space we live in now and what is appropriate there is wearing a kurta to a premiere. To be really honest with you, I want to be myself, no matter what.”

                                20. Oscar Kightley was there at the Next Goal Wins premiere last year. He donned an ula fala, an ie faitaga, and a button-down shirt with tattoos of Samoan culture.

                                  Man in patterned shirt, fedora, lei necklace, and glasses posing with hand gesture on hip

                                  21. Lastly, Joy Crookes dazzled at the 2020 Brit Awards in a stunning lehenga. “It goes beyond representing Bangladeshi culture, it’s representing myself,” she stated to the BBC. “I want to feel as though no one can doubt my belonging anywhere I step foot. I don’t go to award ceremonies pretending to be someone I’m not—I go there as myself. And my culture is a part of who I am.

                                  Celebrity posing in a traditional yellow embellished outfit with jewelry at BRIT Awards


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                                  Aria Skylark

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