Dawn Ngo: A Trailblazer Bridging Worlds in Modeling, Fashion, and Film

For Dawn Ngo, the future is an uncharted journey, brimming with possibilities. She is eager to embrace whatever lies ahead.

At the tender age of 16, Dawn Ngo found her world irrevocably altered by the transformative power of her first photoshoot. More than a mere fun experience, this pivotal moment ignited her deep-seated passion for storytelling through the lens, a calling she felt compelled to pursue. Concurrently, she ventured into fashion blogging, crafting visual narratives for brands. Her distinctive talent swiftly garnered attention from industry heavyweights, including Brandy Melville, who frequently featured her work.

Dawn reflects, “That exposure was instrumental in quickly building my following.” She continued to blend modeling with fashion blogging, collaborating with esteemed brands such as Calvin Klein and La Senza. Each photoshoot offered Dawn a fresh narrative, a new character to embody.

At 19, Dawn’s entrepreneurial spirit took flight with the launch of her clothing line, Avila By DN. The brand distinguished itself with a unique design ethos, earning acclaim and a feature on Revolve, a leading online fashion retailer. What truly sets Dawn apart in the fashion landscape is her dual prowess as a model and a fashion designer. Avila By DN’s recognition soared with endorsements from celebrities like Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber, cementing its status in the fashion realm. Dawn’s foray into fashion design, augmented by celebrity endorsements, highlights her multifaceted impact across the fashion industry.

Dawn has carved a significant niche in modeling, marked by her work with prominent brands such as Forever 21, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Calvin Klein, and La Senza. Her portfolio is a testament to her versatility and her appeal to a wide audience. High-profile endorsements from brands like Forever 21 underscore her influential presence in the dynamic fashion world. More than personal success, Dawn’s career is a beacon of increased diversity in an industry traditionally dominated by white models, inspiring young aspirants in creative and entertainment fields.

Growing up, Dawn’s perception of beauty was skewed by the lack of Asian representation in mainstream media. “If a genie had granted me three wishes, one would have been to be white,” she confesses. Throughout high school, she minimized her Vietnamese heritage to assimilate, struggling with her cultural identity.

Yet, Dawn’s creative spirit yearned for more. Diving into acting two years ago, she discovered a kinship between modeling and acting – both arts of storytelling, albeit on different canvases. This revelation rejuvenated her passion for modeling with renewed vigor. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my return to modeling these past two years,” she shares enthusiastically.

Dawn’s career has taken an exhilarating turn with her role in the upcoming Cruel Intentions reboot, currently in production in Toronto. This foray into acting highlights her versatility and eagerness to explore diverse facets of the entertainment industry. The project adds a new layer to Dawn’s dynamic career, showcasing her adaptability and ambition to diversify her professional pursuits. With each role, she continues to captivate audiences, establishing herself not only as a model and fashion designer but also as a rising actress in the evolving entertainment landscape.

Today, Dawn embraces her unique identity with pride. “Everything I once felt ashamed of, I now celebrate,” she asserts. Her journey has heightened her awareness of the critical need for representation in an industry long dominated by white models and actors. “By adding one more Asian face to the fashion industry, I hope to make a difference,” she states with conviction. She seeks to inspire and affirm the beauty of being Asian, encouraging others to pursue their creative ambitions.

In Dawn’s perspective, the future is an uncharted journey, brimming with possibilities. “I’m just going with the flow,” she says, eager to embrace whatever lies ahead. For Dawn, life is about relishing each step of the journey, wherever it may lead.

Talent: Dawn Ngo
Photographer: Natasha Kopunovic.
Makeup Artist: Jordan Giang.
Hair Stylist: Stephanie George.
Stylist: Justice Shand.

Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam