Model Willow Allen Is Incorporating Inuit Culture Into Her Motherhood Journey

It’s not to say there hasn’t been certain hurdles to overcome in Allen’s pregnancy. Early-on, the model was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, “which is basically extreme nausea in pregnancy,” says Allen. To combat this, however, the model says she’s been also looking to her own cultural traditions for relief. “When I went home, I talked to my [grandmother] about it, she said that something that always helped with sickness was fish eggs,” says Allen. “I’m definitely going to try that.” When it comes to hospital visits, Allen adds that there’s often a disconnect that occurs between Western remedies and her own Indigenous ones. “Doctors recommend you not eat any raw fish or raw meat, but that’s all of our traditional diet in the north,” says Allen. “I was like, ‘That can’t be right, because all of my family has eaten it raw.”

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As she heads into the holidays and comes closer to her due date, Allen says she’s also been enjoying amassing cultural items and regalia for her newborn to wear. (In Indigenous culture, adornment is everything, after all.) “When I went back to Inuvik, I went to to Mavis Jacobson’s house: She sells a bunch of Inuit arts and crafts,” says Allen. “She me made a little pair of baby moccasins, and a beaded baby band, which is used to carry the baby.” Allen’s mother has also kept some keepsakes from when the model was a child, too. “I have this huge box of baby clothes, and  I have three of my parkas, including my very first parka that my [grandmother] made.” Allen has also been collecting educational children’s books to read, including Our First Caribou Hunt and Mama, Do You love Me? “I want [my child] to understand other Indigenous cultures in Canada,” she says.

Willow Allen as a child, with Sara Tingmiak and Ruth AlunikPhoto: Courtesy of Willow Allen

For now, though, Allen is simply enjoying the maternity journey, and focusing on getting the rest she needs. You will still find her consistently posting on her TikTok, though. “I definitely want to keep my page really focused on culture,” she says. “But it’s not like when I have the baby, I’m going to suddenly transition to a mom TikToK!” She also has her sights set on returning to the modeling world—eventually. “When I told my agents I was pregnant, I was like, ‘I guess I’m done here,’” laughs Allen. “And they were like, ‘No, you’re not!’ I’ll go back when I feel ready.”

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