Oklahoma Teen Represents Native Heritage In Viral Prom Dress

Friday, May 18th 2018, 4:31 pm
By: News On 6

As prom season comes to an end, an Oklahoma teen found herself in the Teen Vogue spotlight.

Isabella Aiukli Cornell didn't expect to find herself front and center of the magazine, but it gave her the opportunity to show others a piece of her history.

"I felt really good. It felt really good to represent my culture in my fashion," said Cornell. 17-year-old Bella made her Teen Vogue debut by showing class and culture with this year's prom dress. "I saw this designer's Instagram page and her designs really caught my attention."

Bella said she chose the color red for her dress because of the importance it holds in Indian Country. "It brings awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement. While some girls choose their dress based glitz and glamour, Bella said the design of her dress holds great meaning within the Choctaw Tribe.

"Choctaws were farmers and a lot of the times the mice would get into our crops and eat our food so the diamondback rattlesnake would eat the mouse so we consider it a protector of our food," said Cornell. 

The teenager is also a Choctaw model and has worked with several native designers,  including Jolonzo Goldtooth, Red Berrywoman, Lokata Sage and the creator of her prom dress Della Bighair-Stump.

"I didn't expect it to get this big. I didn't expect it to be on Teen Vogue or make it to the independent," said Bighair-Stump.

Bella has done work with non-native designers as well. You can find the Choctaw teen featured in a mural on the side a building near Northwest 37th Street and Western Avenue. 

"I think good representation is very important for the native community," said Bella. Della Bighair-Stump said she wants to start working on menswear and designing her own fabric.

Bella said the next big thing for her- is working with a group trying to start a native charter school in Oklahoma.