Inner Best: Sarah Jehan

Model turned milliner: the Inner West’s brightest young star

Receiving the Youth Award at last week’s Inner West Business Awards is only the latest of 24-year-old Sarah Jehan’s glittering list of achievements.

Sarah was fresh out of high school when she first met Catherine Kelly, the founder of Embellish Atelier milliners in Rozelle. Already nurturing a keen interest in fashion and having studied textiles throughout her school years, Sarah enrolled in one of Catherine’s hat making courses during her gap year on a whim that would prove to be life-changing. Catherine would soon become Sarah’s friend and mentor, instrumental in advancing her modelling and business career. It was Catherine who sponsored Sarah’s entry into the Top Model Worldwide competition in London, from which she emerged as the runner-up.

Sarah has been modelling for seven years now, gracing runways and the glossy pages of fashion magazines. A veteran of the industry, she’s now turned her sights to other opportunities the fashion world has to offer. “I’m more into the teaching side of things now,” she says. It was her role as Embellish Atelier’s brand ambassador which won Sarah the Inner West Business Youth Award last week.

“It was unexpected,” she says with a laugh. “All of them [the nominees] were so deserving of the award, so even if I hadn’t won I would have been happy. Just to be nominated in itself is enough.” Sarah never dreamed that Catherine would nominate her for the award, but perhaps she should have. Catherine’s careful guidance has inspired unswerving loyalty in her talented protégée.

“I wear a lot of her hats to the races, all the time. She’s my milliner. I don’t wear anybody else’s millinery, and that’s sort of a collaboration as well.”

These days, Sarah can often be found at Embellish Atelier’s on Victoria Road, putting the finishing touches on a new hat, ramping up their social media profile or simply cleaning the shop. She describes her duties with an air of gratitude. She’s happy, she says, to help Catherine in whatever capacity she requires.

Despite meeting with astonishing success at such a tender age, Sarah is nothing if not humble. “I feel like if I say ‘Yes, I’m good at things,’ then that means that I’m stuck up,” she explains. “And I’m not that kind of person. So I’m just going to take things as they come.”

Words by Hannah Craft