× Shop Archive About about contact jobs magazine advertising terms & conditions privacy policy Follow Instagram Facebook

The RISE Issue: Tsunaina

Resilience. Peace. Authenticity.


Listening to Tsunaina sing produces the distinct feeling of something magical. It’s a sensation I imagine was felt by doomed sailors as they drifted towards the rocky cliffs of Ancient Greek sirens, or those who bore witness to The Enchanted Moura of Galician folklore. A muse in her own right (and that of Pat Mcgrath), the singer/model is known for both her extraordinary looks and hauntingly powerful tracks; all rooted in the alluring depths of our natural world. Her single, A Dam on the Eve of Breaking, for example, is a quaking soundscape that almost reverberates from the earth’s molten core, alongside her most recent release, Fanned out Fingers which shapeshifts into an ethereal call-to-clarity. Driven by emotional storytelling, Tsunaina is entering into a new phase of self-expression (and self-love), breaking new dawns as she does so and exciting the world with whispers of her forthcoming EP.

Top and skirt ALEJANDRE STUDIO, bra ISA BOULDER, jewellery EÉRA

Top and skirt ALEJANDRE STUDIO, bra ISA BOULDER, jewellery EÉRA

When conceptualising the theme of this issue — Dawn — and with it, Dusk, we instantly thought of your work. These two things, living in such proximity to one other, are opposites… yet defined by each other. What dualities reside within you and how do you go about reconciling them? 
I think the more time you spend with yourself, the more contradictions and surprises you find. I can be so emotional and then stoic in the next breath. So idealistic, then brass tacks the next. Even the way I guard my personal life with intense privacy, but at the same time, having a super public role; where my music and work all rely on sharing hyper-intimate moments about myself. This is something I’ve struggled with. But all these dualities are something I’ve come to recognise and understand much better. This recognition comes with sitting through discomfort, untangling what is actually you and what is learned, what is natural, and what is fear.

This speaks to the notion of becoming your own temple — a concept you have touched on in the past — how do you find sanctuary within yourself?
When everything else is shifting and turning, I think making myself my constant has been so important. I spend a lot of time alone and I love my own company now. I say no a lot. I try to listen to myself, I’m learning to not force things where they don’t fit, be less rigid and kinder to myself; it’s hard to break something that can move with the wind, you know?

Staying sane for me has meant constantly learning to let go and restart again. From growing up in Nepal then moving to England, from studying History and Politics to modelling, then leaving modelling to making music publicly — they’ve all been ground-shifting things for me, they’ve all been important.

You’ve always been lauded as an incredible model (and rightly so) — but how was your journey into music? Was it something that was understood by people as a natural next step? 
I think it’s always hard for people to change their minds once it’s been set. The world’s known me as one thing for so long, that it takes a while to accept that I have other facets. But the people who know me and love me, have always known who I am. I’ve been writing with, and for, other people since I was a teenager. It’s just taken a while for me to brave the light… 

Was a reincarnation of sorts necessary to enter this new chapter? 
Going into this new musical chapter, I had to let go of so many things, habits, and people. I had to learn to fight, to yell and be loud. It’s been new and terrifying and exhilarating but I’d do all of this over again. I know myself so much better now. In the end, I think that’s what beginnings and endings are good for. You know the sum of who you are so much more. 


Periods of growth are always tough but I think they’re meant to be if they’re truly transformative. What keeps you grounded during turbulent times? 
Vulnerability is the one thing I always hope to keep in what I do. I think vulnerability to me has always meant being open-chested, regardless of what may come. It’s how I am naturally as a person, so I’m trying to weave that into what I do. I’m trying to do it more…

To see the full editorial, shop The DAWN Issue here!  

Words by Tiffany Lai 

Art direction by Andrea de la Vega

Creative direction and Photography by Marina Vengut

Styling by Inés Barreras

Hair by Rebecca Martin

Make-up by Susanna Schmetterling

Production by Josefina Ois

Gaffer by Franco de la Puente 

Styling assistance by Laura Martínez

Production assistance by Isabel Anastasio

Lighting assistance by Paula Vazquez 

Special thanks to Eéra, Artspace Barcelona and EXTENSIONmania