"What I Want Is To Be Unapologetically Myself": 19 Times Celebrities Wore Outfits Inspired By Their Culture On The Red Carpet

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1.At the 2021 Met Gala where the theme was "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion," Naomi Osaka stunned in a Louis Vuitton dress co-designed by her sister, Mari Osaka. The tennis star — who is Japanese and Haitian — wore an obi-style belt, print featuring koi fish, and bright colors reminiscent of the Caribbean.

closeup of her on the met carpet

2.At the same Met Gala, Saweetie wore a custom Christian Cowan gown with a trailing cape that featured colors of the Black American Heritage flag on one side and colors of the Filipino flag on the other. "That's what makes me an American girl," she said.

her walking the steps in the dress
Kevin Mazur/ John Shearer / Getty Images

3.In 2019, Priyanka Chopra was honored at the Marrakech International Film Festival for her work in cinema. According to Vogue India, she wore an ivory Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla sari "doused in mukaish work" and hand-embroidered with "sequins in a geometric jaali leitmotif."

closeup of her in the sari holding her award

The designer said, "This sari is an ode to her brilliance and beauty. Although a sari is quintessentially and iconically Indian, its elegance is matched by its slinky, sensual blouse."

Stephane Cardinale / Getty Images

4.At the 2022 Met Gala, Quannah Chasinghorse — a member of the Han Gwich'in and Oglala Lakota tribes — wore feathers in her hair and traditional jewelry by bead artist Lenise Omeasoo.

her wearing the jewelry with a tulle dress on the red carpet

5.Lupita Nyong'o attended the 2016 premiere of Queen of Katwe in a custom Carolina Herrera gown and matching headwrap. Her stylist, Micaela Erlanger, told PopSugar that Lupita's Kenyan heritage influenced the look. "It was directly inspired by some fabric I'd brought home from Africa last July when I went to go visit Kenya with Lupita. The colors were fantastic, and the print was so beautiful."

closeup of her in the dress and bright head wrap on the red carpet

"I also really loved the fact that we had the chance to work with some African designers. It is important to represent the talent there, and this was a wonderful platform to do so."

Alberto E. Rodriguez/ Dominik Magdziak Photography / Getty Images

6.At the 2022 Black Adam premiere, Drew Afualo and her boyfriend, Pili, repped Samoa from head to toe. As a Samoan woman myself, I'm still obsessed with her dress with a tapa corset. This cloth is made from bark and is deeply significant in Polynesian cultures. Pili wore an ula fala (the red necklace) and an ie faitaga, which is often worn by men to formal events.

the two at the event

7.This year, Ali Wong — who is Vietnamese and Chinese — attended the Time 100 Gala in an áo dài (traditional Vietnamese dress) and headpiece. On Instagram, designer Thai Nguyen thanked the actor "for this iconic moment representing the Vietnamese culture and the beauty of the áo dài."

closeup of the headpiece and of her wearing the traditional dress with long fringed sleeves
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8.At the 2021 premiere of Eternals, Kumail Nanjiani wore a Pakistani sherwani by the House of Umar Sayeed. He told The Hollywood Reporter, "I wanted to wear a sherwani because 1. They look awesome and 2. My costume in the film always reminded me of sherwanis." The actor called his mom, who gave him the names of three designers in Pakistan.

closeup of him in the colorful sherwani

9.Last year, Ariana DeBose attended the BAFTAs and the Critics Choice Awards in one day. The Afro-Latina actor — who won for her performance in West Side Story at both awards shows — wanted to honor her character Anita's and her own Latina roots. So she wore red carpet looks from Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta, two Latino designers. Ariana chose shades of yellow to pay homage to Anita's costume.

both dresses are bright, with one sporting a long slit at the leg

10.In 2016, Auli'i Cravalho performed a hula at the world premiere of Moana. The Native Hawaiian actor wore a hula skirt, lei po'o, and what seem to be dangling flower earrings.

closeup of her dancing in the outfit
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

11.In 2018, Tiffany Haddish wore a traditional Eritrean dress to the Oscars. "My father is from Eritrea, and he passed away last year," she told ABC. "He said one day I would end up here, and if I ever end up at the Oscars, to honor my people."

she's wearing the long embroidered dress on the red carpet
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12.This year, Richa Moorjani captivated at the premiere of the final season of Never Have I Ever. According to Vogue India, she wore an Amit Aggarwal ensemble: a lehenga, hand-embroidered blouse, and structured palla with geometrical patterns.

closeup of her wearing the one-shouldered dress

13.At the 2019 Oscars — where Mahershala Ali became the first Black actor and Muslim to win Best Supporting Actor two times — he wore a hat that went viral online. His stylist, Van Van Alonso, told The Hollywood Reporter, "It’s a play on a Jinnah cap. He had been sending me a lot of photos of hats, some African looks, some fez hats, and we decided to [do] something that was rounder on the top... We did a lot of research and found Gigi Burris. They were really excited to work with us, and it was a fun collaboration."

closeup of him holding his award
Steve Granitz / Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

14.Ashley Callingbull — who is Plains Cree of the Enoch Cree Nation — wore a stunning dress to the 2022 Canadian Country Music Awards. Indigenous designer Pam Baker shared a picture of the model on Instagram, writing, "Beautiful @ashleycallingbull wearing my family pole."

her fanning out the winged sleeves to show the design
Derek Leung / Getty Images

15.At the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards, Yara Shahidi rocked her own jumpsuit from her Adidas collaboration that celebrates her Black and Iranian heritage. The actor told Harper's Bazaar that her intention behind the clothing is to "honor the past in a way that also pays homage to the future."

closeup of her in the colorful print jumpsuit

16.At the 2021 Encounter premiere, Riz Ahmed wore a pink kurta by Prada. Though he was born and raised in London, he told the New York Times he was alienated at school due to his Pakistani heritage. Wearing a kurta at a movie event was an act of reclamation and an opportunity to subvert "Eurocentric and precolonial" constructs around masculinity.

him wearing the long kurta over suit pants and under his blazer

17.While not confirmed, fans theorized that Camila Cabello's look at the 2018 VMAs was a nod to her Cuban heritage, especially considering she was nominated twice for her song "Havana." The blue and white of her Oscar de la Renta dress, combined with the red of her lipstick, make up the colors of the Cuban flag.

her in the strapless gown as she holds her award
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / ANGELA WEISS / Getty Images

18.At the 2022 Met Gala, Vanessa Hudgens wowed in a mesmerizing black dress. On Instagram, she wrote, "I was so obsessed with this dress (Still am) for so many reasons. A. It was designed by a friend @jeremyscott who knows the real me B. The silhouette is actually historically correct for the Gilded Age theme C. I got to be the glamorous witch that I am and D. The puff sleeve pays homage to my Filipino heritage."

closeup of her in the sheer top
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

19.And finally, Dinah Jane attended the 2022 API Excellence Celebration in traditional Tongan clothing designed by Afa Ah Loo. On Instagram, she wrote, "This is a custom top made out of Tongan Ngatu. Traditionally this material is made from the bark of Hiapo or Mulberry Tree. Our ancestors passed this method down and mostly women hand make the Ngatu. It’s been a prized TREASURE (Koloa) of our ancestors and still is to this very day. It’s given at prestigious events that celebrate milestones of life and the essence of our people."

closeup of her wearing the flat hat and outfit at the event

Any other celebs who've worn red carpet looks inspired by their heritage? LMK in the comments below!