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Keisha Castle-Hughes has always been Liz Mitchell's best model. Last night she did it for real on the runway at Fashion Week.

The 15-year-old, who wore Mitchell to the Academy Awards two years ago when she was nominated as best actress for her role as Paikea in Whale Rider, is still Mitchell's best advertisement, though the catwalk is not her natural element.

"I'm breaking out in a sweat," Keisha said immediately afterwards.

She didn't have time to get nervous beforehand as she was running late. Her flight from Kaitaia was delayed by bad weather and she almost didn't make her slot as rain snarled Auckland's roads.

The show was delayed briefly to allow time to slap on some geisha-style makeup and pin up Keisha's hair.

"They had the makeup sponge ready and waiting for me. They shoved a dress on and some boots, and pushed me out there. They said, 'Straight down the middle, then up on the left'."

Which is exactly what she did in her unrehearsed performance.

Her appearance drew spontaneous applause from those who recognised the pint-sized model.

Keisha, who is sitting exams at the moment, told the Herald backstage she was still keen on pursuing acting.

"I never get nervous doing film or television but I do with theatre and modelling. You only get one shot at it."

The South Auckland teenager was rather taken with the outfit Mitchell dressed her in, which was a lot edgier than the demure pale pink gown and capelet she wore to the Oscars. "I love this outfit. It's a bit funkier than the one I wore two years ago."