Ariki Mckinney became a model after his mother sneakily sent away images to Kirsty Bunny Management when he was 16-years-old. As a child he was inspired by Billy Zane who starred in The Phantom movie in 1996. The American superhero film directed by Simon Wincer was based on Lee Falk's comic strip which showcased a seemingly immortal crime fighter who battled against all forms of evil. Mckinney has been modelling for a couple of years now, but also works in Wellington as a barber.

Mckinney is signed with Red11, Vivien's in Sydney, Michael Hooker International and his mother agency KBM. After completely his first successful trip to Sydney earlier this year for MBFWA, Mckinney plans to head back again later this year and hopefully further in 2017. Even though Mckinney is not aiming for any particular modelling job to snag, he is excited to be back at NZFW this year and said any shows he gets is a bonus.