There were only two models at last week’s Australians in New York Fashion Foundation party to announce the 2011 AINYFF grant winner, each representing opposite ends of the Australian modelling spectrum. The upwardly mobile high fashion girl Bambi Northwood-Blyth, who seems to be getting thinner and thinner. And the more voluptuous Jessica Gomes (whose surname […]
There were only two models at last week’s Australians in New York Fashion Foundation party to announce the 2011 AINYFF grant winner, each representing opposite ends of the Australian modelling spectrum. The upwardly mobile high fashion girl Bambi Northwood-Blyth, who seems to be getting thinner and thinner. And the more voluptuous Jessica Gomes (whose surname FYI rhymes with “homes”). Gomes has, not surprisingly, found a niche in the ‘sexy’ arena, whose imagery primarily appeals to straight men – as distinct from the flatter-chested, ballerina-like gazelles who tend to populate the world’s top runways and ‘highbrow’ fashion editorial. A few models have managed to cross over between the two arenas, Miranda Kerr being a good case in point. Gomes is on the December cover of Australia’s Men’s Style magazine and has appeared in Sports Illustrated’s famous Swimsuit Edition three times. Not forgetting her lingerie-clad cameo in the 2007 tvc for Sean Combs’ steamy ‘Unforgivable Woman’ – which was banned in the US.
After shooting commercials for Hyundai and LG, Gomes, who is half Chinese and half Portuguese, has also become quite the celebrity in South Korea over the past two years, mirroring the career trajectory of another Australian model in Italy – Megan Gale.
Gomes now spends a lot of her time on the Korean peninsula shooting advertising campaigns, editorial and making television appearances. She has also starred in two seasons of her own South Korean reality tv show called ‘My name is Jessica Gomes’ on the On Style channel.
I recorded this quick chat after the AINYFF announcement.
Frockwriter: What are your holiday plans?
Jessica Gomes: I’m going back to Perth for Christmas and then I come back to Sydney. And then I fly to Melbourne for a big wedding on New Year’s Eve. My friend Rebecca Twigley and Chris Judd. They’re getting married on New Year’s Eve in Melbourne.
FW: So is she wearing a backless dress?
JG: (Laughs) I don’t know, probably. It’s going to be so much fun, I’m really excited about it. Then I come back and I’m shooting with some Korean clients.
FW: Because you have a Korean talk show, don’t you?
JG: I do.
FW: It’s in English?
JG: In English. It’s a fashion channel called On Style. I have my own tv show where they follow me around and I talk about fashion, I go shopping, they come with me to my photoshoots. They follow me to New York. And then I’m actually going back to New York for the Sports Illustrated party. We’re doing that in New York and in Vegas. Yeah, so lots of things are happening. It’s fun.
JG: Yes. Well…I’ve been living in New York for seven years, but now I’m spending a lot more time in Seoul in South Korea.
JG: I think you’ve just got to be comfortable with who you are. Every girl has their own opinion and I guess there’s pressure in, you know, every business that you’re in. But there is a lot of pressure obviously to keep really thin. And we definitely do criticise ourselves and compare ourselves to other girls. And so I just wanted to say to other girls that, you know, it’s cool to talk about it. It’s there. I’m not saying that I’ve got anything against it.
JG: Not at all actually. I got a lot of fans. A lot of girls were writing to me saying, ‘Like OMG you’re so inspirational’. I guess people just thought it was humbling to see a girl talk about it.
JG: Yeah exactly, whom I absolutely love. All I’m saying is, curvy girls can wear fashion and look really cool. And photographs, you know… you’re portrayed in a different light. It just depends how you’re styled and what they’ve done to you and what angle and what lighting and makeup.. And I’m just trying to say to all the other regular girls out there that aren’t models, to realise that it is a fantasy and it’s not all real. And not stress out about it and get eating disorders.
JG: I mean I guess it’s to each their own. For me, I love my food and I want to be healthy and I think that being voluptuous is beautiful and womanly and brave. And I guess if there are more girls like me and Lara Stone who can still work and do everything, then that’s awesome. Because it just paves the way.
JG: They probably think it’s nuts. I did have some people say to me ‘Oh I can’t believe that you’re saying that….you’re so skinny’. I am bigger than most other models. And that’s why I felt like I was…’Ooh I’m plus size’ or whatever. I mean it’s just the way the industry is. I mean it is very kind of … almost……crazy. (Laughs) I mean it is. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.
JG: I’ve been modelling for over ten years now,
JG: I think it’s just getting good. Like I’m actually just really enjoying it and I’m really starting to be confident with myself. I really feel like I’ve now got a place and I have an identity. And I feel really good about it. And I’ve definitely grown up doing it, so I feel really mature about it all now, so that’s really great and refreshing for me. Because now I’m like, ‘Oh I get it. I’m not mad’.
JG: For the past two and a half years.
JG: No but I will be looking into that next year for sure.
JG: I feel like it’s a small Tokyo. The Koreans are very cautious and they’re strict and they’re very clean and orderly and they work so hard.
JG: Yes the bathhouses are amazing. I’ve been to a lot of them and love doing that. But you know, it’s nice coming home and just hanging out here in Australia. Sydney is so beautiful and I love coming home and working and doing shoots here because everyone is so cool and nice. I love New York as well.
JG: Just be yourself and never lose your integrity and always follow your own rules. Be smart, think about the business and about setting yourself up. Because that’s what’s so great about it. Because I’ve been able to travel and learn a lot of things. I think it’s all about being smart and staying true to yourself is also very important.