After years of skinny supermodels being perceived a safe ‘go to’ for runways and glossy magazine covers, the zeitgeist has shifted. Now consumers and fashion lean toward models who exude health and body confidence both inside and out, and represent a wide spectrum of cultural heritages.
You’re as likely to see a model with African, or Asian background as you are European or American in a global fashion or beauty campaign.
This changing mood about model stereotypes is fuelled by social media, given the insights about a model’s personal life and attitudes to health, wellbeing, fitness and happiness are more transparent than ever.
“Models like Jessica from W360 and IMG model and talent Bianca, along with shoots like this, prove healthy women really can represent high fashion,” says Rachel Sharp. “In fact, they’re not only inspirational ambassadors real women can relate to, they’re aspirational too. Who doesn’t want their healthy glow and positive attitude? High fashion is shifting and so are the stereotypes of the kind of models we want to see our fashion on. There’s good reason David Jones had the foresight to engage Jess as their fashion ambassador – she’s beautiful, healthy and makes their clothes look incredible.”
In this exclusive Sporteluxe creative photoshoot, we have two ambassadors who are, in their own rights, changing stereotypes: Australian-born Jessica Gomes, who has a mixture of Chinese and Portuguese heritage, along with Sporteluxe founder and digital wellness influencer, Bianca Cheah, who is half Chinese and half Irish. Both embrace a healthy attitude to food, fitness and self-confidence.
These images, captured by Melbourne-based fashion photographer and a Sporteluxe favourite, Emily Abay, who has shot for the likes of Myer, Bonds and Thurley, were created in collaboration with fashion stylist Mattie Cronan, who has worked in magazines for more than 10 years and is currently style director at The Australian Women’s Weekly. Mattie has dressed a host of high profile Australian women, including the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Jessica Hart, Miranda Kerr and Kate Waterhouse. Hair and makeup was directed by DLM elite artist Tobi Henney, whose regular clients include Tash Oakley, Jesinta Campbell, Margaret Zhang, Sara Donaldson and Zanita.
Gomes, who grew up playing netball and gymnastics and wears trainers by day and heels by night, has been an ambassador for David Jones for the past three years. “I feel very much a part of a family and I love working with David Jones. They’re my favourite client to date. I still feel so buzzed after each show,” says Gomes.
Becoming successful isn’t just a matter of luck; it comes down to your life philosophy and work ethic and Jess has this down pat. “Be nice to everyone, be on time and always be grateful. Take your work seriously but not yourself too seriously,” she says.
Known for her stunning Asian looks, she puts her flawless doll-like skin down to her simple daily beauty routine of cleansing, popping on a serum and spritzing on a hydrator. Gomes leads a busy life juggling shoots and runway shows but preps for a show by rubbing on a body scrub, sitting in a steam room or sauna, working out and getting lots of sleep.
How does she work out? Dance and martial arts are her ultimate favourites for keeping fit. (Did you know she won second place in Dancing with the Stars Korea?).
Eating in moderation is key in a healthy lifestyle for the model, who admits she adores Pho soup, isn’t a fan of eggplant, and adopts the philosophy of clean eating with the occasional splurge on her favourite meal (“a burger and hot chips”).
Jess: Black skinny jeans, Saint Laurent leather jacket and sneakers. It’s my off-duty outfit.
Bianca: Boho maxi dress, white sneakers and a jacket
What can’t you leave the house without?
Jess: My phone and Celine sunglasses.
Bianca: My iPhone, lip balm and mints
Heels or trainers?
Jess: Trainers by day and heels at night.
Bianca: Trainers. I’ll only wear heels for an event or dinner.
If you weren’t modelling?
Jess: I’d be acting. I’ve always wanted to be an actress.
Bianca: I’m doing it! Sporteluxe.com 🙂
What’s in store for the future? Any products?
Jess: Maybe. We will have to wait and see!
Bianca: It’s a surprise. But for Sporteluxe it’s the launch into the US market.
What’s the first thing you do as soon as you wake up?
Jess: Spritz my face with Nu Skin Hydrator.
Bianca: Stretch in bed and hug my french bulldog for 15 minutes.
Is there anything that you feel strongly about?
Jess: Women’s Empowerment. I think we should all be supporting one another, to be authentic and honest with each other.
Bianca: Generosity and women in business :-). I love seeing women starting their own businesses and creating something that they love.