#ModelCrushMonday: Gemma Ward

Today’s #ModelCrushMonday EXPLODED onto the fashion scene when I was just transitioning from New Faces to main board. I can very clearly remember an article in Vogue on the season’s newest faces. There were fairly small pictures of each model, with a small Q&A – I remember Gemma (she was barely 15) said she wanted to dedicate her life to saving dolphins.

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If I had been one of the other models in that article I’d have been seriously irked, because what followed were pages and pages of close ups of Gemma’s face. She just captivated the industry.

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When I was a New Face, it was ALL about the sexy Brazilians with sculpted faces, boobs and bronzed skin. Gemma brought in a whole new trend – wide apart eyes and baby doll proportions (Heather Marks and Lily Cole were also big at this time).

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She was on every cover, every fashion spread, every campaign. Her face never got old as it was so fresh, and she seemed to work tirelessly and constantly.

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Then, suddenly, it was over. Gemma, who had experienced adolescence at the top of the fashion industry, saw her body change – and the fashion industry was unforgiving and critical.  From around the age of 20, Gemma put weight on her nearly-6ft frame and was deemed to be totally ‘over’ (pictures here). She took time out following the death of her then-boyfriend Heath Ledger and has since acted, taken time out, had a baby and returned to modelling – though very much more on her terms, I’d say.

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It really does highlight everything that’s bad in our industry – the valorisation of pre-adolescent bodies, the horror and dismissal when they become women and the burnout suffered by so many, who know that to stay at the top you can’t possibly turn work down.

Anyway, I will always love Gemma’s look, and I never got bored of seeing her alien doll face. But I like her even better now, because her incredible looks come with a voice, too.

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Rebecca x

All images are from Gemma’s Instagram.



One Comment

  1. […] went on to huge success in the early naughties when there were two big looks – the alien-like Gemma Ward or the strong, Roman looks of Diane Dondoe and Eugenia. She did everything from artsy edgy […]

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