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Model & Entrepreneur | New York
AUSTRALIAN SUPERMODEL JESSICA HART HAS BEEN AT THE APEX OF THE INTERNATIONAL MODELLING INDUSTRY FOR OVER FOURTEEN YEARS. NOW, SHE'S EXTENDING HER TALENTS TO THE ENTREPRENEURIAL WORLD WITH THE LAUNCH OF HER OWN BEAUTY COMPANY, LUMA COSMETICS.
She might be known for her piercing blue eyes and alluring gap-toothed smile. However, it’s Jessica Hart’s traffic-stopping body and knock-out personality that has secured her place as one of Australia’s top supermodels over the last decade. Discovered in a local modelling competition when she was only 14, she’s been featured on the cover of magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel and GQ, and she was recently crowned "GQ Woman of the Year 2013". She has been the face of major campaigns for Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret, Guess! and L'Oréal, and has graced the runway as a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Now an industry veteran at 28, her modelling career only seems to be accelerating. Making her mark as a New York Style "It" girl, where she’s been living for nine years, she’s recently added another string to her bow with the launch of her own beauty company, LUMA Cosmetics.
Born in Sydney and raised in Melbourne, the prematurely willowy Jessica was discovered at just 14 years old when she won a modelling competition at a local shopping mall. “At that age, you don't really have any idea what you want to do”, she says. “I was quite a tomboy, so I didn't know anything about modelling at that time. I had never owned a fashion magazine. Words such as "Chanel" and "Vogue" were very new to me back then”. She was quickly signed by top Australian modelling agency, Chadwick Models, and started travelling overseas on assignments soon after. “Back then, I thought I was invincible – as though I was 14, going on 25”, she says.
Over the next few years, her career as a commercial model took off, where she would spend several weeks or months at a time travelling and living in cities such as London and Paris. “Travelling was fun, except that I didn't want to do it very much back then”, she says. “I was the type of child that had no desire to go overseas. I thought I'd never leave Melbourne, let alone Australia. I had all of my friends, my family and my boyfriend at the time at home, so I went overseas kicking and screaming. I'd be counting the days until I could get home.”
There was a time, about five or six years into her career, when she was living in a Parisian apartment with other young models who were all desperately striving to make their mark in the modelling world. “I realised it was silly to keep wanting to be back at home in Australia because there were so many people that would have loved to be in my shoes”, she says. “That's when I really embraced modelling and took it on as a career, as opposed to seeing it as just this fun thing that I was doing. And that's when I started doing really well.”
When she was shot for the cover of Vogue Australia in 2008, it was the turning point of her career. “Being on the cover of Vogue for the first time changed everything for me", she says. "One of the best things about the experience was being photographed by legendary Australian fashion photographer, Richard Bailey. At that time, I had already been working for many years and I was a bit of an upstart. I'd usually arrive on a job and be like, "OK, how many looks have we got to shoot, what time do we start working, and what time are we likely to finish?" But Vogue is one of those opportunities where you go there and they take their time, and you’re surrounded by simply amazing people.”
And what a heady string of years it's been since. In 2009, Jessica landed a high-profile swimwear shoot in Sports Illustrated, signed on for a major Victoria’s Secret advertising campaign, and has since walked the runway several times as an "Angel" in the highly publicised annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. “When I walked out on stage during my first show, I remember immediately seeing Justin Beiber”, she says. “I don't usually get star-struck but that was quite a shock! They don’t tell you many details beforehand so as to keep everything a secret. I'll never forget that experience.”
A hard-core global nomad, she’s also travelled to all corners of the world on assignments, even as far as the remote African island of Madagascar. “That was one of the craziest trips”, she reflects. “It was only a two-day shoot, but then I got delayed on the way there and ended up having to spend the night in a random town. It ended up being six days of travelling for a one-and-a-half-day shoot!”
Now juggling life as both a model and an entrepreneur, she has spent the last few years developing her own range of natural, high quality and affordable 100 per cent Australian-made cosmetics. “As a model, a lot of your time is spent sitting in a makeup chair”, she says. “After a while, you learn exactly what works and what doesn’t. I wanted to share a few tricks of the trade that I’ve picked up along the way”. Her brand, LUMA Cosmetics, launched in Australia in September 2014 and will launch in the United States in 2015. As to what’s next for Jessica Hart, she replies, “I’m having so much fun, I can't wait to add more products to our range. I'm really excited about the future and where we can take the brand next.”
Interview: Kimberley McLoughlin
Photography: James Macari
Interview first published in RedVisitor Magazine: Issue Two - Purchase Now
M O R E I N T E R V I E W S . . .