Adelaide native Gemma Cowling is one of a new generation of forthright models embracing their individuality and recalibrating the face of the global fashion industry. Her straightforward requests for our portrait shoot: no hair, no makeup and no denim. Do
PEOPLE TEND TO BE QUITE LAZY WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIALJUSTICE ISSUES. Everyone wants to feel like they’re on the cutting edge of social justice and being liberal and fighting for women, but when it comes to actually looking inwards and making any actual affecting change, they get very uncomfortable about that.
SOMETHING I’VE STRUGGLED WITH RECENTLY IS PEOPLE ASSUMING MY GENDER IDENTITY IS MY PERSONALITY or the most interesting thing about me [Cowling is a transgender woman]. I’m at a stage in my career now where I’m trying to step away from that because I don’t think it has that much bearing on who I am as a person.
IT TOOK ME A WHILE, ESPECIALLY AFTER I CAME OUT, TO SETTLE INTO WHO I WAS, because while staying the same, I was kind of inventing a completely new person. I had to work out who that was, so I went through the stage of being super-girlie and loving makeup, went hard, then realised that all those aspects and elements that I’d considered quite feminine and therefore clung to weren’t necessary.
LEGALLY, THERE’S A BIG GAP BETWEEN WHAT I’M CAPABLE OF and what most other people experience. So, if we’re talking real change, that would be the first thing – actually setting up those legal frameworks so we can exist as real people and are not constantly fighting just to exist.
WHEN MY MENTAL HEALTH IS GOOD, it’s because I’ve reminded myself why I love my brain, and that’s first and foremost. So if I can feel myself getting really bad, I’ll just make a day of hanging out by myself outside. I’ll get lunch and sit in the park and laugh at the weird shit people do in public.
I DON’T THINK I REALLY HAVE ANY ONE PERSON I LOOK UP TO.
I’m enjoying blazing my own trail.