GEMMA COWLING

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

ELLE (Australia) - - The Elle Manual Spring Racing -

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.

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