She plays the oboe (seriously) and walks for Victoria's Secret.
Rarely are models described as ‘part craftsman, part scientist and super nerdy in their quest for beauty and expression’. But then not many models are classically-trained oboists. Australian beauty Bridget Malcolm is. Lithe, long, delicate like her instrument of choice, the newlywinged Victoria’s Secret Angel is sweet music to our ears. And eyes. Perth-born and bred, Malcolm’s interest in classical music stemmed from a desire to travel. “It started at high school, where I was desperate to go on the orchestra trip to Europe,” says the 24-year-old. “In order to get in I looked at the noticeboard to see what instrument no one played, as that would give me the best chance. It was the oboe.” Aged 14, Malcolm’s travel ambitions scored an unexpected upgrade when she was scouted at Perth Fashion Festival. “There was a model search on and I got pulled out of the crowd,” she recalls. “I was so shy, and had braces and the most terrible haircut ever, like a bright red mullet. I managed to come third in the catwalk, and the judges later told me I was the one who would really turn into something. But they couldn’t give me the prize because I looked so strange. I was like, does that mean braces and a mullet work for me?” she giggles. A decade on, 200,000 Instagram followers go some way in proving those judges right. Now based in New York with her muso-fancé Nathanial Hoho, Malcolm has fronted campaigns for Burberry, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren, shot with Mario Testino, and last November reached a pinnacle, and her own “No.1 goal”, to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Costing $17m to produce, the world’s most-watched fashion event had Gigi in tears and Jourdan Dunn calling bullshit on Kendall’s inclusion. For Malcolm, it was recognition of years of hard graft. “Victoria’s Secret is such a massive marketing machine, it turns models into celebrities and makes clients realise you’re a heavy hitter. I’ve worked for them for a while so it was just so great to get my wings.” What’s most striking about this bluey-green-eyed, 5ft 10 ½ brunette is her pragmatic take on today’s model society. “They’ve always had to look good and be in shape to wear the clothes, that’s what it is. We’re all born tall and lanky, so genetically we’re pretty good. But modelling’s taught me how to take care of myself – it forced me to address eating and exercise habits,” she says, thankful. “People want to believe models are party animals but times have changed. If you rock up to the set hung over, not looking your best, you’re not going to get booked again. That era was the ’80s when models could get away with everything. None of my friends are like that.” She’s also adamant the industry isn’t as fckle as people pretend. “I’ve never experienced bitchiness or anything like that, they’re all just girls my age who happened to be born a specifc way and are able to do this cool job because of it,” she says, adding she welcomes greater diversity in the industry. “As long as a model is happy, healthy and is maintaining their size easily, then that’s their size and that’s great. The same applies for older models, it’s awesome.” Away from the runways and clothes rails, Malcolm is an unashamed book nerd. “On a recent holiday, I read 14 books in three weeks - William S Burrough’s autobiography, some Patti Smith, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts…” she reels off, embarrassing GQ when the question’s reciprocated. Beyond the books, Malcolm idolises Canadian supermodel Daria Werbowy (“She’d work then disappear to go sailing round the world”), often wedges her size 10s into men’s footwear and was voted Australia’s Sexiest Vegan in 2015, because that’s a thing. “I had a big steak to celebrate... Nah, kidding!” she quips of the ridiculous accolade. Oh, and did we mention she plays the oboe and is surely one of Zeus’ Nine Muses? “I want to go professional after I’m done modelling,” she says of her instrument. “That’s a hard job but playing the oboe’s taught me the ability to sit down and work until I achieve something – and I’ll carry that tenacity with me throughout my career.” Long may that career continue, you Angel, you. n