BRID­GET MAL­COM

She plays the oboe (se­ri­ously) and walks for Vic­to­ria's Se­cret.

GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE -

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

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