HOW I MAKE IT WORK...

IN 2008, THE AUSSIE MODEL RE­TREATED FROM THE PUB­LIC EYE AFTER THE DEATH OF FRIEND HEATH LEDGER. NOW, AT 28, SHE RE­VEALS HOW SHE STARTED OVER AFTER WALK­ING AWAY FROM THE SPOTLIGHT

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - as told to Shan­non Mol­loy

Aussie model Gemma Ward on start­ing over.

The time I spent away from mod­el­ling was a good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I went trekking around Nepal, I went to ashrams in In­dia and I learnt how to scuba-dive in the Philip­pines. I also spent time study­ing in New York, do­ing work­shops in writ­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and mu­sic. I learnt guitar and pi­ano. I’m re­ally happy I spent that time ex­plor­ing new parts of my­self. It’s what I needed.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to think back on my start in mod­el­ling. I was just 14 years old when I en­tered [the TV show] Search For A Supermodel. I was so young – it was such a whirl­wind.

After the show, I went from do­ing some surf shoots to walk­ing in Syd­ney Fash­ion Week, where I was scouted for Prada. Then it just took off. For a while, it felt like I was a spec­ta­tor of my own life. So to go off [as an adult] and try new things – learn about my­self – was so re­ward­ing. And I also found love and had a baby.

Moth­er­hood is busy, but so fun. [My daugh­ter] Naia is two and there are ob­vi­ously chal­lenges and de­mand­ing parts to that. I see parts of my­self in her. She has a lot of my per­son­al­ity – she has a great sense of hu­mour, and I was al­ways the clown.

Now I’m go­ing to be a mum again! It’s been dif­fer­ent [from the first preg­nancy] but that’s be­cause I now have a lit­tle one to chase around. We’re ex­cited to add to our fam­ily and have a sib­ling for Naia.

I’m also en­joy­ing my work. I’m not clos­ing the door on act­ing; my dream role is some sort of kick-butt char­ac­ter. We need more of those – pow­er­ful women kick­ing ass. I’d love to do a fe­male ver­sion of Fight Club, with lots of chore­ographed fight scenes.

My part­ner [David Letts] is re­ally into mixed mar­tial arts and I’ve found my­self taken by that world. Just be­fore I fell preg­nant, we went to this fight camp in Thai­land and I learnt Muay

Thai. It was epic. We were there for three weeks in this camp in the hills, right at a time when they were al­low­ing girls to train there for the first time. They’d never taken them on be­fore.

There was this young girl there who was about nine and she was in­cred­i­ble; she was go­ing so hard. I was fix­ated by her. And peo­ple talk about mod­el­ling start­ing them young! Gemma Ward ap­pears on Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model, 7.30pm, Oc­to­ber 18, on FOX8.

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