"I had zero clue"
Jennifer Hawkins and Alessandra Ambrosio recall being rookies as they team up for Australia’s Next Top Model
SHE is one the world’s biggest supermodels, but Alessandra Ambrosio vividly remembers her first ever modelling photo as a determined but shy teen.
Being guest judge in the first episode of the new season of Australia’s Next
Top Model gave the Brazilian beauty and Victoria’s Secret star cause to reflect on her own humble beginnings.
“It takes me back,” Ambrosio, 33, said of meeting the 12 competitors on the hit Foxtel reality series.
“I remember being a young model, a beginner – you don’t even know what you’re doing out there until one day it just clicks.
“I had zero clue. In my first shoots, people would tell me to have attitude. I didn’t know what that meant!”
Ambrosio, whose parents ran a petrol station in a small city in the country’s south, signed up for modelling classes at 12 and was a finalist in a talent search two years later.
By 15, she had bagged the cover of Elle magazine in Brazil and landed her first major job for iconic fashion brand Guess. She has since fronted for campaigns for Ralph Lauren and Christian Dior, graced the catwalk for the likes of Prada and Chanel, and appeared in virtually every major fashion magazine in the world.
Her role on ANTM sees Ambrosio help the dozen rookie models with their first photo shoot. Some struggled, which is something she sympathised with.
“The first time I was in front of the camera was a test shot when I was 14. I was very innocent. The photographer was telling me what to do. Posing was a big thing at the time. I feel like it’s more subtle now.”
She still has that first photograph and stumbles across it from time to time. It’s a solid reminder of where she came from. Since then, the modelling industry has evolved rapidly – particularly with the growing dominance of social media, which means it’s easier for new faces to break in.
“But I think in a way it’s harder to stay longer,” Ambrosio says. “Girls are in and out very quickly. It’s probably harder to find a stable place.”
ANTM acts as a kind of model boot camp, and Ambrosio says this year’s use of a string of big-name industry and fashion identities – alongside ANTM regulars Jen Hawkins, Alex Perry, Cheyenne Tozzi and Didier Cohen – offers the contestants an unbeatable experience.
“They get to meet some amazing people and experience what it means to be a good model,” she says.
The keys to success are obviously beauty and body, but also attitude, Ambrosio says.
“You need personality. That’s what makes you.
“I think it’s definitely the most important thing and what’s unique about each person.”
She adds a grounded persona is also important.
It’s advice a few of the wannabes on the new season should take – mentor Cohen said a few came in with big egos from day one.
“A few are in there straight away thinking they’re the best, they know everything,” he laughed. “They have some ’tude. It’s kind of funny.”
AUSTRALIA’S NEXT TOP MODEL
THURSDAY, 7.30PM, FOX8
Angel: Australia’sNextTopModel guest judge Alessandra Ambrosio is best known for her work with Victoria’s Secret.