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
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.