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David Jones runway beauty Jessica Gomes praised for her healthy look that shatters the modelling norm

Posted by Simuka Rafeal on 9:42 PM
WHEN Jessica Gomes strutted down the catwalk for David Jones yesterday, the model didn’t just help to sell a stack of clothes. She also sold a healthy body image message.
The 28-year-old Australian beauty isn’t a big girl by any means, but she’s a far cry from the typical stick figure look you might normally find in fashion.
And that healthier look makes a big difference to teenage girls who are struggling with the serious issue of body image.
SIX REASONS to love Jessica Gomes
Tiffany Dunk is the former editor of teen magazine Dolly and a healthy body image presenter for the school program Fresh Ed, and said models like Gomes have a significant impact.
“On the runway and in media in general, women who are not only different shapes and sizes but even different ethnicities go such a long way towards breaking down the barriers,” Dunk said.
David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes modelling spring and summer's hottest swimwear at Ivy Pool in Sydney. Picture: John Appleyard
David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes modelling spring and summer's hottest swimwear at Ivy Pool in Sydney. Picture: John AppleyardSource:News Corp Australia
“For teens, body image is still one of the biggest pressures and the life and one of the things they struggle with most.”
Gomes was the standout star at yesterday’s Spring-Summer fashion launch for department store giant, David Jones.
The inclusion of the New York-based model has been applauded.
While super skinny models are still common, Dunk said the fashion industry is changing and beginning to push for healthier models.
“There are some brands, magazines, designers and shows that are much more responsible.
“I do think we’ve come a long way. That’s why you’re seeing women like Jessica with such success.”
As she points out, it’s not just a matter of health — it makes good business sense.
Model Jessica Gomes showcases designs by Josh Goot at the David Jones Spring/Summer 2014 Collection Launch. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for David Jones)
Model Jessica Gomes showcases designs by Josh Goot at the David Jones Spring/Summer 2014 Collection Launch. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for David Jones)Source:Getty Images
Research shows that consumers are more likely to want to buy products presented or endorsed by celebrities they can relate to.
For teenage girls, that’s clothing modelled by women who are realistic and not unhealthy.
“When I was editing Dolly, we used girls of all shapes and sizes, and not just models but also readers. I did that because the research consistently showed that girls wanted to see people who looked like them.”
Adolescence is the period in life where teenagers begin to compare themselves to their peers and other women of note, Dunk explained. Healthy images can have a long-lasting impact, she said.
“If you can instil good body image habits early, ways of thinking positively, you’re more likely to continue those habits throughout your life.”
Jessica Gomes arrives at the David Jones Spring/Summer 2014 Collection Launch. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for David Jones)
Jessica Gomes arrives at the David Jones Spring/Summer 2014 Collection Launch. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for David Jones)Source:Getty Images
Through her work as a body image educator, Dunk spends time in schools talking to students and said the consistent feedback is that this remains a big and serious issue.
“It’s something that is constantly on their mind.
“We do an exercise where we ask the girls to close their eyes and raise their hands, then lower their hand if they’ve never, ever wanted to change something about themselves, if they’ve never looked in the mirror and been unhappy.
“They open their eyes and every single girl still has their hands up.”
David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes. Picture: John Appleyard
David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes. Picture: John AppleyardSource:News Corp Australia
The media is a main source of information about “what good looking is”, Dunk said, but it’s not the be all and end all.
The internet, peer feedback and what happens in the home also contribute.
“But if we can take positive steps in our roles as media ambassadors, we can make a huge difference. Even a small step is a huge leap forward for young girls.”

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition: Jess Gomes bares all on the good, bad and ‘anything it takes to get the money shot’

Posted by Simuka Rafeal on 9:41 PM
SUPERMODEL Jessica Gomes has opened up about her topless shoot in the latestSports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and where she draws the line with baring all.
“If it’s tasteful and I feel comfortable doing it, then I’ll do it,” Gomes told Confidential.
“But if I don’t feel comfortable I won’t do it, I’ll never put myself in a situation where I don’t want to do something. It’s important to have your limits.”
JESSICA GOMES: ‘I WASN’T THE POPULAR GIRL AT SCHOOL’
THE SWIMSUIT APPROVAL FROM JESS GOMES
Jessica Gomes is pictured as she appears in a photo-shoot for Sunday Style. Picture: Damian Bennett. Styling: Kelly Hume
The sexy images, published this week, show Gomes topless, and wearing a see-through outfit, at Yellowstone National Park. Other shots feature the curvy beauty wearing a teeny-bikini while perched on a steep peak or standing in a geothermal park.

Gomes said: “The whole mission was to take beautiful pictures, and that’s what we did. Sports Illustrated is known for showing a lot of skin. It’s a swimsuit magazine for men.
“You know what you’re getting yourself into. I was happy to do it for them.”
Jessica Gomes on Instagram
But Gomes said the sexier shots, like her topless frolic in a river, were cold and itchy.
“It was seven in the morning, I was freezing and I had mosquito bites everywhere, so it’s not all glamorous,” she laughed.
She said the assignment, her eighth for SISE, was like a backpacking road trip.
“We drove eight hours to Yellowstone, and ate drive-through food, but you’re willing to do anything it takes to get the money shot,” Gomes said.
“Sometimes, we’d be up at three in the morning to do hair and make up, then hit the road to get to the next place.
She added: “It can be quite tiring. It’s worth it now that we can sit back, look at it and admire.”
Gomes said her preparation for SISE is similar to the regimen for her ambassador duties with retail giant David Jones.
Jessica Gomes
“I eat healthy, drink lots of water and exercise,” she said. “I’m really into boxing ... I love to hike and get into nature. You have to be prepped all the time to shoot, so I keep it in my lifestyle.”
Her supporters, including model Jason Dundas, says Gomes knows how to “bring the sexy” to everything she does.
Asked if she’s aware of her ‘gift,’ Gomes giggles: “I honestly think it comes naturally.
“It’s the Portuguese flavour, which comes from my dad’s side. All the women from my father’s side are sexy, curvy, and exude this European flavour. I think you have to be yourself and use your strengths.”
Jessica Gomes and Gigi Hadid Instagram image.

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Model Jessica Gomes keen to work as singer and DJ

Posted by Simuka Rafeal on 9:39 PM
Jessica Gomes showcases designs by Dion Lee during rehearsal ahead of the David Jones Spr
Jessica Gomes showcases designs by Dion Lee during rehearsal ahead of the David Jones Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Launch this week. Picture: Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images
BIKINI and catwalk beauty Jessica Gomes wants her multifaceted career to include being a singer and DJ.
“I love music and I really enjoy dance and expressing myself through music,” Gomes told Confidential.
“I definitely wish I was a singer or a DJ. We’ll see.”
Those plans are not far-fetched. Gomes played DJ with fellow David Jones ambassador Jason Dundas last year.
“It was fun to be able to get a crowd moving and create a good vibe,” she said.
She has also worked in the studio with Jay Z and Rick Ross as the voice of US rap powerhouse Maybach Music.
Kanye West mentions Gomes by name on his cut Christian Dior Denim Flow.
“It’s all been a fun fluke and something I never expected,’’ Gomes said.
“These men are brands. You learn so much about business and hard work in their company. Fascinating and interesting.’’
Gomes said she was also inspired to dabble in music after a collaboration with former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns in last week’s David Jones spring/summer 2015 runway show. “I’m multifaceted,” Gomes said.
As a world famous model, and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition regular, Gomes says she likes to be approachable.
“I try not to be intimidating, but everyone has their own judgment and stereotypes about people. I do like it when someone tells me, ‘Oh, you’re nice. And normal.’ ”

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Jessica Gomes' Australian story

Posted by Simuka Rafeal on 9:39 PM
Sunday Life shoot - Jess Gomes
 PHOTOGRAPHER : TREVOR KING
 STYLIST : PENNY McCARTHY
 MAKE-UP : CHARLIE KIELTY
 HAIR : BRAD MULLINSClick for more photos

Australian story

If any model epitomises the changing face of Australia, it’s Jessica Gomes with her Chinese-Portuguese heritage. The model is riding an international wave of popularity, and loving it, writes Georgina Safe. Photo: Trevor King

It's another blissful weekday at Bondi Beach. Beneath clear, sunny skies, backpackers and tourists laze on the sand or stroll on the promenade with ice-creams. Surfers and swimmers bob about in the ocean and children build sandcastles at the water's edge. But there is someone working amid this seaside idyll. Hands on hips, with her enviable figure poured into a Josh Goot bodysuit, Jessica Gomes expertly swivels her body this way and that as she poses for her Sunday Life cover shoot.

With her exotic beauty – her mother is Chinese and her father is Portuguese – it's no surprise that Gomes has worked with some of the best in the business. Vogue, Glamour, Italian GQ and Teen Vogue - she's done them all. Her campaigns include Victoria's Secret, Adidas, Gap and DKNY Denim, but she's best known for her six appearances in the famous swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated.

But rather than the fellow glamazons Gomes is used to working with, her companions on today's shoot are some boisterous nippers from the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. It's probably the first time they have been snapped with a famous model, but you wouldn't know it as they play up confidently for the camera until the photographer declares the shoot a wrap. "They were so cute and funny, and it's been so good shooting on the beach. It's definitely been a tough day at the office," Gomes, 28, quips.

Life is good for her right now. She just shot an Estée Lauder campaign and filmed a commercial with tennis ace Serena Williams for a headphones brand. She also has a role in a feature film, which will be out in July, and later this month will strut her stuff on the runway at the autumn-winter collections launch for David Jones, the company for which she is an ambassador. "I feel like I'm riding a wave at the moment," she says. "I'm doing everything I wanted to do and it feels like a magical time."

Life hasn't always been this charmed. Growing up in Perth as the youngest of four children in a mixed-race family, Gomes was subject to racist taunts in the playground at primary school. "I was teased a lot because there weren't many Eurasian or Asian girls where I grew up," she says.

She's not the first model to have been bullied. Mannequins in the making are usually all gangly limbs and awkwardness as youngsters, but as Gomes says, bullying can happen to any child. "All young kids can be like that, and I think every young model has been teased," she says. "But I'm glad that I had a hard time in school, because it made me want to distance myself from that by doing something different."

In a bid to boost her daughter's confidence, Gomes's mother Pay Yuen enrolled her in a deportment course. "I wasn't socialising with any of my peers and Mum wanted me to make some friends," she says. Not only did Gomes make friends, including enduring besties in fellow Perth models Gemma Ward and Nicole Trunfio, she went on to forge a stellar career.

The daughter of a bricklayer and a nurse, Gomes credits her parents for the highly disciplined work ethic she applies to every job. "They've always told me to believe in your dreams and go for it, that it doesn't matter where you are from, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve so long as you work hard."

Of course, there is also that face. Gomes has changed into denim cut-offs and a white shirt, and is sitting with not so much as a skerrick of make-up on a vinyl chair in the North Bondi surf club. And she is gorgeous. Her almond eyes, angular cheekbones and pale caramel skin make for a beguiling cocktail that is as singular as it is stunning.

Kathy Ward, director of Chic Management, says, "As soon as we saw her, we could see that beauty in her created by the different cultural backgrounds of her mother and father. Her appeal is unique and it's really hard to pick which country she is from, which makes her appeal to a broader market."

David Jones identified this when it signed Gomes last year as part of a pitch to appeal to a population that has changed significantly over the department store's 175-year history. She is a marked departure from the blonde ambassadors of the past such as Maureen Duval and Lauren Hutton.

"Our customer base has grown and evolved and today is representative of Australia's proud multicultural heritage," says David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra. "Jessica is the embodiment of multicultural society. That makes her relatable and someone that our customers identify with."

But forging a living based on looks comes with its own pitfalls. Gomes, a curvy size 8, found initial success as a swimsuit model precisely because of her bikini-suited proportions. But catwalk models are generally taller and have a smaller frame – as Gomes discovered when she became the subject of snide remarks about her weight following her debut on the David Jones catwalk last July. One male guest reportedly said, "You'd think she would have gone to the gym before the show." Another was reportedly overheard asking, "Can you see her stretch marks?"

Gomes, who found the criticism "a bit full-on", took to Instagram shortly afterwards to post a racy image of her slender, toned figure. Touché.

"The nature of the industry is that models are always going to be judged on their weight and appearance, so in a way I always knew that was going to happen," says Gomes. "But looking back on it now, it doesn't really bother me. Some people are going to love you and some people are going to hate you. You've just got to be happy with yourself."

Easier said than done for many women, not just Gomes. "I have to be very careful with how I speak about weight, because it's a touchy subject with all women," she says. "I'm always mindful of what I'm saying about [body image], and I'm a person who tries to stay positive."

That positive attitude was tested again when the media reported the model's split from her longtime boyfriend, Melbourne property developer Sebastian Drapac, in November last year, then falsely linked her romantically with her fellow David Jones ambassador Jason Dundas just two weeks later.

These days, Gomes is based in Los Angeles and happily single. When she's not working, she relaxes by visiting farmers' markets, hanging out with buddies and living a healthy lifestyle that is decidedly more LA than WA. "I love training with my trainer, going for a hike and making my own juices," she says.

With Hollywood at her doorstep, it's perhaps no surprise that Gomes's next move is into the film industry. Apart from going to acting classes and securing a role in an upcoming film, of which she says, "I can't speak much about it, but it's really great and it's being released in July" – she is preparing for a larger role in London. "I'd love to do more films, because for me it seems the natural progression and I would love to expand my horizons."

As the sun dips lower, it's time for Gomes to meet her Australian agent and a fellow David Jones ambassador for dinner at Icebergs restaurant up the road. She invites me along for a drink – that's the kind of friendly and easygoing person she is – and her driver picks us up for the short trip around the corner.

We take a seat on the balcony and order Aperol spritz cocktails all round. Gomes has barely taken a sip from hers before she jumps up, grabs her Chanel tote and rushes over to two women at a nearby table. "I've got your swimsuit in my bag," she tells them, handing over a grey print bikini. "I just wore it on a Sports Illustrated shoot."

The women are young Australian swimwear designers and Gomes has remembered them from a brief meeting overseas. They are visibly thrilled, and there are group photographs and hugs all round before Gomes returns to her drink. "I knew I recognised them," she says.

Her global recognition would lend itself to an entrepreneurial role, in the tradition of models such as Elle Macpherson and Gisele Bündchen, who have built significant business empires around their personal brands. She has spent time around music entrepreneurs, including Jay-Z, for whom she's recorded voiceovers, P. Diddy (she was the face of his Unforgivable fragrance in 2007) and Kanye West, who mentions Gomes by name on his track Christian Dior Denim Flow.
"I would love to have my own business," says Gomes. "I love that models are now becoming brands, so naturally it's the next step for me, too. It's just the right timing and the right product and collaboration; I feel it will come and I don't want to rush anything."

For now, she's content to relax with another sip of her cocktail and soak up the sunset views. "This is so perfect," she says. "Australia really is a sanctuary, a beautiful island so far from the rest of the world. In all my travels I've realised we've got such a great quality of life here."

I notice a delicate tattoo on her arm. "It's my dad's nickname from his village in Portugal and my mother's Chinese name," she says. "When Mum moved to Australia she decided to get an English name and she chose Jenny. But I said, 'Mum, having an Oriental name is cool now, so you should bring it back.' And she did – she's Pay Yuen now. That's cool."


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Jessica Gomes may have dominated the David Jones runway but some still pine for the curvy look

Posted by Simuka Rafeal on 9:35 PM
SHE dominated the runway at the David Jones Autumn/Winter Collections but many still pine for the Jessica Gomes that was — curvy, sexy, with a bit more flesh on bones.
The stunning clotheshorse may have gained a million dollar contract when she signed with David Jones in 2013 but sources insist she has lost 10 kilograms into the bargain in her transformation from Varga-esque pin-up to runway mannequin.
Yesterday Gomes, 29, denied the weight loss was a result of industry pressure — saying she had worked steadily towards honing her still enviable form.
  • Before... Jessica Gomes for Madison magazine in 2010. Picture: Simon Upton/Madison
    Before... Jessica Gomes for Madison magazine in 2010. Picture: Simon Upton/Madison
  • Now... Jessica at the David Jones launch on Wednesday.
    Now... Jessica at the David Jones launch on Wednesday.
  • Jessica Gomes on the cover of Madison, 2010.
    Jessica Gomes on the cover of Madison, 2010.
  • Before... Australian model Jessica Gomes in Madison magazine.
    Before... Australian model Jessica Gomes in Madison magazine.
  • Gomes dominated the runway at the David Jones launch.
    Gomes dominated the runway at the David Jones launch.
  • Before... Despite making her name in swimwear.
    Before... Despite making her name in swimwear.
  • Before... The model says she embraces different types of modelling.
    Before... The model says she embraces different types of modelling.
  • Camilla and Marc worn by Jessica Gomes.
    Camilla and Marc worn by Jessica Gomes.
  • Jessica Gomes
    Jessica Gomes
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Yesterday Gomes, 29, denied the weight loss was a result of industry pressure — saying she had worked steadily towards honing her still enviable form.
She said now, older than she was when she stripped for the pages of Madison magazine in 2010 (pictured), she has finally found the form she sought in younger years.
“I am sure a lot of women can relate to this but as you get older, you kind of figure out what works for you,” she said. “I think it is because my life has become busier and you just grow with the motions.” she added.
“When I was in my early twenties I kind of was still figuring out what worked for me, what foods to eat, is it the blood group diet, is it the paleo, what work out, and I think it is just me growing into myself and knowing what makes me happy.”
“When I was in my early twenties I kind of was still figuring out what worked for me, what foods to eat, is it the blood group diet, is it the paleo, what work out, and I think it is just me growing into myself and knowing what makes me happy.”
“When I was in my early twenties I kind of was still figuring out what worked for me, what foods to eat, is it the blood group diet, is it the paleo, what work out, and I think it is just me growing into myself and knowing what makes me happy.”
“I feel like a woman now and I feel very comfortable in my role as a fashion ambassador.”
Gomes added she sees herself as a chameleon: “I can mould myself into whatever vibe I am going for. Before it was swimsuit and I en-captured that curvy swimsuit model and now I am really encapturing the fashion side of things. It is fun growing and transforming and expanding.”

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