Francesca is a model, horse lover and student from Auckland, New Zealand whose life motto is: “Always tell the truth. Be kind.” The lovely human has been following her own unique path and believing in herself from day dot, thanks to the love and support of her family. From an early age, she learned that nothing worthwhile comes easy, and sees a life filled with opportunities and possibilities for herself ahead.
For her, the most exciting thing about being a young person living in 2019 is the belief that it’s our generations’ time to shine and make positive changes in the world. “We have been given a planet that has been partly destroyed by the decisions and actions of the previous generations,” she says. “Right now we have a voice and people are listening. It’s an exciting time for us. I also think women are pushing harder than ever before for equal rights and I stand for this cause.”
In the next ten years, Francesca hopes to see a more equal world for men and women. She’d like to see more female leaders in politics, education and business, and equal pay for women. In her version of the future, girls won’t be taught about ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ as we would have already broken it. Francesca is proud that our generation is values-based and stands up for causes we believe in.
She admires our collective acceptance of others, no matter their race, sexuality, colour or religion, and is proud of our generation for embracing one another. She believes this will go a long way in creating a better and more loving world for generations to come. The hardest thing facing our generation, she believes, is ‘The Pressure’. “Our futures are uncertain,” she says. “Artificial Intelligence is a real threat to our workforce, and we have to make sure our chosen paths are sustainable, and we have the resilience to adapt to change and make good decisions for our future generations.”
Francesca was scouted on a few different occasions from age eleven, but it wasn’t until she was 14 that she signed with Unique Models (NZ), before then going on to meet and sign with IMG models during their scouting trip to New Zealand right before her fifteenth birthday. “I especially remember visiting IMG Paris and IMG London being incredibly nervous,” she recalls of the experience. “However, I now realise that having these experiences at such a young age has been great for my confidence as I had no choice but to step up and make the most of these opportunities. It has been made easier as the team at IMG are incredibly supportive and understanding and I feel honoured to be part of it.”
When she’s not modelling, you’ll sometimes find Francesca hanging out at her happy place, Wanaka, “the most beautiful place in the world, surrounded by enormous mountains where Mother Nature is at her best, the air is fresh and the water is crisp.” She loves the outdoors—having inherited her dad’s love of nature—and spends her winters skiing, and her summers boating, single skiing, and scuba diving. But it’s horse riding that truly holds her heart, and most of the time, you’ll find her with her best friend and horse, Leo. Francesca first jumped on a horse when she was five, but it wasn’t until she was eight that she got her first pony Legend (“He was anything but a legend—he was extremely naughty”). She’s owned and outgrown a few horses since, but now it’s just her and Leo, who she shares a “special bond” with and who never fails to melt her heart. “I will sit in the stable and he will rest his head on my lap—that fills my heart and soul like nothing else,” she says.
Her most memorable horse riding experience was from a few years ago when she was chosen to represent Auckland at the New Zealand Eventing Champs. “I was not expecting to do well as it was my first national event and I was the youngest in the team,” she says. “After the dressage on day one I was coming third, then went up to second after cross-country. Show jumping was next and I was coming second—I nervously entered the arena with a huge crowd watching our every move. I had to go clear (not hit a rail) to maintain my position of second. Luckily, I went clear. I then waited for the rider in first position to do his round. He dropped a rail and at that point I knew I had won the national title. I was ecstatic, it was a defining moment for me in horse riding as I knew then I had reached another level in the sport.”
Her favourite thing about horse riding is cross-country—a “test of endurance, skill and agility” where she is required to follow a prescribed course through forests and fields. “There’s nothing more exhilarating than galloping through a field sitting on a 500kg animal with no seatbelt!” she says of the test, which requires her and Leo to negotiate obstacles like logs, ditches, streams, banks, hills and fences. Because of the dangerous nature of horse riding, it requires her full focus and discipline. “Horse riding is a hugely time-consuming sport and requires an enormous amount of self-discipline and tenacity,” she says. “It’s a dangerous sport. You have to keep your wits about you both on and off the horse… I also have to be fully engaged and think of nothing else during this time. After I ride, without doubt I always feel more energised and less stressed.”
For her, owning a horse is a surreal experience, as you form an incredible bond with one another. Horses are intuitive, she believes, so they can sense our emotional state, read our body language, and feel our intentions. “Because I am a competitive person by nature, horse riding has taught me about inner strength and calmness,” she continues. “If Leo senses I am stressed or wound up before an event it could be detrimental to our success—the most successful riders I know have a gentle calmness about them.”
Education is also very important to Francesca, so attending University and getting a degree is the natural next step for her (at this point, she’s looking into Law or Commerce). At current, History is her favourite subject, as she is intrigued by the way the past shapes our future, and her least favourite subject is Maths, as it’s the least creative subject she does. “I am challenged by the fact that the answers are marked either wrong or right,” she explains. “This doesn’t match my learning style, as I prefer subjects that require investigation and opinion.”
Her favourite book is ‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio, which chronicles a boy who struggles in life with deformities. “It made me laugh and cry, but it also made me feel huge admiration for a person, who against the odds carves a happy path for himself,” she says. “It was a good reminder that the often-superficial world of beauty and social media we live in can be vacuous and unimportant. I believe we need to focus on the bigger issues of self-love and acceptance of one another.” <3. Her favourite movie is Molly’s Game, because “Molly is a fiercely ambitious woman who has carved her place, with a kick arse wardrobe, in a man’s world.” And, her favourite song is ‘Glorious’ by Macklemore.
To her, ‘cool’ is being yourself and living authentically.
Feature: Madeleine Woon Photos: Daphne Nguyen Fashion: Chloe Hill & Olivia Renouf
Francesca is represented by:
Shot on location in New Zealand