IRL angel Jessica Clarke has been modelling for over a decade, with a v impressive portfolio to show for it, including walking for Victoria’s Secret and working as a Calvin Klein exclusive. Big deal. Huge! Despite landing such covetable gigs, her low-key upbringing in Palmerston North, New Zealand has kept her two feet planted firmly on the ground. “I guess I’m pretty happy anywhere—I don’t get tied up in the craziness, because at heart I would choose a bombed-out car full of my mates over a super yacht with DiCaprio on it,” she explains.
Proving that it’s not all glitz n glama, Jess cites jet lag, loneliness, and keeping a healthy mind/body as the most challenging elements of her job, alongside the weirdness that can come with being the centre of your business and focus. The best part about it for her is travel and people, and if she could change one thing it’d the pressure at times to be super skinny.
When she’s not modelling, you’ll find the smart babe with her head in a book—she’s doing a business degree part-time and a contemporary art course at Sotheby’s in London—styling or selling art (her “new passion”). Until recently, she was devouring ‘Freya’ by Anthony Quinn, but since she’s slipped behind on her studies, all the reading she’s doing at the moment is textbooks. *Face palms in solidarity*.
For her, fam is the best thing about New Zealand, although everyday life growing up in a small town comes a close second. “[Palmerston North] is the best place ever,” she claims. “It’s not really a holiday destination but when you grow up in a small town it’s just the coolest feeling of being safe and knowing everyone. Staying at all your friends’ houses and driving out to the beach in a shitty car full of your best mates and music, wearing short shorts, and eating fish n chips and ice cream. [Growing up there] was the dream.”
She definitely considers herself to be a spiritual person (“I’m half Maori so it goes with the territory”) and considers wherever her dad is to be home (“It’s a person not a place”). The best piece of advice she’s ever been given is: ‘It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice’.
The first thing she does of a morning is splash cold water on her face before sipping on a coffee, and if she could only eat one meal for the rest of her life, it’d be her mum’s tuna pie. This year, Jess is most looking forward to moving into her new house in London, which overlooks the river in Hammersmith, and considers her most treasured item of clothing ever to be a long, chic suit jacket that her mum got in Paris “when she was a young traveller like me.” Cute!
In the next ten years, she hopes to see an end to plastic. “Plastic has got to go,” she says. “I hope we all get away from this convenience era of plastic packaging, plastic plates and cups, and all the single use plastic. We need to start reusing and stop leaving a trail of rubbish behind us, everywhere we go.”
Her concept of feminism simply means equality between men and women. She likes to think we can still have both female and male energy, and that we don’t necessarily have to be the same, just treated with the same respect (equal pay is a good place to start). To her, female friendships are vital. “Where do I start?” she replies when asked why. “My girls are my everything. They’re important for laughs, for hugs, for debates, for discussions, for opinions, for advice, for a tub of Ben and Jerry’s or for a wild night out.” Yes, girl!
Shot on location in Waverton, Sydney