Jessica Gomes on Diversity: "There's Room for Everyone"

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Jessica Gomes David Jones A/W18 Show Interview


Getty Images / Don Arnold

When pondering our Australian exports who have showcased the beauty and talent that is produced on our home soil, one gem who springs to mind first is Jessica Gomes. Launching her career as a fresh-faced 17-year-old, even though she boasts a porcelain complexion and envy-eliciting cheekbones, the Perth-born beauty is no stranger to the harsh judgement that can come from the fashion industry, once telling Vogue Australia: "When I first started, it was rare [being part-Chinese] because I just wanted to work at home and I didn’t really feel like travelling—I was so young... I did get frustrated, but I just ended up going to Asia first which was incredible.” But it was the announcement of the revered title as a David Jones ambassador in 2013 that gave her a chance to bring diversity to the Australian catwalk, taking on a position that once feel to international faces, such as Miranda Kerr and Megan Gale.

Now, Gomes is also an entrepreneur of the fast-growing beauty brand, Equal Beauty, and her natural nose for business, and long-standing influence (she's already been in the industry for 15 years) proves that while there's no doubt she’s been genetically blessed, she’s also got the brains and guts to back it up. Only a few hours before the David Jones A/W18 show, we sat down with Gomes to chat about diversity in her industry, being yourself and what she wears to feel powerful. Read on to see what she has to say.

WHO WHAT WEAR: What items are you most excited to wear for autumn and winter this year?

JESSICA GOMES: Definitely a power suit. I think they are definitely trending this season. Especially with women’s empowerment being a big theme this year, I really like to wear a strong power suit to a meeting too. Rebecca Vallance and Camilla and Marc are both doing some great suits this season. [When I have an important meeting] I’ll usually wear a blazer and a T-shirt, or a full suit. I just feel more comfortable and free. And I feel more empowered and strong. I think this David Jones campaign is all about taking a leap and being your best self and and being fearless, so I definitely think fashion can influence that.

WWW: What does diversity in the modelling industry mean to you?

JG: It’s very important to me. I think it’s amazing that David Jones are using diversity in its fashion show. I mean from all ages to different heritages, I think it’s really important that we represent the world, equally. I mean, my story is that I am Portuguese, Chinese, but also Australian, so for me that was always something that I grew up knowing, and it was always something that’s been on my radar.

WWW: How have you seen shifts and changes towards diversity?

JG: When I became the face of David Jones that was a huge shift, especially for Australia. I feel like in my position I could help change the path of Australian fashion and it was great to help pave the way for other diverse models. So that was fantastic. But I think now, it’s 2018 and we’re seeing a lot more different groups of people being embraced by all kids of industries, even women, we’re being embraced more in different industries.

WWW: How are you incorporating diversity into your beauty brand?

JG: I guess it’s just that it’s always been for everyone. I’m not just creating a box, I’m leaving it open. Especially in the beauty and fashion industry, I think that there’s room for everyone and we should be embracing different cultures and people, because it’s more exciting.

WWW: How do you juggle and find balance between modelling and your entrepreneurial career?

JG: It’s been really great, but equally intense. I really love what I do and I think it’s all about balance. I love keeping busy, and they are all my passion projects, so it gives me so much energy. I highly recommend for any person wanting to start their own business to just do it because it can be hard, but also very rewarding.

WWW: What’s been your biggest lesson you’ve learnt since launching Equal Beauty so far?

JG: You’ve definitely got to know who you can trust. Also, just doing it, you’ve really just got to get into action.

Feel powerful in the Camilla and Marc Dimmer Blazer ($600).

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