Is Jessica Hart the modern day Brigitte Bardot?
Her latest ‘double’ cover with L’Officiel Australia leads all answers to YES.
The first Collector’s Edition includes an incredible 14 page spread shot in her homeland of Australia by renowned Simon Upton. Whilst it is Jessica’s first time featuring on the Australian magazines cover, the model has already graced the publication’s sister magazine covers in France, Switzerland and Singapore.
Jessica Hart for L’Officiel Australia September Issue, the Australian model is stranded in Manhattan.
“You won’t believe what I’ve done,” she exclaims. “I’ve just come down from my apartment to do this with you and I’ve locked myself out.”
Hart recently moved into new digs in the midtown district of New York, the city she has called home for ten years. And now, with places to be after the interview wraps, the rest of her day hangs in the balance. Is there a plan B?
“Hmm, nothing right now,” she laughs.
Hart’s evolution from gap-toothed teen to international model has been similarly ad lib. The Sydney-born, Melbourne-raised beauty has certainly come a long way since a magazine model search win propelled her into the stratosphere. That was 15 years ago and next year Hart turns 30, an age where, not so long ago, work grew scarce for a woman in her line of business.
“Yeah, I remember if I was on a shoot working with a girl who was, you know, 28, I would think, ‘wow what is she still doing here?’” Hart concedes.
“But I also remember at the same time there was Kate Moss, who was the generation above me.”
Given that the contracts aren’t exactly drying up—far from it, she’s reached a point where she can pick and choose her projects—the impending milestone doesn’t concern Hart.
“I haven’t really thought about it. I think turning 28 was way more intense,” she says. “That’s when you start to freak out and think ‘I am meant to be an adult, I’m nearly 30’. But I’ve gotten over all of that in my head … I’m one of those people who think about something so much that when it happens, it’s like it never happened. I think it’s a defense mechanism of some sort.”
As she approaches her fourth decade, however, Hart concedes ‘model’ is a job description that doesn’t sit as comfortably with her as it once did, revealing that she feels herself becoming more self-conscious about it. “I don’t really care what people think or whether they take me seriously,” she clarifies. But she concedes that it’s the kind of gig where opinions are surplus to requirements. Rather than just turn up on time, take direction and create exceptional photos, Hart has seized opportunities beyond the camera. Over the years she has lent her face to runways and campaigns for the likes of Victoria’s Secret, Seafolly, Matthew Williamson and Christopher Kane, and today she heads her own skincare line, Luma Cosmetics, launched last year. But while ‘model’ doesn’t quite seem apt anymore, Hart is loathing referring to herself as a ‘brand’.
“I will always be a model, I mean that’s what I am, it’s brought me where I am today and that’s fine. But hopefully at some point I’ll be known more for other things. I’d like to be known as the creator and founder of Luma, billion dollar company,” she laughs.
The Australian supermodel Jessica Hart is certainly putting in the hard yards. Product development for Luma is a hectic, cross-continental affair. Just a few weeks earlier she was back in Australia, a non-stop whirlwind of samples, promo for Qantas (she’s on board as a trend consultant) and Portmans, shooting for L’Officiel and grabbing a rare night together with her mother and younger sister Ashley (who also inherited the model gene).
“It’s cool, I like it like that,” she says of her relentless schedule. “High intensity. I like moving: jam it all in and then when I get back I’m not dead by the jetlag.”
Fronting the camera for L’Officiel, Hart was enamoured with a striped, body-conscious Balmain number. Perhaps the jet-set life forces her to multitask at work: she bought it on the spot.
“Yeah, I did, but I haven’t worn it yet, it’s still sitting there,” she says.
“I am taking it on vacation. It was the one thing I watched throughout my move.”
On set, Hart declared that the Cartier Love bracelet she wears on her wrist won’t be coming off. To clarify, this was not some fit of diva-like behavior.
“I lost the key,” she confesses. These days, with her stocks riding high, she has little motivation to find it. “Ten years ago I could have never turned up on a shoot wearing something that doesn’t come off, they’d have sent me home. In my own weird way that’s probably some sort of rebellious thing I can do now.”
On the occasions that she does manage to get downtime, Hart embraces the one thing other people often resent, but which still eludes her: routine. Walking the dog, going to the gym and being able to provide an answer when friends ask ‘what are you doing next week?’ The incessant travelling, at least, bodes well for her Qantas gig, advising on all aspects of the travel experience.
The conversation is interrupted as Hart’s housekeeper arrives with a set of keys. But, alas, another obstacle stands in her way: the elevator is busted and it’s lift access only. This unfortunately turn of events leads talk to another run of bad luck the model has endured; specifically, with her feet. She’s been the victim of a stealthy pothole, wrenching her ankle; had a careless airport commuter spill scalding coffee on her; and trod on a piece of glass at Margherita Missoni’s wedding, a particularly nasty incident she is still paying for courtesy of severe nerve damage. In a rare assessment, doctors say the latter could have been avoided had she not changed from heels to flats. As for stubbed toes? “Don’t get me started, I don’t count them.”
It may well be a sign, she believes, to slow down.
“I am always on to the next, trying to do this, trying to do that and it’s always happened at a point where each time, for whatever reason, I feel like it was a bit of a message to chill out,” she says.
Her mother is fond of saying that foot injuries are a fear of stepping forward. But with a growing business and a slew of high profile contracts under her belt, Jessica Hart has nothing to be afraid of. Except, perhaps, for misplaced keys.
Sarah Tammer/Vivien’s Creative