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Gabriella Brooks On Self-Care and Staying Fit
By Kara Byers | Oct 30, 2021
A lot has been written about Gabriella Brooks lately. Not only does it seem inevitable that the 25-year-old model is on her way to being Australia’s next big thing, becoming Insta official with a Hemsworth has everyone talking about her too. But who is Gabby really? Here, get to know our December Women’s Health cover star, the new face of Seafolly and former competitive gymnast.
I was quite sporty growing up
“I was born in Sydney to my Singaporean-Chinese mum and Kiwi dad. I’m one of five siblings. I’ve got an older brother who lives in the States, two younger sisters who are still in high school, and my dad had another baby last year in London. We were all quite sporty growing up. My family all water-ski and I used to be a gymnast – that was a big part of my childhood. I competed overseas. It was really exciting for my mum when I’d compete in Singapore. Looking back, I can’t believe how lucky I was. Every day we’d go down to the beach to swim. I was terrified of big waves when I was younger and Dad got me over that straight away. I’m still scared of sharks! This sounds very hippy, but I think there’s something really magical about the ocean. I love it.”
Border shutdowns kept me here
“I moved to London when I was 17 for modelling [WH note: Tiffany, Gucci, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein are a few of the brands on her CV], then I came back here just in time for COVID and everything to kick off. [But] it’s been so good to be back. Obviously, lockdowns have meant travel is more difficult, but when we’re not in lockdown I’m between Sydney and Northern NSW.”
Balance is about timing
“In the past I would wait until I’d find myself a bit overwhelmed or stressed [then] think ‘Oh, I need to take some time for myself’ but this year, as we’ve all been more aware of mental health, I’ve tried to make time for myself before I got to a bad place. I’ve been making an effort to be more consistent about having balance and looking after myself.”
Jane Goodall is my inspiration
“Jane Goodall is the coolest. She does so much amazing work for animal conservation and I also really love that she created the Roots & Shoots program that encourages girls to get into science and conservation. Karlie Kloss is another person I really look up to because she’s probably one of the most famous supermodels and she’s created Kode With Klossy, a coding program to encourage teenage girls to get into coding and create pathways for them to get into STEM. It’s awesome she’s using her platform in that way.”
Working with Seafolly is a dream come true
“When I started modelling, I would pore over the campaigns with Miranda Kerr, Jess Hart and Sam Harris. They were the pinnacle of the modelling industry for me. I thought it was the coolest thing to do and I always dreamed that one day that would be me. It’s pretty surreal to be now talking about it because it’s happened and it’s real, it’s very exciting for me. Seafolly is such an iconic Australian brand. I grew up wearing Seafolly; my favourite Christmas present every year would be a Seafolly bikini. It became tradition in our family that I’d get one every Christmas.”
My mum didn’t have the same opportunities
“It was an interesting time for my mum [when she worked as a model]. She’s half Singaporean-Chinese, half British, so she’s got a really beautiful Eurasian look. When she moved to Australia, she was one of the only Eurasian models in this market. Because it was a white market back then, I think it was difficult for her to break into it. She did really well in Japan [though]. She ended up [leaving modelling] to start a business with my dad called Beach Culture, which did well and was in a lot of airports in Australia. It sold beach and surf gear, because my dad was a surfer. It was a cool venture for them.”
I’m glad modelling is more diverse now
“I think it’s so great that we’re seeing such diverse and inclusive representation across the whole industry. I also think the way we consume media now has enabled a lot of opportunity for people who wouldn’t necessarily get that opportunity in past generations. I was told I was too short and would never be able to do runway – I’m 5’ 9”, I’m not short-short. It’s really cool we have all these online platforms where we can create an identity for ourselves. You get the chance now to mould yourself and show people who you are.”
I love reformer Pilates
“It’s the best thing I’ve found for my body. I find that it’s kind of meditative when I do it, it’s not just, ‘Oh I’ve got to go work out now,’ it’s something I actually really enjoy. Ideally, I like to do reformer two to three times a week. That makes me feel great. And on the days I’m not doing it, I don’t feel like I need to exercise but if I do, it’s just something like a gentle walk. At one stage I was overdoing it and trying to go every day, just because I loved it so much, but I think my body actually resisted that and it just felt like a bit too much, so I pulled it back, which is better for my body.”
Photography: Simon Upton Styling: Jana Pokorny Make-Up: Sarah Tammer Hair: Koh
Read the full interview with Gabriella Brooks in the December issue of Women’s Health Australia. Subscribe now so that you never miss an issue.
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