Bagel Girls

There’s something about bagels.

A few months ago, while working in Seoul, my client and I discussed famous Australians over what was effectively a giant cone of fairy floss, ice-cream and caramel:

Nicole Kidman? She’s Australian. Oh really? I thought she was English. Hugh Jackman? Isn’t he American? How about Miranda Kerr? You know Miranda Kerr? Of course! Korea loves Miranda Kerr – she’s such a Bagel Girl!

I relayed this story some weeks later over lunch with Georgia, who proceeded to peer at me through the holes of her salmon and avocado bagel halves. We concluded that no matter what side of the bagel we pasted to our faces, we still did not look like Miranda Kerr.

Here comes the punch line.

As it turns out, by some denomination of K-and/or-J-pop-drama-culture hysteria,** ‘Bagel’ is an abbreviation of BAby-face-G(E)Lamour-body. So, Miranda Kerr’s dimples and Victoria Secret booty do indeed satisfy our Bagel Girl criteria. Chanel Iman, I would say, is also a Bagel Girl. Anais Pouliot most likely ate a bagel on set while shooting in Seoul, and started the whole mania in the first place.


I, for one, find this fascination far healthier than the somehow sexualised strawberry whipped cream and sprinkle sundae a super kawaii Japanese model had inhaled over lunch with me just days before. At the very least, there’s some element of fitness in Bagels. They also photograph far better in black-and-white, than Harajuku’s starry eyes.

And after all that drama, my UBER driver this evening explained that a ‘Bagel’ in South Africa referred to a “lively woman in her twenties, all tarted up and on the prowl”. Perhaps this is a universal language. In Australia, we enjoy them blue, slathered with cream cheese. Any other international Bagels? Vent your spleen in the comments below.

Meanwhile, these frames have no particular relevance to this story,*** but for the fact that it was the first time BFG Graham and I met, and discovered our mutual friends and doubles lives between studies and sets, and realised that we’d quite like to have bagels together, one sunny afternoon after class.

That, and FADDOUL‘s Spring collection is getting me in the mood.

Images shot by Pierre Toussaint for FADDOUL Spring/Summer 2014

Hair & Makeup by Charlie Kielty

Georgia Graham @ Work Models; Margaret Zhang @ IMG Australia

*Seoul and Tokyo’s obsessions with odd-shaped, oversized sweets (and any cuisine that is not their own) will never cease to fascinate me.

**Where K = MC^2 (kidding – K = Korea, J = Japan – for those of you less versed in the cultural phenomena of eyelid surgery and alabaster skin)

***Would you expect anything less?


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.


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