The prefix “super-” demands a degree of credibility. “Superfood”, for instance, harbours an assumption that a team of scientists spent years verifying that kale could solve all of your life problems, when in reality, you would have to eat at least a kilogram of goji berries before you reap its vitamin C benefits, which would subsequently send your blood sugar through the roof. While cacao powder’s “super-” status can be blamed on marketing smarts, “supermodels” are a bit of a different story. A self-proclaimed supermodel has absolutely no PR value, aside from the fact that one would dare knighting themselves before Condé Nast did. Granted, the term itself has evolved significantly since The Trinity – most likely a byproduct of the rise of social media stars and the dive in the quality of journalism in the digital age (whether or not these are correlated is yet to be determined).
Today, one might say that models are categorised (in some loose hierarchy) as social media models, e-commerce models, show circuit models, Sports Illustrated and/or Victoria’s Secret models, and supermodels.
Joan Smalls is a supermodel. This is not just about the number of famous friends you have, the number of adoring fans who trail you on the street or on Instagram, the number of photographers falling over themselves to shoot you. I’ve said a thousand times that great models are difficult to come by – girls who know how to move, girls who know about the technicalities of the lighting and set constructions that go on around them, girls who know the difference between fabrics and the target audience of the brands and clothes they’re working with, girls who check their look before walking in front of the lens to calculate poses that will best flatter the garments without forgoing their own character, girls who respect the work of the team around them. Not just a pretty face, and essentially, any photographer and stylist’s dream girl to work with.
Joan and I busted out these shots in the space of two hours amongst Sydney’s high-rises on the David Jones store rooftop that I never knew existed. Most of the industry wouldn’t expect to be able to work with a model of Joan’s stature at the lightning speed we flew through our looks. She’d already been working for
five hours before she arrived on set, and had another five of Studio W interviews to smash out after our session. And yet, she could not have been more professional and down to earth about it.
Needless to say, we’re super proud of the finished product.
LOOK 4: Céline Striped Shirt – Christopher Esber Bandana Bandeau Tapestry Stripe Top – Studio W Striped Culottes
LOOK 5: Studio W Trench Coat – Adidas Sneakers
MAKE-UP // Max May @ DLM
HAIR // Michele McQuillan @ MAP Ltd