We’ve worked with the lovely Gina several times over the last few years, and this year she was the face of our Majorca based campaign, for the launch of Anna’s Spring/Summer 2015 range.
Alongside a very successful modelling career, Gina is also the founder of nutrition and health blog, Nourish Your Soul. This is an area Gina has been passionate about for years, and it is home to a collection of nutritious recipes, exercises, natural disease prevention theories, ways to increase your energy levels and much more.
We sat down and had a chat with her about her career as a model, her views on the plus size industry and her future plans.
AS Gina, how was shooting in Majorca with the Anna Scholz team?
G Amazing. Probably my favourite shoot I’ve ever done! I loved it: it was very chilled, and the clothes and location were amazing. The team was really nice as well, and the shoot had such a happy vibe.
AS What is your favourite piece from the new collection, maybe something you wore on the shoot?
G I love the Dragon Tattoo Kimono. It’s gorgeous, and I own that now! There were a few things I really liked, such as the silk off-the-shoulder dress in tan leopard. The shape is very glamorous but in a really chilled way. I also bought another silk tunic from the collection which mixes the tan leopard and paisley print together and looks very tribal.
AS How did you get into modelling?
G I actually fell into modelling. I was a student at college, and a local modelling agency spotted me and asked me if I’d like to do a few jobs. I was really shy, but I did it anyway, and it definitely improved my confidence.
When I first started I was always asked to slim down to a size 10, which I didn’t really want to be. But when plus size modelling became a thing, I was a size 14/16 so I was finally perfect as I was, and I felt like “Great, I can do this!” and I really started to enjoy modelling.
AS What other models/women in the media do you admire in terms of just general confidence, or fashion style? Do you have any model friends that you feel are doing well for themselves, in whatever area of modelling they’re doing?
G In terms of confidence, I’m all for a model with a voice. Like Tanya Gervasi, who is a gastro model, and who is doing her thing with gastronomy (the study of food and culture) or Ashley Graham who launched a lingerie collection and has started her own fitness programme called Curvy Fit Club.
AS This is what you’re doing with your blog at the moment, Nourish Your Soul. Is this something you’ve always been passionate about?
G I’ve always been passionate about nutrition and health, and being the best that I can be in that way. A few years ago I decided to take all my knowledge from reading so many books and articles and blogs over the years and actually study it. I studied in New York at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition, and from there I started my own business: Nourish Your Soul.
Part of what I do is work with people one-on-one as a health mentor: through whole foods and empowerment I help others find a healthy path towards living life to the fullest. It works without ever feeling like you are on a diet, by swapping out foods which don’t make you feel good, with super nutrient-dense, colourful, and tasty foods that do!
I am also going to have a blog – the writing part of it I don’t find so easy, such as writing content about working with people – it’s a challenge, but I’m enjoying the challenge.
AS Like you said, plus-size models are definitely being celebrated in the media; it’s becoming more accepted to use models of various sizes, and more plus size models are becoming really well known. There was even that backlash against a Victoria’s Secret advertising campaign recently, when they used lots of quite thin models and branded them as having ‘the perfect body’ – how do you feel about that?
G To be honest, the media kind of annoy me in every situation, when a brand uses a larger model, then the press is all over it. They really go to town on it, when really wouldn’t it be nice if brands could just use whatever model they like?
The focus should be on health at any size; that is definitely the right message. When there’s the backlash on the skinnier girls, like Victoria’s Secret, I also don’t agree with that, as those girls can be healthy at that size.
AS Do you think we’re generally moving in a more accepting direction at the moment?
G I do. Obviously there is a lot more diversity in the last 5 years; there are all kinds of different models now. But the media aren’t helping in so many areas. I think they need to just cool off a bit on this debate.
There are also so many articles about plus size women. I’m noticing it less now, but a few years ago there were some women who would say, “It’s all fine, I’m fine: I like to eat all this junk food and I just get work anyway”. Obviously that isn’t a great message either, so as long as the model has a positive message and it comes from a place of love, truth, and health, then I think everything is great.
AS At the end of a tiring shoot, how do you like to relax?
G Well, I normally have a long train or plane journey! I’m obviously really into my nutrition, so I like to nourish my body with good healthy food and hydrate. I’m generally quite energetic after a shoot to be honest, I’m always buzzing and I’m enjoying everyone’s energy.
AS So it’s not so much flopping on the sofa at the end of the day then?
G Yes, at some point! I’m really good at sleeping anywhere. I’m very used to sleeping on planes, trains, buses, cars – anywhere that will have me! So sleep, rest, and nourishing food. Obviously, a hot man to give me a massage would be great too.
AS Oh yes, no one would say no to that! So, what’s been the highlight of your career?
G To be honest, this probably isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but the longevity. I’ve been constantly busy for over 10 years; I’ve seen so many girls come and go, who have been amazing, and who I’ve looked up to, and they haven’t been around as long as I have. Is that a highlight?
AS Yes, definitely. You mentioned you’ve got your Nourish Your Soul blog starting soon, so what else have you got planned?
G I’ve just bought a house as well, so that’s very exciting, as I’ve been kind of like a homeless hobo for 10 years, so that’s a really big step for me.
I’m also turning 30 in May, so I’m going to have a big party! See all my friends and family and get everyone together. Other than that, I also want to open a cookery school. Hmm, what else have I got going on?
AS Seems more than enough for me! Are you going to continue modelling for the foreseeable future?
G Yeah, it’s great actually because now that I’ve got Nourish Your Soul, I have just done an interview with Vogue Curvy about models with a voice, that are interested in health, and the future of health and modelling. I’ve also done a column in Slink magazine this week listing my 5 top health tips, so I can see my modelling going in that direction, and I’m really, really happy and keen for that.
AS Yes, so it seems like you have a lot on your plate at the moment, but in a good way! Thank you very much Gina for chatting with us today.