Thursday, October 23, 2008

Model-turned-star: Gemma Ward

marie claire spain/TFS via bellazon

Fashwatchers from one side of the blogosphere to the other are suddenly agog with the news that Gemma Ward has finally resurfaced on the cover of a fashion glossy: the October 2008 edition of Spain's marie claire. This is curious, given that the issue has been out for at least four weeks – with The Fashion Spot onto it a month ago. According to the poster who apparently broke the news, the issue is dedicated to the connection between fashion and film.

The original TFS news was greeted with mixed reactions ranging from mild excitement to total ennui, with “Helmut Newton” noting, with typical fashion snarkiness:

“Wow what a downgrade for Gemma. She went from Vogue Italia cover to Marie Claire Spain in one year!

It's sad but she doesn't have that thing like Daria who can step in and out of fashion. Gemma's look was very of the moment and now that moment is over”.

Much has been written about Gemma Ward, who, in the space of just over three years rose to the world number one position on's Top 50 'working models' ranking.

Whatever that really means.

Earlier this year, Ward was moved off the Top 50 list, not to the site's Top 15 "Icons" list, as originally mooted, but to the Top 25 “Money Girls”. At number 24. describes a "Money Girl" as:

"a former or current editorial girl who converted into a multi-million dollar proposition".

Ward's shift coincided with her 2008 runway hiatus and, beyond two SS08 advertising campaigns which came out earlier this year, her lack of visibility in the fashion press.

Ward’s last runway season, Spring/Summer 2008 – one year ago – culminated in some unflattering commentary about her weight, after Ward appeared in a bikini at the Chanel show last October.

In the previous twelve months, Ward had initiated a segue into film. Ward was cast in two 2008 film releases: horror flick The Strangers but notably, the critically-acclaimed debut feature of Australian director Elissa Down, The Black Balloon.

The Black Balloon has already won a string of awards, including a Silver Bear at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival. Earlier this month the film also scooped the nominations pool for Australia’s upcoming IF Awards, earning 10 nominations - with veteran actor Toni Collette being overlooked in the Best Actress category for rookie Ward.

Ward's dream of attending the February 8th world premier of The Black Balloon at the Berlin Film Festival was shattered by the January 22nd death of her close friend Heath Ledger and the media circus which ensued.

Having missed the Berlin launch, Ward resurfaced in late February in Sydney for the film’s Australian premier, during interviews for which she revealed she had taken time off “living in the jungle, road tripping” in Australia.

In June Ward also trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.

On August 18 Australian site set tongues wagging by claiming that Ward would "officially retire from the catwalk to pursue the bright lights of Hollywood” – a claim which was rebutted by Ward herself on New York magazine’s The Cut blog on August 21.

Ward told The Cut:

"I was surprised to wake up this morning and read news of my own retirement. While I am taking some time off currently to rest and enjoy the company of friends and family, I am still very much a (excited and enthusiastic) working model and actress. I'm only 20, for God's sakes."

Overnight Fashionologie reported that Ward:

“recently picked up an Inside Film nomination for Best Actress in The Black Balloon — the Australian equivalent of an Oscar”

Frockwriter feels the need to point out that the IF Awards are not Australia’s equivalent to the Oscars.

Australia’s most prestigious film (and television) awards are in fact the Australian Film Institute or ‘AFI’ Awards.

assumes that the confusion stems from WWD's October 1st “Fashion Scoop” which referred to Ward’s IF Best Actress nomination, announced that day. And which pointed out that:

“Success at November's IF Awards could place Ward in the running for the Australian equivalent of an Oscar come December at the Australian Film Institute Awards.”

The AFI Award nominations date had not yet been announced at that stage.

But start your engines Gemma watchers, before the IF Awards even see the light of day in mid November, the nominations for the AFI Awards will be announced on October 29th.

Find out next Wednesday if the former world number one model winds up her very surreal 2008 with two major Best Actress award nominations.

That would presumably be unchartered modelling territory.

And Ward's journey would make one hell of a tell-all book.



Anonymous said...

Gemma is concentrating on films now. She has been nominated for Best Actress at the Australian Film Awards. She been busy. Plus she's been privately grieving for the loss of her beloved Heath Ledger. They were a happy couple ready to come out to the public when he tragically and accidently died.

Anonymous said...

she was actually quite good in the black balloon

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