Well at least one mystery has been solved regarding Catherine McNeil - one of Australia's best-known modelling exports who has been on a bit of a self-imposed career hiatus for much of the past year and who, as it now emerges, also boasts New Zealand citizenship and travels on a Kiwi passport. The photo of McNeil that was Tweeted two days ago by Britain's Love magazine, together with the caption "Catherine McNeil is back!", was not part of any upcoming photoshoot for the magazine, but one of a handful of new digital shots of McNeil that have just been taken by McNeil's new New York management, Ford Models (curiously, the shot appears to have now been removed by Love). Here are the rest, supplied by Ford, which contacted us overnight for a little damage control, presumably not terribly happy with Timo Weiland's unfortunate Twitter shot of McNeil that we published yesterday. But while Love has yet to book her, newly-minted Ford Models agent Doll Wright tells frockwriter that McNeil has just shot 25 pages with a major photographer for a major international fashion title.
Wright declined to comment on the Weiland shot, in which McNeil is holding a beer bottle and her NZ passport, with a cigarette dangling from her lips. Wright was also unable to clarify whether McNeil is actually an Australian citizen or merely has permanent residency here.
But Wright did stress that McNeil has been "working really hard to get herself together. She's really determined. You can see what she looks like".
“She hasn’t shot Love or worked with [editor] Katie Grand yet" added Wright. "But we’re thrilled because obviously it shows that the support is still there. At the end of the day, the industry, at the level that’s she’s at and the calibre of people she has worked with, they respect her. Catherine McNeil is iconic for her generation. As a model, she will always be remembered for that and people at the top level of this business appreciate and respect the hard work that she’s put in for them. She’s worked her ass off for this business, she’s travelled the world non stop. On the back of Gemma Ward she helped put us on the map and maybe she had a moment where she wanted to take some time out.
"Life is a rollercoaster and these girls go through so much, they’re worked to the bone. Some burn out or fade out and are never heard of again. Or they do have some fire in their belly and they come back bigger and better than ever before. And in the case of Catherine McNeil, that’s what it’s going to be”.
McNeil and Australian-born Wright are not Ford Models' only new antipodian additions.
Wright joined Ford a week ago after recently resigning from New York rival Elite Model Management. And she has taken a swag of Elite’s Australian highprofilers with her to Ford: Julia Nobis, Lauren Brown, Bambi Northwood-Blyth, Ruby-Jean Wilson and Emma Balfour, in addition to Canadian Kate King and American Hannah Holman.
all images: supplied to frockwriter by ford models