On the occasion of our interview with Jessica Gomes, the model and entrepreneur is in her comfort zone: back in Australia (Sydney, specifically, though her hometown is Perth) and wearing her most favoured uniform – a white tee and jeans, the latter by Nobody Denim. “I could literally live in my Nobody Denim jeans,” she tells. “They are very conscious about their materials and sustainability and I really respect that. Also because they are Australian made. I actually used to live right near their store in Melbourne.”
Back then, her go-to for castings were the aptly named Cult Skinny jeans. But today Gomes, who has lived in L.A. for the past eight years, is all about worn-in ease. “The ones I’m wearing” – she pauses a moment to check the tag – “are the high rise slim fit Kennedy jeans. [They’re] a bit ripped up and cut off but they look really good around the butt. I love a good high waisted pair and I also love rips in the knees … “
“I try and put dresses on but I just don’t feel comfortable like I do in jeans and a T-shirt.”
“In all the shots I am quite stretched out … I loved the feeling of the jeans that were more flared. I could really kick in them, stretch, jump and roll around.”
Gomes has been modelling since she was just 10. Nowadays she’ll tell you it’s a journey she’s proud of, but it hasn’t always been this way. “I think I did go through a period where I was like, ‘Oh I hate saying that I’m just a model’,” she remembers. “[But] it’s something that’s always been a part of me growing up [and] it completely changed my life. I have no shame in saying it now.”
Self-love is important to Gomes: both as a motivation and a secret weapon. Take for example her skincare brand Equal Beauty. Much like Gomes’s aesthetic, the line is minimal and practical – inspired by a desire to provide comfort in one’s own skin. “I really wanted this brand to be for everybody … and to feel fully inclusive. I want women and men to feel good about themselves; that was the main ethos of it,” Gomes explains.
“I think that self-love and self-acceptance honestly come from being good to yourself.”
From concept to creation, Gomes became acquainted with the ups and downs of starting a business. “You learn so much … I couldn’t even specify everything if I tried … the roadblocks and having to learn through all of your mistakes.”
The strength to see it through was intensely personal – and Gomes puts it down to a coming of age.
In recent years Gomes has felt a shift in the fashion industry, towards an appreciation of diversity. “But obviously when I was modelling [before] I really struggled in loving my body for what it was … I feel like that moment in my life where I didn’t feel good, I just felt lost … When I let go of all of that, when I started loving myself, actually that was when I started doing really well in my career funnily enough.
“Now I know who I am. I am clear, I am certain. I know what I want. And that is just when you lock in and you click, and you have that moment where you’re like right, this is it.”
“The charity work has really given a lot back to me … it makes me appreciate everything else in my life.
Along with her modelling work and the ongoing growth of Equal Beauty, Gomes has channelled that energy into several acting roles, and her work with World Vision as an ambassador and sponsor. “I feel really rich in the sense that I am doing things that I am passionate about and I love,” she says.
“It’s so important for me to support other women, especially vulnerable women and women who have come from way less than what I have been privileged with. I feel like I need to give back in that way. All the other stuff is great … but that’s the kind of legacy that I want to leave.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Ashton
FASHION Ellen Presbury for RUSSH Studio
MODEL Jessica Gomes @ IMG
HAIR Madison Voloshin @ Vivien’s Creative
MAKEUP Isabella Schimid