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SUMMER 2014 |2015
One of Australia’s most successful
‘plus-sized’ models, Sophie
Sheppard, is living the Big Apple
dream and carving out a future
for curvy models the world over.
The 25-year-old Bicton beauty
never thought modelling would be
an option, let alone a career. But her
portfolio – featuring campaigns from
around the globe, including the
cover of Vogue Italia – attests that
she was very much mistaken.
As well as being signed
globally with Bella Models Sydney,
Wilhelmina NY, Okay Germany and
Milk London, Sophie continues
to grace campaigns in Australia,
recently fronting the Myer summer
campaign and the fashion-forward
17 Sundays. But people are taking
notice for more than just her pretty
face – her willingness to speak
out has made her an unofficial
spokesperson for aspiring plus-sized
models. “It’s about being
a role model for young girls, to show
them that you can do whatever you
want, regardless of size,” she says.
Sophie had never even heard
the term ‘plus-size’ when she was
identified on a Perth street as
a potential talent when still a Year-11
student. “Because I wasn’t a size 0, or
didn’t have the typical model body
type, I never considered modelling to
be something I’d ever do.”
After working in Perth
for a decade, Sophie was
offered a contract with Milk
Management in London.
Farewelling her family – including
brother Brad, a West Coast
Eagles player – she set off for
an international adventure, heading
to London and then New York.
There, she was offered contracts
with every agency she met with –
including Ford, which represents
some of the highest-profile
clients in the business (think
Christy Turlington and Bar Refaeli).
This led to major career milestones
including the cover of fashion bible
“It was a dream come true,”
she says of the experience. “It’s
one of those things that models
everywhere dream of – the day you
get that call – but realistically never
believe will happen.”
Sophie says high fashion
worldwide is resistant to using
models who are not stick-thin.
They may use a plus-sized model
every now and then as a “token”
but more for ”shock value” than
as a norm. However, she adds, “It’s
slowly changing, and there are girls
breaking down these boundaries
every day – so I can only hope the
industry will get more diverse as the
years go on.”
Bringing booty back
Having conquered the streets of Perth, Anya Brock’s striking,
geometric animal murals have made their way across the Nullarbor
to take the streets of Sydney by storm.
If you’ve wandered the streets of Bondi lately, you would be hard-
pressed to overlook Anya’s depictions of zebras, flamingos and girls’ faces.
Since opening a Sydney fashion store last year, her work has featured
in the streetscape and in bars and boutiques. And she says the busier she
gets, the more selective she can be. “I feel pretty happy about not having
to just take anything, which a lot of people feel they have to do,” she says.
“It’s quite a luxury.”
Anya first started gaining international recognition with her New York
debut – as a winner of the 2012 Stoli ORGNL.tv competition, which she
notes as one of her best achievements. She admits that big-scale murals
are her greatest creative ‘markers’ because they are so recognisable –
the massive zebra on a wall of Fremantle establishment Ootong and
Lincoln is a case in point.
The self-taught painter had always pictured a career in fashion.
After having her own Perth label for six years, she scored an internship
to work in London with Christopher Kane and Richard Nicoll, returning to
Perth two years later in 2011. In a light-bulb moment, she escaped all
this. “I realised I was happiest when painting, not being dictated to (by)
what everyone else expected – being able to be myself. So I was like,
‘Screw this, I’m going to paint’.”
Anya’s secret to creativity? It is all about finding a balance. “You
have to factor in time for doing your own stuff that doesn’t necessarily
get seen, but makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be commercially
viable – but it satisfies creatively.”
She finds balance in her own personal tropical paradise – the
Copacabana property that she owns in NSW. “I want to spend time there
and be surrounded by all this amazing foliage and rainforest,” she says.
Watch out for Anya’s tropical-bird depictions coming to a wall near you.
making waves here
words Christie Bosworth
and Sophie Raynor
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