Photography by Brett Clarke
Styling by Miguel Urbina Tan
Recognised the world over, Georgia Fowler has graced the runways of Chanel, Miu Miu, Balmain, Armani, Jeremy Scott and more, has appeared on the covers of magazines like Elle, Numéro, L’Officiel and Harper’s Bazaar, in the pages of Vogue Italia, Vogue Paris, CR Fashion Book and W Magazine, along with fronting campaigns for brands like Tiffany & Co., and has even dipped her toes in television hosting. Most recently, she has joined the ranks of supermodel mums who are proving that success in the fashion industry certainly doesn’t end when you have children. For Fowler, who carries herself with a grounded authenticity born from her Kiwi upbringing, motherhood has felt like the beginning of an exciting new chapter, where the prolific model has re-found her voice, re-established her presence and is more focused than ever on building a sustainable, meaningful career. Now, on the cusp of welcoming her second child into the world, Fowler sits down with us to talk about what the future holds.
Georgia Fowler, like many models of her era, started out in the fashion industry at just 15 years old, and over the course of her career has carved out a remarkable niche in what is widely considered one of the most competitive and cut-throat industries in the world. Where Fowler differentiates herself from a number of her contemporaries is in her unique ability to straddle the realms of commercial and luxury fashion, her versatility one of the major reasons why she has enjoyed such longevity in the industry (despite still only being 31).
Another reason, perhaps, is her attitude, both in her grounded approach and in her dedicated work ethic, both qualities she attributes to her upbringing in New Zealand. “My dad, who was an athlete, taught me the importance of coaching myself,” Fowler explains, “it was about being better, doing better, trying harder, so that’s how I approach most things. I am very determined.” It has been a vital quality for Fowler, it seems, who has thrived in a space that (despite its glamorous facade) is not for the faint of heart. With fierce competition and one’s work roster heavily dependent on whether or not they fit the prevailing aesthetic trends, models must make themselves stand out for far more than just their pretty faces. “It takes real grit,” Fowler tells me, “there are so many times when I have wanted to retreat home to the safety of New Zealand but my drive kept me going.” She pauses, “In modelling, it’s easy to get a few jobs but having a long career is a different story… you have to work as hard as you can to prove that you’re more than just your looks, that you can deliver the best possible outcome and be someone that brands want to work with again.”
In this respect, Fowler has more than proved her mettle. From starting with small jobs around New Zealand to quickly being picked up by international agency IMG (the same outfit that represents Bella and Gigi Hadid, Ashley Graham, Gemma Ward, Lauren Hutton, Milla Jovovich and most of the fashion world’s most famous faces) Fowler was soon being aligned with brands like Tiffany & Co. and Chanel, featured in the pages of French and Italian Vogue, shot by industry legends like Inez and Vindoodh and fronting major global campaigns for the likes of Victoria’s Secret. Now, her resume reads like a who’s who of fashion’s cognoscenti. “Casting directors were my ‘in’ into the industry,” the model explains, “I did quite a bit of work with Anita Britton and Katie Grand, who got me my first Miu Miu show and from there LOVE Magazine and a number of other opportunities.” She continues, “Before I met them I had been a bit pigeon-holed into this role of sexy commercial model. But they saw something different and gave me my first high fashion runway. Everything else major came from that.”
“It takes real grit… there are so many times when I have wanted to retreat home to the safety of New Zealand but my drive kept me going…”
Now, with such a wealth of experience behind her, Fowler tells me that she is able to take a more considered approach with her career. This has been crucial as she has had to learn how to grapple with the unavoidable balancing act that comes with being a mother. (She welcomed her first child, a daughter, in 2021). “I absolutely love being a mum,” Fowler says, “but it’s definitely been tricker to manage big international trips with a toddler,” she pauses, “I always felt it was important to keep that balance between my work and spending time with my kids, for my own sense of identity… and so far I’ve managed it, but becoming a first-time mum, you quickly realise that you can’t do everything.”
As a result, Fowler is far more discerning about the jobs she does, and how they will fit around her life, particularly as she and husband Nathan Dalah are set to welcome their second child in a matter of months. I wonder, for someone whose appearance is so intrinsically linked to their work, how the experience of pregnancy has been, given the dramatic physical changes that are part of the process. “It has given me a new appreciation for my body,” the model confirms, before elaborating, “having been in an industry like fashion my whole life where I am so aware of how my body looks, it’s been amazing to be able to step back and go, wow it’s just working and doing what it’s meant to do.”
With the birth of her daughter, Fowler joined the ranks of renowned supermodels who have shown that successful careers in fashion don’t end with children. In fact, having a family seems to have made Fowler more laser-focused than ever before, and her work is benefiting as a result. (You only have to scan these images to see the gravitas and charisma that Fowler brings to a photo shoot, even at five months pregnant.) This shift, a move to supporting models at every stage of their lives and careers, is just one of the many ways in which the industry at large has changed in the last decade or so.
“Sometimes you’re on top of the world and other times it feels slower, and that’s okay. when Covid hit, I was so burnt out. I didn’t know that I just needed to rest and focus on myself”
The paradigm of models having to start their careers at pre-pubescence, with the expectation that they would only be offered major jobs until their mid-thirties has (thankfully) been shattered, and now, the industry is understanding more and more the power of diversity in driving fashion forward. “There has been a real extension of the age range among top models, which is just so exciting to see,” Fowler says, “It’s something I feel so strongly about. I mean, it’s irresponsible for 16-year-olds to front major campaigns directed at adult women — what is that showing society?” She continues, “For me, seeing supermodels in their 50s and 60s working and thriving is incredible. The supermodels from my mum’s generation, the models I always looked up to, are still part of the industry in a huge way, so I feel like now, more than ever before, there’s space for everyone.”
All things considered, Fowler is still at the height of her career, despite the significant success she has already enjoyed. Importantly, what her experience has afforded her (alongside an enviable resume) is the ability to speak up for what she wants, to make her voice heard in the creative process and to ride the inevitable peaks and troughs of the industry to which she has dedicated so much of her life. “Sometimes you’re on top of the world and other times it feels slower, and that’s okay” Fowler says, “when Covid hit, I was so burnt out. I didn’t know that I just needed to rest and focus on myself, and it was over that time that I met my husband and we had our daughter, so you never know what incredible things can arise when you’re not only focused on work.” It has also, the model explains, given her an inherent understanding of who she is, what her priorities are, and what she wants to represent, both in her career and in her personal endeavours.
Next year, Fowler and her family will be relocating from Sydney to New York, a city that has long been a source of inspiration for the model, and a place where she will be able to re-establish herself in the beating heart of the fashion industry. “I’ll be moving to New York with two kids, so the first thing will be getting a base and trying to settle into our new lives,” she says with a laugh. “Of course, I would love to continue working,” she continues, “but it will look very different from the last time I lived there… I’ll be taking fewer trips overseas and pushing myself to do larger campaigns so that I can still focus on what I care about.” Fowler pauses, “I want to grow my career and stay relevant but ultimately, family is everything for me right now.”
Indeed, Fowler explains that her family has (and continues to be) the most significant grounding force in her life. Her relationships with her mother and sister (with whom she talks most days), and now, her husband, daughter and soon-to-arrive son, coupled with her upbringing in our tiny, Antipodean corner of the world, has afforded her a unique perspective on the world of luxury in which she has been entrenched since teenage-hood. Their influence has served to remind her of what is really important, and has given her the confidence to remain true to who she is intrinsically. “When I was starting out, I tried to please everyone,” she tells me, “but if you absorb it all too much, you can forget who you are or what you stand for.”
When I ask Fowler how she’d feel if one day, her daughter, Dylan, expressed an interest in following in Mum’s footsteps, she laughs. “Well for starters, there would be some pretty strict rules,” she says, “and she certainly wouldn’t be able to pull the wool over my eyes.” She pauses, “but the way I was raised, I was encouraged to immerse myself in so many different sports and extracurriculars as well, and while I’d always support Dylan to follow her passions, I just want to be able to show her that there’s so much more out there, beyond looks alone.”
Armed with a powerful platform and a strong voice, and revealing that she still has a long list of professional goals that she would like to tick off from her new home in America, Fowler is entering what feels like an exciting new era. Motherhood, it seems, was just the beginning.
Hair: Daren Borthwick. Makeup: Jasmine Abdallaoui.