Jessica Leahy Says, “True beauty is when someone shows you generosity, kindness, or trust; it’s moments when you can think ‘wow, that was really beautiful thing to do’. Real beauty is seen in someone’s actions, not their reflections.”
Please tell us how you started your career as a model.
It was through a modeling competition and the prize was a modeling contract. My aunt told me about it and I wasn’t really interested so I put it off. Eventually my aunty convinced me enough and I entered, but only after the competition was over so I didn’t win. But I got a call a few days later telling me that they got my pictures and they would like to offer me a contract. I was stoked and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Do you feel that ‘plus’ modeling is helping to redefine beauty?
I think plus modeling is certainly opening up what the fashion industry defines as beauty. I think that more and more people who influence the world of fashion are opening their eyes to the fact that beauty goes so much further than the inches of somebody’s waist. Plus models are definitely aiding in this effort to push the industry into embracing diversity, which is a fantastic thing!
How do you define the term ‘plus’ model?
To be honest, I don’t really like the term ‘plus’ model. The actual wording just doesn’t have the best ring to it, you know? It encourages sizeist connotations, when really most of us are just healthy women totally in proportion with our height. Just like how I know many ‘straight size’ models don’t like that term. There should just be ‘models’ with two categories– ‘male’ and ‘female’. Models should represent health, beauty, and confidence!
What do you enjoy about modeling? What is it about your career that brings you joy?
I enjoy the people and the creativity they bring. No two days are the same and every day you work, you get to collaborate with all these different people bringing all this different creative energy and experience. It’s certainly not a 9-5 environment and I love that too!
Do you have any funny modeling stories you would like to share with us?
Once I was shooting at a beach and was standing on the side of a rock pool. I was posing for the photographer, there were some people around, and pretty soon, I noticed that there was a group of these young guys watching what was going on. After a few clicks I noticed the boys were starting to get a bit rowdy and were shouting and I couldn’t hear them but I was trying to focus and just zone them out. All of a sudden a huge wave hit me and pushed me into the water! The boys were trying to warn me! I guess the photographer was only looking at what was in his lens so he didn’t see either and he was so apologetic. I was fine and luckily, my mascara was waterproof!
Where you ever teased as a child?
Hell yes! Not crazy teased but I was born in Australia, moved to New Guinea when I was two weeks old and came back at about nine, and girls are mean when they are nine! They already had their clicks and I just had deal with it. Now I look back and I think of it as lucky because I had to embrace my own company, I’m fine being individual and I think it made me stronger, but at the time it was so painful! Eventually, I settled in a made some great mates that I’ve stuck with since!
What do you wish you would have known at the age of 13?
That being an individual is okay. Embrace your inner weirdo! It’s more interesting.
Have you ever suffered from body image or self-esteem issues? If so, what advice would you give to young girls and women who are currently struggling?
I think everyone goes through some issues with body image and self-esteem. I definitely have but I think that it’s good to remember that you are very blessed if you have a working body, if everything runs right then you’ve already won the jackpot, and if you’re pretty, that is a nice bonus. But looks are not everything. I came to terms with the fact a long time ago that I am not the hottest person in the world, not even close! And I may never even be the hottest person in a room and that’s ok too, because I am the only me, and I will be the best me, better than anyone else on the planet!
What kinds of pressures do you see the girls in your life facing these days? What can we as mentors do to better address these issues?
I think there are a lot of parallels portrayed by the media that the lives of young women should mirror the lives of the “celebrities” they see on “reality” TV and on glossy magazines. These parallels are unrealistic and put pressure on young women to feel like they have to look a certain way or dress in a particular brand to be successful in life. I guess there needs to more emphasis on individual journey and individual success. Young women need to know that their lives don’t need to be like it is in the magazines to be whole, fulfilling, and admirable.
Who taught you about real beauty?
My family and friends. I think it would be very hard to really give credit to someone in a magazine or on a screen for teaching you a true lesson in real beauty. True beauty is when someone shows you generosity, kindness, or trust; it’s moments when you can think ‘wow, that was really beautiful thing to do’. Real beauty is seen in someone’s actions, not their reflections.
Lipstick or Lip gloss?
Emma Kid “Scarlett”… It’s the best true red!
What beauty invention has made the greatest impact on your life?
It’s definitely got to be hair moisturizer. My hair is crazy without it!
What are your favorite beauty products?
Any Kheils product! There face washes are a complexion lifesaver! And Lucas paw-paw ointment! Anyone who has ever tried it knows it’s a revelation!!
Do you have a quick beauty tip to share with us?
Wash your face just before bed and when you get up. While you sleep, your skin excretes so much of the junk that hits your faces during the day so you have to wash it off. It will improve your complexion so much.
What is your go-to outfit?
My Swimmers. In summer, I always have a pair shoved in my bag or my car somewhere because I’m always hoping at some point in my day to hit the beach.
What are your favorite pair of jeans?
My “Cheap Monday” Blue velvet jean; I’ve worn them to death!
Where do you love to shop for clothes?
Zara. It’s a joke how well they hit my fashion taste buds!
What features do you love to accentuate?
They are kind of the ones that are too hard to cover up, my boobs and butt. I could wear a sack and you would still know they were there, so I may as well accentuate them well.
What does being healthy mean to you?
Health means having a happy stable balance in your life that suits you. It’s not just about healthy exercise and healthy food; it’s about having inner wellness also.
Do you have a favorite workout routine?
I mix it up all the time but I work out about 6 times a week. It’s not always tough and strenuous, sometimes it’s a solid walk or swim, but other times its weights or running sand dunes, which are killer! But I enjoy exercise, I feel so much better after it!
What makes you uniquely beautiful? What do you love about yourself and why?
I guess that one of the best things that I like about myself is the only thing that we all have in common, and its being unique. I am put together in such a way that no one else is. Whoever did my blueprint took the time to make me special and one of a kind.
In my purse you would find…
No money because I would have spent it, and paw paw ointment.
What are you listening to right now?
Jonsi. He makes music you can daydream to.
What are your favorite sites to visit online?
Mostly news sites and sports sites. I try to online shop but I’m too impatient to wait to have whatever I buy; the waiting is agony.
On a day off, what would your perfect day consist of?
A prefect day would be a hot day at the beach with good friends, good food, and great wine.
Is there something you have always wanted to try or learn, but haven’t yet?
I like to learn how to fly a plane. I’m not the greatest person to fly with, I question every noise and hiccup, but I think if I learned how to fly, I might be more comfortable with it.
What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
Growing up in New Guinea we would all spend our weekends at my Granddad’s coffee plantation. It was a big family affair and I would be with my cousins running through the coffee playing hide and seek. It’s a great memory.
What is Jessica’s philosophy on life?
Life is good so live it well.
*Thank you, Jessica!