Australian model Georgina Burke, 32, is undisputedly gorgeous—inside and out. And she is most definitely not afraid to speak out—about body positivity, diversity and inclusion. “I started modelling at age 17, when the fashion industry wasn’t even aware that the plus-size market was a billion-dollar untapped industry,” Georgina explains. “The industry has progressed in many ways, but there is still more work to do when it comes to size inclusivity. I believe we are on the right path.”
With more than 160K social followers, Georgina is a role model and a powerhouse brand herself, using her platform to champion diversity. These days, Georgina gets to choose the companies she aligns herself with—and Clarins was a natural fit. The iconic beauty brand has been a mainstay in women’s skincare and beauty routines for almost seven decades. But Clarins’ latest release, Joli Rouge, which Georgina is a face for, is as relevant for woman today as ever. While Clarins makeup was always formulated with skincare in mind, the Joli Rouge tagline, ‘not just a lipstick’, refers to the cleaner, greener formula, and couture-esque look.
But Georgina’s brand alliance runs deeper – it’s about Clarins’ positivity and inclusivity values, too, and setting the scene for other brands to follow. “To be working for such an iconic beauty brand like Clarins speaks volumes,” Georgina says. “It’s such an exciting time for my career. I have always believed in the power of representation and inclusivity. It really matters to the shopper.”
Here, Georgina shares her career journey, confidence tricks, beauty go-tos, changes on the horizon and what matters to her most…
MC: You proudly celebrate body diversity—and encourage others to do the same. Have you seen the fashion and beauty world’s shifting attitudes towards inclusivity?
Georgina: “Absolutely. I have to say it’s incredible to see Clarins and Australian brands embracing diversity and pushing the traditional beauty standards. This not only allows for a wider range of individuals to feel seen and valued, but it also sends a powerful message to the fashion/beauty industry as a whole.
“Having seen the likes of Ashley Graham, someone who I had modelled alongside for years, land cover after cover and become someone more than just a model, I saw then and there all the possibilities. The industry was really opening its arms to a diverse cast.
“However, we must acknowledge that there is still work to be done. There has been progress and there are still so many brands that have yet to fully embrace diversity. It is crucial for the industry as whole to continue pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. By doing so, we can create a more inclusive and representative space for everyone.”
MC: You exude a friendly, girl-next-door vibe, and a lot of that has to do with how confident you clearly feel within yourself. How would you describe your journey towards that positive headspace? What is your advice for those who may be struggling to accept themselves as they are?
Georgina: “Work, work, work. It definitely took a lot of effort and dedication to reach where I am today. It has been a journey of several years, filled with ups and downs, but I firmly believe that we are shaped by our surroundings. The people we choose to surround ourselves with play a significant role in our growth and success.
“Having been laughed out of casting rooms, having to be shot naked or have clothing cut up the back because the clothes didn’t fit, to agents telling me to gain weight. Saying… ‘the bigger you are the more money you make.’
“Having my hips measured weekly to keep contracts with brands and casting directors ‘jokingly’ suggest I eat a burger, salty food or drink wine before a shoot so my face was fuller. The list goes on.
“It sounds simple to say don’t let others define your worth. But when the people you trust and rely on are telling you these things so you can pay rent… I’m not a trust fund kid—everything you see I have worked for. You do sadly listen to these people.
“Finally, now I have the right head on my shoulders and the right management with Be Frank Group, who understands me and that’s enough take it or leave it. Book me for your campaign or don’t. Because I am not ever going to please everyone.
“For me that’s where my mental health is a top priority. Taking care of that allowed me to stay grounded and confident in who I am. Once you embrace who we truly are, unapologetically, everything else falls into place. It took me a while to realise once we are authentic and genuine, others are drawn to us, and opportunities start to unfold.”
MC: You’re based in New York, but you’ll always be an Aussie girl at heart. What are the biggest differences, loves and loathes about each place?
Georgina: “I will forever call Australia home. I have lived away from Australia for 13 years and it’s amazing how quickly time has gone. It still baffles me that I have been gone so long! Having left, I have been able to see how incredible Australia is. I realise now that I really took it all for granted. Australians are so lucky to have the ocean at their doorstep, and the open spaces.
“A few cheeky mentions: Australia has great health care versus America having experienced that first hand. Aussies may have every other scary animal, but you don’t have a rat plague on your front doorstep to contend with!
“Not to mention there is a big cultural difference in terms of the way people in the US live to work and Australians tend to work to live. New York is for sure the world of hustling. I am so fortunate to have gotten the best of both worlds.”
MC: What are your non-negotiables when it comes to looking and feeling good?
Georgina: “Self-care is the number one priority for me when it comes to looking and feeling good. This includes so many things that are so easy to look over, but I need to get sleep, eat well, stay hydrated, and physical activity, even if it’s just a walk to clear my mind and stretch my legs. Travelling to and from Australia is no joke.
“When I am home for work, I always tie in some extra time in Australia to be with the family. Now being a first-time aunty, I try to extend stays for as long as work allows. I also love to be home to ride the horses with my dad, something I grew up doing every weekend, honestly one of the hardest things I had to give up to live overseas. My family does an incredible job of keeping me grounded, I am surely not above having to muck out the stables.
“Working and living in New York means that I have to take the best care of myself. It is such a busy fast paced life I am forever living a hectic life. So, when I am not shooting in New York I am usually on a plane to another job. Staying on top of what I eat and put in my body is vital to my wellbeing as well as staying physically active not only keeps my body going, I do think that staying on top of these things is key to keeping my mental health in check as well. Which in return allows me to show up as my best.”
MC: People love following your socials, not least for your effortless and classic beauty looks. What are some of the best makeup and beauty hacks you’ve learned working in the industry?
Georgina: “Having been in the makeup chair with some of the world’s best, everyone has their own technique. However, they all make sure they highlight my best features. Let your own beauty shine through. I think that’s the key to having beautiful makeup. Less is more for skin, allowing your skin to be skin. Your imperfections and perfections make you who you are.
“One thing I stand by is never ever sleep in your makeup—no matter what, always cleanse your skin after wearing makeup. And lastly, keep your makeup brushes and make up clean.”
MC: What essentials do you never leave the house without?
Georgina: “I am one of those people who never leaves the house without makeup. I put on mascara to go to the gym, and I wear bronzer and a little mascara to the grocery store.
“When I am out and about at meetings or seeing friends, I love lipstick. Something I adopted from my aunty is [re]applying lipstick after a coffee or eating. As I usually dress in neutral colours, I love to add a pop of colour on my lips and lately, I have been adding a layer of the Clarins Joli Rouge lipstick to finish off my look.”
MC: Clarins Joli Rouge is ‘not just a lipstick’, and you are ‘not just a model’. What would you most like to be remembered for?
Georgina: “I am so fortunate that from modelling I have built up an engaged following on social media. To have such a powerful platform has made it possible to speak out against bullying, body diversity, even mental health awareness and issues. Most of all the power of believing in yourself. With this platform I do feel a responsibility to speak out on all these topics. I just hope I can be remembered not just as someone who took pretty photos but someone who pushed boundaries and gave a voice to those who needed it.”
What’s next for you?
Georgina: “I always struggle to answer this. There are so many exciting things in the pipeline that I cannot wait to share. For now, I am trying to enjoy where I am and be in the moment instead of always looking to what is next.”
Brought to you by Clarins.