Georgia Fowler is floating on a wooden raft in the shallows off Fiji’s Nanuku beachfront resort. This is her happy place: at the beach, under the sun, and in front of the camera. With photographer Nicole Bentley’s lens pointed directly at her, Fowler ever so slightly lifts her chin and stares intently at the horizon. That’s it. That’s the shot.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Fowler is a natural before the camera. The now 30-year-old was first scouted at age 12, she signed with IMG Models at 14, and began travelling the world for shoots and runway shows during the school holidays soon after. She’s worked with Miu Miu, Prada, Chanel and Yeezy, and graced the once-coveted Victoria’s Secret catwalk three years in a row. For a Kiwi, us Aussies are quick to claim Fowler as one of our own. She’s even been compared to Australia’s most iconic model, Elle ‘The Body’ Macpherson.
Wearing only a pair of bikini bottoms and a Hermès scarf wrapped around her head, it’s not hard to see why. “I don’t know if I can take that comparison, but I’m grateful for it,” says Fowler, speaking over the phone from her home in the eastern suburbs of Sydney after returning from Fiji. “Elle came up in an era that wasn’t all about wellbeing, and she showed everyone a fit and healthy body. That’s something I really appreciate, especially now after having a daughter and thinking harder about the messages we push onto young girls.”
Fowler welcomed her daughter, Dylan, with fiancé Nathan Dalah in September last year. Motherhood, she says, has made her reflect on her own youth. “During my early years [as a model], I didn’t really love my body. It was sad. I was constantly comparing myself to other models, training really hard and watching what I ate. I was so young and gorgeous, but I would freak out about eating a chocolate bar,” admits Fowler. “It was only when I fell pregnant with Dylan that I took the walls down in my brain and began to really respect and appreciate my body. I felt so sexy, powerful, and strong. I was creating life inside me; how bloody amazing is that!?”
With this newfound respect and appreciation for her body has come a greater sense of confidence. It radiates from Fowler’s skin and sinks into the sand with every precise movement she makes posing on the beach. The confidence doesn’t go unnoticed by marie claire Fashion Director Naomi Smith, who has styled Fowler dozens of times throughout her career.
“It’s clear that Georgia is very happy being a mother. There’s a quiet calm to her now,” says Smith. “There’s a reason Georgia is one of our most successful models; she’s a class act. Everyone wants to work with Georgia because she’s a lovely person – and a dedicated professional. She makes it easy.”
It’s this effortlessness that shines through in the pared back portraits of Fowler, captured by Bentley. Even though they might make it look easy, this effortlessness is the result of a close working relationship built over many years and an enormous trust between Fowler and the creative team.
“When I’m shooting with a woman, like Nicole, who I trust and I adore, I can be completely comfortable because I know they’re going to respect my boundaries and create an amazing image,” explains Fowler. “When I feel empowered, safe, and respected, I’m comfortable with nudity. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be comfortable posing topless with someone else. Just because I’ve shot topless one day, doesn’t mean I’ll do it again the next day. It’s my decision, and it really depends on the shoot and the team.”
The last time Fowler was photographed by Bentley, she was heavily pregnant with Dylan. The series of black and white shots show Fowler’s baby bump and her joyful glow. It’s a moment in time, captured forever. Two weeks after the pregnancy shoot, Fowler gave birth to her baby girl. Now a year later, she’s posing for Bentley again in her first international shoot away from her daughter.
“I wouldn’t push modelling [on Dylan] as a career,” says Fowler considering her daughter’s future. “I’m trying to teach Dylan the same resilience my parents taught me. I want her to be proud of herself and strong enough to use her voice and stand up for what’s right.”
This story originally appeared in the November issue of marie claire Australia.