She’s the top Australian model turned mogul and mum; here, Megan Gale pays tribute to the women who have shaped and inspired her…
My mum is an extremely resilient woman. She has an amazing ability to remain calm and centred even in situations that are totally beyond that. Basically, she’s got her shit together and I observed that from a very young age – I wish I was like that! Three months after my baby was born, we lost my dad. My son [River] was a wonderful comfort and healing energy for my mum, and I’ve learnt a lot from watching her with my children, and from Shaun’s [Gale’s partner] mum as well. The best advice Mum’s ever given me is to let go of things and not hang on to anything negative, and to try to appreciate life and be present. She’s always reminding me how fast time goes by and how important it is to stop and connect with your kids when they are young. Her philosophy of mindfulness actually inspired my new children’s [skincare] brand Mindful Life (available now at themindfullife.com). Mum recently moved from Perth to Melbourne. For so much of my 20s and 30s I was living interstate or overseas and I missed sharing my life with her, so to have her nearby now is special.
I remember seeing Elle on a Sports Illustrated TV special when I was 15 and thinking, “Oh my God, she’s amazing, and she’s Australian!” and, “Oh my God, that’s her job!” She was getting photographed on a beach in The Bahamas. The next year I started deportment classes because it was a thing at the time – a lot of girls at school were doing it – though I didn’t have any aspirations to become a model. But then I was approached after the graduation and thought, “Well, maybe I can be like Elle Macpherson on a beach on the other side of the world one day!” I looked to Elle for inspiration as she was one of the first models to transition from a one-dimensional clothes horse to a businesswoman. She was smart about developing her own brand and creating that as a business, as opposed to being booked to promote other people’s brands. I kept watching her as I was developing my own career, hoping that one day I could make that transition as well. You’re always told modelling has a shelf life and that you’ll expire one day, and I think she managed the evolution brilliantly.
I had the insane pleasure of acting opposite Charlize [in Mad Max: Fury Road], which is exactly as intimidating an experience as you can imagine – she’s an Oscar winner for crying out loud! You hear actors call other actors generous, and now I know what that means: it means she gave me so much to work with. It made what I did as an actor very easy because I could bounce off her and react. She just delved into that character and took me along for the ride. But beyond her acting, I find Charlize particularly inspiring because she started out as a model. Typically, people rate models as horrific actors, but she took herself off to Hollywood where she acted her butt off and smashed stereotypes. She’s also very open about what happened to her as a child [her mother killed her abusive father in self-defence] and it takes a lot of courage and balls to stand up and speak out about that. She's quite fearless and I love women like that.
This story appears in the August 2019 issue of marie claire, out now.