From schoolgirl to covergirl

02:26, Mar 02 2009
FUTURE STAR: Even in school uniform mode, munching a healthy roast-beef sandwich, Jessica's got something special. Inset: during a glamour shoot for Miss teen Manawatu.

She wanted to be ordinary Jessica Clarke, but the 15-year-old Palmerston North school girl could be a world- famous face soon.

Tall and tanned with cute freckles and striking blue eyes, Jessica was crowned Miss Teen Manawatu last July. She signed with model agency Clyne in November and has since been called up on a whirl of modelling assignments.

In just two months she landed her first magazine cover - for Australia's Frankie Magazine - she's flown to Auckland for a photo shoot with Kiwi knitwear designer Caroline Sills and, just before Christmas, she was one of only two Kiwi models selected for a 30-strong Calvin Klein installation shoot at Sydney prison ruins Cockatoo Island.

"It's moved fast for me, but I'm not going to say 'stop'," the 5-foot-11.5 inch (181cm) Palmerston North Girls' High School student said.

Initially shy about success, she now reasons that "it's going to come out eventually".

Long-held plans to finish school and study fashion design at university are being challenged. Fitting modelling around school work and sport - A1 senior and Maori rep netball - might get harder as the academic year progresses The modelling world also is often very last minute, here today, off to Sydney tomorrow. That's what happened with the Calvin Klein job.


Jess said she was enjoying the work, but it was surprisingly hard. She was very nervous before her first big job with Caroline Sills, and the shoot took six hours.

"Everyone's looking at you and expecting you to come up with something!"

The Calvin Klein installation required her to stand completely still for two hours while invited VIPs, magazine notables and top photographers shuffled past.

Getting a first cover shoot and work with a major international designer in a matter of months is big news.

The pay's not huge yet, but "good pocket money" for a 15-year-old.

Auckland-based Clyne Management agent Marama Nicholas said it's the combination of Jessica's height, beauty and "fantastic" personality that is getting her noticed.

"The interest she's drumming up around the world is huge . . . huge potential. She's attracting a lot of international interest from designers and photographers.

"She's such an open, fresh, beautiful young woman."


Manawatu Standard