Australian model Olivia Thornton debuts on the international runway
Just three years ago, Olivia Thornton was unknown. Today, she’s walking for some of the most prominent designers in the industry. Vogue meets the Queensland native who’s making her mark on the world stage.
Olivia Thornton was discovered on the Gold Coast at the end of 2009, and after only having appeared in two fashion weeks in Australia – “My first Australian Fashion Week I was still in school so it wasn’t even a proper one, I flew down for a couple days and then went home!” she says – has already made the jump to the international show circuit. See what she has to say about her rapid rise in the industry.
What’s the moment that’s summed up fashion season so far?
Probably doing the shows here in Paris because it was the culmination of all my efforts and tiredness and exhaustion. And it was cool being in the line up with some of the top girls.
What was your favourite show?
Either Mary Katrantzou in London or Thierry Mugler – I would probably say Mugler because it was such a good line-up of girls and a fantastic collection, as always.
How does it feel to be doing all these big shows overseas, especially Mugler?
I think when you’re going to fashion week you always have the thought in the back of your mind like, “Oh you know, there are so many girls and so many beautiful faces, why would they book me?” [So] it was definitely a massive honour, it was really, really exciting to be in that show and I’ve kind of followed his work for a long, long time so… yeah. It was really exciting.
What do you always have in your bag during fashion week?
Trail mix and my iPod – apart from the essentials like phone and wallet and stuff.
How do you kill time backstage?
If I have friends in the shows, we’ll hang out and chat but if I’m by myself I usually read, or write, or draw or listen to my iPod.
Your favourite thing about being a model?
Definitely travelling and the people I get to meet. I met my boyfriend through modelling, and I’ve met girls who are fast becoming some of my closest friends.
And the worst thing about modelling – or aspects you don’t like as much?
Castings, especially during fashion week, can get kind of gruelling. And sometimes travelling – I mean it’s a good thing, but with a lack of routine and living out of a suitcase for six months at a time, it can get a little bit frustrating. But it’s all part of it.
How do you feel having made such a meteoric rise in the modelling industry, is it a bit surreal?
Um, yeah. It seems a little bit. But to me it doesn’t feel that rapid, [it more] feels like I did it step by step. But at the same time, it has happened relatively quickly [and] when I look back maybe six months ago, I never thought I’d been doing this so soon – or doing it at all.
And looking to the future, are there any brands, photographers or stylists who you’d really love to work with, in your ultimate modelling fantasies?
One thing that I’d like to do is a lot of the big shows for a fashion week. And then I guess the ultimate thing would be to book a beauty campaign – that would be really nice. Any opportunity to work with any of the big designers, and anything further than a show, like a campaign would be awesome.
Olivia Thornton / James Nelson