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Tomboy walks tall

Article from: The Sunday Times

By PETA HELLARD

September 10, 2005 10:00pm

NINE months ago, Jessica Gomes was just another Perth girl doing a bit of modelling on the side for fun.

But after moving to New York on a whim this year, she is the latest WA model to have the international fashion world at her feet.

The 20-year-old shares an apartment with It girl, supermodel Gemma Ward, and counts fashion giants Victoria's Secret and Levi's among her growing list of high-profile campaigns.

It was a case of going from BMX-biking tomboy to bombshell beauty for the Greenmount-raised catwalker, who only took up modelling at her mother's insistence.

"I never thought I'd be a model. I was always looking grubby and grazing my knees riding bikes and playing with my older brother, Nathan," she said.

"Mum thought I was a bit too much of a tomboy and said, `I think you should do some modelling classes'.

"I was always just doing modelling on the side and thinking I'd go to uni, but it was only when I moved to New York that it became serious and made me realise, `Hey, I AM a model'. "

Jessica owes her exotic looks to her father Joe, from Portugal, and Singaporean Chinese mother, Jenny.

She said being chosen to appear alongside supermodels Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima and Tyra Banks in the latest Victoria's Secret campaign, shot in Miami, had been a huge shock.

"I couldn't believe it – I mean, I'm a chick from the Hills," she said.

"I never thought that I'd be in the same league as some of the top models, so it has been a real confidence boost for me professionally."

The former La Salle College student said she was incredulous about her new life.

"I can't help but pinch myself sometimes," she said.

"I was in Matsuri (a top Japanese restaurant and celebrity hang-out in New York) and David Beckham walks in and we talked and I got a photo with him.

"Or doing shows and lining up in front of me are the top models in the world.

"I sometimes can't believe I've come this far, especially growing up in an area where you don't see much fashion. A big trip for me was even to go into the city from Greenmount Hill."

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