“I could literally live in my Nobody Denim jeans. They are very conscious about their materials and sustainability I really respect that.”

On the occasion of our interview with Jessica Gomes, the model and entrepreneur is in her comfort zone: back in Australia (Sydney, specifically, though her hometown is Perth) and wearing her most favoured uniform – a white tee and jeans, the latter by Nobody Denim. “I could literally live in my Nobody Denim jeans,” she tells. “They are very conscious about their materials and sustainability I really respect that. Also because they are Australian made. I actually used to live right near their store in Melbourne.”

Back then, her go-to for castings were the aptly named Cult Skinny jeans. But today Gomes, who has lived in L.A. for the past 8 years, is all about worn-in ease. “The ones I’m wearing” – she pauses a moment to check the tag – “are the high-rise slim fit Kennedy Jeans. [They’re] a bit ripped up and cut off but they look really good around the butt. I love a good high-waisted pair and I also love rips in the knees ... I try and put dresses on but I just don’t feel comfortable like I do in jeans and a T-shirt.” It will come as no surprise, then, that Gomes found herself right at home on our cover shoot – photographed on location in the iconic Gissing House created by architect Harry Seidler in the 70s. “In all the shots I am quite stretched out ... I loved feeling of the jeans that were more flared. More comfortable and a bit more room to move around in. I could really kick in them, stretch, jump and roll around … It was fun.”

“I think that self-love and self-acceptance honestly comes from being good to yourself.”

Gomes has been modelling since she was just 10. Nowadays she’ll tell you it’s a journey she’s proud of, but it hasn’t always been this way. “I think I did go through a period where I was like, ‘Oh I hate saying that I’m just a model’,” she remembers. “[But] it’s something that’s always been a part of me growing up [and] it completely changed my life. I have no shame in saying it now.” Self-love is important to Gomes: both as a motivation and a secret weapon. Take for example her skincare brand Equal Beauty. Much like Gomes’s aesthetic, the line is minimal and practical – inspired by a desire to provide comfort in one’s own skin. “I really wanted this brand to be for everybody ... and to feel fully inclusive. I want women and men feel good about themselves; that was the main ethos of it,” Gomes explains. “I always felt during my modelling career I really hated that feeling of being put down or judged for the way that I looked. Even though that was the industry that I was in I really wished that everyone could be a little bit more open-minded and that you didn’t have to be a certain stereotype or a label, and so that’s why I wanted to create it and make it for everybody.” The products merge Korean beauty technologies Gomes grew to love while working in Seoul with Australian active ingredients. It was important that the products also be made in Australia, says Gomes, “because I felt connected in Australia ... I really just felt safe to make it here and I identified with it naturally. “I wanted a good product, amazing packaging, good ingredients, Australian made, authentic. A reflection of me and I what I stand for. “I also do think that Australia has beautiful products ... when people see that something is made in Australia they really respect it overseas.”

From concept to creation, Gomes became well acquainted with the ups and downs of starting a business. “You learn so much … I couldn’t even specify everything if I tried ... the roadblocks and having to learn through all of your mistakes. But it’s also been amazing because I have met so many incredible people along the way.” Three years later, Gomes counts that community as key to her success, along with an unerring focus on her end goal. “I can’t tell you enough how driven I was. I remember completely making sacrifices with family and friends not being able to commit or be as close. I just had a feeling inside of me where I had to take that risk to get this done.” The strength to see it through was intensely personal – and Gomes puts it down to a coming of age. “It’s all about knowing who you are,” she says. “I think that self-love and self-acceptance honestly comes from being good to yourself.” In the time she’s been working in fashion, Gomes has felt a shift in the industry towards an appreciation of diversity. “But obviously when I was modelling [before] I really struggled in loving my body for what it was ... I feel like that moment in my life where I didn’t feel good, I just felt lost ... When I let go of all of that, when I started loving myself, actually that was when I started doing really well in my career funnily enough. “Now I know who I am. I am clear, I am certain. I know what I want. And that is just when you lock in and you click, and you have that moment where you’re like right, this is it.”

Along with her modelling work and the ongoing growth of Equal Beauty, Gomes has channeled that energy into several acting roles, and her work as an ambassador and sponsor for World Vision.

“I feel really rich in the sense of I am really doing things that I am passionate about and I love,” she says. “The charity work has really given a lot back to me; I have always really wanted to do something meaningful and it makes me appreciate everything else in my life.

“It’s so important for me to support other women, especially vulnerable women and women that have come from way less than what I have been privileged with. I feel like I need to give back in that way.

“All the other stuff is great … but that’s the kind of legacy that I want to leave.”

Photography: Tim Ashton

Fashion: Ellen Presbury for Russh Studio

Hair: Madison Voloshin

Make Up: Isabella Schimid

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