Fashion Quarterly’s winter 2016 cover star Ashleigh Good talks to Phoebe Watt about being a model, a mother, and Karl Lagerfeld’s muse.
FQ: Tell us about walking the Chanel runway, seven months pregnant, arm-in-arm with Karl Lagerfeld.
Ashleigh Good: It was a surreal moment, not just doing another Chanel show but one celebrating that I was going to be having Emily. Motherhood and the fashion world don’t always gel, so to be honoured like that, and for Karl to have made the whole collection around my dress, it made me realise these people really are my family. And for someone like Karl who is put on such a pedestal to be walking with me, just this girl from New Zealand… it’s really cool.
You were modelling just months after you had Emily, how did you get back in shape?
I gave myself two months to enjoy spending time with Emily and to let my body heal. After that I was eating healthily – no sugar, no carbs. And I also worked out with Bruce, a personal trainer at Les Mills – he was amazing. But you really need drive and determination – I’m just grateful that I had a reason to get back in shape.
What are the logistics of being a model mum?
I imagine Emily’s passport has been scanned more times than most adults. Emily has probably been on more than 50 flights. But travelling with a child is much easier mentally than travelling by yourself, especially flying to Europe or the USA from New Zealand. They’re such long, lonely flights, but having her with me it was like, ‘she’s asleep, so I’ve got to sleep’.
It’s also lovely that at the end of a day of shows I get to see her, whereas before I’d come home and be like, what do I do now? There are other perks to having a baby too, they always let me go for my fitting first, but it’s still crazy. Coping with one fashion week is tough enough, doing it with a four-month-old in tow? I don’t know how I managed that. But when you have a kid it makes everything you do a bit more worth it.
Are you inspired by other supermodel mums?
I was in Korea in May last year for the Chanel resort show and I was still breastfeeding Emily at the time, so it was really great talking with Gisele [Bündchen] who is super pro-breastfeeding. She’s kind of retired now, apart from her contracts, to be a mum and bring up her kids, and it’s nice to see that there are other women in the industry who have the same goals and standards when it comes to being mothers.
Who else inspires you?
Carine Roitfeld. She’s such a hard worker despite all the challenges she’s faced since leaving Vogue Paris. She’s made a successful magazine [CR Fashion Book], and she continues to propel people to the top – photographers and models alike. She’s certainly been crucial to my career; I wouldn’t be where I am without her. I’m always in awe of her. She was recovering from back surgery recently and she was still on the go, wearing her back brace with high heels.
How do you kill time backstage between shows?
I love talking with everyone else. It’s a fun time to enjoy your job and get to know the people you might not know outside of it. I always remember the first time I was backstage – I just sat by myself and no one came to talk to me. I don’t want anyone else to feel like that.
What beauty tips and tricks have you picked up in the makeup chair?
I’m very conscious of keeping my face clean and my skin hydrated. Having my hair and makeup done over and over again is also great because I get to test new things without having to buy and commit to them, and I’ve learned what products work for me. I love Bioderma [micellar water], which you can’t get here.
What’s a favourite look you’ve worn on the runway?
A beautiful gold dress I wore three years ago for a Zuhair Murad couture show. It was one of the first times I was ever put in a really pretty dress and I felt like
What’s been your biggest career highlight?
I was thinking about this the other day. Early on, my agent Rose [Packard-Dube] and I made a list of all the things I wanted to do as a model and at the top of the list was ‘be on the cover of Italian Vogue’. This happened in November 2013 and I felt like I’d hit the top.
Have there been any big disasters?
I’ve had a few slips on the runway but probably the hugest disasters have been where I’ve accidentally slept in before a very important shoot and arrived late. As a model that’s always a real ‘eek’ moment.
Do you feel most comfortable on the runway or in front of the camera?
I love runway, you feel this incredible adrenaline that you can’t get anywhere else. Do I feel comfortable? Most of the time. But in front of the camera is where I feel like I can really shine. Especially if I have a good team and a photographer who respects who I am as a model – we’re all different and work in different ways, after all.
What’s your secret to getting a great photo?
I don’t know if anyone else has this but I have a good side and a bad side. If I show you the left side of my face, and kind of angle my chin down a bit and look at you, then I know I’m guaranteed a good shot. But don’t tell anyone, that’s a secret!
If money was no object, which designers would you wear the most?
My fashion sense is completely sporadic. I would say Armani, a lot of Dolce & Gabbana, and definitely Chanel. And Fendi bags… and Dior. It’s really difficult to choose! That’s a few of them but don’t make me feel like I’ve left anyone out… Givenchy, Givenchy, Givenchy, for sure.
What’s a key winter purchase you’ll be making this year?
It would have to be a coat. I missed this winter season at the shows, so I didn’t get my free coat which I’m quite upset about. So I will be making a beautiful coat purchase.