If you don't recognise Zoe Hoad from our first Solitaire campaign shoot with Brooke Davies, you'll probably know her from Instagram. But long before IG influencers existed, Zoe was already making moves in the modelling world.
Modelling, for the most part, is a time-sensitive job. It's been known as an industry based purely on appearance where girls start their careers as teens and end them before they hit 30. Before body positivity and self-love earned their own hashtags, having a thick skin was just as important as being stick thin.
Being part of such a historically harsh industry has wreaked havoc on the mental and physical health of young models around the world, and Zoe, like so many others, faced some trials and tribulations throughout her career under the added pressure of adolescence and dealing with other personal struggles. You can listen to this podcast for her story.
Years on, and in a new era where we are finally learning to lean in to our individuality, Zoe's become a vocal advocate for self acceptance, wholistic wellbeing, and mental health awareness. We interviewed Zoe for International Women's Day and here's what she had to say:
When you were little, what did you dream of doing or being when you grew up?
I always dreamt of being a singer or musician (Britney Spears and Nelly Furtado we’re the GOAT's in my 7-year-old eyes).
You wear so many hats; muso, model, creative, comedian, sashimi enthusiast... dare I say it... influencer. How would YOU describe yourself?
Radical sashimi extremist :’). I very much appreciate the acknowledgment of my identity crisis from such a complimentary angle!
It’s hard to ask yourself who YOU think you are, but I would describe myself as a dorky creative loon, forever trying to be poised and professional in a surface level industry.
On your path to being where you are now as a model, which woman has inspired or motivated you the most and why?
It’s a collective.
Women inspire me every day and I love the way we are moving in a direction of necessary loving change.
In my industry now, I value the rapport, the openness, the general feeling of utter safety, the overall energy. Women get women! And we keep each other safe. Meeting likeminded creative females is my favourite thing (besides sashimi).
What are you most proud of achieving?
Personally, overcoming an eating disorder. Professionally, without sounding like an absolute dag (inevitable), I'm just really chuffed when someone comments on my person in any place of effort, like work or performing.
Everyone wants to feel validated for their work, and I prefer it from a personal place rather than accolades.
How can we help young women embrace themselves and love themselves a little more?
I think the all-inclusive shift has been paramount for this generation. That wasn’t “a thing” yet when I was growing up and it’s hard to imagine rewriting history, but it would have helped me see the bigger picture if it had been.
I think acceptance of ourselves equals acceptance of each other, but I still struggle to accept myself with all the room for comparison - we lay in the bed we’ve made, but we can also always remake it!
What's the key to staying positive and present with social media being such a huge part of our lives now?
Balance. Social media has become so tied in with my work so it’s really hard to detach without feeling like I’m falling behind. But I try and remember that as long as I’m encapsulated by it, I’m losing precious time with my other loves like music and miscellaneous creative work. It’s really bloody hard and I think most people feel that weight and overwhelm.
Tell us three actions or attitudes that you think have helped you forge a healthier mindset.
1. Nobody cares what you do more than YOU do.
2. People unintentionally put their insecurities onto you. Just accept YOUR truth and be secure and confident in it. Own your individuality - that’s what's so special about all of us!
3. "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
Name some physical things that you couldn’t live without? Products, snacks, apps, accessories... tell us your secrets!
Snacks: Coconut water, matcha in the mornings, chamomile tea with manuka honey at nighttime.
Tell us something that everyone should try at least once.
Veganaise with (kosher) pickles. Don’t knock it till you try it, arright!?
We can't make any promises on that last one...