Drinks with Bridget Malcolm. Photo: Edwina Pickles.
Bridget Malcolm was one of the two Australian models to land a spot in the famed Victoria’s Secret runway show this week in New York. Born in Western Australia, Malcolm has become the global face of Polo Ralph Lauren and worked overseas with Burberry, H&M, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger. I chatted with the 23-year-old about the Victoria’s Secret show, once being lead oboist in the WA Youth Orchestra, and being a passionate animal-rights activist and vegan.
Congratulations on walking in your first Victoria’s Secret show. What was it like?
Thank you! It was unlike anything else I have ever experienced, and the energy was amazing! The second I got off the runway I just wanted to do it all over again … I am still over the moon and can’t believe that just happened.
How did it come about?
Through three years of hard work. This was my third time casting for the show, and my third year of working with Victoria’s Secret as a client, so it came through knowing what they were after and going for it! I worked hard for this, and am so happy that I was given the opportunity.
How did you find out you had been cast for the show?
I was in a van somewhere in Colorado with my fiance’s band on tour. I had dodgy service and it kept dropping out – but my manager got the message across.
How did it feel when you found out you had been cast?
I was beyond excited … I was shaking, and a little choked up. Just so excited. And a little shocked, like: “They want me?”
Are you friends with the other girls in the show?
Yes! Vita from Russia is also walking for the first time and we have been friends for a while; as well as [Australian model] Shanina Shaik . Most of the other girls I have met or worked with along the way – all very lovely kind girls.
What were you most excited about walking for Victoria’s Secret?
Being able to smile on the runway! You rarely get to do that for other fashion shows; this is one of the few shows where you can have fun and let your personality shine. And also the after-party. Champagne and chocolate!
Do you have a special fitness regime when preparing for the show?
Oh yes. Throughout the year I always stick to a regular fitness regime, but leading up to the show I increased my workouts to twice a day. It’s been intense, but totally worth it.
Did you always want to be a model when you were younger?
Never. The thought of modelling never even crossed my mind. I was a strange looking adolescent with other interests.
How were you discovered?
In the street in Perth during the Perth Fashion Festival.
What is it like living in New York?
New York is such an amazing place; I love to come home to it, and I also love to leave it. I have been here for seven years on and off and it really is home; [there’s] always something for your interests, you just need to be able to let the energy not drain you.
Ralph Lauren has made you the global face of Polo Ralph Lauren for the past three seasons. What is that like?
That is amazing! Ralph Lauren is such an iconic brand, and they are such a lovely, close-knit family over there. Another dream come true – I love the whole Polo vibe, very my style, and so each shoot with them feels easy and fun. I’m extremely lucky to be a part of their family.
Before your career as a model you were the lead oboist in the WA Youth Orchestra. What was that like?
I will always love the oboe and classical music. I still play to this day, just nowhere near as intensely as I used to. Being in NYC means I have access to a lot of incredible concerts; this month I am going to see the Berlin Philharmonic play all the Beethoven symphonies! I think that learning a classical instrument so early on taught me discipline and the ability to work hard for something.
Did you have to give it away for modelling?
I did, and it was one of the hardest decisions in my life. I don’t regret it, my life has been so blessed, but it was a really hard decision to make.
You are classically trained in ballet. Did you ever want to pursue that as a career?
I love ballet – I started when I was three and quit when I was 17. I still love it, though, and go to adult classes whenever I can. It was important to me; taught me how to move and how to endure pain. No desire there to turn that into a career, though!
You are vegan. What makes you so passionate about this?
It blows my mind that people can be so blind to the impact that their dietary and lifestyle choices are having on the environment, and on their own bodies. At the rate of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, I don’t understand how people can be OK – and even proud – of their bad eating habits when they are killing themselves slowly. Not to mention how animal agriculture is the biggest destroyer of our natural world. People are so stuck in their safe habits that they aren’t interested in the world our kids are going to be living in. I highly respect people in the fashion world like Stella McCartney who makes a point of making garments with cruelty-free products. I would love one day to follow in her footsteps.
You are engaged to musician Nathaniel Hoho . Can you tell me any wedding plans?
We are getting married in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, next summer, and another wedding in Perth at the end of the year! Two summer weddings, two dresses. Very excited! I’ve been with Nathaniel for two years but we had been friends for five years before that. And then one day, we were like, “we should go out?”, and then within a week we moved in together. It was the most done-deal thing in my life, and I feel so happy about it. It’s indescribable.
What do you do for fun?
I read a lot – at least a book a week. I don’t own a TV, and wouldn’t use it if I did! I always carry a book with me in my bag – right now I have three on the go. It’s weird because I took English literature in school and it was never my favourite subject. I love Shakespeare but I hate Jane Austen [laughs]! Usually when I’m at an airport I just go into a bookstore and pick out three books, and I usually read them all by the end of my trip. Or I discover new reads by listening to podcasts, like Rich Roll. His podcasts are long, freeform conversations, and he gets some of the most interesting people on. Tim Winton is another of my favourite authors – he’s from Perth, which is my home town. I studied him in high school and just recently rediscovered him again. He sometimes makes me homesick though, so I can’t read too much of his work.
If you could work with anyone or walk for any show, who or what would it be?
Now that Victoria’s Secret is ticked off … That was my No. 1 aim all my career. I would love a beauty contract with an iconic brand like Maybelline or Estee Lauder. I also have always wanted to walk for Chanel – and shoot a cover for Russh Magazine!
WE WENT TO The FASHIONhaus by Brickworks pop-up bar, Sydney city (photo taken during Vogue Fashion’s Night Out)
WE ATE Canapés
WE DRANK Champagne
BRIDGET WORE BOSS Tux jacket and Boss top
I WORE a Carla Zampatti top and Balenciaga leather pants.