Australian model Lauren Brown had her breakout runway season in February and March of 2010 when she walked for brands such as Chanel, Emporio Armani, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Burberry. That exposure, in turn, led to an editorial frenzy: she appeared in Elle, Vogue Turkey, Vogue Australia, Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, Dazed & Confused and L’Officiel, among others. Not long after, the 5-foot, 11-inch model’s career went a little quiet. The reason? “I got married when I was 21 in London,” Brown said. “I lived in London for a while, then moved back to Australia and took a break from modeling.”
Now 25 and repped by Trump, Brown said she is no longer married (but added that her ex-husband and her “are still friends and remain on good terms.”) She moved back to Manhattan’s Financial District a year ago, where she’s been living with a friend, and she’s poised to make a comeback: she just shot the upcoming campaign for Robert Rodriguez and an editorial for Creem Magazine. Though she didn’t walk in the past spring 2015 shows, she’s not giving up on runway altogether. “I’m still aiming to be successful,” Brown said. “I still wanna do the shows again and give it another go.”
WWD: How did you start modeling?
Lauren Brown: I was discovered when I was in Perth at a makeup store opening with my mom. I was really young; only 14. I didn’t like it at first. I was kind of a tomboy, and I didn’t really like getting made up. I started doing well in Australia, but then I took a break from it.
WWD: A few years later, you moved to New York and your career took off. What made you start to like it again?
L.B.: I started taking it really seriously. I came to New York when I was 20 and started doing the shows. Balenciaga was my first Paris Fashion Week show; then I did Chanel, Gucci, all of them. It took off. It was really fun. I loved it. I started making friends, I was close with my agent, and it was a whole different ball game.
WWD: What’s the modeling scene like back in Australia?
L.B.: It’s very different. There’s a lot of work, but it’s not as full-on; it’s very commercial. It’s more laid-back and easygoing. It’s a good starting point to enter the world of modeling.
WWD: Growing up, did you ever think you might have what it takes to be a model?
L.B.: God, no. I was really tall, really skinny. I was kind of a dork. I had braces, frizzy hair and was really lanky. I used to wear leggings underneath my jeans to make myself look bigger.
WWD: Can you remember some highs and lows from your breakout runway season?
L.B.: The Chanel show I walked was a big one. There was an orchestra — that was a pretty big moment. I was really into it. And I’ve met some of my best friends through this industry. But the hardest part was the long hours. I used to work with [the stylist] Katie Grand a lot, doing looks, and I would be standing in shoes for 18 hours sometimes, basically being a coat-hanger. A mannequin. It was kind of brutal.
WWD: In terms of making a comeback, do you think your time off has served you well?
L.B.: Everyone grows into themselves as they get older. I’m a lot more confident with myself now than when I was 16. When I go to a casting now, I’m a lot more together, and perhaps more charming in a way. I think that comes across as much better these days. I’ve learned a lot; just to keep going and stay strong and always move forward.
WWD: What’s the best place you’ve ever been for a job?
L.B.: You get all these amazing jobs and you’re meeting so many people. The best place I’ve been is the Seychelles, when I shot the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore (in 2011). I was there for a week, staying in this $12 million villa, and it was just incredible.
WWD: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to do on a photo shoot?
L.B.: Probably a somersault down a hill, wrapped in a sheet.
WWD: Tell me what you’ve been working on more recently.
L.B.: I’ve been shooting a lot of commercial stuff — catalogues, a few campaigns. I’ve been doing test-shoots a lot, too, kind of starting anew.
WWD: What do you like to do in your spare time?
L.B.: I’m a straight Ozzie; I love hanging out by the beach. I go to L.A. a lot, too; I’m seeing a guy there and he lives in Venice Beach. I go home a lot and I spend a lot of time in Bali. I love to cook, I love reading, I love yoga. I love hanging out with friends and drinking wine. Souen is one of my favorite dinner spots. I love oyster bars; I also love Terra Tribeca, this little Italian place. I love Mermaid Inn. I spend a lot of time in the East Village.
WWD: What are your thoughts on the state of the modeling industry?
L.B.: I think these days, they’re using a lot more older girls. And instead of using stick-thin girls they’re using girls that are more toned and beautiful, which I love. I think that’s been a great change.
WWD: What are some of your goals?
L.B.: I’d love to study psychology and nutrition. I’ll go back to school when the time is ready. I still want to model and travel the world first — but definitely one day.