Abbey Lee Kershaw Discusses Fashion, Nipple Rings and Downtime.

Twenty-Two year old Abbey Lee Kershaw wields beauty that’s as disarming as it is innocent. But don’t be fooled, beneath the cherub like visage lies a resilience that has helped the Melbourne beauty prevail over the unluckiest of missteps. And in Kershaw’s case, we mean this quite literally.

In 2008 she famously fainted on the runways of Paris – the show was Alexander McQueen’s 2009 Spring/Summer collection – the culprit was Fashion Week fatigue and a particularly tight corset. Two weeks prior Kershaw had fallen at Rodarte, a teetering victim of Nicholas Kirkwood’s vertiginous heels.

Budding models take note: those with a fear of heights or asphyxiation may want to consider alternative career paths.

Still, despite the drawbacks Kershaw persevered. Following a season that would seem career ending to some, Kershaw started 2009 by renewing her contract with Gucci and signing a new one with Gucci Flora (she would later appear in a Chris Cunningham directed video for the fragrance). In early March however, Kershaw was forced to sit out the Fall Runway season due to knee injuries. Again she persevered.

With two months left in 09, Kershaw has since appeared in shoots for Dazed & Confused, i-D, Harper’s Bazaaar, Purple, V Magazine, Korean Numéro, Italian Vogue, Japanese Vogue and an instantly iconic issue of Australian Vogue with fellow Aussie model Catherine McNeil. On the runway, Kershaw’s recent Spring/Summer 2010 season garnered praise from the fashion media with The Cut calling her ‘Milan’s top model’ and British Vogue dubbing her ‘everybody’s new favourite model’. Kershaw it seems, is back.

So read this interview as a reminder that if you fall, you best get up again – and we mean that in every conceivable way.

You are good friends with fellow Aussie super star Catherine McNeil. What kind of crazy stuff do you two get up to together? We sit around in our undies with a beer, a salad, good music and just chat and laugh.

Speaking of Cat, you guys recently did an Australian Vogue shoot where they airbrushed out both of your nipple rings. What are your thoughts on that? No thoughts really, they decided the nipple rings didn’t suit the feel of the image so they got rid of them. It’s totally understandable.

With all the fashion weeks finished how are you feeling, do you get some down time now? Fashion week was
a whirl wind of emotional ups and downs. It also takes a big toll physically as the hours are long and a lot of running around and travelling is involved. At the same time the adrenalin is exciting and it’s fun to be surrounded by all kinds of different people everyday. Down time? Not just yet, Santa brings me down time in Australia.

Where is your favourite place in the World to visit? So far, Thailand. I had an incredible one month experience travelling around. The people’s spirits are uplifting, it’s a beautiful culture and the shopping and food is insane.

How do you cope with all the traveling? Lots of movies on planes? I don’t actually watch movies on planes. I take the time as complete solitude to think and write.

Who’s your favourite photographer to work with? I don’t have one favourite. Each photographer comes with a whole different energy so each brings a unique experience.

If you weren’t modeling, what would you be doing with yourself? Covering myself in tattoos and studying art therapy.

You’ve lived in New York for some years now…What do you miss most about living in Australia? Being bare foot and my Dad’s cuddles.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Seared salmon salad with avocado, grilled eggplant and a side of mums cauliflower cheese sauce.