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Gemma Ward

Gemma Ward: Australian Model and Actress

Gemma Ward went from wearing faded jeans and surf tees to becoming the latest It Girl at 16, appearing on covers of Vogue magazine and walking runway shows for Prada and Miuccia Gucci designers – as well as appearing in movies like “The Strangers” and “Black Balloon.”

On a sunny November day last year, she hailed a taxi in New York City.

Gemma Ward’s Biography

Gemma Ward was born in Perth, Australia to Gary and Claire Ward and has three siblings: Sophie (elder), Oscar, and Henry. After attending Presbyterian Ladies College and Shenton College she decided to pursue modeling; her first modeling gig was with the Pink Pyjamas campaign. From then onwards her modeling career has flourished!

Ward was successful in fashion but also desired to venture into acting, so she made her acting debut in 2008’s film The Black Balloon as well as appearing in movies such as The Strangers and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Additionally, she has modeled for several designers like Alexander McQueen and Proenza Schouler.

Ward has graced the covers of numerous magazines, such as Vogue Italia and Allure, and made regular runway appearances for Prada, Versace and Calvin Klein brands – Prada being her main one – She currently represents L’Oreal Paris as their spokesperson and campaigns models such as Hardy Brothers and Zimmermann are being executed under her watchful eyes.

Ward also enjoys surfing as an activity both meditative and grounding, often being seen catching waves around the world. She has spoken out about this passion being “meditative and grounding”.

Ward and her longtime partner David Letts live in New York City and have two children: a son and a daughter. Additionally, the couple is expecting their third child in October 2019. In her free time, Ward enjoys reading, practicing yoga, and traveling to exotic locales while taking photographs for photography projects; she has an eye for detail that helps improve her work every time.

Gemma Ward’s Modeling Career

Gemma Ward was discovered while accompanying her friend to a televised modeling competition. As soon as they saw how cute she was, they knew she would make an excellent model – they signed her to their agency after only taking several pictures and she made her first fashion week debut at just 15!

Soon, she began appearing in campaigns for Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton; becoming a regular at shows in New York, Milan, and Paris opening and closing parades. Photographed by Mario Sorrenti, Nick Knight, Craig McDean, and Annie Leibovitz she has graced the covers of numerous magazines such as American, French Chinese Australian Vogue. Additionally, she was named guest editor by Australian Vogue in 2014.

Ward has found great success as both an actress and model on the runway, film, and television. She has played leading roles in multiple films – most notably Alysa Down’s film The Black Balloon as well as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Ward is currently engaged in multiple projects. Recently, she walked the spring/summer 2016 shows for Givenchy and Calvin Klein menswear; Mario Testino photographed her for a special edition of Australian Vogue featuring iconic photos as well as Ward’s diary from show season. Additionally, Ward has graced i-D, Vogue Italia, October Vogue Thailand Cover, and December Harper Bazaar Cover; in addition to being Proenza Schouler and Alexander McQueen Brand Ambassador.

Gemma Ward’s Acting Career

Gemma Ward attended an audition for the Australian model competition Search for a Model with her friends in 2002, but did not win the contest. However, she was discovered by a talent scout from Vivien’s Model Agency who asked her to film a show reel. They were impressed by Gemma’s unique and fragile features and sent her off to New York City to begin her modeling career.

Within months, an Australian model made waves in fashion week runways and advertising campaigns for Prada, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Vera Wang, and Balenciaga; she made waves on the editorial pages of Vogue too – appearing both covers and spreads; since then she has graced more than 20 ‘New York runways’ as well as appearing on various magazine covers including American Vogue, Australian Vogue, British Vogue Paris Vogue Japan.

Gemma Ward has appeared in several films. In 2008, she co-starred alongside Toni Collette and Rhys Wakefield in the Australian movie The Black Balloon for which she won a Crystal Bear award from Berlin International Film Festival. That same year she appeared as one of three masked intruders known as Dollface in the suspense thriller The Strangers.

Ward has taken a break from modeling but plans on returning. She shares custody with partner David Letts and works on both an acting career and jewelry collection – with regular guest judge duties on cycle 10 of Australia’s Next Top Model, plus appearing as Tamara Queen of Mermaids in Baz Luhrmann’s 2011 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Gemma Ward’s Personal Life

Ward was initially heralded as this generation’s Kate Moss when she was 17 but began being dropped from fashion shows after gaining weight. To address her health concerns and start a family, Ward took an extended hiatus from modeling; but is back on the runway now, creating quite an uproar on social media with her comeback to modeling.

Vogue magazine recently published a video in which several successful models discuss their experiences dealing with body image issues in fashion. From being told they weren’t thin enough to starving themselves, each of these women has personal accounts to share about their journey in this video.

Gemma Ward recently graced Elle Australia’s cover as just one way she is using her platform to advocate for mental health. Additionally, she works closely with SEED charity that assists those struggling with eating disorders.

On The One Show, she discussed how the charity helped her deal with her eating disorder and highlighted its importance in getting help early, before it becomes an irreparable problem. Furthermore, her own experience led her to help other young people facing anorexia.

Gemma Ward’s  Net Worth

Gemma Ward was an iconic model who helped define her era. Scouted at age 14, by age 16 she had already become a global star, appearing on covers of Vogue magazine and catwalks like Prada; at its peak, she reportedly earned $3 Million annually!

After her very public romance with Heath Ledger (deceased), Australian beauty she decided to step away from modeling to focus on her mental health and healing from an eating disorder. Once feeling stronger she returned to modeling; opening the spring-summer 2015 Prada show and shocking the world with her comeback to fame.

As soon as she entered the fashion industry, her body had changed significantly and they weren’t pleased about it – yet another reminder of how harshly the fashion industry judges women when their bodies change negatively.

Ward left fashion behind in 2008 and since has found success as an actor. She made her film debut in The Black Balloon and plays a minor part in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Additionally, she and David Letts share custody of their daughter Naia.

Though her appearance at Prada’s show has drawn renewed attention to her career, it appears unlikely that she will grace another high-fashion magazine cover again. Instead, she has decided to focus on acting and is set to appear in The Last Song film later this year.


Following the fashion trends and celebrities across the globe. I love writing about inspirational figures in entertainment industry. Apart from blogging over 10 years, I work as an event host in California. Feel free to reach out for any questions. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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