Model Chantal Monaghan on Naomi Campbell, Paris and naughty foods
On the rise
"Everyone thinks I'm French," laughs Chantal Monaghan over the phone. "My name is French and I can do a good accent, but that's all." It's been a busy few years for the model, whose supermodel aspirations were first documented on the 2014 Australian reality TV series The Face, so you can forgive her being too busy to learn. But with seven stints modelling for legendary couturier Jean-Paul Gaultier and walking the Armani runways, this striking 21 year old with green eyes and coffee coloured skin is one to watch.
While she jokes that her French accent might "come in handy someday, when I marry a French man, live in Paris, and have my little French babies," Chantal is quick to point out she has grander plans for herself. "I want to work as much as possible," she says, displaying a keen work ethic and love of the industry as whole. Her career has no doubt been nurtured by her former judge and coach, Naomi Campbell who has welcomed Chantal into the fold as one of her model 'babies'. And it's already working, with reports that Chantal has been invited to audition for the next Victoria's Secret runway show - an honour that almost no model would ever turn down.
Here, Yeong Sassall quizzes the model, fresh off the Myer S/S '17 runway, about career aspirations, her friendship with Naomi and life in NYC.
What was it like walking for Myer yesterday?
Well, I realised not long ago that I used to work at Myer and now I'm in the show! So it's amazing.
People would recognise you from the modelling show The Face. What have you been up to since then?
I think that was 2014, so almost 3 years ago. A long time ago! I've done a lot of shows in Europe. Like Giorgio and Emporio Armani, which is amazing and I did that twice. And then I did Jean Paul Gaultier last month for my seventh time.
I saw that, how incredible. Was that one of your career highlights?
I think so, because, I've done it seven times now. Another highlight was working with Pat McGrath and Giorgio [Armani]. Working really close to any one of these people is a dream come true.
Did you find that being on The Face helped or hindered your career?
I think it helped with my confidence. I don't think it helped me book any jobs. Because it's Australian, you know what I mean? In America, they already have their [modelling] shows. So it helped with the confidence, and it helped a lot with having a model mum near me.
I see [Naomi Campbell] a bit. We talk to each other often. And I saw her last season in Paris which was amazing to see like a familiar face and have a mum. I don't know if you saw my photo that I posted on Instagram, me sitting on her lap? It's really cute and really nice.
It's great that Naomi has kept in contact with you. She's not at all like her, I guess, reputation?
No, not at all. I think people can make things bigger than they are. I'm like, 'Eh'. She's really lovely and everyone when I'm with her everyone really loves her. She'll go out of her way and be like, "Chantel, oh my god." If you know her, you know her, and she's really lovely.
It's rare to find someone of her calibre still mentoring young models. But she's still at the top of the industry, so...
She is. I think she's going to be one of those names that stay there. I never think that, you know she's going to leave anytime soon. I never think that with her or Claudia, and Cindy Crawford. But it was a different era. And I wish we could go back to that - the '90s, the '80s.
What are some of the things that Naomi has taught you or you've picked up from her?
Never to take things to heart. Just because they don't want you, they just want a different look. It's not that they don't like you, but, you know. They want someone with lighter hair, or blue eyes. Yeah, so never take everything to heart.
Do you have any ultimate career goals?
I mean, it's amazing. I've done Dior, Gucci cosmetics, Armani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, worked with Riccardo Tisci... I mean I think one more would be Versace.
I could see you as a Versace girl.
Aw, thank you! Yeah, I would love to do Versace and Balmain. And I've done Elle and Harper's and stuff like that before and literally, I think today I achieved my Australian goal with Myer. That's an amazing thing to get and hopefully that means [I have] longevity. You know, Jen [Hawkins] has been doing it for a long time and she's such a nice person and she's so beautiful so I aspire to be like her.
What about your fitness regime - how do you stay fit?
I go to Dog Pound every day (it's a gym). I just do high-intensity workouts with my trainer, which is really good. I like it.
Do you always eat well? And are you consistent?
No way! I just eat what I feel. I love to work out, which is really good. I like to do things I can't do. I like to be good at it. So, I eat whatever. Last night I ate a whole block of chocolate in my hotel room... whoopsies. Don't tell. [laughs]
You're supposed to tell everyone you don't eat chocolate and then they feel better about not looking like a model!
It's funny, because everyone that follows me on social media says, "Your food, I don't understand, why? You eat so much." I'm like, yes, because I work out all the time.
So you obviously don't follow any particular diets?
No, I just don't eat bad every day. I don't eat like pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What's your favourite food?
Pasta. Truffle pasta. Truffle fries. Now I'm getting hungry.
What's your schedule like?
I fly back to New York tonight and I'm working tomorrow. And then I have casting all next week, and then I think I'm shooting on Thursday and Friday. So I'm just staying there. And then I'll do the whole Europe month.
Are you excited for Fashion Month or more like, 'S**t'?
No, I actually really like it. So many are people are like, 'Why? But I love the adrenalin. Even after today, I'm like, 'Let's do it again!'
How do you keep your energy levels up during Fashion Month?
Lots of coffee. I actually just bought an Nespresso maker, so I have shots of Nespresso all the time. I don't spend 10 dollars a coffee anymore.
Who are some of your favourite designers?
Versace, Alex Perry, Toni Maticevski: they're very European and Toni shows in Paris which is amazing. And obviously my favourite is Jean Paul Gaultier. Yes, seven shows - you have to love him!
What's he like in person?
I met him when I was 19 years old and it as my first casting ever. So first casting, first job, first time in Paris. And I booked it and he was right there, and I had my fitting right away. So I was like wow! He said, 'I'm so excited to meet you'.
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