In reality few people get better with age but years after her launch issue shoot for Men’s Style, Megan Gale is most definitely one such person.
When Men’s Style launched in Spring 2003 it was Megan Gale – by then a star in Italy and fast approaching ‘household name’ status in her native land – whose face set us on our way.
The fact we return to Australia’s most accomplished model 10 years later in Spring 2013 says – let’s be honest – a lot more about her than us. While we’ve developed some distinguished crows’ feet about the eyes, a smattering of salt in the hair and some ‘character’ lines (all part of the stylish evolution of the Australian male, we should add), Megan apparently remains ageless. A wonder of nature.
She’s long since stopped stalking the catwalks but still likes to shoot for select publications [i.e. us] while remaining a David Jones ambassador, a Foxtel personality and L’Oreal’s Australia and New Zealand ambassador. Life is busy. Despite the fact she looks as good today as she did in Men’s Style #1, our conversation with Megan to mark the 10th birthday issue naturally revolved around maturity and what it means… and how a lot can happen in 10 years.
Does it seem like more than a decade since you did your shoot for the first issue of Men’s Style, Megan?
It seems about five. The last decade has flown by. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I helped launch Men’s Style.
Do you remember much about that initial shoot?
It was done in Italy when I was still living there and it was shot over two different days in two different locations – half in the studio and half in the Presidential Suite of Milan’s very famous Principe di Savoia hotel, an incredible suite. So 10 years later, with a lot changed in my personal and my public life, it was great to come back and work for the magazine again, and a complete honour to be asked.
Are you the same person as 10 years ago?
In essence I feel I’m the same person but obviously in a period of 10 years a lot of life experiences happen that shape and change and grow you. I couldn’t say I’m an exact replica of myself, just as 10 years ago I wasn’t the same as my 18-year-old self. The core of who you are as a person – as long as you try and preserve it – stays the same, but there’s something to be said for being older and wiser.
If she could, what would Megan today tell Megan of 2003?
Of course there are certain things that happen in life that you’d like to zip back in time and forewarn yourself about but then again, I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason, fate, whatever. So going back in time to tell myself certain things would change that path and I feel I’m meant to be where I am right now, for better or for worse.
And in many ways, your unconventional path through modelling was probably a better teacher anyway…
My path was definitely the less traditional path and I believe – without patting myself on the back – definitely a harder path. I would look at other girls who were the same age as me getting covers of Vogue and stints in New York… I never got resentful about it but I kind of scratched my head and wondered why it was so effortless for them when I felt I was putting in just as much work, and was just as passionate and committed. Even after that turning point in my career when I went to Italy, that was after five years of really hard slog here and not getting anywhere. There’s something to be said for having to work hard for what you achieve. I’m still doing that… even now things don’t necessarily happen easily and effortlessly for me. But you appreciate it more that way.
How well do you manage commitments with just living life?
It can be a juggling act when you’re wearing many hats. I’m someone who’s very much a yes person and have been for many years. It breaks my heart and makes me feel sick to say no to people. But sometimes I just need to say, ‘I need to go back to Perth and see my family’, or ‘I need to see my partner because I haven’t seen him for two weeks’, or ‘I need to turn my phone off and just lay on the couch for three days.’ In the past it would be ‘yes yes yes’, whereas now I’ve learnt to say ‘no’.
You describe yourself as a gypsy but is there a domestic goddess lurking within who would like to stay at home a bit more?
One hundred per cent. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved travelling and seeing the world. The list is endless of the crazy and amazing things I’ve done and seen and I wouldn’t change it for the world. That said, because I haven’t experienced the alternative I do yearn for it. I still want to be a gypsy and travel but I want it to be at my choosing so I can find a balance between the two. I do love being at home and I love cooking. My bloke [Carlton AFL player Sean Hampson] is not a bad cook but I’m definitely more the cook and one of our great things to do after I’ve been away is just chat in the kitchen while cooking…
Have your priorities changed much?
I’ve definitely made my career a priority since my early 20s so for 15 years now through my own sheer will of wanting to. But you make a lot of personal sacrifices. You’re away from home a lot, you’re away from your family, your friends, your partner. I’m happy I made those sacrifices, but you do get to a point where your priorities change a bit. Work is still important, there are other things that are important, too… you start to realise that while you’ve had a great career and are very fortunate, it’s not the be all and end all.
Photography David Mandelberg
Styling Kim Payne