Jessica Gomes is a seasoned vet when it comes to modeling, having appeared in the past five consecutive Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, but that’s not all she wants to be known for. The gorgeous Gomes has gone above and beyond to expand her brand, and is quietly becoming an international star. From modeling to reality TV to the business of fashion and beauty, the Australian-born stunner is keeping busy and has no intentions of slowing down. I had a chance to talk with her recently and found out what the swimsuit star is up to, what her goals are, and what you can expect if you ever score a date with her. (Photo by Daniella Rech)
GD: Now that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is out, what are you focusing on the most right now? What are you up to?
JG: Yea, well I’m obviously modeling. Modeling has always been my passion, and my whole career has been based out of it. So right now I’m just concentrating on all my photo shoots. After the SI photos launch, we get a lot of new work out of it, like a lot of things happen after that. I’m actually going back to Australia to walk in the Melbourne fashion festival. I do a lot of work in Australia and also in Asia, so I’m pretty much traveling a lot in the next couple of months, to Australia and also to New York, so, it’s pretty exciting.
GD: Sounds like it.
JG: My life never really slows down. I’m always traveling, but the good thing is I’ve been able to have a month break in LA, which is where I am living right now. It’s been great chilling out before all the Sports Illustrated stuff happened, but I basically travel around modeling and shooting. I am also working on launching a cosmetics line, as a career.
GD: What’s the cosmetics line?
JG: I’m doing skincare for Asian women. It’s going to be called “S Line by Jessica Gomes.”
GD: Got it. So you’re all over the map, literally and professionally. It’s like Australia, Asia, back to America. And not just doing one thing at each place, but many things.
JG: Yeah, I feel very lucky that I get to go to these places. I have Australia, which is my home country, but also I’m half Asian, so their culture embraces me. The American culture embraces me, as well. I love living in America. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.
GD: Very cool. And you’ve been fortunate enough to be in the last five Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, too. Was there anything about this past issue that stood out as particularly special to you in comparison to the first four?
JG: Well I just feel like in this last issue, I felt much more confident and great shooting in Sydney, which is where I was born. I love Sydney, Australia. They came to me, which was amazing, and I absolutely just felt incredible this time. I don’t know if it’s because I’m more mature, this being my fifth time, but the vibe and the photographer were both amazing. And I was just excited to be back, because I had left New York a couple of years ago to live back home, and I was doing a lot of work in Australia and in Asia, so I wasn’t sure if SI would have me back because I wasn’t in American for about two years of my life. I love them so much; they are my favorite clients to work for. It’s hard to explain it, but I work with a lot of different people in this industry, and they’re just really supportive of every one of us, and treat us with so much respect. They actually care about us.
GD: That’s really nice. And speaking on behalf of men, I am thankful that they asked you back for the fifth year, as well.
JG: Thank you. I’m so happy that I have such a big supporter. Men in America in general. I was thinking about this the other day; I think men do find Asian women attractive in America.
GD: Of course.
JG: So it’s not just the blonde hair and blue eyes?
GD: No. There are beautiful ladies of all shapes, sizes, colors, hair colors; and American men appreciate it all.
JG: Good, and that’s what I love about America. You can find all sorts of cultures; it’s like Australia.
GD: Now speaking of Australia, do people here in the US have any misconceptions about Australians, or for you in particular, being from Australia but having Asian descent?
JG: It’s funny, I was just in line at the airport at LAX, and one of the security guards asked me where I was from, and I said Australia, and he said, “You don’t look Australian.” So I asked him what Australians are supposed to look like? It was a weird exchange.
GD: Is that a common response when you say you’re from Australia?
JG: I mean I grew up with racial discrimination because I grew up in western Australia, which is predominantly white, much more hillbilly than Sydney. So I was the only Eurasian girl, and always felt like a minority, and then when I started modeling I felt that even more in Australia. I was like, “Oh my god, I’m going to have to go to Asia to work,” which was fine, but now, in the last couple of years, Australia has really started to embrace and desire girls with a more exotic look. We want Asian girls, ethnic girls, girls of color, you know? What was so great for me, when I moved to America in 2004, I just felt so embraced. Like everyone said they loved my mix, and I started to get a lot of attention. So I started working here, and decided that this is my market and these are my people.
JG: I just love the New York and LA cultures so much.
GD: So the guy at the airport was expecting you to be a little more Crocodile Dundee?
JG: That’s what he said to me! He said, “I don’t know, I just picture Crocodile Dundee,” and I was like, “Yeah…totally.”
GD: (laughs) Stupid security guy. So changing subjects here, I know you’re really into fashion, and although this is a men’s site, I was wondering if you could give the Mandatory audience some advice about their style, being the fashion expert that you are. What is the biggest style mistake a man can make?
JG: I don’t like pointy shoes on guys.
GD: You mean like elf-looking shoes or something?
JG: Guys have big feet, so I don’t like pointy shoes. I don’t like too much bling either. I just like really cool, sophisticated, yet simple…sort of like A.P.C. meets Tom Ford, if that makes sense.
GD: Got it. No pointy shoes was good enough for me…gonna throw out all my pointy shoes right away.
JG: (laughs) A little point is OK, just not the really pointy ones…
GD: I know exactly what you’re talking about.
JG: When guys wear those really pointy ones, it can be scary.
GD: I actually don’t have any of those super pointy ones, I was just kidding. So you’re not offending me; it’s all good.
JG: Great. I was a bit worried about that…
GD: No, no worries. I’m hard to offend, especially about fashion. And I know that you said earlier you are launching a skincare line. That is for Asian women specifically, right?
JG: Yeah, well I’m just launching it in Korea for Korean women who want to be white. They are very different from the women in the US.
GD: I can imagine.
JG: I’m doing something that is dedicated to them. I have a great fan base there and I love Korea so I’m very excited. Even though it probably won’t launch for another year, right now I’m in the factory, I’m working with people to get it done, and it’s really exciting. I can’t wait to share it with everybody, and give back to the people who have embraced me so much.
GD: You were a pretty big reality TV star over there, correct?
JG: Yeah, I had my own TV show, called My Name is Jessica Gomes, and it actually was a show about me. They followed me around, to my photo shoots, to New York, to whatever I was doing. I spoke about fashion, modeling, and photography and…they loved it.
GD: Cool, and then you were on Dancing With the Stars over there too, right?
JG: Yes, I did Dancing with the Stars, and I came in third.
GD: Third?! Who beat you? Anyone we know?
JG: I won’t drop any names, but it was that pop star guy, and also this girl, who was an actress. I screwed up my Tango, man.
GD: Ah, the Tango did you in.
JG: Yes, the Tango did me in.
GD: Well do you think you’ll ever have the chance to compete on the American Dancing With the Stars?
JG: I’d love to do it! Would they let me though?
GD: If you keep doing your thing I don’t see why not.
JG: A lot of people don’t have that great a time, but I had the time of my life. I had so much fun, I just love dancing. Have you ever done any sort of dancing before?
GD: You know, I’m getting married in August, and my fiancé and I have been considering dance lessons for our first dance, but I don’t know…
JG: You gotta do it! It’s so much fun!
GD: Do you have any recommendations for a good first dance for my bride and me? We want it to be upbeat, but not too difficult ya know?
JG: You gotta do like a waltz or something. Or you could break out into a Tango…but you’d have to be practicing a lot! (laughs)
GD: That’s the thing. I’m definitely down with something fun, but I don’t want to look like a fool. I’m kind of afraid that even with a lot of practice, I’ll still mess it up, but I’m definitely going to give it a shot. Especially now with your encouraging words.
JG: Yeah, totally. She’ll be so happy with that, too. Dancing is such a healthy activity for the body and the soul. Once you have a routine, and you can nail it, the sense of pride is overwhelming. Very therapeutic.
GD: I believe it. OK, two more quick questions for you, for the fellas checking our site. What’s one thing that Jessica Gomes thinks every man should know how to do?
JG: Every man should know how to open the door for his woman.
GD: Ahh, chivalry.
JG: Every man should put their woman first, you know?
GD: Hey, I hear you. I agree. Now finally, what’s something that our guys should know about you, but isn’t something they can just find on Wikipedia?
JG: I love funny guys. I love funny and I love fun. I am actually a really sensitive, sweet, person. If I go on a date, I’m not an intimidating woman, but I’m super super sweet and shy. I’m just a down to earth chick from Australia. I keep it simple, I love what I do and I love modeling. I just like to have a good time and have fun, you know?
JG: All those beautiful things.
GD: Beautiful indeed. Thank you so much, Jessica!
JG: You’re so welcome, good luck with everything!
Follow Jessica Gomes on Twitter @iamjessicagomes