The Rise Of Holly Rose Emery

Holly Rose Emery is the cupid lipped New Zealand teenager who went from being a high school netballer to one of the faces of the moment. To celebrate the launch of i-D Australia, we spoke to her about life far beyond her native New Zealand.

by Wendy Syfret
27 May 2014, 5:50pm

Photography Beau Grealy. Styling Britt McCamey.

Despite Holly Rose Emery's recent appearance, people talk about her with more interest than most Southern Hemisphere rookies. Her aforementioned transformation from girl next door to international darling has bred positive and negative attention. Much has been made of her dreamlike adolescent transformation: tripping into the fashion world on Bambi-legs with a small town smile. Her healthy life choices are constantly demonstrated across her social media and in conversation, but when you Google her, "eating disorder" is a persistent suggestion. It's hard not to be impressed by the grace of someone so young with all that whispering behind her back.

Despite this mark, she is luminous. Perhaps the most beguiling thing about Holly Rose is that even with her success, she's still the girl you'd want to sit next to on the first day of school. She's from a far away city under a star-bloomed night sky, her Instagram is punctuated with family snaps, and she's hanging out for a Crunch bar. It's a sun kissed picture of young models today: things move fast in her world, but the same technology that shows her face to the globe keeps home in her handbag.

Talking to her you're struck by how perfectly regular she is, pretty girls miss home and feel like dorks too sometimes. And no matter who you are, what 17-year-old isn't just holding out for their birthday?

Photography Beau Grealy, Styling Britt McMenamy. Holly wears jacket McQ. top Dorota. Trousers Tome. Jeans (Worn underneath) Isabel Marant. Necklace Chanel. Ring Sarah & Sebastian. [The New Issue, no. 331, Summer 2014] 

New Zealanders grow up with such a relationship to the landscape, when you travel overseas do you miss that connection to nature?
It's amazing that I never really thought about how much nature influenced my life, but even not being able to see as many stars really affects me. I do miss nature, when I go home it makes me enjoy everything so much more. I never get sick of going up Mount Eden and spending hours just sitting in nature and appreciating what Auckland has to offer.

What are your favourite things during summer in the city? 
There are frozen yoghurt vans everywhere, and street stalls selling mangos. There is nothing like fresh mango or a froyo to help with the very humid New York summer 

Do you find New Zealand models different from other girls around the world?
They all speak English and the accent (laughs). I guess they are different, sense of humour wise: New Zealanders are quite sarcastic and witty—which I love but have had to tone down. We're down to earth, very chill and we just go with the flow. We have experienced life from a small country exposed to a different way, so we just sort of take it in our stride. I find the Antipodeans all very similar characters, we're a united front.

We've got to watch out for each other at the end of the world. What are you excited about at the moment?
I am so happy they have Cadbury Creme Eggs here, but I could really do with a Crunch bar too. I am also excited about turning 18, I can't wait to walk through duty free as I enter New Zealand and buy some Veuve Clicquot in celebration 

Without Veuve Clicquot on hand, what's one thing that's guaranteed to put you in a good mood?
My standard schnauzer Dobby, she is the cutest bundle of joy in the world. I just look at her face in pictures and it instantly makes me happy.

Photography Nick Dorey, Styling Jack Borkett. Jacket Hache. [The New Issue, no. 331, Summer 2014]

A lot has been made of your weight loss, but also your athleticism—are you still an athlete?
My sport of choice was definitely netball and I get nostalgic thinking about how much fun it was. I love swimming, and at the moment I have this amazing trainer who mixes things up with boxing and strength and conditioning—it's so much fun. For me, it's definitely the people who have influenced my love of these activities and enjoyment of participation

Models aren't always as open about what it takes to be this perfect creature as you have been, do you think you'd be different if you hadn't have to work at your body? 
Yes, I feel very fortunate to be in this career because it keeps me active and has taught me so much about nutrition and being able to perform to the best of my ability. I think if I was still at home not modelling my diet and exercise would be that of a teenage girl. I would still be semi healthy, but I don't think moderation would be my biggest concern, but I would still be playing netball.

I should ask, do you ever get tired of talking about your body? 
I've never been the talker. I enjoy listening so it is strange to me to have to talk about myself. My body is boring—I don't really think there is much to say about it. I'm constantly shocked to find that people want to talk about it. 

Okay how about this: You're stuck in an elevator with a handsome stranger, what do you say to strike up a conversation?
I would probably stand there awkwardly for a while then burst out with something like "WOW, I'm hungry", or my go to line, "where are you from?" I guess you could call me a smooth operator, others would say I should stick to what I'm good at.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to own a vineyard and winery with a five star restaurant on it and a luxury resort down in the South Island of New Zealand somewhere. I would like to be an author of a novel, be a baker and own a bakery, dabble in styling, and I think that's it for now. I have always been a pretty indecisive person, but hey I'm a Gemini. 



Text Wendy Syfret
Photography Beau Grealy

Wendy Syfret
beau grealy
holly rose emery
i-d australia