Sam Harris on how Girlfriend Model Search helped her embrace looking different

She shares how her life has changed since becoming a finalist in 2004

Samantha Harris is easily one of Australia’s most recognisable models. 

Not only has she worked in campaigns for huge brands like Bras N Things, Miu Miu and David Jones, she appeared on the cover of Vogue at just 18 — becoming only the second Aboriginal model to so.

She’s not just a stunning face either, using her platform to help empower Indigenous Australians and raise money for charities like World Vision and UNICEF.

Sam has achieved so much in her career, it’s crazy to think that it all started right here in Girlfriend!

In 2004, she was a finalist in our Model Search, which helped launch her career at the young age of 11.

Now 28, Samantha chats with GF about how her life has changed after becoming a finalist, how it helped her embrace looking different, her biggest career highlights and more!

GF: What made you decide to apply for Model Search?

I felt that entering a reputable competition like the Girlfriend Model Search would provide the perfect platform to get into the modeling industry. Although I was very young at the time, I knew I would have the opportunity to meet the right people to help me fulfill my modeling aspirations.

GF: Do you remember the moment you found out you were a finalist? How did you feel?

When I was chosen as a Queensland finalist, I was really surprised and nervous when I had to go on stage with the other girls. When my Mum got the call to inform us that I had been selected as a national finalist, I was really shocked. It meant I would be flying for the first time in my life and I was so excited to be going to Sydney. I think my Mum and I were in so much shock that night, it felt like a dream and we just kept reminding each other it was really happening.

GF: How did you feel about the way you looked before you applied for Model Search? Did you have any insecurities?

I was always a little self-conscious growing-up and often felt like the odd one out because of my indigenous background. Fortunately, I was not bullied growing-up but always felt different. Being involved in the Girlfriend Model Search gave me an enormous amount of confidence, it taught me a lot about myself and helped me overcome my insecurities. 

sam harris

GF: Did you make any lifelong friends through Model Search?

There have been so many amazing models come through the competition that I ended up working with them on various jobs. We would share our Girlfriend experiences, which was always a lot of fun!

What are the biggest ways your life changed after Model Search?

It has taught me so many life skills, introduced me to the team who manages my career and who have always supported me during the good times and the bad but most of all the competition has taught me to believe in myself. If I did not have that, I would not be who I am today. I am very proud of what I have achieved since the competition.

What’s the most amazing/memorable experience you’ve had a model?

I have had so many experiences. I think going to NY when I was 14 and shooting for US Glamour with one of the world’s most famous photographers was definitely one of the most memorable.

What kind of places has your modeling career taken you to?

 I have been to New York, London, New Zealand, Tahiti and Europe which have all been amazing however it makes you realise how special Australia is and how lucky I am to have grown up here. My trip to the Kimberly’s last year with my mother for UNICEF was probably my favourite.

samantha harris model search

What’s been your biggest career highlight so far?

I definitely think appearing on the cover of Australian Vogue!

What does an average day look like for you?

I still do a lot of modeling work but I also work as brand ambassador for companies which involves PR, social media, shoots and attending events. If it is a workday, I normally head off to the gym early then head to a studio or location for a shoot. Campaign shoots normally take a full day and if I am not too tired or if it is not too late I will attend an event in the evening.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to girls thinking about entering Model Search?

Don’t be shy and enter! The whole experience is so much fun and fulfilling. In terms of photography be yourself and be natural.

Fancy yourself Australia’s next big model or influencer? We’re back and looking for the next big superstar in Girlfriend’s 2020 Role Model Search!  You can learn more about how to enter here! 


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