Jessica Clarke has spent years travelling the world, living in London and modelling for some of the world’s biggest brands. In 2011 she was New Zealand’s first Victoria’s Secret model, and she’s also appeared on the cover of Tatler - and in campaigns for numerous local brands since returning home earlier this year.
Growing up in Palmerston North but living in London for a number of years, she’s recently set down roots in Auckland - returning home for a summer of carefree fun and to launch a new business with her friend, plant-based supplement Mother Made Mushrooms. Jess talks summer road trips, missing Pineapple Lumps, and her approach to staying mentally strong.
What brought you back to Aotearoa NZ? Covid brought me back home and I’m not mad about it. I love Aotearoa and it’s been 10 years since I’ve got the opportunity to live here again.
What does the idea of home mean to you? Laughing with friends and family. I have a tight-knit crew of 12 girls that I’m still friends with from high school, however most of us are still scattered around the globe.
Has that idea of home and what it represents changed since you have come back to Aotearoa? The Kiwi sense of humour never disappoints. We don’t take ourselves too seriously here and it’s always a laugh making fun of friends but also loving each other wholeheartedly.
What have you noticed or appreciated more about home this time around? I’ve forgotten what a Kiwi summer is like. Waterfalls, beaches, real fruit ice creams - what more could you ask for.
What did you miss most when away? Pineapple Lumps.
Zambesi dress, $795, and top, $495 (worn underneath). Nick Von K rings, $325 (right hand), and $299 (left). Stolen Girlfriends Club boots, $749.
Paloma Wool dress, $219. Nick Von K ring, $299.
Camilla & Marc dress, $2399. Stolen Girlfriends Club boots, $749. Nick Von K ring, $299.
What are your plans for this summer? Road trip.
Best thing about being in NZ over summer? We are the only place in the world still hosting festivals and concerts. Yeah boiiiii.
Where were you last summer? Canada, skiing…badly.
What’s your best holiday memory - here or overseas? Maldives was pretty special. A huge crew of our mates flew over and inhabited an island for five days. Brits on holiday man, it was magnificent.
What do you miss most about travelling? Or is it nice having forced rest! I miss seeing my mates that I met around the world. On the plus side, it is nice not wanting that one item of clothing you forgot to pack in your suitcase for a three month trip.
How often did you travel before? Every two weeks? Not very good for the bloody planet I guess.
Twenty-seven Names waistcoat, $420. Ruby jeans, $229. Zambesi scarf, $175. Anoushka Van Rijn Jewellery earrings, $129.
Hailwood made to order gown, $2800. Black Orchid jeans, $449 from Hailwood.
One Teaspoon leather jacket, POA. Kate Sylvester dress, $499.
Let’s talk about mushrooms! You are about to launch your own mushroom brand - tell us a bit more about that? It’s called Mother Made (@mothermade_mushrooms). My best friend Emily and I have recently returned back to New Zealand. Mushrooms were blowing up overseas but in NZ they were nowhere to be found.
Not Portobello mushrooms by the way, medicinal mushrooms, the kind you would frequently find in Los Angeles cafes. Mushroom latte mmmmm. We hope to launch early 2021.
Why mushrooms? What drew you guys to them? It's a natural remedy that’s sustainable for your body and the planet. We love it.
How long have you been working on the concept? Basically the whole of 2020 has been dedicated to researching and developing Mother Made.
Penny Sage dress, $490. Dr Marten boots, model’s own.
How long have you been taking mushrooms? What are the noticeable benefits you receive? Couple of years now. Because it’s natural, there are no nasty side effects. They are our secret weapon because there is a mushroom for everything. Cordyceps helps with Emily's afternoon fatigue while Reishi helps with my insomnia.
Your favourite use of mushrooms or recipe? I start my morning with a black coffee and a teaspoon of our AM blend. It doesn’t really taste like anything which is good and I can notice the difference in my mood and functionality all the way throughout the day. Em chucks the PM blend in her cooking.
Best blend? Can’t tell you our blends until they drop but I got to say - with gut, skin, hair and nails and a good night's sleep being a focus for me., our PM blend is pretty dope. ‘Best Beauty sleep ever’.
What are your other tips for wellbeing? If in doubt, sleep and water.
As someone in an industry where so much focus is paid on looks, do you need to work hard on your mind to be strong enough to deal with it? What practices do you have or things you try and incorporate into your life to stay mentally strong?
I feel like I’m the chill ‘tomboy’ type that doesn’t give it much thought, however that would be a lie as my appearance is my job and it's hard not to take notice. Most people in general like to look a certain way but with modelling I have my opinion and then everyone else’s.
For me, staying mentally strong is about embracing the basics. I feel great when I have an organised day, maybe have gone for a run, ate some healthy food and if I’m going to supplement, stay away from pharmaceuticals and choose natural.
Basics keep the world turning but I never forget to dance.
Zambesi dress, $595. Boots (in hand), model’s own.