Zoe Cross is allergic to self-seriousness. The nineteen year old model is uncommonly short for the industry, but life as a mold-breaker doesn’t stop Zoe from taking the piss out of herself. The girl is slightly larger than life: when Zoe’s not eating beers or drinking McDonald’s, she’s making up weird facts, telling people she’s a professional sky diver, and dancing in unitards.
CONVICTS caught up with Zoe in Sydney and proceeded to get down at her pad and on the town. Beers were skulled, Chinese food smashed, and good times had by all. We got her words on keeping it real, shitty bosses, and the underrated power of speed dealer sunnies.
Hey hey. To start can you tell us who you are and where we’re at?
Hi I’m Zoe Cross and we’re in Sydney.
So, you’re a model, but do you call yourself a model?
I usually just make up something if someone asks what I do. I’ll say I work in an office or I skydive for a living, something random. It depends on what mood I’m in. It always feels like you’re calling yourself hot or you think you’re something. I like to make up something because there’s so many models in the world.
What about a role model? Would you call yourself that?
It’s hard to say if I see myself as a role model. I see myself as a role model in the sense that I have pushed the boundaries for someone that’s my height. It goes to show that you can do anything you put your mind to. There are girls that don’t know where to get started in the industry and I feel like if they look at me and say ‘Oh yeah she’s 5’5′ and she’s got a great portfolio,’ that’s something that I’m quite proud of. And just keeping it real.
What would you say to someone who wants to follow your footsteps?
Grab yourself a pair of speed dealer sunglasses, leotard, and a good idea because there are too many people with attitudes.
You’re pretty notorious for making the shoots fun. Does that come naturally?
The long days on set can be quite long and draining. It’s good to have someone on set that kinda amps it up and brings the vibe.
How do you stay un-bored when you’re on a shoot?
I like to put on good music depending on the mood I’m in. I try to see the positive in every shoot.
Let’s move onto some more important questions. Would you rather bring back Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen or see Trump impeached?
David Bowie, for sure.
Next super important one: what’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
This is off topic, but my friends call things ‘Zoe facts’ because I make stuff up and make it sound real. I can’t think of any conspiracy theories. What’s some crazy shit that’s happening in the world?
So much. Alright hypothetical: you’re on a small plane with 5 male models and 5 female models, one promoter and one case of tequila,and you crash on a desert island… what do you do?
Probably drown myself in the tequila.
On that note, talk about being hungover.
Being hungover fucking sucks. I literally just recovered from my last hangover. I went out the other night and I pretty much drank everything under the sun and got home at 4am and then realized at 8am that I had to do stuff all day.
What is Zoe Cross escape?
My escape is anything creative anything where I can zone out and just forget about all the life stuff and just try to focus. I go dancing for fun, I travel around the city and look at buildings.
What role does dance play in your life?
Even though I’m not necessarily amazing at it, I’ve always danced. I don’t know what draws me to it. Maybe just the fact that I’m not good at it and I want to get better at it. I like kind of taking the piss out of myself in a way. It’s just another form of expressing myself and being free and moving my limbs. You don’t think of anything. Having that flow and moving your body in ways that you never really moved it before is something that I can’t even really describe. It’s just freeing.
How did you get into modeling?
I got into modeling basically on my own. I woke up and decided that this was something I wanted to do. With anything I put my mind to I can make it happen, but it took a while. People would tell me I was too short and that only gave me more drive. I tried to make it work myself. I went to a bunch of agencies and would get knocked back but then I met with IMG they were like ‘You’ve got some personality. We wouldn’t be signing you if you didn’t have any of that.’ So that’s where it sort of rolled into something and four and a half years later I’m still with them. So it’s been really fun. It’s been an adventure.
How old are you and how old were you when you started?
I’m nineteen right now, twenty in August. I was thirteen or fourteen when I started modeling. I guess I developed quicker than others.
Have you always felt comfortable with your body image?
I never really had a bad experience with body image. I’ve always been really comfortable with my body. I’m really comfortable with myself and I think that’s a really important thing.
How do you feel about social media and how that works in your world?
I was having the conversation the other day that social media kind of happened at the wrong time with me. One of my childhood boyfriends actually told me about the app. I started uploading random stuff then more and more people starting joining the platform. Social media helped in a way because I basically grew up with it and came on the scene with it. I kinda got one up because I was there when it first started. Now it’s kinda hard for people to grow their following because there’s so many people on Instagram and it’s kinda hard to do anything. Sometimes I take a break from it and realign and center myself and not have to worry about what other people are doing? Because a lot of people get caught up in the world and people looking down on their phones all the time. I like to take a step back and remember there’s a world.
Right on. What are you stoked about in the world right now ?
Life. I love life. I’ve gotten to a place where everyday that goes by I’m learning more about myself. The past couple of years I’ve had boyfriends and been on and off in relationships. It’s kinda just good to get to a phase where I’m just doing me. I’m realizing who I am and making my own decisions and not having to ask anyone. As every day goes by, more and more of myself and my character comes out and I love it. Before, I was kinda confused-I wasn’t sure about myself and I feel like I know more and more about myself.
What are you bummed about in the world?
I don’t know. I’m not bummed about much.
What book should everyone read?
Well, if you haven’t read Harry Potter you’re an idiot but I like that book set. Men are from Mars Women are from Venus made me understand myself and growing up with four older brothers. I finally understand the difference, even though I’m pretty much a boy myself.
If you could have one toy electric guitar, jet ski, snowmobile, sports car what would it be and what would you do with it?
Probably a drum kit and I’d play the drums.
Describe the world of Instagram.
It’s a very dark deep world. You only put the best photos of yourself up and there a lot of people trying to be people on it and as time goes by I’m trying put my normal self in my image and on my public Instagram. I have a private where all my friends follow me. It’s a good kinda release to be myself. Everything you put up on the internet stays on the internet. So you kind of got to think with that attitude. But at the same time more and more of myself is coming through on that. So I feel like it’s, yeah. But the negatives of it? You can get pretty caught up in it. And always checking it. So it’s really hard to keep it real. I have to keep reminding myself that: keep it real.
How do you see your creative input?
The people I work with now like my input. I like collaborating with people on cool projects and working with brands that I actually relate to. You can work with brands that don’t actually suit your look or aesthetic or whatever you’re about. There are still clients that book me to stand in their clothes and model but maybe 75% of my clients are people that want to collaborate with me and get an insight into my life and what I do everyday. They want people that are fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. There’s so many people in the world that take themselves way too seriously. The best trait anyone can have is that they can laugh about themselves. That’s why I’m constantly doing stupid shit, cause it’s fun.
Is that what you want most in life? To do the shit you want to do?
Pretty much. Just do shit that I want to do that makes me happy. I’ll do anything as long as I’m happy. I move with the ups and downs and rollercoasters of the crazy kind of world I’m in and keep it real at the same time. But it’s always changing. It’s forever changing-that’s the best thing about it. The expectations for a working model is that they work everyday and that’s not true. Sometimes I’ll work everyday for two weeks then have three weeks where I don’t even have a job booked. So it’s about being as creative as I can be in that in-between time to balance everything out.
Do you think that’s probably the bonus to social media?
It’s like a couple of years ago, or even six months ago I’d care what I put up and what I looked like. Does my face look weird in this? Now I’m like fuck it, I don’t care. I’ve got nothing to lose. This is how my friends see me, so why can’t the world see me like this?
Do you have days where you hate what you do?
Yes, definitely. Most definitely. I wake up in the shittiest mood or go to work and someone pushes the wrong button, but I have to be professional and just push through the day. There’re some days where I fucking hate my job and there’re some days where I’m like, ‘Oh god, I know why I’m doing this.’ So, it really just depends on the circumstances and moods especially. Everyone has moods, people have good days and bad days. It’s only human.
Did you have a ‘fuck it moment’ when you realized the only thing you wanted to do was model?
Yeah, it happened so early on. I was working for myself at a young age. Started working in a juice shop and was doing modeling on the side and then I just couldn’t handle having arrogant bosses. They are power trippers, and that’s just not the way to approach people. I was continuing on with school and making a bit of money but I was still living at home. When I turned sixteen, I was really like ‘Ok I’m moving to Sydney.’ Moved in with a boyfriend. And thanks to him now, he’s what got me here. I started working more and IMG basically said ‘You have to be here if you want to get the jobs here,’ so that was it. And then after two years of living with my boyfriend, we split and then I moved in here. Then I had a real taste of reality, of doing everything for myself. I feel like that’s kind of shaped me to be the person that I am now, because it’s just me, living life, by myself, which I love.
What are you scared of?
Scared of? Well I thought I was scared of planes until I jumped out of one. So not too much. Actually my phobia is goldfish. I fucking hate goldfish. But I got a fighting fish a couple weeks ago cause I feel like that was close to a goldfish. I really wanted to get over the fear. If I have a fear, I want to get over it. Just cause I feel like I shouldn’t live life in fear. Bogan tribute. But yeah, I’m really scared of dead goldfish. Any fish is fine, but dead goldfish–I don’t know what it is, the gold, the shiny, I don’t know. Dead goldfish, I can’t handle them, they just make me want to vomit.
What’s your favorite thing about Australian service stations?
Oh easy. Just speed dealers. My favorite thing about Australian service stations is speed dealer sunnies. For sure. Hands down, 100%.
How do you feel when you are wearing speed dealers?
I feel invincible when I’m wearing speed dealers. I can do anything.
What other jobs have your held?
I worked in a fish shop for a while.
Tell me about your fish shop days.
Fish shop days. Took a bit of time off modeling because I had quite bad skin after I got back from Japan. My friends opened up a Poke Sashimi bar. I was living upstairs from it and was like ‘Hey can I come do some shifts?’ I started working there and whipping up salad bowls and whatever and that was fun. It was nice to clock off from the industry for a while and completely remove myself to the point where I was serving people that I knew who took photos, who had done my hair and makeup, I was serving them food and they were looking at me like what the fuck are you doing here. I was like, oh new me. I find with everything that I do, if I can step out for a little while and come back it’s so refreshing. That’s what keeps me going. Having all these different things going on and putting my feet in different doors and having a taste of everything keeps me grounded. Doing one thing for too long can just fuck people up, you see it. You see people slave away at their desks every day and they don’t live a very happy life. So I feel like that’s the key to happiness: always do something different and always do something that pulls you. Just go with the flow.
Last question, what do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a model?
Probably travel for a while. I’d do that anyway. Something creative, I’d like to produce my own shoots, work with cool people. Do some art, maybe make some music. I’ve always talked about being in a band, cause I like music. I used to play sax when I was younger, so hopefully take that up again. But there’s not enough time in the day. But I guess things just kind of pick up in random different parts of my life. If tomorrow I’m like ‘Hey, I want to start playing sax again,’ I’ll just play sax. So, we’ll see.
Right on Zoe. Thanks for the chat and respect on the speed dealers.