Jessica Hart is one of those lucky girls who could certainly get by on her looks alone. The Australian stunner known for her gap-toothed smile has successfully conquered the worlds of both high-fashion and mainstream modeling, shooting for niche titles like LOVE and Interview, as well as for internationally known books and brands like Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. Although her modeling career has her on the fast track to “icon” status, she hasn’t stopped there.
Hart was one of the first models to embrace the world of blogging, and she started her own website where she could post her personal street style shots and interact with her fans from all around the world. Since her signature way of dressing has garnered a cult-like following, it’s only fitting that she start her own clothing line, and her label Neon Hart was picked up exclusively by Selfridge’s in the UK for Fall 2011. Jessica also has a collaboration in the works with New York-based line Pencey, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the coming months.
Somewhere in that busy schedule of hers, Jessica managed to give us a tour of one of her favorite New York City neighborhoods, the East Village, where we shot her wearing some of her favorite looks from her very own closet. Read on below for our chat with the model, who tells us all about her signature style, runway shows she dreams of walking in and one very bad-ass hobby of hers that will definitely take you by surprise. – Alyssa Vingan
Hi Jessica! What inspired you to start a blog so early on?
I did it when I started Neon Hart because the whole idea of my fashion line in Australia is that it is based around my style. It was just a way of explaining where that came from or what it was, so I’d take photos of myself and upload them. It would also help me work with the team in Australia because I’m not there all of the time and I try to be as hands-on as I can be. It helps them see what I’m wearing and what I might be doing and we incorporate that into the line.
What’s the feedback been like?
The first blog I did, I couldn’t even believe the stats. I hardly ever got a bad comment, and I would have hundreds of comments on each post. There was close to 30,000 people visiting a day. Unfortunately I got locked out of that one, so I started a new one, which is exactly the same and I still get a really good response from it. I couldn’t believe how much people drew to it!
Do you use Twitter or Facebook too?
I tweet occasionally. Facebook I just use personally.
Why did you start your line and how has it evolved and expanded?
It all just happened really naturally. I certainly wasn’t searching for anything like that. I never thought about designing or that anyone was really interested in what I wore. I was approached by the owner of General Pants in Australia and they asked me to do a line and we kind of just said, “Yeah, if it works, it works if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” It was really important to me that the line actually resembled me and I would have 100 percent say in what goes out there — I don’t want to put my name on something and have some line that doesn’t represent me.
It’s not expensive, it’s not difficult. It’s all easy to wear and you can dress it up and dress it down — it just really did well and then Selfridge’s got a hold of it and they have it exclusively in the UK now. We’re looking at a few options in the U.S. too so hopefully it won’t be long until it’s here.
What kind of girl do you envision wearing the line?
It’s young. Like I said, it’s easy to wear. It’s effortless kind of stuff. I’ve heard that most pieces work in different ways so it’s affordable. Street girls, university kids.
What kind of pieces did you aim to create?
For me it’s always about comfort. I wear Converse with everything. I wear a lot of vintage t shirts. Denim is essential. Leather. Leopard prints. That kind of stuff
Are there any designers that you are drawn to again and again?
I have a bunch of vintage t-shirts and I get them all off eBay. For denim I love Current/Elliott, Ksubi. I just kind of find stuff as I go.
Any designers whose shows you’d love to walk in?
I’d like to do Alexander Wang, although I’m really not that “look.” Isabel Marant. Balenciaga.
You’ve recently become a style icon — do you have any of your own?
Not really. Fashion hasn’t always been something I’ve been interested in. I just always dressed to be comfortable and this is just kind of what’s happened. I always appreciate anyone who is out there and fashion forward and makes an effort.
What your take on Australian style vs. NYC style?I think it’s more city by city than country by country. I think Melbourne is a lot like New York because it’s city based which I think influences people’s style. Sydney has a beach culture and is more free and more colorful I guess. I prefer the city style.
You’ve done so many types of modeling, from catalogs to swimsuit mags to really niche editorials. Do you have a favorite?
I like the edgy editorial stuff. I just shot for LOVE with Katie Grand in London and that was really cool.
What are your favorite neighborhood haunts?
I just moved so I don’t have a lot. Do you know what’s amazing? Pure Food One. It’s like all natural and raw organic vegan you name it. It’s a little bit weird actually. They have a juice bar connected called One Lucky Duck and that’s pretty awesome.
What are your hobbies outside of fashion?
Right now I’m building BMXs. I just built one and now I’m building two more. I buy the parts off eBay. They’re remade vintage 1980s racing bikes. It’s fun, it gives me something to do on the side and online shop. I’m making one for my boyfriend and my sister now!