model tracker

Meet the New Girl: Ella Drake Is Frida Giannini’s Bella Di Giorno

Unless you’re a die-hard model watcher, 21-year-old Ella Drake will be news to you. Hailing from New Zealand, the newcomer signed with Next Models in 2009. On one of her first major modeling assignments, Drake flew to Milan for a go-see with Gucci head priestess Frida Giannini. The designer instantly fell in love with Drake’s peroxide beauty, and personally requested to work with Drake as she developed Gucci’s fall 2010 collection. Giannini was so smitten with Drake, in fact, that she placed her on an international exclusive for the fall 2010 shows. Soon after, Roberto Cavalli and Dsquared2 booked Drake to model for their resort collections. Click ahead to read a brief Q&A with Drake, and then visit her new model profile to see loads of on- and off-the-runway pics.

It seems like there is a shortage of models from New Zealand. How did you get discovered?
New Zealand has girls and guys overseas doing great stuff, but I suppose the number of models is relevant to our population. I was discovered initially at a shopping mall — how cliché, I know. I didn’t want to be involved at 14 so I just went about school as normal. When I began university, I was asked to join an agency again. Soon after, I realized modeling had to take priority.

What was it like growing up in New Zealand? Were you interested in fashion when you were younger?
I grew up between New Zealand and Australia, always somewhere on the beach or near a body of water. I liked the arts at school but when it came to university, I opted for graphic design and advertising rather than pursuing fashion. Now I live in Europe and am continuing to complete my studies extramurally. Although, admittedly, modeling is a full-time job, so some of my assignments run late.

You worked alongside Frida Giannini for Gucci’s fall 2010 collection. That led to an exclusive runway turn in February. What was going through your head when you walked?
I had been working with the Gucci team solidly for a week before the show, so I had time to settle in with the team, the other models, and understand the mood of the collection. Frida has an assuring air about her. She checked every detail before walking, and when she gives you the okay, there isn’t a doubt you look less than amazing.

Share with us a few of your beauty secrets.
Sleep, hydration, and family and friends to keep you in check.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any editorials or campaigns?
I’ve been working on editorials, and have just shot a bunch of look books for Gucci, Dsquared2, and Cavalli. Campaigns not yet, but six months ago I wouldn’t have imagined I’d ever book a Gucci exclusive. Who knows what’s next — it’s all a bit mysterious.

Explore other rising stars (plus all the big names) in our extensive Model Manual, featuring runway pics, glamorous editorials, model bios, career timelines, and more.

Meet the New Girl: Ella Drake Is Frida Giannini’s Bella Di Giorno