Jasmin Amma on Body Positivity, The New Face of Fashion, and Why She’s Reclaiming Low Rise Jeans (Yes, Really!)
If you don’t yet know Jasmin Amma’s name, there’s a very good chance you know her face.
Jasmin has graced the campaigns of some of fashion and beauty’s biggest brands, from Myer to Sportsgirl, Gorman, Mimco, Lululemon, and beauty juggernaut Mecca. But while she’s the girl of the moment, Jasmin is highly attuned to the fact that even a decade ago, that wouldn’t have been the case. “I used to go and watch runway when I was younger and I would never see somebody that looked similar to me on the runway”, she tells us, “there was always this distance between my passion for the fashion industry, and always wanting to express myself through clothes and through style.”
And that’s why today, she finds such joy in reworking trends that she once felt excluded from. Like the early noughties low-rise jeans – and before we lose you completely, you’ll want to hear the surprisingly moving reason why Jasmin is so interested in them.
We shot Jasmin in the new season by iconic Australian shoe brand Wittner, in honour of International Women’s Day. The theme this year is Break The Bias, and that’s exactly what Jasmin does. Here, we talk about her favourite way to style an outfit, why she loves being a woman, and why she’s not a fan of labels – not even Body Positivity…
You stepped into social work because you wanted to make a difference and you wanted to see a positive change. What are some changes that you’d love to see happen in our world in the next couple of years?
I’d like to see there continue to be more equality – gender equality, cultural equality, equality across all spaces. The change I’m used to sometimes is quite small, and it’s the small changes that can mean the most. So I think what I want to see over the next couple of years is those small changes continuing to happen so that we look back and go, ‘Wow, we’re not where we were before. We have grown.’Jasmin wears the Raven heel in Umber
Something that I want to see continue to happen, and this relates more to myself as a woman in the fashion industry, it’s that there continues to be that diversity and a celebration of all bodies and all people and shape sizes, cultural backgrounds, gender. It’s so important that we don’t lose sight of that over the next couple of years, specifically within the fashion industry.
I think in terms of larger social issues, it is overwhelming the number of things going on in the world, and so I think it’s important to focus on something that means the most to you as a person. I work with families and children and within that space, I want to see younger people having more access to different educational options and more variety for young people to be able to express themselves in a way that’s individual for them. I think just celebrating people’s differences is something that’s important to me.
Ten years ago, I don’t think you would have seen many models that look like you in the pages of fashion magazines. How does that impact your journey to self-love when you don’t necessarily see yourself reflected or represented?
Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be modelling or having some of the opportunities that I have had and continue to have. I used to go and watch runways when I was younger and I would never see somebody that looked similar to me on the runway. There was always this distance between my passion for the fashion industry, and always wanting to express myself through clothes and through style. I felt this distance between myself and the magazines. Actually, it helped me to become more creative, think outside the box, and I feel like I was always used to it not working for me, so I did my own thing. And what’s really cool about now is that I feel like I’m being seen more – and I know there’s a long way to go and I think it’s really important that that’s acknowledged – but teenage Jasmin would never have thought I’d be walking runways or doing campaigns.
Even though some people might think, ‘Oh, this is frivolous. It’s clothing’, there’ll be someone younger, watching the diversity in shoots and on runways and in campaigns and on TV now, and going, ‘Oh, that person reminds me of myself or that person’s different and I feel different and it’s okay.’ So, I think that’s a really important thing.
Where does your sense of self-worth come from?
It’s definitely from my family. We grew up in a really loving household and I recognise how privileged and how wonderful my upbringing was… Beauty wasn’t the focus, which is an interesting thing to say. My mum celebrated me and what I could do, and how I learned, and how I laughed, and my grandparents, my gran, in particular, celebrated me for who I am. And it wasn’t tied into how I looked. So I think there was a sense of understanding that self-love is not just external, and I say not just external, because I also do like to celebrate how I look, but I don’t always, every day, love how I look. On the days that I do, it’s nice to enjoy it.Jasmin wears Quendra in Umber
Let’s talk about body positivity because there’s some fair criticism about it which is that you don’t always love the way you look, and you don’t necessarily have to. So how do you feel about the label ‘body positive’?
I think for me, it’s just recognising that there are days when you really enjoy how you look and how you feel in your body, and there are days when you don’t. There are days when I like to remember the function of my body, and how amazing that is, and there are days when I just wake up and go, ‘Why do I look like this?’ The label body positivity to me, I don’t think it’s something that I personally found a strong connection to. I like to be positive about life. I like to be positive about my body. I like to be grateful. But I’m more than my body. I just think it’s important to not be so fixed on sayings or on labels. When you wake up and you’re just not feeling that great in your body, I think that’s okay as well.
Growing up, my mother was aware of that in a time when I don’t think it was really as spoken about. I have these memories of wanting my mum to acknowledge how beautiful or pretty I was, and she would say, ‘you’re you. You’re incredible’. Now I understand – she calls me beautiful all the time – but I learnt that that’s not the starting point. It doesn’t need to be the starting point.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
I’m really proud to be a woman. So International Women’s Day is special to me. I’m excited to be talking about and thinking about what it means to be a woman, even just right now, it makes me think about all the incredible women in my life and what they’ve supported me through, and there’s just a sense of that womanhood. The women in my life, I know I’m going to grow old with them. The girlfriends, my mum, my grandmothers, my sisters. Women are amazing. So, it’s a special day.
What’s your favourite shoe from our shoot with Wittner?
The strappy, white heels, I think they are my favourite. I love a white heel. It really pops. I’d wear them with a cute mini skirt and a fun top and a little handbag.
You’ve said that you don’t necessarily follow the rules of fashion. So what’s your go-to look?
At the moment, my favourite get is kind of nineties minimalist-inspired, I would say. I love a suit pants or slack pants and just a really simple tank top. And a chunky shoe. I like simple, but I like to keep it interesting. I don’t like to box myself in, but at the moment I’m loving simple, nineties minimalist, early two-thousands, and neutral colours, Mom jeans.
Are you going to be doing the low rise jeans?
Not the micro low rise, that’s a little scary for me! But low rise to mid is actually, at the moment, my favourite. I’m curvy, and that’s why I always say I don’t like to be told, ‘Oh, if you’re curvy, you’ve got to wear a high waist and don’t show any of your skin and make sure it’s not too fitted’. I don’t listen to that. I listen to what feels good when I put it on. And my favourite jeans at the moment are my lower rise ones that are quite straight and loose. And I feel great in them.
I’ve really been keeping ears alert to the conversations around what it means with low rise jeans coming back and the early two-thousands looks coming back, the heroin chic vibe, and how the body positivity and the size diversity can remain within that space. And I think that that’s why I like to wear what I want to wear and I don’t follow the rules. And I think that’s what’s really cool about people that have always had to exist, not within the mainstream. You know how to do it differently and you make it work. That’s what we’ve been doing for so long. So if it’s coming back, I think it’s really important for us to make sure it doesn’t take over and exclude people. It’s making sure that everyone can participate in fashion in the way that it’s moving at the moment. We don’t want to go backwards.
I’m old enough to have remembered some of this the first time around. So back then, there was never a curve model in a pair of mid to low rise jeans. And I would just think ‘Oh, it’s not even made for me’. That’s why I think inclusivity is important.
What’s been a career highlight that’s stayed with you?
One of the most memorable was the Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2019. It was the first time I’d walked a night show, and it just brought back a lot of memories of going as a teenager and watching. To be walking one of those runways, I just thought that was for skinny girls only. I had all my friends in the crowd cheering me on, and I could hear them, and we had a big party afterwards. And that was really special.