Photo by Brad Triffitt
Montana is more than just a model in my eyes. She is my roommate, my little grom and a truly good friend. So, when I say I know more about this girl than most, you should take my word for it. I’ve seen Monty strutting for the top names in the industry, flashed by paparazzi and have styled her numerous times on set, but I’ve also had to hold her hair back when she was sick, carry her to bed, watched her spill things on her clothes more times than one would like to admit, and wiped her tears with my fingers when there were no more tissues to cry into.
Working closely with models like Montana, for so many years, has given me the impression that the life of a model is a lot like taking a ride on Space Mountain…
You dream about the experience for years and years as a kid, but when you finally get close enough to see it, it seems like there are a million other people also trying to get in on the ride. So, you wait in line for what seems like an eternity just to get your turn.
Once you do get on, it’s an incredibly frightening roller-coaster with the most stomach churning highs and lows. You get a moment of excitement, but then before you know it, it’s all over.
It’s not something I would recommend for the faint of heart…
But my Monty has a heart of gold and a stomach of iron. At the mere age of 20, she has made it to the top with a steady hand. I really admire the way Monty showed such maturity and grace getting to where she is, but of course there were some hiccups along the way.
I spent some time chatting with Monty, on the record, about where she’s been, how she got there, and what hurdles were just too high for someone like her to get over.
Interview with Montana Cox
By Sasha Benz
How did you first break into the modeling world?
I guess it all started when a little Montana was shopping in Melbourne and was asked to try out for a modelling competition. It was never something that I thought I was cut out to be but I had a swift little push from my mother, who persuaded me to try out… God knows how the tall, goofy basketballer looked walking down that first runway for Australia’s Next Top Model; and let alone how she won the damn thing! Life from there has been a bit of a blur.
What was your first memorable experience in modeling?
It would have to be on Top Model. It was the first time I had a sneak peek of what was to come (a little over the top). I was amazed by the industry and I’ve been trying to chase the dream ever since.
What was your first bad experience modeling?
I don’t think I have ever had a bad experience in Australia. It’s more overseas; you can battle with stylists saying rude things in other languages, little sly comments about weight, hungry models. I guess my first bad experience was in Milan, when I walked into my first casting ever… It was for Gucci, and apparently, to even get a casting with them is near impossible… and of course, I go in there, get asked to walk, and trip in front of everyone! My bad experiences have always got to do with an unaware perception of my limbs, more than anything else. I’m incredibly goofy!
What’s the hardest part of modeling?
It’s probably being away from home. I found I had to grow up very quickly and was thrown straight into the adult realm; making friends by going out on a limb and really having to put yourself out there. I grew up being really shy, and in the modeling world shy doesn’t really cut it, so that was a bit of a hurdle for me.
The modeling industry is kind of silly and brilliant at the same time, you just have to sort out a bit of crap to get the good… But when you get the good, it’s pretty incredible. I think the number one thing in modeling is the pressure that comes from the extrinsic. It’s not a nine to five job; it’s truly a lifestyle and you will get pressures from clients, agents, and even other models. But I’ve figured it’s just everything in moderation.
Do you enjoy traveling for work? Or do you prefer the stability of being in one place?
Yes and no… It’s that selfish saying: ‘always wanting what you can’t have’. When I’m at home, all I want to be doing is roaming the world. When I’m roaming the world, I just want to be sitting on the beach, eating a Vegemite sandwich.
Can you tell us a little bit about where you’re currently living? What’s it like to be a such a young model living away from home?
I currently reside in Brooklyn with a wonderful married couple and their French bullmastiff… makes me sound so grown up. I never, ever pictured myself living in New York and I still kind of have to pinch myself and be like: “What the hell am I doing and how on earth did I get here?”
You mentioned your mother encouraged you to try modeling; are the rest of your family supportive of your career choice?
You could say they are my number one fans. Every snippet of every paper and magazine featuring my mug has been stored, eagerly awaiting the grand kids’ approval.
Have you made a lot of friends through work, or are most of your friends separate from that world?
I have friends in cities throughout the world and that’s something I am so lucky to have at this age. I’ve found in modeling, a lot of the time it’s about the experience, the people and the place. Of course I have my best of friends in my home town but the friendships you can make whilst traveling are really something to cherish… and can also come in handy in terms of accommodation!
Do you have consistent clients, or are they always changing? Do you ever get nervous about not knowing where or when your next job will be?
I’m extremely lucky to be working with David Jones, which allows me to come back and forth [between the US and Australia]. A lot of girls can’t [travel home so often].
I know you’ve had some problems with your hair being damaged from all the work and shows, what exactly happened?
Gah, where does one start? Basically it was badly managed in terms of hairdressers and what they thought they knew and miscommunication… It’s just taught me to completely know and tell whoever you’re working with what’s going on, and don’t leave out the simplest details… EVER.
How are you dealing with it, mentally? Is it affecting your self-esteem or confidence at castings?
It’s really hard to deal with, especially [hair] being a main factor of your work. It was really hard for me to take the chop as I feel like a pretty masculine person already. I feel like it’s constantly on my mind, whether it’s in working mode or if I’m walking down the street. I never realized hair could be so traumatic!
But hair grows and that’s just another aspect of modeling: changing your look with the current times and season is something all models have to get used to!
What advice have people given you, to help restore your hair? What’s working for you?
Viviscal! Prenatal pills! Liquid Silica! Anything with good fats, like avocados, nuts, salmon… also Biotin helps.
What’s the weirdest piece of advice someone’s given you for your hair?
I’ve been told that eggs and olive oil are apparently great for making hair shiny. Be careful. That shit doesn’t wash out.
What tricks have you tried to hide the fact that your hair is damaged?
It was an ongoing situation, for a while, of me slicking it down… But in the end, it was affecting the way I could work… So just very recently we (they) have decided to cut it into a pixie cut, so it’s manageable and workable.
Best piece of advice for someone breaking into the modeling world?
I could say “be yourself” or “go with your gut”, but in the end, modeling is very transitional, so if something is going well, hold on for dear life and truly make the most out of every situation. Modeling can be short lived, but it doesn’t have to be, so my advice would just be to really strap in for a ride and just never get comfortable or complacent.
What’s the main misconception about models?
That we don’t eat?! I, for one, can assure you we do. I think you can back me up on this one. I literally gobble gobble all day!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I guess right now it would be hair! I want long, flowing, lush hair. All of you that have that, you don’t know how lucky you are!
If you weren’t modeling, you would be….?
A brain surgeon, duh. [Otherwise] studying something in media, something around the mark of cinematography… but that’s actually a good question…
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’d like to be back in Australia, maybe doing something in presenting or acting… have a white picket fence and fuck it, throw in Ryan Gosling.