By Georgia Hammerson

Kendal Lee Schuler practically grew up in front of flashing lenses. This beach babe advocate is jaw dropping-ly beautiful, not to mention down to earth and I haven’t even touched on her career yet. A career boasting the likes of SIR The Label and Seafolly among many international flights across the globe.

But this all-Australian sweetheart is a lot more than just a gorgeous face. Read on and you will catch a glimpse of the evolution she’s experienced from teen to young woman, and now Ryka. Big things have happened this past year for the model mum, and I’ve got a feeling this is only the start; stay tuned.

First things first, how long have you been modelling full time for now?

I’ve been modelling professionally since about 15 years old (yes I left high school to travel and model all over the world by myself) So now at 25 I’ve been working for 10 years… WOW

And how did you find yourself in the industry? How old were you at the time? 

At a young age I remember watching what probably would have been the first Americas Next Top Model series on TV with my family and I used to make my mum set up a mirror in the hallway and practice my ‘catwalk’.
From there I started entering in competitions in Cairns (where I grew up) I won quite a big competition when I was 15 in Brisbane and the prize was a contract with IMG WORLD WIDE so off I went a few months later to NYC then Paris!

model mum
model mum
model mum

So now, You’re 25, a mum, and still as ever much a model as you were before. Did you ever think it was going to be a long term career? Did you ever think you’d even be any good at it?  

Still to this day I love my work. It’s so fun working with creatives and now that I’ve been in the industry for so long many clients, makeup and hair artists have become close friends! So what’s better than being creative, working with your mates and making beautiful photos?

Circling back close to 12 months ago, you fell pregnant with long term partner Jake, what was your reaction in terms of sustaining work and the prospect of your body changing? Did you see a reaction from your clients? Perhaps you lost some but gained new ones?

I actually worked up until I was 17weeks pregnant as a ‘regular model’.. it was for Quay sunglasses. I was killing it until the afternoon hit when my bump decided to pop a little (after lunch) and I became severely tired!
From then I decided to join a pregnant agency and my regular agency Chadwick models was still on the lookout for work… it was kind of awesome as I got to work with clients like Cotton On Body which have been a client in the past, but now bring pregnant I shot their ‘Mother’s Day campaign’

model mum
model mum
model mum

Now, we have to talk about Ryka’s entrance into the world. You wrote to Instagram:

‘Our little man Ryka Lee Pedrana touched down in spectacular style at 7.03pm Easter Sunday. The brave little guy couldn’t wait for hospital and jumped straight into dads arms, on the bathroom floor at home! I couldn’t thank you more @mattyb for becoming an instant midwife . What a crazy 12 hours it’s been . We are feeling so blessed’

…what an INSANE moment for you – could you please elaborate? 

WOW what a long story but basically at around 3pm Jake and I were having a burger at The Stuffed Beaver and I started getting braxton hicks about 10 mins apart. Now I have been having these ‘fake contractions’ my whole pregnancy so I thought nothing of them and was even laughing, balancing jakes beer on my belly.

After we finished we went home where Jake was streaming the surfing to the TV and I was casually drawing.. YES DRAWING in the kitchen to take my mind and pain off things (I didn’t want to freak Jake out). 5pm rolled around and I finally tell Jake that I’m in quite a bit of pain but not to worry as I was dealing with it… within 10mins we called the midwife cause my contractions were 3 mins apart and she advised us to stay home, chill and put on a movie.

Well silly me, I did 2 loads of washing and at this point I was about 2 mins between contractions.. frantically packing for hospital then dropping to all fours and moaning like a demon cow! Then I said “omg I need to shave my vagina and wash my hair” (I had booked in for a wax on the Tuesday and this was happening on Sunday so you could only imagine).

Anyway I ended up getting through washing my hair when Jake ripped me out of the shower seeing how much pain I was in and said “WE HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW” I got out and was putting undies on when I bowed down to the gnarliest contraction ever and my waters broke.

At this point Jake had called a friend up the road asking if we could borrow his car as ours had broken down earlier that week (of course it did) so from there I said I felt like I needed to poo.. went into the bathroom and within two pushes Ryka was born – he was obviously no poo! 😀

So just a recap.. from waters braking to birth was about 2 mins! Jake got to deliver our beautiful son and our friend Matty was on the phone to the ambos! It was so traumatic but amazing all in one and I would do it all over again in a heart-beat (minus the stupid $410 ambo bill)

In somewhat perfect timing, Mother’s Day was just around the corner and you featured in the Cotton On campaign with the little one? How did that come about, had you already lined that up or was it a last minute decision?

Well yeah I had already done that campaign that they flew me to Byron for and then they approached me to post another photo of own in celebration of Mother’s Days. So a girlfriend came over and after she looked after Ryka while I took my first shower in almost 2 days we took that photo in my bedroom with my boobs leaking all over the place and still vomit in my hair! Not bad huh? 😉

model mum
model mum

Throughout the media, all celebrity mums are heavily scrutizined in their attempts to get their post-baby belly up to scratch. What are your thoughts on this? Have you felt any pressures to get back into shape and if so, do you have any advice for new mums out there?

Being a model of course I have felt the pressure to not put on too much weight during pregnancy, but to be honest, I really just let my body decided! I exercised more when I was pregnant than ever before and this was purely out of boredom. Because I wasn’t working as usual I was painfully bored and exercise was the only thing that would fill my day other than Netflix and chocolate.

So assuming you’re still going to work as a model mum, how do you think your career will change, if at all? Do you have a new outlook or approach toward the industry since becoming a mother?

At this point it’s hard to say. I’m desperate to start working again cause I bloody love what I do but I’m definitely not ready to hand Ryka over to someone to look after him! So unless I can bring Ryka on set with me, I’m not ready for that!

Say you never took up the profession, who and where would Kendal be today? 

I honestly have no idea! Like I said previously I never completed high school so I always thought modelling would be the only thing I would do! I definitely need more confidence as I’ve been whiteness to so many friends (with kids) start amazing fashion lines and business but it truly scares the crap out of me and I congratulate them more than anyone.

In saying that, what has been your career highlight? What was the “I’ve made it moment’ in your career?

I would have to say my on-going relationship with SEAFOLLY would be my biggest achievement. I shot a beautiful film for them a few years back alongside Victoria Secrets Martha Hunt in NZ and Hayman Island. They even booked me for showings when I was about 16 weeks pregnant!

Now, onto the two most infamous model inside secrets! We don’t want any bullshit – just give us the real, honest answers…none of the old ‘drink water’ a balanced diet blahhh blahh blahhh – we want the truth!

Well honestly is the best policy and in saying that I eat pretty much what I want.. but I love my Pilates and I don’t have a car in Sydney (even now with a baby) so I walk EVERYWHERE!

How do you a) gain and b) maintain a flat stomach?

I think I’ve always had a flat stomach…except for that time I moved to LA and would pretty much drive 200 meters down the road (see it’s all about walking) But I also danced and did gymnastics when I was younger so I’m gonna credit that!

And what are your top pieces of advice for clear skin?

All I use his QV for my face and Iv recently started using the moisturiser by ‘the clinic’ in Bondi junction! It’s unreal.

Lastly, throughout your career, what has been a stand out moment, a pivotal moment in your career, be it a piece of advice, an experience or someone you’ve met, can you tell us about it and why it touched/moved or impacted you.

Because I started so young and really did have to grow up fast away from my family I would have to say…WAIT!!!!!

I’ve met SO many successful models that would say the same thing! I remember meeting Miranda Kerr at a Victoria Secrets launch when I was 16 in LA and she said no matter what, hold on to your youth!

Now I don’t know if I really did take her advice but I will be passing that onto my son for sure when time presents itself!

model mum
model mum