Gemma Ward was unquestionably one of the hottest models of the mid-aughts, walking for every major fashion house, covering nearly every international Vogue (including the model-averse American edition), and landing campaigns for everyone from Prada to Dior. In fact, she was near the top of her game when she abruptly left the industry in 2008, leaving behind legions of fans to move back to her hometown of Perth, Australia.
The “break from the media spotlight,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald in an interview more than three years later, was “spurred by” the tragic, high-profile death of boyfriend Heath Ledger. Since then, she has pursued a quiet acting career, taking small parts in movies like The Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides and the forthcoming Great Gatsby, as well as a starring stage role in the Perth Theatre Company production The Ugly One.
Now that she’s taken some time to step away from the limelight, kick off the stilettos, and bulk up her IMDb page, the 25-year-old looks poised to make a comeback, having just signed with IMG Models Australia a full decade after her modeling debut. Frockwriter reports that the move from mother agency Vivien Models, who scouted her in a modeling competition back in 2002, was finalized this week, and Ward’s photos should be up on the website sometime today.
The agency’s general manager, Danielle Ragenard, told the website that the model has made a permanent move to Sydney and her first job is expected to be in about a month’s time.
“She hasn’t worked in this market for a long time, so to make the move obviously it’s because she wants to further her career. She wants to get back into the Australian market. She’s an Australian girl and this is an important market for her and she’s looking for everything IMG can offer from endorsements to modelling to contracts.”
Ragenard had no comment as to whether Ward is planning on staging a comeback on the international stage, but at the very least we’re sure plenty of clients would be willing to make the trip Down Under to shoot with the golden girl.