GLASS meets up with British model Gemita Samarra who shares her informed, fascinating and inspiring views with us. As well as being one of the UK’s leading sports models and competing for the UK in synchronised swimming, show-jumping and eventing, Gemita works as an actor and stunt double and plays Brea in Game of Thrones and the latest James Bond film, 007: Spectre. She is also the CE of the charity Finish Finning, a non-profit marine conservation organisation
Agency: W Model Management
How did you become a model?
I was scouted in the UK when I was 16, despite being very much against the idea to begin with as I wasn’t a girly-girl and had grown up with a very adventurous life style, either doing extreme sports with my brother or working on farms and aiming to become a top show jumper. Horses and water were very much my thing growing up, but I accepted that modelling could be a nice addition and then all of a sudden it became a whole career path for me.
Who is your favourite designer?
Uh oh! I’m not going to pretend I’m somebody else here. In all honesty I don’t really have a favourite designer. I appreciate and respect the work they do. But I have to admit I haven’t ever quite understood it. I really love designers and brands that I can relate to in another way, like G Star Raw for instance do the Raw for the oceans where they recycle plastic from the ocean to make their denim and clothes. I have a lot of time for that as I’m very, very passionate about doing things sustainably, and I know a lot of designers and brands don’t prioritise with that which is probably why I never got into it.
I have recently been shooting for Stella McCartney and I love how she works, and has a good reputation for being eco friendly. But still, being both fashionable and sustainable is extremely hard and I think that’s where I struggle getting into it.
What do you wear on your days off?
Depending on what country I’m in and what the weather is like I am usually in work out gear of some kind as I’ll train a lot throughout the day. If it’s hot, I’ll more than likely be in a bikini as I spend a lot of my free time surfing or in the water. But casually, day-to-day, I keep it relatively plain.
Although I got a pair of lovely Stuart Weitzman over-knee boots last year and I pretty much wear them with everything. I love that they can make absolutely anything dressy without any effort and they go with everything.
What book, movie or song means the most to you?
I would say, shamelessly, probably the new Point Break movie. But before you judge too harshly … it’s because I can relate massively to Bodhi (the baddy, I know..). I have a huge love for extreme sports and a huge love for giving back to the earth and if I could, I’d join him and his guys. So either that, or the movie The East. Same reasons as Point Break.
Who are your heroes in life?
I’m inspired by a lot of people bu there’s a few that really stand out to me. Shawn Heinrichs would have to be one of them, if you haven’t seen Racing Extinction yet – watch it. But also the people that have helped me grow so much as a person, like my brother and parents and my closest friends and mentors. I don’t surround myself by large amounts of people (I surround myself with animals more than humans!) but the ones I have are massively supportive and have always inspired me to go after what I want in life.
What is your present state of mind?
Extremely focussed, driven and happy. This year has been ridiculously good for work and I have some really exciting projects lined up in and outside of modelling.
What is your idea of happiness?
Having the freedom to wander and ponder, as I have always been a very independent person, so this is important to me. Things like money and superficial things have never made me “happy”.
Yes, of course they contribute and allow things to happen that make me happy, but some of the happiest times of my life have been when I have had the least amount of money and things, like when I lived full time in a tent! I’m generally a very positive and happy person, as long as I have the freedom to be myself.
How would you like to be perceived by others?
Hopefully some kind of role model for people that want to chase what they love and live life without limits. I am a strong believer in going after what you want in life, and pushing to find a way to achieve it. Either that or some kind of eco-conservationist-extreme-sports warrior.
If you were not a model, what would you be?
I have always balanced out modelling with other “careers”, like stunts and acting. I love having more than one thing, as it means I am always busy and never get bored of doing the same thing. Although, all of my jobs allow me to travel, adventure and explore the globe while trying to inspire others to do good and give back. As cheesy as it sounds.
What advice do you have for other models?
It’s great to be focused and driven and passionate about work, but don’t let it change who you are and get to your head. There is always a lot of pressure working as a model – body image obviously being the main pressure. But always always always put your happiness and health first over anything and never be afraid to say no.
I’ve seen this industry destroy people and it’s really upsetting. I always advise models to have another sideline job or hobby that keeps them grounded and true to themselves. It’s too easy to lose yourself in this destructive industry.
by Justin van Vliet
All photographs: Justin van Vliet