Model Georgia Fowler walks the runway during the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show In Shanghai at Mercedes-Benz Arena on November 20, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret)

NEW YORK CITY: Georgia Fowler is the first to admit she wasn’t an instant success. Unlike other models who landed in The Big Apple and scored overnight contracts, the New Zealand-born supermodel auditioned five times with Victoria’s Secret. But she wasn’t going to come home with her tail between her legs and pockets lined with cents. Call it that Aussie resilience (she’s half Australian so yes, we can claim her as our very own), the 26-year-old’s perseverance paid off ten-fold and this year, she’ll walk her third VS runway, and her second with wings.

I ask her then if there’s any truth to the saying, ‘If you can make it here in New York, you can make it anywhere’. “Absolutely,” Fowler replies. “It’s a real hustle in New York. It is certainly very expensive to start with but you’re also amongst the best. Everyone that you’re competing against is the top tier so if you can do it here and be at the top, you’re doing pretty well for yourself.”

Ahead of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on the Upper West Side in New York City, GRAZIA caught up with Fowler to discuss how hard this city can really be, the magnitude of the show and how this drives a well-oiled exercise and nutrition machine that must be kept stable between time zones.

Model Karlie Kloss, Adriana Lima, Georgia Fowler, Alessandra Ambrosio and Sara Sampaio pose backstage during 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show In Shanghai at Mercedes-Benz Arena on November 20, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret)
Tell me about your Victoria’s Secret casting this year? And how did it compare to your very first VS casting?

“I was kind of just as nervous if not more this year. The more you do it, the more it means so much and to get re-cast back over and over, it secures your place and shows that you did something right.”

In 2016, 1.4 billion people tuned into the show. When you think about that figure, and you think about your first ever modelling job, what feelings are conjured up?

“Wow! It is the pinnacle and it is what I’ve always dreamed of doing. Before I even began modelling, I had angels stuck on the back of my diary at high school. It couldn’t get any bigger and to be in a line-up next to such amazing models that I looked up to my whole life, it’s just… pinch me! I can’t really believe it. To be back here year-after-year, it’s surreal, I can’t even explain it, I’m living the dream.”

When you do visit home, how do old friends greet you when you’re out given the level of your success overseas?

“I think everyone is just really proud because they see how hard I worked and how long it has taken me to get here. I wasn’t an instant success like some other models. But they are just really proud and with my real friends, it’s like nothing has changed. It’s just the same Georgia coming back. It’s always nice to come home and see familiar faces. I’m going to be home for the Australian summer.”

Frida Aasen, Georgia Fowler and Kelly Gale pose backstage during 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show In Shanghai at Mercedes-Benz Arena on November 20, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret)
How would your close friends describe you?

“Ooh, goofy! Hardworking. Hopefully kind!”

Speaking about hard work, what does your weekly exercise regime look like in the lead up to the show?

“I love to work out year-round, I’m lucky like that. I do swimwear jobs all year so I always try and stay in shape. But then when you’ve got 1.4 billion people watching, there’s no real excuse and there’s no off days so you just really up the anti. It has been quite difficult because I’ve been travelling a lot lately and doing early call times as well. It’s about getting yourself to the gym even though you’ve been up at 3am and shooting all day and on a plane. I do a lot of different sorts of exercises to keep it exciting and interesting. I’ve been doing a lot more running which has been a challenge for me but otherwise I work with my trainer Joe Holder [@ochosystem] and do a lot of strength work which I think my body responds really well to. In addition to strength training, I do a lot of interval training and just working really hard with no excuses.

“I love to feel strong and I think that’s the main thing for girls this year, they want to look really athletic and fit.”

How is your Victoria’s Secret running goal going? You set out to run a mile (1.6 kilometres) in seven-and-a-half minutes before show day.

“My running goal is going well. I chose that because I’m not really a runner at all myself but I was working out and wanted to do something that would really challenge me and push myself to get on the tread. It’s going well but I’m yet to actually complete it as I wanted to do it on a track to film it properly for VS. So in the next two days I’m going to do it and I think I’ll be on time!”

Right on time! A couple of sleeps out from the big show!

“Right on time! My trainer who has been putting me through all the interval training for it just finished the New York marathon at the 5.5/per minute mile. I’m thinking, ‘Well, if you did that after a marathon, I better make sure I do it!”

What does your daily diet look like?

“I think it varies person-to-person and whatever works for one body doesn’t work for the next. I have been doing intermittent fasting which has been really great for my body to digest all my food overnight. I’ll start with a coffee with MCT in the morning and then it’s just a lot of really high-quality fats like avocado, walnuts, macadamia nuts and adequate proteins like salmon and leafy vegetables and greens.”

Well you actually look like a real-life angel in this photo taken from your latest fitting so it’s obviously all working!

“Aww, thank you! [Laughs]”

Beauty-wise, what does your nightly routine look like to ensure you get adequate sleep and your skin is in tip-top condition?

“Sleep and water are number one and are the best tips. But unfortunately, it’s not that easy to clock in so many hours of sleep when you’re working and travelling but I do my best. But otherwise, I keep up with an exfoliating lotion that just takes away all the dead skin. I follow up with a serum and a moisturiser. I honestly think good fats and exercise really help your skin grow.”

What will you do the second you come off the runway? Will you beeline for a NYC burger joint?

“Well I’m lucky enough that I actually really enjoy healthy food so I’m not going to be dying for a particular food because I don’t feel like I’ve been depriving myself but I will be having a celebratory cocktail with all my friends and my mum and my sister who are coming to see me.”

Who was the first person you called when you got cast in this year’s show?

“I called mum. She’s my number one fan and she was travelling with me for the first half of my career and was very involved and knows exactly what it means to me and knows how hard I’ve been working.”

Georgia Fowler attends casting for the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on September 4, 2018 in New York City. She just found out she was coming back for round three and called her mum. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
Coming from New Zealand, what was the most challenging thing about moving to New York? It’s a hard city…

“I was so close to my family at home so it was definitely hard leaving them all behind. When you’re in New York, no one really has any family and because of that, I’ve got a really strong network of friends here and we all become each other’s family so it’s made it a lot easier. I miss family, I miss good coffee and the beach.”

Where is your favourite spot in New York for a healthy lunch?

“There’s a spot called Jack’s Wife Freda that I love [in Soho]. They’ve got a great breakfast bowl. I love café hopping, it’s my favourite thing to do with friends.”

Who is your favourite angel?

“I don’t want to show favouritism but when I was growing up, I always looked up to Adriana Lima. It will be her last year this year I think, but she’s done it for so many years and continues to look amazing on the catwalk and up against the younger girls. She’s so kind. She sat me down on my first year and was so sweet and taught me how to strut my stuff and be confident and enjoy the moment. She told me to do exactly what comes to you.”

Georgia Fowler attends fittings for the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on November 3, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
Do you have a message for home? As we’re watching you on TV or live streaming in December, what would you say to Australia and New Zealand?

“Hard work and dedication really pays off. Don’t expect things too short-term but you will be noticed if you keep doing things that you want to do.”

We’ll be cheering you on on Thursday night, best of luck!

“Thank you so much! See you then! I can’t wait!”