Sunday 17 December 2017

Irish supermodel swaps catwalk for delivery room

Happy: Jane Bradbury with her husband Todd Komarnicki
Happy: Jane Bradbury with her husband Todd Komarnicki
Jane Bradbury in her modelling days with Alek Wek, Jade Jagger and Kate Moss
With Christy Turlington at an event for Every Mother Counts Photo: Kelly Taub/
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

The life of a supermodel is like that of a butterfly - sweet but very short.

However Jane Bradbury was determined that there would be a fulfilling life after the catwalk. And so she is treading a new path - one that couldn't be further removed from her former life in the salons of Paris, Milan, Rome and New York - as a delivery room doula.

You see Jane became a supermodel by accident. Growing up in Athy, Co Kildare, she believed a degree in business and marketing was destiny. However, her older sister, Gael, had other plans.

"When I was 19, my sister entered me in the Ford Supermodel of the World competition, a contest to discover new talent in the fashion industry," she said.

"I had no clue, she put an application together and sent it off, I didn't have any interest in modelling, I felt like I had the worst style ever," she told the Sunday Independent.

Jane was selected to represent Ireland at the competition in Florida in 1993.

"I was totally shocked and felt completely insecure about what to do, I'd never been in front of a camera before. I didn't know how I was going to make it to the end of a runway in high heels," she laughed.

Although Jane didn't place in the contest, the high-fashion experience sparked new ambition. Weeks later the Ford agency called to offer her a once in a lifetime opportunity - move to Paris, live in a model apartment, and work with the world's leading designers, photographers and elite magazines. She left and never came back.

Jane spent months auditioning for shoots and attempting to establish herself. At the same time Kate Moss was breaking through.Although she enjoyed Paris, her big break came when she moved to New York. Mario Testino, a world-renowned fashion photographer who took pictures of Princess Diana for Vogue, saw her potential and hired her for that year's Gucci, Armani, DKNY and Louboutin campaigns.

"It was the 1990s, the period had changed, it was just after the supermodels so the look was more androgynous and waif-like, later it changed to a fuller figure," she said.

And although she got to travel all over the world, the downside of being in demand is pressure to remain thin.

"You always had to be in shape and it was stressful. You're either constantly tired or didn't have time to work out so basically I didn't eat very much. I was smoking and drinking coffee but I remember being hungry a lot," she said.

However, Jane also found love in the limelight. Her husband, Todd Komarnicki is a Hollywood writer and film producer. His upcoming film Sully is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks.

Motherhood has given her the greatest joy. After a difficult pregnancy with her first child, daughter Remy, Jane decided to become a doula - a woman who gives support and advice to another woman during pregnancy and birth.

"The birth of my daughter was a very transformative experience. I decided to become a doula and started volunteering at a centre for unplanned pregnancies in Manhattan," she said.

Six months ago, Jane started volunteering with Every Mother Counts - an organisation founded by American supermodel Christy Turlington.

"We were colleagues back in the day and I wanted to help. She is a true role model, who has dedicated her life to the maternal health cause," said Jane, who will holiday at home in Ireland this summer.

Sunday Independent

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