Immersed in the modelling world from a young age, Laura-Jane Corker has maintained her small-town work ethic and tomboy-at-heart personality.
YOU’RE A SMALL-TOWN GIRL AT HEART. TELL US ABOUT YOUR RURAL CHILDHOOD UPBRINGING?
I grew up near the Strathbogie Ranges on a huge, remote sheep farm and vineyard property just outside of Avenel. It was about half an hour to the closest town so we were really out in the middle of nowhere. So much open space.
I have memories of riding on the back of the motorbike with Dad to go work on the grapes.
It was always hands on. We were working on the farm from essentially the time we could walk. I used to rear baby lambs who had lost their mums.
When I was 13, our family moved to the Euroa township so I could go to the local high school. As a teen, the move was a positive one. I was closer to my friends and there was better access to things like school and netball. I remember finding it weird at the time that, at our new place, we could actually see our neighbours.
HOW DO YOU THINK THESE EARLY EXPERIENCES HAVE HELPED SHAPE YOU INTO THE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY?
On the farm I think I definitely developed independence and a strong work ethic at an early age. Being the oldest sibling in my family as well, I think leadership and being nurturing is very engrained in my personality. I’m very proud that I’ve been able to maintain that in different environments throughout my upbringing.
WAS GEELONG A GOOD INTRODUCTION TO CITY LIFE BEFORE WORKING IN MELBOURNE?
I think it made it a more gradual transition. I noticed a similar small country town feel in Geelong when I moved there for university. I studied a four-year double degree in Arts and Commerce at Deakin from 2009.
I loved the relaxed lifestyle in Geelong and the beach. The open spaces reminded me of my hometown.
I remember trying to make conversation during one of my first train trips in Melbourne and getting weird looks from other passengers as though thinking ‘why is she talking to me?’
I absolutely love going home to the fresh air. Everyone is so kind and willing to help the next person.
YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A BIT OF A TOMBOY. HAS IT BEEN A CHALLENGE TO FIT IN WITH THIS WHOLE NEW WORLD THAT YOU NOW LIVE AND BREATHE?
I am an absolute tomboy. There are no ways around it.
People find it hard to believe because I’m always in high heels and full make-up for my job. But then the next thing they know I’ll be building furniture or something like that.
The modelling industry can be very consuming for girls. I feel fortunate that I didn’t get caught up in that at all. You have to remember at the end of the day that it is just a job. I think it’s important to have that separation between your work life and personal life.
HOW WERE YOU INTRODUCED TO MODELLING?
I started modelling at 18, so eight years. I sort of fell into the industry. I was scouted out for a photo shoot and fell in love straight away.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of larger brands. I’m always meeting new creative, wonderful people.
HOW DID PAGEANT WORK COMPARE TO YOUR MODELLING EXPERIENCES?
Pageants are a whole new learning experience. I would recommend them to any young girl – and not because I’m telling women to get out there in a bikini – but because you will be surrounded by likeminded women, you get to work with a range of charities and it really builds your confidence. You won’t get an experience like that anywhere else.
I remember one of the girls who I met at a pageant had never done any modelling work before. She just wanted to do something out of her comfort zone and challenge herself.
You’re not there to be judged but to push yourself.
HAD YOU ALWAYS ENVISIONED YOURSELF AS A BUSINESS WOMAN?
I’m the oldest sibling of three – I have a younger brother and sister – so I think I’ve always taken on a leadership role in my family and social life. I was also voted school captain in my final year at high school.
I’ve always had a hard work ethic. When I started modelling, most girls had an agent whereas I always managed myself. I wanted to be in charge and in control. I was doing my own networking, accounts, media, you name it.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT BODi IS?
BODi is a combination of powder containing multivitamin and milk proteins and nutrient rich oils derived from macadamias and peanuts. It has a rich cocoa and nutty flavour.
You mix the powder and oils in a shaker with a cup of fresh water. You can also mix it with hot water.
It tastes like real food. It has a similar texture to a thick shake.
They’ve always said that carbs are good for you in the morning but new research is debunking that. It’s actually the best time to burn your fat.
A BODi starter kit comes with a one-day supply, with formula options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a BODi shaker. Eventually we’ll release them in packs of three or packs of six.
We also have a list of recommended healthy foods to complement the product.
I find that personally it really resets my body. I notice I’m a lot more toned. That day and over the next few days after eating BODi I also feel very clear and happy. I use it once a week and three times during busier weeks when I’m short on time.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO CREATE BODi?
I wanted to create something that is easy to use, healthy and natural. I was thinking of women who have full-time jobs and might not always have the time to buy healthy ingredients for a healthy homecooked meal.
Weight loss is not a focus even though that is one of the huge advantages of BODi. Our slogan is ‘Love my body’.
Being around young women trying crazy fad diets and detox diet plans, you’re constantly reminded of the pressures and the struggles young women, both within and outside of the modelling industry, face.
I’m also scared that my little sister, who’s six years younger than me, could potentially get caught up in these pressures. I’ve always tried to be a role model for her and her friends and will help them with things like preparing for a job interview or how to present themselves.
But it’s not all about the modelling industry. Women have always struggled with body image and how they feel about themselves. I just think that in modelling you do have to be especially thick skinned. You might go through 10 castings and be told you’re too blonde, too short or too fat.
I was still living in Geelong while I was starting this business and so most of my team are locals. Some of them are friends I made while I was at uni.
WHAT OTHER CAUSES DO YOU CARE ABOUT?
Charity is a big part of country life and I used to be involved in charity events at my local sport club as a teenager.
Environmental causes are also often at the top of my mind. Seeing the hardship of farmers, I think there’s something we can all do to change tiny habits we have, for example, shopping at local grocery stores or markets, and having shorter showers.
I’ve fostered dogs at Geelong Animal Rescue. I recently adopted Silky, a beautiful long-haired chihuahua. She has a big dog personality inside her tiny frame.
Since 2014, I’ve worked closely alongside famiIies through a children’s charity called Variety. I’ve spent some time with a couple of kids with cerebral palsy and have taken them out to a park or gone bowling or something else fun. It’s enriched my life so much.
I’m really passionate about young women and children in general.
Originally published at Geelong Coast Magazine.