Charlotte Morton on the psychological effects of the modelling industry.

Charlotte Morton isn’t just the model with the most covetable style you know; she’s also a near-olympic level sailor, a mono-finner, and an exceptionally wise soul. We caught up with Morton to find out more about her peculiar interests and gained insight through Morton’s eyes into the psychologically affecting aspects of the modelling industry.

The Chic Edit: We’ve described your style as “cosmopolitan bohemian”. Where do you like to shop? Where do you garner your fashion influence?

Charlotte Morton: I love to shop in vintage stores, antique stores. I love to sprawl through markets. I love owning what another has owned. If I buy new, I will never buy full priced. I know the industry all too well to know what is worth what dollar. I shop all over the world. I find I purchase more and more, the further I am from home, as thats where I am most inspired. 

CE: If you could only wear five articles of clothing for the rest of your life, what would they be?

CM: Knowing what I throw on day to day, the rest of my life would be dressed in jeans, a jacket, a pair of boots, one boldly printed midi dress, and bling. If you won’t take jewellery as an article of clothing, I’ll add a shirt into the mix then—might help when it comes to that jean and jacket combo, hey?

CE: With several of your family members (mum, sister, cousin) working within the fashion/modelling industry, you could say it’s in your blood; what made you want to follow in their footsteps?

CM: I wanted to discover the industry for myself and gain my own perspective on it. Growing up around a certain idea—any idea—can easily fix a certain opinion into one’s self, and I have never agreed with allowing that. I was aware of the ups and downs of the industry from a young age. I started to develop a very realistic view and that “thick skin” that’s always mentioned, very early on. I think I went into this just curious and with the want to know where I fit in with it all—and if it would even work. 

CE: Both you and your cousin Tallulah Morton are models: do you find that there is any competition between the two of you?

CM: Not at all! We have both had incredibly different careers that are still building in their own individual ways. Forget family, no model should ever feel in competition of another. We are each on our own road. Some may peak at 16, others 20, others 24. Some are more commercial, others editorial.

I can’t even begin to compare my career against hers. Tallulah has had a remarkably successful career for over a decade now. To be able to achieve anything close to that would be incredible and a total dream! I’ve always admired her, and in terms of competition, we have never been on the same path. I mean, no one ever is.

CE: You’ve expressed the importance of keeping strong-minded within the industry: what do you think are the keys to keeping your “head on your shoulders” while working as a model?

CM: Opening your eyes just that little bit wider to see the bigger picture and not just because a photographer tells you to. There are so many more people a part of the day, the week, the project, than what you think. As models, we walk in on set and are essentially there to fit the last piece into the puzzle—but recognising that what you immediately walk into was a massive investment on everyone’s part, is the most important thing. Everyone there is working hard and has most likely worked harder than you. So help, lend a hand, say thank you, pay attention, and please, put on a happy face. 

Recognise that you are a brand, an object (in the least objectifying way, I swear!) and also recognise that this industry is so widely exposed. I treat myself as the producer AND the product of my business. I am the brains but also the body. And if my body isn’t up to scratch, then my brain has to tell me so; it has to put my business on a hold until it can bounce back and be ready for exposure again. It sounds harsh, but to me, no matter what business I have, I wouldn’t put a faulty product on a shelf.

And lastly, time: you have it, and don’t ever think you don’t. Our ideas of what happens—when and where you should be in your career—can be so mislead because we see 16-year-olds booking our dream jobs. I believe that patience is, indeed, a virtue and will only help you in the long run if this is something you really want.

CE: What have you found to be the hardest aspect of your career thus far?

CM: Battling with my body and battling with such a strong-minded self. Great genetics play a big part in this industry but having less than great genetics plays an even harder role—the role of having to keep your body to a standard that your body may not want. Naturally, I’m a bigger girl: I’m broad, I’m tall. So, having to fit the same dress that a 16-year-old, 5’8″ girl wears when I’m a 22-year-old, 6’1″ woman is hard. But, I respect the industry far too much to think I should be the exception. There shouldn’t be exceptions within high fashion modelling. It began as a rare, lucrative job, and I think it should remain that way. There is not enough of a system, rule, or union for it to be so widely exposed, exploited, and easily attained. 

CE: How has working in the fashion industry affected your general outlook and mentality?

CM: It’s made me so much more aware of the world around me, of the beauty around me, both in and out. Working in the fashion industry, you are constantly surrounded by diversity and culture, especially if you travel. You can experience things from so many different angles. I have loved meeting some of the most incredible, hard working, and inspiring people in this field. If you pay attention, they can teach you a hell of a lot. You get that “thick skin” pretty early on in your career and deal with a lot of rejection and I thank the industry for shifting my mentality into a “just get on with it” one. I have never done this job so that, at the end of the day, I can see a pretty picture of myself. I do it to learn, chase challenges and to create—to immerse myself in the industry entirely, because I really do love it. 

CE: You once competed in sailing at a near-Olympic level: do you have any plans of returning to the water?

CM: Definitely! However, not at all near the rate and routine I was in before. That was intense! I am actually in the process of finding a yacht club that I can crew at close to home, now that I have just settled back into Sydney. Most of my training was as crew on a two up racing boat, so all I’ll need is that one skipper to just take a chance and sail with me.

Whenever I go back [to Brisbane] I head out on the water again with my equally, sailing-adoring, dad! It’s like riding a bike: no matter how long you’ve been out of action, you won’t forget how to do it. It’s second nature.

CE: You’re passionate about mono-finning; what is it about this hobby that so appeals to you?

CM: I think its the meditative part, the particular form, physique, and training that go into it. I think I like it for its endless possibilities, too. Between depth and distance, you can continuously challenge yourself to all ends.

Freediving is a sport which I’d love to take up next, building on those breath and energy exerting techniques I practice with my monofin, along with developing insane mental patience and precaution.  I am endlessly inspired by Lucas Handley: free diver, marine biologist and fellow Chic model, and hope to train with him at his classes in the near future! 

CE: What do you have planned for your future, both within the modelling industry and without? How do you plan on using your experience outside of modelling?

At the moment, I hope to use my experience to gain more experience. Whether that be in modelling alone, or in other areas of the fashion industry. One of my favourite things about work is getting to watch how everyone else works. Thanks to it, I now have a total obsession and interest in design, sales, and styling. Regardless of modelling, I’d still be in the fashion industry today.

As you can tell, I’m obviously a big water baby. As a Piscean, I think that’s just natural. So, taking my insane fascination with the ocean, marine life behaviours, and conservation to another level is definitely something I aspire to do, whether that’s by introducing myself back to Sea Shepherd conventions and protests or if I were ever to get this butt off to uni to study Marine Biology.

Follow Charlotte Morton on Instagram.