What female empowerment means to supermodel Sam Harris.

Australian supermodel Samantha Harris has thus far had an incredible career, earning her the honour of an Vogue Australia cover in 2010. Since then, Harris became the ambassador of David Jones retailers and graced the stage of hit reality TV show Dancing with the Stars. Now, the 26-year-old is the face of Priceline Australia and has plans to expand her career internationally.

Despite these epic achievements, the model of indigenous decent is looking beyond modelling, aiming to branch into acting and find fulfilment helping children in need. In the midst of this, we spoke to Harris about her accomplishments, aspirations, inspirations, and what it means to her to be an empowered woman in today’s society.

The Chic Edit: What does being an empowered, modern-day woman mean to you?

Samantha Harris: To me, it means being in charge of your own destiny, with a sense of power to do what you want in modern society and the choices it affords.

CE: Is this a description you would use to describe yourself?

SH: No, because some aspects of my life have been changed irrevocably, and even if you are empowered, decisions are made by other people that you have no control over. Compared to my mother, I am in charge of my destiny, to a certain extent. My mother wasn’t.

CE: How has the modelling industry improved or hindered your confidence as a woman? How do you get through the inevitable critique involved each day in an industry based upon looks?

SH: It is a difficult thing to gauge in modelling because your looks are always being judged and compared. This can have a negative effect on your confidence. When you are successful and you are chosen for a prestigious campaign, then your confidence develops. As my career has diversified and my brand has developed, my confidence has grown, as my career is not so hinged on my looks.

CE: What do you do to maintain your everyday confidence and in what situation do you feel most confident/empowered?

SH: Exercise and lifestyle balance help me with my everyday confidence. I feel most confident/empowered when I am reaching out and helping younger girls; I love to connect with teenage girls who are suffering or are in need of some guidance.

CE: What is, in your opinion, your greatest personal accomplishment to date?

SH: My all time highlight has to be my Australian Vogue cover. I shot a number of editorials for them which culminated in the cover.

CE: Landing a Vogue cover is an incredible feat. Did this achievement at all alter your self-perception?

SH: No, not really. It was a highlight and a defining moment and taught me that through hard work and determination, dreams can turn to reality. I think every job, every experience, and every opportunity impacts your self-perception, not just one moment in time or magazine cover.

CE: What are your career goals for the future?

SH: I want to continue developing my brand. I would like to gain more experience with acting and travel and work in overseas markets.

CE: Are there any models that you’ve looked to emulate your career after? What women inspire you in your everyday life?

SH: Different people over the years have had an impact on my career, but at the moment I would have to say Heidi Klum is incredibly inspirational. She has gone from being one of the world’s most successful models and is now a successful TV personality, brand ambassador, and designer. I believe her professional attitude and friendly demeanour have helped contribute to her long term success. I find Amal Clooney inspirational; she is fiercely smart, a human rights activist, and also very stylish. She has it all.

CE: Do you see yourself as a role model to young girls? What advice would you have for them now?

SH: I think over the years I have become a role model. I do try to interact with them whenever I can, to give them advice and guidance. My advice would be to follow your dreams, work hard, and never give up. Always be kind, considerate, and generous of spirit.

CE: What is a more multi-dimensional fact/interest that spans past your modelling/show business career that we might not know about you?

SH: I love helping young kids. I will go out of my way to connect via social media with kids who are in need and often meet them for a hot chocolate or a meal. I am very passionate about supporting charities and helping people that are less fortunate than me.

Photo credit: Georges Antoni 

Follow Sam Harris @sam_harris on Instagram.