When most models are asked how they became one, they’ll cite friends and family encouraging them to sign up with an agency, but a teenage Martha Hunt’s catwalk potential was so obvious, even a surgeon suggested to her parents that she try it.
“It’s true. When I had my appendix out, the doctor said, ‘You know your daughter could be a model’, says the supermodel and international cover star and Victoria’s Secret Angel, who has walked in nearly 200 catwalk shows, including Chanel, Balmain and Christopher Kane and appeared in campaigns for Miu Miu, Ralph Lauren and Prada, tells us.
Martha, 29, walked onto the set of her cover HFM shoot carrying pieces including the Leah bracelet from a new collaboration with jewellery brand Pluma named after the Curvy Girls Scoliosis Foundation founder. The proceeds of the collaboration benefit said charity and the Scoliosis Research Society – a condition she suffered from as a teenager. “I know a lot of girls that are really insecure about having scoliosis, but I think that scars are something to be proud of because they show how strong you are.”
Growing up in the small city of Wilson, North Carolina, a 13-year-old Martha heard about a model search four hours away in Charlotte on a local radio station and persuaded her mum to drive her there. “I always want to say I was discovered in a mall,” she says, laughing. The competition involved a slew of model scouts and Martha was ‘called back’ by everyone.
Her parents were supportive from the outset, although she admits they did find aspects of her job challenging at the beginning, due to her young age. “You have to trust your daughter being in all sorts of strange situations. I think essentially my parents saw how much money could be made in this career.”
Martha is one of Victoria’s Secret’s most established Angels – she was given her prestigious wings in 2015. “The energy backstage at the Victoria’s Secret show is unlike at any other show,” she tells us.
“Everyone is so excited and has worked so hard to get to that point. The energy truly is palpable. Everyone is in such a good mood and it’s a positive atmosphere. There’s not another show where the models stand watching the monitor to see people walking [down the catwalk] and we’re all cheering each other on. Everyone is saying, ‘Well done, you killed it out there’, and ‘You did such a great job’ – it just feels very empowering.”
To read more about Martha and to see our exclusive shoot pick up the latest edition of Hello! Fashion Monthly, out now…