Andreja Pejic’s fight for diversity: ‘I wanted to quit, but I’m glad I didn’t’

What are your favourite “off-duty” outfits?

At home, I like to lie around in silk slips or lingerie with an oversized white shirt.

When I step out for groceries, I love an ’80s-style jumpsuit cinched at the waist and loafers or high-waisted denim shorts with an oversized men’s T-shirt tucked in. Sexy but comfy.

Sneakerwise, I am loyal to my All Star Chucks, preferably with a little platform. I also love headscarves and hair bands.

Every blonde has a story – what’s yours?

Malene Birger coat, $1020, from Higgovale. Albus Lumen jacket, $890, from MatchesFashion, and shorts, POA, from Albus Lumen. La Perla knit, $510, from Sylvia Rhodes.

Malene Birger coat, $1020, from Higgovale. Albus Lumen jacket, $890, from MatchesFashion, and shorts, POA, from Albus Lumen. La Perla knit, $510, from Sylvia Rhodes.Credit:Bec Parsons

When I found blonde, or should I say when it found me, a whole world opened up. I no longer stayed in the shadows or in the library on my own reading Harry Potter or the Mortal Engines series. I could go to parties, flirt with boys, sneak into clubs, hang out with the popular girls and actually move on the dance floor.

I’ve found a way to incorporate my nerdy introverted side into my blonde “identity” because it’s now all about a healthy fusion. Overall, blonde to me just means being a kick-ass woman who goes for what she wants in life and doesn’t think twice about social approval. I think I’ve managed to stick to that motto by living my life on my own terms and never waiting around for permission.

Have you ever had any “blonde” moments?

On a daily basis. I drift in dreamland thinking about quantum theory or the historical repercussions of World War II. Because I’m blonde, people assume I’m an airhead and sometimes I like to play into that because I lower people’s expectations, which is a survival mechanism of sorts. It’s fun to act dumb and then slap people across the face with your reserve of Oscar Wilde or Orson Welles quotes.

Camilla and Marc “Talli” coat, $699. Bally jumpsuit, $850.

Camilla and Marc “Talli” coat, $699. Bally jumpsuit, $850.Credit:Bec Parsons

Do blondes have more fun?

Yes, they do. I think brunettes get married easier, but that’s an outdated institution, so I’m not sure I’m missing out. If I feel awkward in a social situation, I just think, “What would Debbie or Madonna or Marilyn do?”

How does it feel to be working with brands that celebrate diversity?

It feels like my nine years of intense work and of adding something pretty interesting to pop culture is finally being recognised by the industry. I wanted to quit many times, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Fendi dress, $4050. Bally slides, $595.

Fendi dress, $4050. Bally slides, $595.Credit:Bec Parsons

What does your perfect Sunday look like?

It’s summer. I wake up late, meditate, do my stretches, make my matcha and spirulina smoothie, read the news, burn some incense, dance to Donna Summer. If I’m with a bestie, I go for a mimosa and to a museum, then watch the sunset from some rich man’s rooftop.

But sometimes it’s just as simple as staying in bed and ticking off movies on my “to watch” list – like anything by Stanley Kubrick, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Ingmar Bergman. I FaceTime my mum before bed.

Fashion editor Penny McCarthy. Photographer Bec Parsons. Hair Daren Borthwick using Kérastase. Make-up Claire Thomson. Fashion assistant Archie Pham.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale May 19.

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