Now 21 years old, Gemma Refoufi is the 2015 hit in the fashion and modeling industry. She was born and raised in Bradford, and she is the newest face of Tom Ford A/W 2013 collection – most likely due to her insouciant pout. Gemma says she was nicknamed bubble lips during her school days. Gemma’s journey into modeling was far from the typical fashion fairy tale. As she was raised in Bradford East Bowling, Gemma, whose dad is French-Algerian and whose mum is from the area was scouted a couple of times –mainly in Topshop – during her teenage years. But she considered acting as her real calling. She was a prominent feature in her local performing art college board. It was only after she returned to London after living in Shanghai for two years (her boyfriend Ryan, a property developer, based in Shanghai) that she decided to pursue modelling. In April 2013, she went to the London HQ of IMG models, ‘looking like Pat Butcher, in an enormous leather and leopard-print jacket with batwing sleeves,’ and was signed immediately. Who knew Pat Butcher could be a style icon? ‘Well, she’s mine,’ Gem says with her treacle-thick Yorkshire accent. Within two weeks of being taken on, she had piqued the interest of Tom Ford’s team. ‘All the girls had been confirmed for the campaign, but the agency sent me down anyway. After the first day they cancelled their main girl, propped me up on a box and shot the campaign around me.” And she’s not talking about a metaphorical pedestal: At 5ft 7in, it’s true she is at the shorter end of the scale, but one only has to look at typical supermodels such as busty Lara Stone and the 5ft 8in Kate Moss to realize height is hardly a problem anymore. Indeed, when Carine Roitfeld was styling her for the campaign, she whispered to Gem, ‘It’s fine about your height. You’re going to be the next Kate Moss.’ Today, Gem is the only girl that Tom Ford has ever wanted as an ‘exclusive’ for a campaign. When she’s not shooting in New York or Paris, the model likes nothing more than a gory thriller or tucking into a steak dinner near her flat in Islington. Does she have to work hard on her physique? ‘Yeah, I work out at the gym but I love exercising anywhere — whether it’s going out partying and dancing your body off or making love to your boyfriend. It’s all the same thing.’ Kate Moss would approve.