Between TWO ferns with Emma BALFOUR

It’s not everyday you rock up home to find a DIY paddling pool in your communal garden. Well, when you’re married to Georges Antoni anything is possible. After a morning of castings I came home at 11am to find Georges and his boys sitting on the garden path looking pretty pleased with themselves. 

“Look what we made!” Georges said proud as punch. He pointed to what looked like a miniature pond (I don’t remember any discussion taking place about new pets) but was in fact the backdrop for his front cover of Manuscript. After assembling a 50cm deep baby pool they covered it with pond liner then proceeded to fill it up by lowering our hosepipe over the edge of our top floor balcony all the way to the ground. To take it from shaggy swap to pretty pond it was time to add the finishing touches. Nothing says glamour like a well assembled patch of moss and fern. 

After admiring the boys handy work I went upstairs to dump my things and was greeted with an explosion of hair products, make up, left over breakfast and coffee cups. Of course the domestic housewife in me began tidying up just as Linda and Sophie had finished working their magic on model Emma Belfour.  She was whisked away downstairs in a men’s white shirt and pale blue swimmers. 

A few minutes later I heard Georges voice calling me from yonder. “Phoebe can you please turn the hot water on?” Leaning over the balcony I saw Emma from head to waist floating in the pond, her legs dangling out over the edge, her hair, which was in fact a platinum blonde wig, was fanned around her face and her make up was glossy and water marked. To anyone walking past this might have looked like some bizarre, university art project but the images on screen demonstrated that it was far from and you would never have guessed that it was happening in a paddling pool behind an apartment block in North Bondi. 

The shoot theme was re-birth, which Georges captured by shining a golden light across Emma’s face and the water, mimicking the sunrise. Emma was such a sport, it was not a particularly hot day and spending two hours submerged luke warm in water was definitely not helping. When Georges announced, “that’s a wrap”, Emma sprung up and immediately began unpicking the wig from her head. I could feel her relief. 

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying, pain is beauty. Well this is a classic example. As a model it can feel like some shoots just aren’t worth the freezing cold, uncomfortable hair or wrong size shoes but seeing the final result, it usually always is. Case in point……

Photographer: Georges Antoni
Photographer Team: Jon Calvert and Oly Begg
Hair: Sophie Roberts
Make Up: Linda Jefferys


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And just incase they didn't quite get the shot they needed....