Abbey Lee Kershaw aka Abbey Lee (born 12 June 1987) is an Australian fashion model, actress and musician who appeared in the 2008 and 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows. All things considered, Abbey Lee is one of the true characters in high fashion modelling. It is great fun to read about her latest antics, but make no mistake: this is a very pretty girl.
Abbey Lee is from Melbourne, Australia. She was sickly as a child, but grew out of it. In 2004, she entered the Australian edition of the Girlfriend Model Search and won it. The next year, after completing high school, she was off to Sydney and moved to Kings Cross. A scout for Chic Management soon spotted her - Kathy Ward, who also discovered Miranda Kerr - whilst Abbey Lee was on holiday in Huskisson on the NSW south coast and they quickly signed her. If you don't think there's a tacit rivalry there, well, they're the two top fashion models down under, so figure it out.
Abbey Lee had bigger dreams than just becoming a local Australian model. With a couple of years, she had signed with Next Management and jetted off for New York. She made her debut at the 2008 New York Fashion Week, walking in a staggering 29 shows for all the top designers. She also walked in Milan and Paris that year, though she fell in one and fainted at the other. A couple of months later, she gained worldwide exposure by walking in the Pink Planet segment of that year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Abbey Lee's health issues returned the following year - she had knee trouble - but she still knew how to attract attention despite being unable to walk the runways. She caused quite a stir with a provocative layout shot by notorious Terry Richardson, a shoot she later defended as being exactly what she wanted. Abbey Lee soon was back in action, and walked in the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, this time appearing in three segments rather than just the one of the previous year. She also appeared in the following year's Pirelli Calendar, also shot by Richardson. She likes working with Richardson, but there is a famous (at least in the Aussie fashion scene) of her defending him in quite strong terms (it involved a reference to models 'touching themselves') that she now says was 'twisted' by the reporter.
Abbey Lee has her fair share of covers, with a well-diversified exposure across Asia, Europe and the United States:
- France: 'French Revue de Modes' - Autumn/Winter 2008; 'Numero' - #109 December 2009; 'Numéro' - May 2011; 'Numéro' - September 2011
- Germany: 'Vogue' - August 2010
- Italy: 'Muse' - Winter 2009
- Japan: 'Vogue' - February 2010; 'Vogue' - August 2010; 'Vogue' - July 2011
- Korea: 'Numero' - December 2008; 'Numero' - May 2009; 'Vogue' - April 2010
- Russia: 'Vogue' - March 2010; 'Vogue' - April 2011
- UK: 'Dazed & Confused' - October 2008; 'Dazed & Confused' - December 2009; 'POP' - Spring/Summer 2010; 'i-D' - Winter 2010; 'The Sunday Telegraph Magazine' - August 5 2012
Abbey Lee (as she prefers to be called these days) is known for being a bit of a free spirit. She has a pet lizard named Annie Hall, sports various (unseen, because she claims to use white ink for them) tattoos such as the word 'Truth" on the inside of her lower lip, and claims to eat with her fingers whilst in the United States 'to get used to the bacteria.' Abbey Lee will spend much time carefully choosing which table to sit at for dinner - it all depends upon the feng shui and the chi of the room. She is famous in the biz for smoking up a storm on set. Her antics apparently inspired the parody Twitter account, called "abbey lees [sic] meth pipe," which pokes wicked fun at the supermodel scene.
It is quite common for fans to get all protective of Abbey Lee, as in asking when some new photo comes out showing her with sunken eyes or something like that, asking plaintively, 'does she need help?' And they no doubt really mean it, too. However, she seems to be doing quite fine for herself, thank you very much. However, she does veer toward the crackhead look in some of her photos, which, well, if nothing else, helps to differentiate her from Kerr.
Abbey Lee took a bit of a break from modelling during 2012 and 2013, but returned in 2014 with a cover for Vogue Australia. It's unclear whether she is back for good, and people in the fashion scene tend to talk about her in the past tense, which is a bit disconcerting.
She played Zoya, a Czech supermodel, in the film adaptation of Brendan Cowell's highly praised play, 'Ruben Guthrie.' This required her to use a Czech accent. She is branching out into acting, appearing in 'Mad Max: Fury Road' along with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and also filming 'Gods of Egypt' (2016) starring Gerard Butler (she plays an assassin who arrives on a giant cobra). It appears that Abbey Lee will be devoting a good portion of her time to acting in the future, but she still snagged prestigious contracts with Gucci and Versace. She also does (or did, she appears to have quit) some drumming in an Australian band ('Our Mountain'), and also knows some ju jitsu, so she has many outside interests. Painting and drawing are her latest passions. She remains, though, among the elite in the modelling scene.