At a healthy size 10 and an envious 179cm tall, Louise Kenny is one of those people who you can’t ignore. She’s not only gorgeous, but she’s sharp as a tack and witty as all hell. I’ve known her my whole life, because when she was 17 her and my Mum met at their job at an old-school Super-Colour print shop and badabing badaboom, best friends they became.
Louise Kenny is the 58-year-old model who absolutely killed it at VAMFF (Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival) last week and is being celebrated as the sort of person that both runways and labels should be including in shows and advertisements. Any you know what? It’s about bloody time. Believe it or not but not everyone is a size 6 and in their late teens. Some of us are outside of the golden demographic, yet we’re made to feel like second-class citizens because of it. So the fact that brands like Albus Lumen & Christopher Esber in Australia, Lonely Lingerie in New Zealand and Guo Pei from China are all casting more mature models on the runways and in campaigns is a breath of fresh air.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because Lou works for the killer body she has. She’s outrageously fit because of her lifelong love of yoga and clean living (way before it was the in thing to do), and no matter where in the world she is she’s working hard to keep it up.
I remember when I was about 16 and Lou was down in Melbourne staying with Mum, she’d try to harass me into joining her for a 6 am session of yoga by the pool. I thought she was batshit crazy; who wanted to do something as weird as yoga that early?! Yet nowadays I willingly pay $20-$40 a pop for yoga and pilates classes, furiously trying to fit in a session at 6 am before work. If only I had listened all those years ago, I may have been skilled enough to do self-guided yoga in my own time. But hindsight, eh?
Some of the stories my Mum tells me about Lou and their friendship I probably can’t repeat here, but I’ll always love the one about when they worked in the photo printing place together (back when you had to get your film developed to see the photos because digital cameras didn’t exist yet), and they’d yell out “FOUND ONE!” when they spotted a nude photo being processed. They of course had a company photo board with a copy of these in the customer service room just for laughs. I get the impression that customer service didn’t really have the same meaning then!
Having just come back home to Australia from a sizeable stint in Europe, Lou is no stranger to travelling the world for modelling. She’s worked in London, New York & Spain, and back home in Australia in multimedia campaigns for brands as diverse as Metalicus, Tena, Chadstone, Cbus, Twinnings, Target and many more. When asked if she’ll be jetting off again soon, she said her next destination is Switzerland.
And talent most definitely runs in the family. Her son Ambrose Kenny-Smith plays synth & harmonica in King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and The Murlocks, and her daughter Edith Kenny-Smith is also a successful model who just so happens to also be crazy-smart, having studied Fashion Design and Technology at RMIT in Melbourne.
Louise operates the Yoga Grace yoga studio in Ocean Grove from November to March each year, and the studio is a gorgeously peaceful and nurturing environments, ideal for yogi’s and beginners alike.