Getting to Know Holly Graves

Holly Graves

Texas-born and currently Sydney-based model, dietician and Taekwondo blackbelt, Holly Graves tells us about herself:

I am a global wanderer from Texas; a flower child with a rock’n’roll heart; and really just a southern girl who is trying to balance life, work and school with the rest of the world. I am an embodiment of juxtaposition. I wear makeup for a living, but hate putting it on – love high heels as much as my hunting boots – and have a love for healing crystals and yoga, but also have a love for rap and raging rock music. I find it quite hard to describe myself, but I think I am getting somewhere with it. I am born and raised in Texas, spending a large part of my life on ranches, and not quite sure how I fell into modelling or yoga, or travelling or anything else for that matter. I literally never brushed my hair (and still don’t – sorry mom), never wore shoes, and was constantly carried as a child because I hated walking… and that I am a daddy’s girl. My brother literally told my parents that the bones in my legs wouldn’t form right if they didn’t let me walk on my own! But after writing this down, I realized that all of this fits together quite well in some strange, cosmic way.

Holly Modelling is an experience to say the least. You definitely have to be a bit mad to make it in this industry, but really it’s a job that you can take from it what you want. It’s very easy to fall into type of experience that may seem like you’re drowning and don’t know which way is up or down (believe me I’ve been there), or you can take it for what it is and see the beauty in life rather than what is just in front of the lens. This insane world of modelling has been a great way for me to see the world, meet some incredible people, and somehow learn more about myself through a strange journey. Growing up in Texas, I never thought I would be able to stare down a camera or even find myself on the other side of the globe, but I am very grateful and blessed. Even though it has its road bumps, modelling has allowed me to save money for my future while still pursuing other passions – an opportunity few people get to experience.

Aside from modelling, I have a life… kidding! I don’t. Its usually consumed by school or just learning in general. Online school has been a blessing as I have had the chance to model and see the world while also continuing my education. I am currently studying to become a Registered Dietician with a special interest in sports nutrition. I find the human body incredibly interesting.

I think the ability to nourish and improve your body and mind through wholesome foods is a beautiful thing. It is quite incredible to see how one’s body and mind can move and feel through nourishment. What’s even more incredible is that every body is different. I believe in a holistic and individualistic approach to giving advice and nutrition coaching; basically meaning that every recommendation or piece of advice is based on each person specifically. In addition to school, I have a love for yoga (which I guess is quite fitting) and am working towards my yoga teacher training. So yes, lots of learning. I am a nerd. Or I am just procrastinating getting a real job.

Holly Graves portfolio

Home is wherever I make it, I guess. This past year I have lived in three different countries for about equal parts of time. But I guess home would include my yoga mat, SUNSHINE, very special people dear to me (actually just A Person) and some form of communication to contact my friends and family in other parts of the world. I think if those variables are met I can make any home fit for me. But I need lots of sunshine… and possibly lots of beach time… or ranch time.

I spend too much time by myself. I have amazing friends and, as I grow up, my relationships with others are stronger and more meaningful but, because I work in a very individualistic industry as well as study by myself, a lot of my time is spent by myself – not a great combo for having a life. If I am not at a casting or a job then I am studying or following other interests such as yoga and fitness. Also, I grew up being quite shy and then fell into a world where models and lots of young girls’ opinions were not always listened to.

Hollei portfolioHowever, I don’t know if something in society is changing or if more autonomy comes with just growing up, but girls and models, including myself, are being encouraged more to find a voice. Women and young girls need to know that they can be themselves and not have to fit into one type of mould, as well as knowing that taking time for oneself can be a magical thing. And being a loner sometimes isn’t all that bad! Having some alone-time has allowed me to discover my own interests without influence from others and have group of friends and loved ones are all in the same boat. Getting older and discovering my own interests has allowed me to build the kind of friendships and relationships where we can pick where we left off last time we saw each other. We all have our own shit going on and it’s great.

Currently playing on my ipod is Baba Hanuman by Krishna Das… and before that was Fukin’ Problem feat. Drake and 2 Chains. I’m just going to leave it at that…

It might surprise people to learn that I am a black belt in Taekwondo and, other than yoga, boxing is now one of my main forms of fitness. My dad has been teaching and practicing Taekwondo for longer than I’ve been alive and probably found out early on that his rugrats (my brother and I) needed some discipline. I remember at one of my first sparring competitions I asked my dad if I could hit the other girls in the face. Being a pretty shy girl, he probably didn’t think I would actually punch them square in the face, so he told me that it was fine. I think the picture in the family album basically explains it all… I punched both girls in the face… they cried, I smiled… and I went home with 2nd place instead of 1st.

In the future, I know I will get my degree, love and be loved, and follow my passions. I don’t want to exactly plan what will happen because the future changes every day. However, I’m pretty sure it will involve good food, toes in sand, lots of travelling, airplanes, some headstands, rad people and maybe some cool photos.

holly graves

Holly is represented by Vivien’s Model Management. You can check out her portfolio here and keep up to date with her on Instagram.

bobby townsend


Interview by Bobby Townsend.