Gemma modelling for British Vogue
Gemma's hands masquerading as Lily Cole's hands
"One of the funniest shoots I had to do recently involved my lying on top of the actress Rose Byrne and placing my little finger in her mouth for Max Factor," she says, "Rose was so much fun to work with."
Gemma's hand on Rose Byrne's mouth for Max Factor
A less funny incident was when a naked gold-painted model who was sitting on a high stool with her back to the camera, while Gemma had her arms wrapped around her from front to back, fell asleep on her. "I was basically sitting between her legs, and her breath stank of alcohol."
Gemma at work on a shoot for Intelligent Life
"I did a YSL campaign shot by Solve Sundsbo and they has this absolutely stunning supermodel and I was the hand model... I have to get my hands and arms to look like they belonged on her body. Not as easy as one would think! So I have to crouch down behind her and get my arms underneath her armpits and make them look like they should belong on her body; this is a very common position for a hand model. It is extremely hard as the model is constantly moving and I cannot see what my hands are doing. But as I have been doing it for so long, I know exactly which poses to do and what works."
So how did she get started in the business? "A family friend told me a I had beautiful hands when I was 15, and took me to an agency. I started doing hand modelling and thought it would be a job to finance me through my studies, but I became quite good at it. After doing a marketing degree at LCF I came back to my beginnings and set up the agency."
Essential hand model skills are, according to Gemma, steadiness, patience, great-looking hands and nails, being able to hit your mark under immense pressure and a good, easy-going personality.
Out of curiousity - oh OK, because my nails are crap and her are amazing - I ask Gemma for her hand-care tips and here they are:
1. My wonder product is almond oil. SO good for hands. I also advise my models to eat a handful of almonds a day.
2. For my cuticles I religiously use Phenomen Oil by Jessica
3. L'Occitanne Hand Creme
4. Chanel nail colours. I love them!
5. Drink a lot of milk
6. Avoid doing housework.
Gemma is one of the most energised, positive and together 25 year olds I have ever met, and I wish her all the success with her business.