Neelam Gill: ‘Growing up I wished I looked like other girls’

As told to Leah Harper
Photograph: Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images

I never would have been confident enough to wear this dress a few years ago. People think that, when you’re a model, everything looks good on you – but they forget that it depends on how you feel. Growing up, I wished I had boobs, I wished I had hips, I wished my body was like most other girls’. But the reason I was so drawn to this Julien Macdonald dress was because I felt really sexy and confident in it. I felt really secure in myself as a woman.

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This is one of my favourite looks because it was so unexpected; a lot of my outfits take so much planning and preparation. I flew back from New York and landed on the morning of the GQ Men of the Year awards. I wasn’t supposed to wear this dress, it was just a backup option. I didn’t even have a fitting, but I tried it on and it fit perfectly, and everything just fell into place.

I’m someone who never usually goes out, but I loved this dress so much that I even went to the afterparty. I didn’t get home until 7am, which is unheard of for me, but this outfit just put me in a good mood.

On an everyday basis, my style is very laid back and tomboyish. I don’t really wear makeup when I’m not working; I try to not even do my hair. Most days, I show one bit of my body – so if I’m in joggers, I’ll wear a bodysuit with it, or a crop top.

I like people who are daring with their style, such as Rihanna. I feel like she can wear anything and she’s not afraid to try new things. I also really love Tupac, he’s my idol. I look at pictures of him and what he’s wearing – double denim, for example, or camo – and it just looks so cool and relevant to this day. I also love Bollywood actresses, such as Sonam Kapoor. I love looking at their traditional outfits and their western outfits and seeing how they mix cultures together.