McNeil, 24, was discovered when she won a model search contest at 14 hosted by Girlfriend, an Australian teen girls magazine.
Her career has been anything but kid’s stuff, however. McNeil, who is 5 ft. 11 in. tall, shot to the top ranks of runway models.
Her breakout came during the 2007 season when she was 17. She walked for such brands as Shiatzy Chen, Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli, Valentino, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent. She also opened for Givenchy.
She was named one of the season’s top ten models by Style.com after walking in 35 shows.
Catherine McNeil a Dark Beauty in Numero
The year before, she worked exclusively with photographer Mario Testino. He photographed her for the D&G pre-fall campaign and the Hugo Boss fall ad campaign the following year.
A slew of magazine features followed in Numéro and Vogue editions in Australia, France, Russia, England and Italy. She also appeared in U.S. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and fashion trade W magazine. She has also twice appeared in the famed Pirelli calendar.
Even The New York Times weighed in on her appeal. It noted her “pillowed lips, her Amazonian legs, her sultry adult face” and declared that she was “beautiful in a way people used to be.”
Then, McNeil dropped out of modeling and spent two years in London, “doing basically nothing,” she said in an interview. She was reportedly romantically involved with Australian MTV VeeJay Ruby Rose. The two became engaged before calling it off in 2010, although they are still said to be seeing each other.
She returned to the catwalks last fall and has been booking editorial features feverishly this year.
For Numéro’s May issue, McNeil wears designs by Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren Collection for photographer Wing Shya. She’s styled by fashion editor Irina Marie with hair by Seb Bascle and makeup by Alice Ghendrih.
Check out her photos and be sure to follow TheImproper on Twitter for all the latest fashion trends.