Abbey Lee

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Abbey Lee
Abbey Lee 2015.jpg
Lee in 2015
Abbey Lee Kershaw

(1987-06-12) 12 June 1987 (age 34)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Model
  • actress
  • musician
Years active2007–present
Parent(s)Kim Kershaw (father)

Abbey Lee Kershaw[1] (born 12 June 1987) is an Australian model, actress and musician.[2][3] Following several years of success leading up to the 2011 fashion seasons, V magazine dubbed Kershaw a supermodel.[4] has listed her as an "Industry Icon".[5] Abbey Lee dropped the use of her surname, Kershaw, in 2015.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

Abbey Lee Kershaw was born in Melbourne, Victoria, the daughter of Kerry, a psychologist, and Kim Kershaw, who played in the Victorian Football League for Richmond and Hawthorn.[8][9][10] Lee is the middle child.[11] She has said that as a child, she was "always in the hospital." At age four, she suffered from meningitis and had to have two spinal taps. She also had a tumour on the knee, and several broken bones from climbing trees.[12]

She grew up in Kensington, Victoria and attended St Michael's Catholic Primary School in North Melbourne. She has stated that she "grew up with 42 nationalities", explaining that her primary school of 150 children was very multicultural. She then attended the Academy of Mary Immaculate in Fitzroy.[13]

Lee has said that she "did not come from wealth" and had various jobs while a teenager, including working at a fun fair, as a grocery clerk,[14] and at a McDonald's.[15] She took jujitsu classes for seven years and was involved in other sports.[11]

In 2004, she entered the Australian Girlfriend Model Search, and won the contest.[16] Her rebellious side got her expelled from high school at the start of her final year.[11] After high school, in 2005, she moved from Melbourne to Sydney to begin modelling. She lived 100 metres (330 ft) from the beach, and it was while at the beach that she was scouted by Chic Management's Kathy Ward,[13] who also discovered Miranda Kerr and Samantha Harris.[17] She signed with Chic Management within weeks.[18]



In 2007, Lee signed with Next Management and by March had moved to New York City.[18] On 11 December, named her the "Next Superstar".[19]

Lee made her debut in the 2008 New York Fashion Week, managing to walk a total of 29 shows for designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Halston, and notably closing for Rodarte.[20] For her first time in Milan Fashion Week, she was booked as a Gucci exclusive.[21] Later that year, in September, she fell in her high heels at the Rodarte show in New York.[22] Then, a month later in Paris, she fainted at the Alexander McQueen show from wearing a very tight leather corset.[23] Regardless of these two incidents, it did not affect her from booking more runways shows.[22][23] Lee was one of new faces to appear on one of the fourteen covers of V magazine's Autumn issue.[24] On 15 November 2008, in Miami, she made her international TV appearance at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, modelling in the "Pink Planet" segment.[25]

Lee has starred in the fragrance ads for Gucci's new "Flora" scent since 2008.[26]

In November 2009, Fashion TV placed her first in their First Face Countdown for Spring/Summer 2010.[citation needed] Lee had to sit out the Autumn 2009 shows due to a knee injury: she had torn ligaments and could barely walk.[16] She was featured in the explicit shoot for the French magazine Purple Fashion published Autumn/Winter 2009.[27] The infamous spread, shot by photographer Terry Richardson, caused outrage in the blogosphere, where Richardson was accused of cajoling the girls for his own sexual satisfaction. In his defense, Lee said, "Terry doesn't force girls to do anything they don't want to. He puts you in a G-string in a pile of mud because you want to do it. You touch yourself because you want to. For me, that shoot was the truth about how things were between us both, and I felt good doing it. I'm not ashamed of it—why should I be?"[12] After skipping the Autumn 2009 season owing to a knee injury, she reappeared in Milan Fashion Week, opening D&G to having the first and last looks at Fendi and Versace, prompting New York magazine to name her "Milan's Top Model".[28] On 1 December 2009, for the second time, she participated in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, but this time she had three outfits, modelling in the "Star Trooper," "Pink Planet", and in the "Enchanted Forest" segment.[29]


Lee walking for Michael Kors in 2010

In 2010, Lee was heavily in demand for campaigns, shoots and shows.[12] She was featured in the 2010 Pirelli Calendar photographed by Terry Richardson,[30] and the 2011 edition photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.[citation needed] In March 2010, she was announced as the face of Chanel's Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 ready-to-wear ad campaign. This news came after she closed the Chanel Spring 2010 couture show, and opened the Chanel Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 ready-to-wear show.[31] In November, for the fourth time, she became the cover model of Australian Vogue (her previous covers of the same publication were in March 2010, March 2009, and September 2008).[32] The same year, Lee was also featured as the face of the Anna Sui FW 2010 campaign.[33] Abbey also appeared in the lookbook of the Versace x h&m collaboration collection.[34]

She took her own self-portrait for the new Rag & Bone Do-It-Yourself ad campaign spring 2011 along with models Sasha Pivovarova, Edita Vilkeviciute, Karolina Kurkova, Candice Swanepoel and Lily Aldridge.[35] She earned $100,000 as an exclusive for Chanel, walking for their spring-summer collection in Paris.[15] She skipped New York Fashion Week for London.[36] V magazine's "The Discovery Issue" crowned Lee as the new Supermodel.[4] The magazine called Lee "the biggest fashion export from Down Under since Elle Macpherson joined the ranks of Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington."[37]

She was on the May 2011 cover of Numero, photographed by Tom Munro.[18]


Lee has been absent from the runway since the Fall 2012 shows where she walked only for Alexander Wang and Anna Sui. During 2012, she focused on acting and spent much of the year in Africa filming the post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Although Lee was ranked 4th at the height of her career on the Top 50 Models Women list by, as of June 2013 she was 12th on the list.[38]

Lee appeared in the Fall/Winter 2013–14 Campaign for Gucci alongside male model Adrien Sahores, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.


In May 2014, Lee once again appeared on the cover of Vogue Australia and starred in two editorials on the same issue, in which was celebrate her debut into acting career. In August 2014 moved Abbey to the Industry Icon list considering her still going presence in fashion with big fragrances contracts as Flora By Gucci and Versace's Yellow Diamond, although she was absent from runways and editorials to film Mad Max and Gods of Egypt.

Lee had a supporting role in the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road. In 2016, she had major roles in the films Gods of Egypt, alongside Gerard Butler,[39] and the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed thriller The Neon Demon, with Elle Fanning.[40][41][42] Lee stated that her history of martial arts training got her the role in Gods of Egypt.[11]

In 2017, Lee played Tirana in the film The Dark Tower.[43] The following year, she played the main character in Elizabeth Harvest, directed by Sebastian Gutierrez.

In 2020, she played the troubled Christina Braithwhite in HBO's drama horror Lovecraft Country.[44] She told Harper's Bazaar that she was the last one cast for the show and that she researched about growing up in a cult to understand the character.[45]

In 2021, she played Chrystal, a sufferer of hypocalcemia, in the film Old by M. Night Shyamalan.

Personal life[edit]

Lee stated that she was a driven child with big hopes and dreams but her complicated household meant that her parents struggled to put food on the table and there was no music or art in their home.[45] Lee felt that modelling made her a disposable cog in a wheel but it was the ticket to her survival.[1][45] She later dated Matthew Hutchinson from the band Our Mountain, who stirred a creative spirit within her and she began to learn an instrument and paint.[7][46] Lee's role in Mad Max opened her eyes to how acting combines expression, sound, movement, performance and everything she loves.[45]

In 2015, Lee stated that she is writing a semi-autobiographical film about addiction.[11]

Her favourite movie is The Little Mermaid and she grew up thinking she would become a mermaid.[7]


Lee in 2014


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Submission Jiu Jitsu Fighter Video short
2015 Mad Max: Fury Road The Dag
Ruben Guthrie Zoya Houbec
Caprice Holly
2016 Snowbird Theo Video short
Gods of Egypt Anat
The Neon Demon Sarah
Office Christmas Party Savannah
2017 The Dark Tower Tirana
1% Katrina
Maverick Maverick Video short
2018 Welcome the Stranger Alice
To the Night Caty
Elizabeth Harvest Elizabeth
2019 Lux Æterna Abbey
2021 Old Chrystal
The Forgiven Cody Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2020 Lovecraft Country Christina Braithwhite Regular role, 10 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2016 Gold Derby Awards Best Ensemble Cast (shared with the cast) Mad Max: Fury Road Nominated
2018 AACTA Awards Best Lead Actress 1% Nominated
2019 AFCA Award Best Lead Actress Nominated
2021 Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Villain in Series Lovecraft Country Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated


  1. ^ a b Spring, Alexandra (16 July 2015). "Abbey Lee: 'There is no security in getting paid for your looks'". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  2. ^ Herbst, Kendall (6 May 2008). "Four Other Faces". New York.
  3. ^ Dance, Stevie. "Music /Our Mountain". Rush Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b Mr. V (10 January 2011). "A IS FOR ABBEY: NEW SUPERMODEL". V (magazine). Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  5. ^ "'s Industry Icons". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  6. ^ Brannigan, Maura. "Abbey Lee Will Make You Want to Contour Your Sternum". Fashionista. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Dazed (10 June 2016). "Abbey Lee is out for Hollywood's blood". Dazed. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  8. ^ Daily Telegraph, "Catherine McNeil and Abbey Lee Kershaw wow New York Fashion Week", 9 September 2008
  9. ^ "Model act: the multi-talented Abbey Lee Kershaw". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. ^ "Abbey Lee Kershaw Australia's Top Model". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Abbey Lee". Interview Magazine. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Gray, Richard (7 March 2010). "Abbey Lee, the big face of 2010". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  13. ^ a b Stephan, Moskovic (28 December 2007). "…and here she is! | Of The Minute". Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  14. ^ "Abbey Lee Talks 'Mad Max: Fury Road', 'The Neon Demon' and 'Gods of Egypt'". Collider (Interview). 18 May 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b Hush, Kellie (27 January 2011). "From McDonald's to Chanel, Abbey cashes in at the Paris end". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  16. ^ a b Rao, Priya (8 September 2009). "This Week's Model: Abbey Lee Kershaw". W. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  17. ^ Strebe, Sacha (13 July 2010). "Kathy Ward nurtures Miranda Kerr, Harris and McNeil". Goldcoast. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  18. ^ a b c "Abbey Lee". New York.
  19. ^ wayne (11 December 2007). "Next Superstar Alert".
  20. ^ "Karlie Kloss Is Fashion Week's Top Model". New York. 11 February 2008.
  21. ^ Herbst, Kendall (19 February 2008). "Gucci Books Abbey Lee Exclusive". New York. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  22. ^ a b Blasberg, Derek (9 September 2008). "Blasblog: Abby Lee's Stumble And Fall". Style File blog. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  23. ^ a b Foster, Kimberley (7 October 2008). "Abbey Lee Kershaw faints on catwalk at Alexander McQueen". Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  24. ^ Lim, James (10 September 2008). "Ogle 'V' Magazine's Fourteen New Cover Models". New York. Archived from the original on 18 October 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  25. ^ "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2008 Gallery". Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  26. ^ Clott, Sharon (5 December 2008). "Courteney Cox and Faith Hill Get Fragrance Deals; Tom Ford Makes Soap on a Rope". New York. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  27. ^ "Purple Best of Season- F/W 09 (Purple Fashion)".
  28. ^ Lim, James (1 October 2009). "Abbey Lee Is Milan's Top Model". New York. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  29. ^ "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2009 Gallery". Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  30. ^ Bell, Gabriel (18 June 2009). "Terry Richardson and Most of the World's Models Gang Up for Pirelli Calendar 2010". New York. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  31. ^ "Aussie Abbey's the face of 2010". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 March 2010.
  32. ^ Cowles, Charlotte (25 October 2010). "Abbey Lee Kershaw Covers Australian Vogue for the Fourth Time". New York. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  33. ^ "Anna Sui F/W 10". 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  34. ^ "First Look: Abbey Lee Kershaw stars in the Versace for H&M look book". Harper's BAZAAR.
  35. ^ "Rag & Bone DIY Campaign". VainStyle. 31 January 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011.
  36. ^ Sells, Emma (10 February 2011). "ABBEY LEE'S DITCHING NY FOR LONDON". Elle UK. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  37. ^ "Fashion News by Yahoo7 Lifestyle".
  38. ^ Top 50 models women,, 15 June 2011.
  39. ^ "Refn's Cannibal Horror 'The Neon Demon' Begins Filming". Bloody Disgusting!.
  40. ^ "The Neon Demon Snags Abbey Lee". Dread Central.
  41. ^ "'Neon Demon' Sucks Out Virginal Youth and Beauty – Bloody Disgusting!". Bloody Disgusting!.
  42. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "Abbey Lee To Star In Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Neon Demon' - Deadline". Deadline.
  43. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "Abbey Lee to star in The Dark Tower – Deadline". Deadline.
  44. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (14 June 2019). "'Lovecraft Country': Abbey Lee Joins In Recasting, Daniel Sackheim Set As EP/Director, Jamie Chung & Jordan Patrick Smith To Recur On HBO Series". Deadline. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  45. ^ a b c d Puckett-Pope, Lauren (31 August 2020). "Lovecraft Country's Abbey Lee Feels Your Fury". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  46. ^ Nast, Condé (17 April 2011). "Rock Steady: Models with Rocker Boyfriends". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 17 August 2021.

External links[edit]