Gabriella Bongiovanni: Tennis player turned fashion model

Born into an Italian family in Melbourne, Australia, the young girl grew up with a tennis racquet in her hand. Life took a turn and she found herself walking the runway


Gabriella Bongiovanni’s parents are European immigrants in Australia. She and her brothers were born in the country famous for its beaches. She started playing tennis when she was 6 years old. At 18, she got recruited to play collegiate tennis in the United States. In her senior year, she won the All- America award, finishing the season among the top 10 players in the nation.

Sharing her experiences as a female tennis player, she said, “Traveling alone on the pro tour playing tournaments was extremely hard. I did not have a coach or a support team. I traveled to countries like Egypt and Turkey alone and dealt with difficult situations being a woman in male dominant countries. It takes courage and confidence.”

Exciting experiences from modeling

Gabriella Bongiovanni went on to play the pro circuit for a couple of years. During the time, a friend of hers pulled her into the industry when they needed an extra girl for a gig, and she was booked last minute. She enjoyed these gigs so much and began to work with local photographers to build her portfolio.

When she injured her rotator cuff, she had to end her tennis career and dedicate her time to modeling. It was not a hard transition, anyway. What she learnt during her tennis career helped her tremendously in the modeling industry.

“Playing [tennis] in both the collegiate and professional level requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice. Maybe your friends are going out to the club, but you need to prepare for a match the next day. Some days you wake up and you don’t feel like going to the gym or practicing, but you need to push yourself. In modeling you need to also push yourself. You may not always get the jobs you want. You may be told ‘no’ after casting. However, you need to just keep going and believe in yourself.

When it comes to runway shows, sometimes it can be very long days – you could be at castings for hours, then fittings. On show day you need to be there early for hair and makeup.

Sleep, diet, exercise – these are the most important things to prepare for anything whether it be a tennis match or a runway show.”


Modeling opens up a new world

Sharing her experiences in the modeling career, Gabriella smiles,

“My favorite time of year is Miami Swim Week. It is a time when you get to show your personality on the runway and have fun with it. It’s summertime, the shows are close to the beach, it’s just a vibe. Last Swim Week I got to be a part of the official, Miami Swim Week Shows production, where the runway was over a long swimming pool.

This year I also booked London Fashion Week which was a huge deal for me and introduced me to a whole new world of modeling. New York Fashion Week is always fun and the atmosphere is amazing. It’s very fast-paced and I feel like you spend the whole week running around the city!”

Gabriella Bongiovanni always strives to be the best


Gabriella has never stopped in trying to put the pursuit of dreams into perspective. Besides modeling and coaching, she has a Masters in Data Science. She is a consultant for an IT company specializing in higher education. “We work with universities around the world to implement and manage their Student Information System (SIS). We build integrations between their system and different applications that students use so that everything is in sync.”

From modeling to mentoring, to data analysis, for Gabrielle every job brings joy. When asked about her relaxation during free time, she said, “Vitamin Sea is definitely a thing!”


When she has a day off, she likes to spend it close to the water – whether it be at the beach, by the pool, on a boat or paddle boarding. More than that, currently living in the US – very far from her family, she makes sure to time to call and spend time catching up with them and chatting about nothing.

Being published in this May issue of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, Gabriella Bongiovanni finds it quite amazing. “I loved working with the photographer. Mosaab was very easy to work with and we got our images quickly. It was a hot day, so that connection behind the lense definitely helps! I loved the pieces by Eido Swimwear and how they flowed with the wind. Everything about the shoot was so beautiful,” she exclaimed.


Photographer: Mosaab Alsaray
PR: House of Paradise

Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam