With distinctive, China doll-like features that gave her a thoroughly unique countenance, Australian model-cum-actress Gemma Ward carved out a niche for herself as one of the world's most unique and successful supermodels. A native of Perth (on Australia's western seaboard), Ward grew up in the obscurity of an average Aussie family, as the "tomboy" daughter of a physician and nurse, and only harbored dreams of movie stardom. At the age of 15, however, friends coaxed her into entering a local modeling competition (allegedly forging her mother's signature); though she didn't win the initial contest, an agent from Manhattan-based IMG spotted her, whisked her off to New York, and turned her into a global sensation on fashion runways and in magazine glossies.
Ward's career imparted her with a multimillion-dollar fortune well before her 20th birthday and made her face an iconic one, so it was perhaps inevitable (and unsurprising) that she then made the leap from the catwalk into feature films. She took one of her first bows with a lead in the 2007 Aussie feature The Black Balloon (as the newfound girlfriend of a teenager who is struggling to care for his mentally ill brother). She then undertook a dramatic change of pace as one of three masked criminals who invade a home and terrorize a family in Bryan Bertino's thriller The Strangers.