A Mangawhai singer-songwriter who burst onto the scene aged 16 with chart-topping singles will now be modelling a new line of eye-popping underwear as the new Bonds girl.
Jamie McDell, 24, has been announced as the New Zealand women's ambassador for Bonds. Working with the iconic brand, she says, felt like a natural fit.
"I've been a fan of Bonds for years. It's awesome to be involved with a brand that is known and loved by so many Kiwi girls."
Though well-travelled and cosmopolitan, Jamie is described as a down-to-earth Kiwi. Since striking musical success, the singer-songwriter, guitarist has thrown herself behind some hugely successful environmental campaigns and become an ambassador for Surf Lifesaving NZ.
Says Bonds marketing manager Michelle Taylor: "Jamie is outgoing, adventurous and loads of fun which is a perfect fit for Bonds. We are so excited to see the partnership come to life and showcase the new season styles."
Raised in coastal Mangawhai and spending several years of her youth living on a sailboat travelling around the Mediterranean with her family, Jamie's life, outlook and lyrics are coloured by the ocean.
"Growing up, our household was always filled with music. I wrote my first song at the age of 7. I still remember it well. It was a song about wanting to swim away with the dolphins. We spent a large amount of our childhood on the water so songs about the sea were common. Obviously as I grew up those topics started to develop into stories about my life and the people in it."
Jamie was discovered after her parents sent a demo tape to a music company. She quickly rose to fame with her straight-forward, unaffected sunny sound, releasing several singles, including chart-topping You'll Never Take That Away and Rewind, and her album Six Strings and a Sailboat took out Best Pop Album at the 2013 NZ Music Awards.
"It's really amazing having people relate to your music. I like being able to share my stories and emotions with people knowing that someone might be able to interpret my music to fit their own lives. I also enjoy having a platform in which I can encourage positive messages and hopefully make a positive difference."
Although now based in Auckland, her parents still live in Mangawhai and she returns to visit as often as possible.
"I definitely try and get up as much as I can. My favourite surf spots are all across this coast and, of course, I love being around mum and dad. I'm sure I'll find myself living up there later on in my life.
"I have many fond memories just simply exploring the sand dunes. They really are such a magical part of the landscape here. I reckon I must have explored every inch of them now. As someone that really gets a kick out of being in or on the water, Mangawhai is always exciting for me because, if the surf's no good, you can go sailing, if it's not right for sailing, you can go fishing or diving and if you can't do any of that well there's always the pub! There's so many ways to connect with the sea, I love that."
Jamie says she was 'really excited and honoured' to be asked to get involved with the campaign, 'especially being at a stage in my life where I'm really comfortable in my own skin'.
"Sure, I've been through ups and downs with getting to love my body, like many young girls, but getting older, I've gained a bit of perspective and come to really appreciate my body for what it can do, rather than what it looks like. This particular Bonds campaign celebrates your individuality so having confidence in the things that make us unique is a message I'd really like to get across."