Model Profile By Steve Polak
At only 22 Sydney based Australian model and athlete Amy Pejkovic has had plenty happen in her life so far.
Having been discovered in Girlfriend Magazine’s prestigious Model Search competition in 2005, at the tender age of 13, Amy has become a successful model, while also pursuing her other passion in the form of international high jump athletics.
As such Amy has achieved a great deal. Not only was she ranked number one in the world according to the official IAAF High Jump standings, but Amy has also placed second in her event at the World Youth Championships, held in Italy during 2009.
Pejkovic secured this trophy with an impressive high jump leap of 185 centimetres. The following year she represented Australia at the World Junior Championships held in Monkton Canada. At this event she finished seventh, with a jump of 180 centimetres.
Since then Amy has performed even better, setting a personal best jump of 187 cms at the 2014 Queensland State Championships.
However, between those earlier junior meets and her most recent impressive form Amy’s life took a tragic turn, with the bright athlete and model being struck down by cancer.
In 2012 Amy was devastated to learn she had a potentially life threatening brain tumour, measuring over 5 centimetres, located at the base of her skull. This discovery came in February, just as Amy was gearing up to try and qualify for the London Olympics.
The cancer, which was serious but operable, hampered Amy dramatically. She was suffering from balance problems, frequent vomiting and massive headaches. Amy was rushed to hospital after feeling ill during her 19th birthday party and the medical staff booked her in for an urgent MRI scan.
Sadly, the news was not good. The cancer was the size of a baseball and it had to be removed urgently. The pressure that the tumour was putting on Amy’s brain stem could have had terminal consequences within a matter of days.
Amy was understandably incredibly distraught at the time and told newspaper The Daily Mail in an interview, “I never thought that something like that would ever happen to me and when it did the first thing I thought was ‘Am I going to die?’”
Luckily the scans caught the problem in time. A difficult, but successful operation saw the removal of the tumour. Further medical analysis revealed that the growth was mercifully benign and that the operation was a complete success.
The toll had been significant though and Amy had lost 10 kg of muscle mass in two weeks. Recovery was going to be difficult and university was postponed for that year. However early signs were promising, as Pejkovic began walking with a frame and then walking unaided. This led to jogging and then more serious training was gradually resumed. The London Olympics was no longer an option, but Amy continued to train and compete, with a view to attending Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
Meanwhile Pejkovic’s modelling career blossomed as well. This was a little tricky at first, as Amy’s ‘bald strip’ at the back of her head from her surgery was still present. However, it didn’t really pose a problem once her hair was properly done for a job. At the time Amy recalls, “I loved looking at the reactions on their faces when they saw the massive bald patch on my head. Every time they'd do my hair they pull it up and go ‘wait, hold up, why is there a massive strip missing?’”
Being the hard working woman that she is Amy has had serious success with her modelling career. She has done runway work as a part of Australian Fashion Week, while also appearing in magazines like Elle, Russh, Women’s Fitness and Lorna Jane. Amy has also represented brands like Reebok, Bec and Bridge, Chanel, Alice Mc Call and Alex Perry.
Recently Amy has secured the highly sought after ‘Stella McCartney for Adidas’ contract and also done some photo shoot work for David Jones.
Amy Pejkovic is currently recovering from a torn hamstring, but aims to return to training soon, with her goal of qualifying for the Rio Olympics still within her grasp. She is also keen to focus on fashion with a move to Europe or America currently being considered, so she can further her modelling work while training and compete at international high jumping events simultaneously.
We wish her well.
One thing a woman like Amy Pejkovic has proven is that persistence in the face of often difficult obstacles can pay off. Or as we’d rather say, you just can’t keep a good high jumper down!