The Doctor Who star was scouted by an agency before winning her first TV roles and walked the catwalk at London Fashion Week.
Of whether she shared the thoughts of Jean Shrimpton, who she plays in upcoming BBC4 drama We'll Take Manhattan, Gillan told Stylist: "Yes, I understand everything she says about modelling.
"As a model you just do what you're told. It's not something that ever bothered me really because I didn't feel that there was a lot riding on it.
"I didn't care about modelling, so the pressure wasn't there for me."
Asked if she met Shrimpton when preparing for the role, she added: "No. I didn't have the chance because she's quite private. She runs a hotel in Penzance. Part of me was tempted to book in but I thought that might be a little weird."
"I read her autobiography and her modelling guide though," Gillan added.
"The guide was written while she was at the height of her fame, the autobiography was written late on in life, so she's far more honest about how she feels in that. She hated the fame side of things."
The actress also confirmed that Shrimpton has watched the television movie and "left a message for me saying she loved it".
We'll Take Manhattan airs on Thursday, January 26 at 9pm on BBC Four.
> Karen Gillan admits Jean Shrimpton role pressure
> 'Doctor Who' Karen Gillan 'knew about Amy Pond exit for ages'
Watch a trailer for We'll Take Manhattan below: