When Tahnee Atkinson won Australia’s Next Top Model in 2009 by a landslide public vote, it sent a giant ‘fireworks-in-the-sky’ message to the fashion industry that the majority of people see real beauty in every healthy body shape. The popular Perth native was (and still is) mesmerising, charismatic and far from the waif-thin runway model stereotype expected to win the competition.
Since then, the 23-year-old’s career has gone global, but she still found the time recently to fly home to Australia and shoot THE UPSIDE’s latest campaign imagery with star photographer Jez Smith on Maroubra Beach in Sydney.
(This picture, given as an exclusive first-glimpse to Sporteluxe, is just one of those shots.)
The ad campaign is the second installment of THE UPSIDE’s Be You social initiative, which focuses on the diversity of beauty and expressng yourself, all with the view to us feeling great about being ourselves – and of course, how we look in the clothes we decide to wear.
This time, Be You stars just two models: Tahnee and 38-year-old statuesque French artist and former Olympic swimmer, Casey Legler, who is famous for being the first woman signed to the men’s division of Ford Models, one of the world’s most influential agencies.
(Do keep an eye open for Casey’s campaign shots, taken in the moody backstreets of Sydney suburb, Marrickville – they’re absolutely stunning!)
“To be part of something positive that celebrates diversity was such a privilege,” said Tahnee of being in Be You campaign. “I feel fortunate to be able to embrace my figure, however I am highly aware of the pressures we put on women, especially young girls…”
Q: How do you prepare for a photo shoot? Do you have a specific health or beauty routine?
Tahnee: I don’t really have anything in particular that I do. As a model you really need to make sure that you are well groomed and looking your best at all times. Things are very last minute in this industry and you can often be called up the day or even minutes before a casting or even a shoot. So you need to make sure you are always prepared. Usually I’ll put a treatment in my hair two nights before a job, have a manicure and pedicure, go to the sauna and make sure to eat super healthily.
Q: You won Australia’s Next Top Model by public vote. Did the spotlight from that show change your perception of yourself?
Tahnee: I don’t feel like my perception of myself changed at all after the show. I’ve always tried to remain fairly grounded and if I have ever lost sight of that for a minute my family has certainly brought me back to earth.
Q: You’re currently based in America for castings. What are your modelling goals and where do you see yourself in five years?
Tahnee: If there’s one thing I’ve learnt is that you can only have a certain amount of control and the more you obsess about your career the less you will enjoy it. So long as I am doing my absolute best I am happy. I would like to get to a point where I can use my modelling career as a platform for other things; I am inspired by all the incredible businesswomen we have in Australia who have done this, like [THE UPSIDE founder] Jodhi Meares. I do have a few exciting things in the pipeline in terms of other ventures, so stay tuned.
GREAT NEWS! As part of the BE You campaign, THE UPSIDE will donate 10 per cent of profits in the month of July 2015 to Twenty10 (incorporating the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW), a community-based, non-profit organisation working with people of diverse genders, sexualities, their families and communities providing a wide range of support services, including case management, counseling, drop-in facilities, accommodation, family support services, education, regional support and more.