She has one of the biggest smiles in the business and to an outsider looking in, her life seems all but perfect. Perfectly imperfect, Tegan Martin is proud to admit today.
Entering the cut-throat modelling industry in her late teens, Tegan moved to Paris, a world away from her hometown of Newcastle. Casting calls, ruthless agents and an unrealistic body image came at the cost of her happiness.Although genetically blessed with looks only the gods could compete with, Tegan was deeply insecure and lacking confidence.
“I was loving being overseas on a working holiday, but every time I looked in the mirror I would panic. I knew there was something seriously wrong but I just didn’t know how to stop myself. I was destroying my health by doing all the wrong things by my body,” Tegan can now admit.
Returning to Australia, Tegan found some respite in the commercial modelling space where curves were more accepted than on the unforgiving European runways, but she still struggled with her physical and mental health.Being diagnosed with chronic fatigue in her early 20s didn’t help, yet did lead Tegan on a search for optimal health and wellbeing. It’s a journey she continues to follow today.
“I had to relearn everything I thought I knew about myself. I learnt to use food as fuel and important coping mechanisms and strategies to live a happy and more confident life,” Tegan says.
Despite not being your standard size 0 model (equivalent to Australian size 4), Tegan is undisputedly one of Australia’s most in-demand models. Fast forward six years from her early Parisian days and she has been crowned Miss Universe, starred in two celebrity television series, walked endless red carpets and is a constant fixture on the A-list social circuit.While she still enjoys modelling and hopes to continue in the industry
“as long as they’ll have me”,
Tegan is excited to be entering a new chapter in her life, sharing her knowledge and experience with teens and young women who also struggle with self-confidence and body image.
“My main focus now is less about me and more about giving back. By using my accumulated knowledge and experiences I’d love to help teenage girls and young women who are struggling because they don’t have the right role model or person educating them,” she reveals.
Tegan is a trained health coach and will share her knowledge, journey and experiences through interactive workshops to commence in early January. She also blogs regularly and is currently writing a book to be launched mid 2019.
“The workshops are about boosting self-confidence and will be full of fun, stories, interviews and activities,” Tegan says.
The journey will also be one she is looking forward to embracing with her partner personal trainer, Blake Worral Thompson, who will run training sessions as part of the one-day course. The pair met in 2017 and they have been inseparable ever since. Initially flatmates before the relationship blossomed into something more, Tegan says the chemistry between them was too hard to ignore and credits Blake as being a very positive part of her life.
“Blake’s someone who really steps up and looks for ways to better himself and our relationship. He’s also very goal orientated and I enjoy sharing our journey and learning from each other,” Tegan says.
Blake isn’t Tegan’s only friend to join in the workshops, with promises of other inspiring, possibly famous, guest speakers to share their stories as part of Tegan’s travelling workshops.As a Newcastle girl, she hopes to particularly focus on regional areas, where she believes girls don’t have as much access to positive role models as perhaps those in the bigger cities.
“My goal is to bring my workshops to smaller towns. I feel the large cities have a lot going in terms of motivation and coping mechanism courses, but the smaller towns miss out. Newcastle is my hometown so I’m really looking forward to bringing the course here,” she says.
Another important part of Tegan’s workshop includes how to deal with criticism and negativity, something she has unfortunately fallen victim to throughout her career. From being papped while enjoying a private beach session with friends to being body shamed by strangers, it’s been a difficult road for Tegan to travel, but she has found tools to help her cope.
“I’ve learnt to embrace my curves and no longer try to hide them. If there’s a little bit of cellulite, I own it now,” she says with a laugh.
“I’ve also learnt to care more about what my close-knit circle of friends and family think, rather than anyone outside that circle. A cutting chord visualisation tool is also something that helps me, which is basically cutting all energy from someone who may be zapping it,” she says.
“I visualise a chord from my chest to the other person I need to disassociate from and then a big lightning bolt striking and cutting the chord and that person drifting off into the distance. It works a treat. I feel instantly lighter. It’s really just to lighten your energy and mood in that moment.”
Having a strong network of friends and family is important to Tegan to help keep her grounded. While the public may be more used to seeing her dressed to the nines, this is a carefully curated image that she works with her stylist, Donny Galella, to create. To her friends, she is much more down to earth.
“My friends know that I’m actually a full-time beach bum by nature and when I’m not in work mode, I do love a night in. It’s all about finding a good balance; sometimes Uber Eats and Netflix is all I’m after,” she says with a laugh.
While Tegan may enjoy the odd night in, she is currently enjoying all the glam Spring Racing season has to offer, basing herself in Melbourne throughout November, before returning to her beloved home town for Christmas.
“I love the fashions and the excitement of dressing up and going to the races with friends,” she says. “This season is all about florals, sequins and colour.
I feel that headpieces and headbands are out and hats and scarfs are in.”
“After a busy couple of months, I’ll then be looking forward to some downtime with friends and family in Newcastle, with days spent at the beach or visiting my favourite city hotspot, Blue Door Café.”
By all accounts, it’s been another busy year for Tegan, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. With her workshops set to start in the New Year and her book well under way, Tegan is also open to whatever door may open next.
“I’m a bit of a risk taker: I like surprises and challenges and I’m excited to see what crazy opportunities come my way next,” Tegan says.
“With the right mindset and tools to help me physically and emotionally, I believe I can overcome and flourish in any situation. This is the message I want to share with other women, so they can live their best life too.”
For more inspiration follow Tegan at: