Tash Oakley on bikini confidence and body secrets
A bikini a day
You know Tash Oakley mostly for her ripper bikini body and envy-inducing Instagram account. Her travel photos of Capri, LA and Miami should be the fuel to your once-yearly digital detox (when it feels like the whole world is on holidays), but in fact there's something quite enjoyable about looking at her Instagram feed. Together with friend and Monday Swimwear business partner Devin Brugman, the A Bikini A Day pair are poster girls for the next-gen Aussie beach babe. You know, the one who eats gelato, drinks red and actually enjoys it.
As the latest home-grown face to front a Bonds campaign, Tash joins the likes of Miranda Kerr, Zoe Foster Blake and Sarah Ellen as proud local ambassadors for the iconic brand. Here, she chats to Yeong Sassall about body confidence, wellness while travelling and online haters.
So how was the shoot for Bonds? Was it exciting working for such an iconic Australian brand?
Definitely. Even the idea was very exciting, and [shooting] on the day was a pretty special moment, because when you grow up with the brand and it's something that generations of your family have worn, it's a really special moment to be the face of it.
You're well known for wearing bikinis. Is underwear sort of a similar sort of thing? Did you find it was really easy to slip into that mode?
I think it was really easy 'cause I was in a studio. I think if I was shooting outside on the beach it would have felt so different to be in underwear.
You're really known for your bikini body. What kind of training do you do?
My boyfriend Gilles is a personal trainer. We actually released a fitness guide together. It's called Her Body by Gilles, and I sort of co-created that with him, and he did also His Body by Gilles for men. It's a 12-week programme. Basically what I'll personally do is three to four HIIT sessions a week, predominantly using body weight, depending on whether I'm in a gym or not, because those'll just be quick and painful.
How do you train when you're travelling so much? Are short exercise classes the key?
I do a 35 to 45-minute workout and people are surprised to know that it's somewhat easier when you travel because most hotels have a great gym. So I just pop down the elevator, do my workout quickly, and pop back up. Whereas if you're at home and you want to head to the gym, or head to a location to workout, that extra little bit to do it all could end up taking you to that hour-long period.
My problem is motivation when I travel. Do you treat it like it's almost a part of your routine?
Well yeah, but also even when I'm not motivated, I just remember that every time I'm not motivated, if I just get there, then as soon as I start doing it I'm completely fine. So it's really just the getting there. I don't pressure myself to do it all out every single time, and I think that helps you heavily. If you just say to yourself, "Look, even if I just go there and do something", by the time you get down to start it, you end up doing a full workout anyway. So it's almost like tricking yourself into it. And it's better to do something than nothing.
And what about diet? Do you follow any guidelines or anything like that with what you eat?
I'm pescetarian, but not necessary in terms of health. I don't really diet, but I love salad, and I've always eaten really healthy food. Growing up in Australia, I think it's quite a big part of our lifestyle. We love our vegies and we love our salad. It's not that hard for me to eat healthy because it's just always kind of been a part of my life. And I crave healthy foods, honestly. With how much I work and travel, you need it for fuel. I don't restrict myself per se, but I also just have a really balanced diet. I don't drink unless it's a glass of wine.
I know a lot of people struggle when travelling with plane food and airport food. How do you get around that?
That definitely is a struggle because the plane food has so much salt in there. A lot of the time I'll cook my own food and bring it, because you actually can bring your own food on the plane. I'll cook a quinoa, pea, mint, and avocado salad and bring that on with me. I just try and choose whatever would be the salad or the healthier option.
Is there any sort of exercise that you hate doing?
I refuse to do a burpee. That is the one move I will not do.
You've got a really toned, but still curvy figure.What's one piece of advice you would give to girls who aren't a model size eight?
Life's too short to be worried about something that is not worth worrying about. I mean, the thing is everyone is completely different shapes and sizes. I think that as long as you're healthy and happy, that is a gift and something that you should feel so lucky and appreciative for. As long as you're working out and doing the right thing by your body, you should always feel confident within yourself. And if you're not, then perhaps that is a reason that you're not feeling as confident as you could.
I think that's where you actually find your confidence: through doing things that make you feel good within yourself. There's a lot more to life than just your physical appearance - being positive and embracing life for what it is is the most amazing thing you could ever do for yourself.
You've got a really strong social media presence, and obviously that comes with its own drawbacks. I know you copped some flak from The Daily Mail last year, for example. How do you stop yourself from being affected by what people are saying about you online?
Well, the funny thing is I don't really have people saying things about me online that are negative. Everyone is supportive. I don't have one follower or one person that I've ever come across that is not inspired by what I do, and then in turn inspires me because they're just such wonderful, positive people, it's not really hard to deal with it because it's generally not a huge issue.
What happened with The Daily Mail 6-12 months ago is really the only negative feedback I've ever received. The only thing I will say about it is that their site doesn't necessarily always uplift or inspire... But it's not really something that affects me. One thing I didn't appreciate that is that I really was misquoted. I don't think that's right. I don't think that ethically is correct.
Well, that was just lazy journalism.
They said that I admitted to Photoshopping my photos. They actually asked me in the interview, "What are your thoughts on girls that Photoshop their images," and I said, "I think young girls are just imitating what they see in the media, and all of the biggest campaigns across the world," and that was my quote. And then it turned into that I've come out with this huge admission. Apart from that, it's not news to anyone that some of my images are Photoshopped because I do campaigns and I do magazine covers, and I work with different clients all over the world. No one really cares about that.
You seem to be in a bikini year-round. How do you manage to stay confident all the time?
We really know what suits our bodies and I think that is huge part of it. This thing that everyone has about it being so horrible to get on the beach in a bikini, I think that we're trying to set that right, because what happens when you get on the beach in a bikini is you literally don't care. You're just happy to be on the beach in your bikini.
But apart from that, we obviously have designed our own collection of swimwear that suits our bodies perfectly. That makes a big difference, honestly, just to wear the right bikini and know what suits your figure.
How many pairs of bikinis do you actually own?
We have over 3,000. We don't really get a chance to wear them these days. I definitely have my favourites. I can't wait 'til we're older and then our bikini collection will be even cooler because it'll be like a vintage bikini collection.
What's the secret to a really good bikini selfie is?
Never shoot in direct sunlight. A lot of people might know this, but campaign shoots are either done really early in the morning or really late in the afternoon. So yeah, try to shoot with the light coming onto you, rather than from above you. And it's about elongating your body. Do a bit of a toe point or an arm bend, and don't squish your arm against your body.
Apart from that, I think you just have to smile and look like you're having fun. People love to see other people look like they're enjoying themselves, and I think that's actually what makes people envious, if you get too serious and pose-y, it takes away that envy factor.
Where's your favourite place to travel in the world?
Italy. It's got everything. I love Capri. I love that you can just walk everywhere.
Lastly, is there one place in the world that you haven't been to yet that you are dying to go?
Yeah, there's lots of places. I haven't been to the Maldives. I'd love to go to India. I'd love to go to Tokyo. I have a list on my phone of all the places I've been and all the places I wanna go to, and right now they're at equal levels. The world's an amazing place. I'm so lucky to be able to explore so many places.
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