Swimwear model and entrepreneur Natasha Oakley co-founded the popular blog A Bikini A Day with her best friend, Devin Brugman, and it has notched up more than 445,000 Instagram followers. Oakley, 24, has since launched her own blog and it’s become an internet sensation, attracting over 864,000 Instagram followers. I caught up with the Australian-born, Los Angeles-based swimwear designer and Sunglass Hut ambassador to chat about her life on the move, the work that goes on behind the scenes and what makes a perfect bikini.
You seem to have such a glamorous life through your blog and social-media channels. Is it really that glamorous?
It’s definitely a mix of both because I do travel so much so there is a lot time on flights and long car trips, which is not so glamorous. It gets pretty busy and we have to keep up with creating a lot of content and keeping all of our followers and clients happy. So it’s a lot of work.
Do people realise the hard work that goes into it behind the scenes?
No… people see those photos of me at the beach and think that’s all I’m doing. But I have a swimwear label, I have two blogs and I also work with a lot of brands all over the world. So it is all of that mixed in together. Devin and I wear many hats, are basically like accountants, photographers, videographers, make-up artists, stylists … We do it all! I think people think that we have a big team behind us that’s helping us to produce everything, but we don’t.
You’ve got such a huge international following – how did it all start for you?
It all really did start so organically because I have always grown up on beaches. I had my own photo-and-video production company and I lived in LA and I started working with a few swimwear brands over there and my best friend, Devin, started assisting me on the photo shoots. I was also shooting all the swimwear look-books and behind-the-scenes videos for brands in LA. So I just built a relationship with the swimwear world. We thought: we clearly have an obsession with bikinis and I think we should start something and do something more with it. And just one night on our couch in LA we started A Bikini A Day. The reaction was so huge that I started my own personal blog so that my followers could know more about my travels, lifestyle, fashion and beauty routine.
You have your own swimwear line. How did that begin?
[Devin and I] just launched Monday Swimwear at the beginning of last year and our collection sold out within the first two months. We just wanted to create our own collection that’s pretty much perfect in our eyes. For me, I’m in a bikini 365 days of the year; I just want comfortable bikinis.
In your eyes, what is a perfect bikini?
For me, it’s comfortable, it’s flattering on your skin tone and I think a classic triangle bikini is just great because it’s adjustable on the top and bottom so it works for all shapes. You can’t really go wrong with it.
You’re photographed in a bikini every day. Do you follow a strict fitness regime?
I always have just lived a healthy lifestyle and I think that goes back to my parents. My dad, as he is a surf champion, and my mum was Miss Universe and they both just always worked out and led healthy lifestyles. But I think the Australian lifestyle is all about being fit and healthy.
Having a mum as a former Miss Universe, did she give you modelling tips when you first started out?
No, actually – at the start my mum wasn’t very supportive. My mum always said that we have to wait until at least 18 years of age to get into the industry. And now I totally see where she is coming from because it’s easy when you’re young to just get caught up in what agencies say about you and go to castings and be rejected. But I’m lucky that I’ve sort of created my own destiny rather than going to castings and relying on other people’s opinions of me. I would have been too short to be a model but I’ve just said, “OK, I’m going to make this company and I’m going to model bikinis all around the world.”
What was it like to be asked to be join the likes of Georgia May Jagger and be an ambassador for Sunglass Hut?
It was really exciting because I’ve always shopped at Sunglass Hut – ever since I was little – and I’m always in sunglasses, so it is the perfect fit. To be a part of Sunglass Hut’s 94 Shades of Summer campaign and to be alongside global ambassadors Georgia May Jagger and the Richards sisters was so exciting.
You were recently named a Woman of Influence by ModelCo . What was that like?
That was an honour as well. I think the best part was getting to know Shelley Barrett [ModelCo CEO and founder] and other Women of Influence.
WE WENT TO Aquazure at One&Only, Hayman Island.
WE ATE Spanish charcuterie and Spanish cheese, seafood paella and slow-cooked Cape Grim brisket
WE DRANK One&Only Colada
NATASHA WORE A Zimmermann jumpsuit and Manning Cartell heels.
I WORE a Dion Lee top and pants.