You know those pivotal moments that could take your life in a totally different direction? For Queenslander Bree Warren, that came when she turned her back on a promising basketball career to become a model.
"The life of a professional athlete wasn’t for me,” Bree says of her decision to swap college in the US – where she could seriously pursue the sport – for a European adventure. It’s a decision she doesn’t regret. She eventually moved to New York to work at 25, and has since landed jobs with ASOS, Revlon, Ralph Lauren and Garnier, as well as Aussie brands Lorna Jane and Tigerlily. But it was her sporty start that gave the in-demand model an edge and a 196K Instagram following who love her globetrotting surfer lifestyle.
“There’s a misconception that thin equals fit and that’s not entirely true. Fit bodies come in all builds, shapes and sizes,” says the 30-year-old. “It’s about embracing the body you have got, rather than wishing for something you don’t have.”
In this month's issue, she talks about going against the grain, why pilates is her new basketball and how she’s created her dream life.
"I never realised the effect that my Instagram (@breekwarren) had until I started to get a lot of messages from women. The fashion industry has been dominated by one size for so long, and I think people find it really refreshing to see a body like mine represented. We’re not all created in a tiny frame and that’s OK. That’s why I started the #breekiniweekly hashtag. The swimwear market was flooded with all these amazing brands, and I’d be sent swimwear that was never shown on a model above a size 8. But what looks good on a small, tiny frame just doesn’t look good on me. I wanted to show something different.
In each post, I wear swim pieces that I really would wear in real life, and share what size I’m wearing. I want to start building #breekiniweekly into an inclusive space for beach body diversity and show all shapes, sizes and body types. I want it to be about the bigger picture. The majority of swimwear is only ever shot on one body type and I’ve never understood that. You can’t have only one way to be beautiful. Curvy bodies can be hot, healthy and sell swimwear. I want everyone else to know it, too. I guess I’ve always gone against the grain with this and been a rule breaker in terms of my size in the industry. It was a different world back then [when I started modelling], you know? There are so many brands that I would never have expected to be working for that are now coming to me through my social media, such as Seafolly, Tigerlily, Monday Swimwear, Duskii, Palm Swimwear and Vitamin A."
Read our full chat with Bree and more in this month's Women's Health, on sale Monday May 7.