Natalie Roser has had a stellar year. The sought-after model and Instagram star spent the first five months in LA, before returning to Oz and relocating from Sydney to Melbourne in August – a move partly sparked by her relationship with Neighbours alumni Harley Bonner (the pair went #InstaPublic in early 2017). Then there are campaigns for Bras N Things, 2XU, Frankie Swimwear and Roser’s own fashion line Roser The Label. Phew. No wonder she’s recently taken up coffee. But it isn’t just java keeping her going – gratitude, ambition, strength and staying in tune with her health fuel her, too. Over to Roser...
Talk to us about training...
I do four or five sessions a week. When I was 14 I was diagnosed with scoliosis, which is a spinal disorder, so that’s why I’ve always struggled with posture, back and muscle pain. My workouts are very specific and arranged around treatment of that. If I have a week or two off, I have to gradually build my body back up to the level that I’m able to work out at, because otherwise it can cause me a fair bit of grief ... muscular pain. Ab stuff is really good for me. I do a lot of cardio because that’s low-weight-bearing on my back. Heavy weightlifting is something I have to build up to, and I have to be in a strict routine to be able to achieve the kind of goals I’d like to with that. So all my weight is either bodyweight or lightweight with high reps. Anything that’s too heavy in the front puts pressure on the back. Barre work really hurts my back, too. But I enjoy yoga and I’m a huge fan of pilates.
What’s your attitude to fitness in general?
When I first started training, I put on muscle really easily, and I had a lot of feedback from agents – this was years ago – saying, “You’re looking a bit strong for the fashion world.” I started to change my training, but I was changing it for them. Now that I’m a bit older and I’ve really learnt about how my body works and when I feel the best, I’ve learnt to train just for myself. That’s my philosophy.
You really prioritise being strong...
I’ve always preferred strength, ever since I was younger. I’ve always been super gangly but pretty strong playing netball, and I’ve always had solid legs because I can run pretty fast. I was so active as a kid, on the beach, surfing. In Australia, my agency has been so amazing. They have been completely happy with the way I am, and I’m naturally thin so I’ve got that on my side. [But] going to America and trying to find agencies over there ... being told, “We’d sign you but you need to lose a couple inches on your hips.” I’ve learnt to accept it’s something I just can’t do. And I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I’m not going to change my body shape, habits and eating when I know that I look healthy.
Have you always been comfortable in your skin?
My body confidence is good now, but there have always been doubts – if you don’t get a job, you think, ‘Is it because my measurements are bigger than the girl who did?’ Little things play on your mind. But I learnt pretty quickly that it’s not necessarily me; it’s about what the client is looking for to represent their brand. Once I realised that perhaps I just didn’t fit the bikinis or clothes the way they wanted, I relaxed and started to take care of myself for me.
Read more of our chat with Natalie Roser – including her delicious day on a plate and why she's "disgustingly" in love – in this month's Women's Health, on sale Monday December 4.