News

Former Barooga teen taking on the fashion world

By Cobram Courier

Taya Brooks may be young, but she is already making her mark across the world in her modelling career.

So much so Taya, 15, has collaborated with her friend and fashion designer Tayla Hope to bring out a range of activewear — Flextt.

Taya is the daughter Barooga residents Glen and Trudy Brooks and the youngest of five, but that has not stopped the Year 10 student — now living in Melbourne — from taking on the world.

She relocated from Barooga six years ago to pursue a career in dance and modelling and now, is an internationally-recognised model.

It is a far cry from Sun Country Dance in Cobram and Yarrawonga at age three, but she has not let the fame go to her head.

The level-headed teen describes herself as not a complete tomboy, but someone who enjoys time outside on the family farm, riding motorbikes, playing cricket and clay target shooting with her four brothers.

‘‘I often get asked (how it is growing up with four brothers) and I really don’t know how different it would have been to have a sister,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m really close to all my brothers and it’s an ongoing family joke that I’m the favourite and have kept my Mum and Dad the busiest.’’

Taya said being in front of the camera could be daunting and one thing she has always looked to promote was body positivity, having experienced both positive and negative experiences.

‘‘There have been so many moments where I’ve felt unsure, mostly because I don’t have the ideal model body. I’m not incredibly tall or thin and I’ve faced some harsh criticism at times, which has left me contemplating if it’s a career that I could be successful at,’’ she said.

‘‘My family and Instagram followers have definitely kept me going, it’s amazing to see how much ‘strangers’ from the other side of the world can impact your life.

‘‘I’d love to see the industry change to be more accepting of models of all shapes and sizes. It was so great to see Ashley Graham walking the recent VAMFF runway as a special guest, promoting beauty beyond size. We need more role models like her.’’

It is this philosophy which has seen Flextt launch in sizes XS to XL.

‘‘Flextt was designed as a collaboration with my friend, Tayla Hope, a fashion designer. Our philosophy is function meets fashion,’’ she said.

‘‘The range is designed to be comfortable, supportive and highly functional, but at the same time stylish.

‘‘It was very important to us...to fit all body shapes. We want women and young girls to feel good wearing it and encourage them to lead active healthy lifestyles to be the best version of themselves.’’

●Flextt is available online and at pop-up stores in Melbourne on weekends. Visit flextt.com to see the range.