Born and bred in the hippie surf town of Byron Bay, Australia, Teresa Oman’s first fashion memories consist of dressing up for music festivals—namely Blues Fest, which her parents run each year—and perusing the local markets for crazy dresses. “That’s where I got my rainbow sense from,” she tells us on a chilly morning in Malibu, California, the backdrop for our fashion shoot. The 21-year-old, who just last year was named one of the most re-blogged models by Tumblr, has the kind of look we California girls dream of. Add in her Cara Delevingne-esque up-for-anything attitude, and she’s got all the makings of a muse. We caught up with the beauty at the tail end of her California road trip to chat about her first big gig, living in NYC, and her dreams of becoming an actress.
When and where were you first discovered?
I was walking down the street in Byron with my first boyfriend when I was 17. These wonderful women who have this company called Spell & the Gypsy Collective, which has gotten really big now, approached me and asked if I would want to shoot for them. I was so nervous, but I decided to say yes because why not? It would be so much fun. We ended up doing a photo shoot three weeks later, and the photos got a lot of attention on the Internet. I started off modeling on the weekends for local labels to get some pocket money during my last year of high school. I never thought it would be a serious profession.
Credits: Shrimps Joseph Faux Fur Coat ($1005); Madeworn Ramones 1977 T-Shirt ($480, similar style) in Studded; Paige Verdugo Coated Skinny Ankle Jeans ($199) in Black Silk; Common Knowledge Mini Bone Bag ($480) in Black & Silver; Karl Lagerfeld Suede Creepers ($420).
What was your first big modeling gig?
Editorial-wise it would have been Oyster magazine, but I booked my first big campaign in my first three months of modeling. I was flown out to London for an Urban Outfitters catalog. It was amazing, it was my first international gig, and I still get to work with them all the time.
What has been the most exciting experience working as a model thus far?
There are so many. I did a Christmas catalog for Urban Outfitters in Colorado back in 2012. We spent a week in Colorado pretending it was Christmas every day, just a bunch of kids hanging out in a log cabin, canoeing, and eating turkey. Also, last year I went on a road trip through the South Island of New Zealand in The Lord of the Rings country. We would pop in and out of the car, take photos, and tell stories by the fire at night. The best experience now is being in the United States, which is my absolute favorite place to be and live.
How has living in NYC influenced your style?
I think there is such a big diversity of fashion in New York. I love that you have the freedom to wear whatever you want. You see people on the train and they just look absolutely crazy, and it’s like, “Cool, I can be crazy too.” In terms of work, I found that living in New York and doing the job I do, going to castings, I try to dress a bit more professional and business-like. I wear high heels during the day now, which I never thought I would do, but I’ve come to love it.
Credits: Talula Alpert Sweater ($95) in Black/Heather Perle; Myne Zepher Tank Dress with Drop Waist ($253); Wilfred Free Fia Shirt ($75) in Shadow Plaid Black; Mark Cross Grace Box Large Leather Trunk ($2490) in Red Leather; Stella McCartney Leather Star Lace-Up Platform Sneakers ($1080).
What was the first big-ticket item you bought?
This past winter in New York I went to a really cool vintage store called Amarcord in SoHo and bought this amazing vintage Versace jacket. It’s red tartan with mermaid buttons. It’s very Clueless.
What’s the one clothing item you can’t live without?
I like to call it my lucky jacket, because good things always seem to happen when I’m wearing it. It’s a denim jacket that has embroidery and beading on it. I got it on my first trip to the States in 2012, while visiting my sister in Portland. It was only $10, and I was so shocked. I’ve had it ever since and it comes with me every time I travel. It’s like a safety jacket.
A little bird told us you’re pursuing acting. How did that come about?
I think I might have been eight years old when I started taking acting classes, and I did that up until I was about 14 or 15. I became this pubescent teenager and my priorities were hanging out with friends and doing naughty stuff, but I always loved acting. Just recently I got the opportunity to work on a television commercial for a big German film company, and we shot it in three countries over a period of 16 days. I find working in film so rewarding and challenging at the same time, so I am hoping to expand that. I am hoping to have my first film role next year, which is looking very good at the moment.
Are there any actresses who inspire you?
I really like one Australian actress named Abbie Cornish. I find her absolutely incredible. I watched her film Somersault just recently because somebody told me about her amazing acting. I adore Jennifer Lawrence, too. She is so beautiful, not to mention, I am a bit of a Hunger Games fan. She is so young and doing so well.
Your parents run a music festival. Can you tell us a little about it?
Some Australian news outlets liken it to a modern-day Woodstock. It’s one of the biggest festivals in Australia and is hosted in my hometown. It’s five days and called Blues Fest. We had our 25th anniversary this year! We’ve had a lot of great international musicians play, like Robert Plant, Iggy Pop, and Santana. It’s so great to have grown up around it, I feel like the luckiest girl alive. I’m already counting down the days until next year.
What kind of music do you like?
I love the classics like Barry White, and I’ve recently been obsessed with “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band. It has this true southern American vibe that makes me so happy when I listen to it. The band is actually coming to my parents’ festival next year, so I am excited to see them live there.
Is there a story behind your Instagram handle @diddysback?
Most of my friends call me Diddy, Didds, or T Didds, and that’s been happening since I was about 13. It just managed to stick. The name T Diddy came from a bet I made with my stepbrother when I first got MySpace. He said if I kept the name T Diddy for a year he would give me $50. I did—he never gave me the money, of course—and I decided to use the name for my Instagram handle. I deleted my account for some reason, but when I got Instagram back again and thought I might as well call it Diddysback.
Credits: Janessa Leone Vera Hat ($150) in Black; Isabel Marant Hervey Jacket ($4200, 323.651.1493); Rails Hunter Plaid Shirt ($128) in Forest/Navy; Lover Lotus Lace Hem Pencil Skirt ($558); Zadig and Voltaire ZAG Talon Deluxe Boots ($715).
Photographer: Justin Coit
Fashion Editor: Nicole Akhtarzad
Producer: Jenna Peffley
Teresa Oman—ReQuest Models
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