Tegan Martin: “It’s hilarious when people judge you”

Don’t be underestimating Tegan Martin. Beneath the bleach blonde, tanned limbs, piercing blue eyes and pearly white smile lies a super savvy businesswoman that continues to prove her smarts. Outwitting stiff competition in Celebrity Apprentice and outlasting strong-stomached competition in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, Tegan continues to be full of surprises.

With the former Miss Universe Australia contestant recently teaming up with her mum as the ambassadors for beauty lash brand 1000 Hour, we nabbed Tegan for a quick rundown on everything from abnormal days to social media musings to five year plans.

Can you talk me through a normal day in your life?
It’s definitely not normal! The thing about my life is it’s so different every day and that’s exactly how I like it. I was previously in a four-year apprenticeship [in a hair salon]. I was waking up every day and knew I didn’t want to be a hairdresser anymore, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. All I knew is that I didn’t want to be doing the same thing every day. I have a short attention span and I get bored easily, and I just like a challenge. The beauty of my life now is taking on a new challenge every day, throwing myself into the deep end and doing things that I’m probably not even trained or capable to do – but just winging it and faking it ‘till I make it. That’s pretty much how life is.

One day might be a twelve-hour shoot on the beach in the middle of winter. The next day might be three events in a day. The next day I might do a full day of media for whatever reason. There’s not really a lot of downtime, because at the end of the day – I am my own business. All my social channels have to be run and a lot goes into that nowadays. All my content has to be [high] quality or I won’t put it out there. There’s always something to do.

Talking about Instagram. How much content are you putting up on Instagram?
I try to do one post a day. I’ve been a bit slack over the past few weeks, but when I’m travelling or when I’ve got something amazing going on – like the jungle, or Celebrity Apprentice, I’ll do two or three a day. It just depends on what I’m going through at the time, but I try and post once a day.

And Instagram stories?
At least one or two a day. Some days I’ll have fifteen, and some days I won’t have any because I’m sitting at home in my track pants with my hair in a knot with dreadlocks.

Have you ditched Snapchat since Instagram stories came onto the scene?
I have! I still do funny stuff between my Newcastle friends – my group of school friends. I do think it’s ridiculous – social media has taken over our lives enough, so we just need to do the bare minimum. Enough so that our audience and our fans can see what we’re up to without stressing ourselves out.

Do you feel like you’re getting a lot more work now because of your Instagram following?
I think it’s very different. I’m very much pitched as a high-profile celebrity. My manager never uses the word ‘influencer’ – he keeps it very separate. Obviously, I have a following on Instagram, so I do some work through [that] but I normally try to take on bigger opportunities. I think that now Instagram’s not growing as much, people are a bit stagnant and there’s a lot of fake followers out there. Things are really starting to go good for me now because people actually know who I am and know my name. They can relate to me because they’ve seen me on the television and I’m in the media – it’s not just an influencer thing for me anymore and it’s been so much better since that’s happened.

There’s so many fake pages out there – what’s going on with the world? Why would you want to have fake followers? It just does my head in, but it’s just the way of the world and we have to go with it.

When it comes to working with brands, how do you choose who you want to work with?
Well, I’m very much a health freak – I’m so into my health. I had chronic fatigue for a few years so I’ve healed myself from the inside out. I’m also very much into hair and beauty – I was a hairdresser for longer than four years – so I keep a lot of my work in those two areas. I’m quite sporty and so also like to do a bit of sport work.

There are certain things that I’m not into, and so I’m not going to align with a brand that’s something that I’m not into or wouldn’t use. I know every celebrity says, ‘I’m only doing work that’s authentic with what I do’, but I really do have that attitude. This particular opportunity [working with 1000 Hours] was a no-brainer for me because I’d been applying my mum’s 1000 Hour dye kit since I was sixteen. It was like, “wow, yes!”, and that’s how I am nowadays – if it’s not a ‘hell yes’, then it’s a ‘no’.

What are you doing when you’re not working?
Yoga, meditation, with a friend having a juice – I love being around my friends and family. I would love to play netball again, but I can’t because my life is too last minute. There’s a few things that I wish I could do, but with my schedule I actually can’t book anything in advance. I get phone calls all the time saying, ‘you’re doing this tomorrow’. That makes it hard, but I’ve gotten pretty good at mastering the art of living day-to-day and making the best out of every moment. If I’ve got a day off, I’ll have a full Tegan Day. I’ll get up and I’ll cook an amazing breakfast, and I’ll go for a walk with a friend. I’ll come back and read a book and have a bath. It’s really ‘me, me, me’, and that’s what keeps me going. Self-love days!

What’s been your career highlight?
I feel like there’s a few. Definitely, meeting Donald Trump and being around some pretty crazy celebrities and having them want to talk to me. Because I was Miss Australia, they were all up in my grill. It was like, ‘why are these people wanting to talk to me?’. That was an amazing time in my life… followed by the two reality shows I did. They were two of the biggest highlights, because I grew.

With Celebrity Apprentice, I think I grew as a businesswoman. I became a lot better spoken and more confident asking for money and sponsors and organising. I just didn’t think I’d be able to achieve what I achieved on that show. I was the youngest by about ten years. I was 22 at the time and came sixth out of 13 people. Then, in the jungle, it was a completely different experience. It was a challenge – mentally and physically. Once you get through that, you’re on top of the world.

We loved you on I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here! You were so real…
I wasn’t painted in any other way than ‘Tegan’. There’s such a stigma when it comes to pageants and winning Miss Universe Australia. Everyone thinks ‘she’s over-dramatised, she wears a full face of makeup, she’s robotic and boring’. I had all these tags and thought, these people don’t know me. I’m as tomboy and as real as you get. It’s hilarious when people judge you because they just don’t know. When I did the Jungle, that side of me came out. The ratings were through the roof. Now a lot of people will come up and say that they’re so glad that they saw me in there.

Shifting gears a bit. We’d love to know what a regular day on your plate looks like?
Breakfast: Rice bread. The best bread that works with me and my stomach. So, rice bread with avocado and tomato.
Lunch: I will have a chicken salad or salmon and broccolini. I like to make my own homemade pesto and either put that on the salmon or on the salad. It’s a healthy homemade one.
Dinner: something a bit lighter like a soup or a stir-fry. I never go to bed with a very full stomach. I eat quite early – at 5:30/6.
I snack on rice crackers, nuts, hummus and carrot and celery. Or big handfuls of turkey and healthy raw treats that I make. My calories are quite high but it’s all a lot of good fats.

Are you exercising quite a lot during the week?
I’m actually not. I like to walk and I like to do yoga, Pilates and the occasional weight session. Some weeks I don’t do much at all and I just listen to my body. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt from having chronic fatigue. Just listen to your body – if you don’t feel like it, don’t push yourself because that’s when your body will never work the same again.

Five years from now, where will you be?
I will have some type of successful business. I would love it to be somewhere in the health space – I would love to be on some type of health show, teaching younger women the importance of healing from the inside out and using food and supplements as medicine to prevent disease. That’s my passion. I’d love to be a host on a panel.

In five years, I’d probably like to have a ring on my finger and maybe, be looking down the barrel of a child. Maybe. I’m thinking around the age of 30-31, I’d like to have kids. I’m about to turn 25. Apart from that, I’d love to be starring in a film or something, but I never plan too far ahead. I just have my finger in a few different pies. They’re all things that I enjoy and I’ve flicked anything that I don’t enjoy. I’m confident that one of those things is going to take off and give me the greatest sense of fulfilment.

Images: @tegan.martin + Esteban La Tessa for 1000 Hour

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