Meet Leonie, our wonderful and stunning fashion model 

Leonie, a Perth-based grandmother of nine and education assistant in a primary school, was innocently enjoying a cocktail in the pool of her Bali resort last September, when a blonde lady approached with a bizarre request. 

“Will you be my model for a clothing range I am launching? I’m desperate?” she asked. 

Leonie burst into laughter. 

“I’m no model,” she protested. She looked around for cameras, fearing she’d been pranked for a TikTok or YouTube show. 

But our founder Janine was 100% serious.

She was looking for a real woman to model the Taleeta range for its debut collection and Leonie was perfect. 

“But,” Leonie protested, “I’m not exactly the fashion model physique!” 

“Oh but you are,” replied Janine. “You are precisely what I’m looking for.” 

Janine explained that she doesn’t want rake thin models for her Taleeta range. It’s nothing against thin people, but Janine was looking for someone who represented the average Aussie women, who is not size eight — more likely a 14 or 16 and with real lumps and bumps. 

Says Janine: “I had a model drop out and the photoshoot was booked for the next day: I really was desperate. I spotted Leonie by the pool and I could see that not only did she have the perfect look, she seemed relaxed and fun-loving. So I got the courage to approach her. She must have thought I was nuts! But lucky for me, she agreed.” 

Janine was hanging by the pool looking for a model 

Says Janine: ‘I was sure that everyone thought I was a creepy stalker. I saw Leonie and knew she was perfect straight away.

‘The perfect mix of right age, comfortable with herself, fun loving and a 'Not model perfect' figure.I was so glad she agreed and turned up.

‘I also had another model organised and she messaged me late the night prior to say she couldn't make it. (I think she was on a bender. A big alcohol night.) But no problem. We all like to party hard in Bali, right?!’ 

Leonie was a bit hesitant at first

She’d never dreamed of being a model and felt she was not that kind of person. But she could see the panic in Janine’s eyes and she was filled with sympathy. So before she could think twice, she found herself agreeing. She had no plans for the next day and she could see that it would be a fun adventure. Also she wanted to help: Janine was running out of time. The shoot was booked for 6am the very next day.  And when she discussed it with her travel partners, she got their hearty endorsement. After all, who doesn’t want a day of pampering as a fashion model? 

So Leonie dutifully reported to Janine’s hotel suite for hair and makeup at 6am the following day. 

And what a fun day they had together!

The pace was frantic, there was an entire collection to shoot in just a few hours: several dresses: trousers, tops and bathers. 

“The makeup artist was a magician; I looked so glamorous, without slathering on inches of makeup. It was a hot humid day, so too much makeup would have slid off my face!

“I felt very pampered having my hair, nails and makeup done, just like a real fashion model,” says Leonie. 

Unfortunately both Janine and Leonie only had thongs as footwear, as neither had thought to pack any dressier shoes — but no matter, there was no other option at this late stage. 

Leonie loved the shoot, especially joining Janine and having photos together. 

“The photographer was a pro and told us exactly what to do and how to pose — I’ll try to remember the tricks. 

“Of course, I was very shy about appearing in swimwear, but with my glam makeover I felt fabulous and just went for it. After all, Taleeta customers won’t know it’s me, they’ll just want to see the swimwear, right?”

There was one more bonus that Leonie actually loved about the Taleeta photoshoot: wearing the jewellery from our sister brand, Desiderate. “The chunky gemstone jewellery is absolutely stunning. I spent a lot of time admiring myself adorned with rings and bracelets, it made me feel even more elegant and sophisticated.” 

“My favourite piece to wear on the day was the shirred bodice off the shoulder dress — it’s not a design I’ve seen before and it was so flattering to my shape.  I was delighted that Janine gifted me a few pieces as a thank you for my support. While I loved the shirred dress, I’m not much of a dress wearer, so I chose the hibiscus top and the two-tone swing tank in coral and white. I wear them often and always think of the time when I was a high-flying fashion model for a day!” 

“I love that I get to see myself in the photos and have professional photos taken that I can keep always. And next time I’m in Bali, who knows, I might be approached again!” 

Thanks so much to Leonie for being an amazing support and a stunning Taleeta fashion model! 

See our Taleeta collection here: 


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