Meet the model who refuses to drop to a size 4
MEET the Coolum Beach 180cm tall beauty who is taking the modelling world by storm.
Talisa Quirk has gone from being an unknown schoolgirl to one of Australia's top models, gracing the pages of Harper's Bazaar magazine and Elle and walking the catwalks in Paris and Tokyo.
And she's done this in two years.
Now Talisa faces her greatest opportunity and her greatest challenge.
She is one of an exclusive few selected to join the haute couture scene in Paris.
But theoretically, she has to lose weight to fit in as her size 6 to 8 frame has been considered too big by the world's top designers, who seek models fitting into size 4 to 6 clothing.
Talisa is determined to maintain a healthy weight range and she has the backing of her modelling agency, IMG, to buck the trend in the high fashion stakes.
In doing this, she is proving not just to be a top model, but a role model for other girls seeking to enter the exciting and challenging world of fashion.
"When I signed, I was told my body had to be in certain measurements," she said.
"But I told them I didn't want to come home and have my mum worried. They understand that.
"Between four and six is normally the size, but some girls have different shapes," she said.
"I have been told by the overseas people I have met they want me to work for them and they don't say I am not small enough.
"I don't want to be looking at myself worrying about it.
"Personally, I can't go down to a size 4."
Talisa is, however, adamant to keep a fit and healthy lifestyle, using a Sydney personal trainer for models to keep her in top shape and maintaining a healthy diet.
"I love running, too, which is a really good way to keep healthy, and I juice and cleanse two days of the month. I am also always happy to treat myself to a cupcake. Sometimes when I am at casting with the large designers, there are those really small girls around.
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"But you don't need to be that thin. I have been booked by big designers despite my size.
"If you want to be size 6, that's fine. It's all about standing up and having a relationship with your management and agency to make your own choices."
Talisa is spending a few weeks at her Coolum home, hanging out in "bikinis and thongs" before heading off to Paris again.
TALISA'S FAIRYTALE RISE TO THE TOP
HOW did a shy Coolum schoolgirl go from working at Red Rooster to earning six figure incomes at 19 and gracing the top magazines in the world?
Talisa Quirk's entry into the top modelling circuit was a fairytale in itself.
"My older sister and my really close friend had entered me into the Australia's Next Top Model audition," Talisa said. "They wrote my name down online and then took me to Brisbane and told me we were going shopping. Then when we got there, they told me they had entered me.
"I'm not a big person for putting myself out there. I was so nervous but they said they would stay with me. When I went for the audition, the judge from IMG modelling agency said if I didn't make it, they would give me a modelling contract."
Talisa made it into the top 20 of the television modelling show, before being eliminated.
"I was ok with it, I was in Grade 10 and it would have meant months off school," she said.
But her loss was only the beginning. Days after the elimination, she found a message on Facebook from an IMG modelling agent in Paris.
"They asked me to fly to Sydney to meet them," Talisa said. "I also met an agent from New York and the other agent flew in from Paris to meet me there, too. I was so terrified. We spoke about everything I wanted from a signing and the future I saw for myself. I said I'd want to walk and do campaigns for Prada."
She was encouraged to finish Year 12 and then two days after graduating from Coolum High, Talisa started her modelling career in Sydney. And now she spends most of the year living in Paris, London or Tokyo. "I'm out of Queensland nine months of the year. I've grown up grounded with my family. My mum and older sisters have been there when I've had doubts about my body and image.
"I am surrounded by girls 24/7 and we all know what that's like. But I have amazing managers who look after me."
Some top-level modelling campaigns pay "low six-figure incomes". "When I got my first pay cheque, I pretty much fainted."
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