Two years after winning RTE’s The Model Scouts, Derry’s Tabea Weyrauch is taking the fashion world by storm...in agood way
In the world of fashion, you know you’re going places when your name is mentioned in the same paragraph as American Vogue Editor Anna Wintour. Of course if you’re one of the models opening London Fashion Week, that’s another plus, and when you’re signed to the agency who represent Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell and Gisele Bundchen very few would argue that you’re not a bit of a modelling success story.
Former Foyle College pupil Tabea Weyrauch doesn’t go out of her way to shout about her achievements in the world of fashion and celebrity.
In the stunning portfolio she’s built up since winning RTE’s The Model Scouts, she is every inch the future supermodel - but, impressively, modest with it.
The 19-year-old doesn’t need to talk herself up. She’s a working model. She works. She doesn’t labour the point. Her carbon footprint, she jokes, is “woeful.”
It’s small wonder Tabea is notching up the airmiles. Since beating off stiff competition to be crowned the winner of the RTE model search in 2010 to say life’s been hectic would be an understatement.
“Once the show was over I spent a lot of time in Paris doing Paris Fashion Week and castings and shoots, and in quick succession went on to work in London, Stockholm, Hyeres and Milan,” she explains.
German born Tabea spent last summer in New York before a stint in Singapore and after a short visit home to Derry’s Waterside over Christmas she’s been working in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. It was her time in London in February however which really propelled her into the modelling elite.
Opening London Fashion Week walking for top designer Antoni Alison, Tabea was instantly the subject of fashion blogs and was included in the Irish Times ‘Talk of the Town’ column as one to watch.
She’s now back in Derry after a two month period in Tokyo but is only touching down briefly before going to work in Milan in the coming weeks.
“I’ve loved the diversity of the places I’ve visited, from walking down the Gamla Stan in Stockholm, to eating out at Hawker centres in Singapore, to watching the Independence Day Fireworks in New York – it never gets boring.
“I even experienced a few earthquakes during my stay in Tokyo,” she says.
At this early stage in her modelling career, Tabea could well have been bitten by the ego bug. She has however kept her head in a world where many others lose theirs.
The high point, she insists, is getting to travel so extensively,
“I’ve really enjoyed doing so many shows all over the world and was especially thrilled when I got to open London Fashion week this season at the Antoni and Alison show.
“I also loved spending time in Singapore and Tokyo, as it was the first time I had worked in Asia. I loved those cities as I found the life and culture to be very different and exciting. That is one of the things that I really value about my experience in working internationally,” she says.
While it’s only been two years since Tabea went along to Foyleside Shopping Centre on the advice of a friend to try out for RTE’s The Model Scouts, she’s fitted in more than most of us do in an entire lifetime.
Unsurprisingly, it’s advice she’s glad she took and she’s more than happy with the path the show has led her down, although she didn’t expect anything to come out of it at the time.
“I had no clue!,” she says.
“I was always at a bit of a loss as to what I wanted to do after Foyle, be it physics or maths.
“I would probably have taken a gap year to think things through anyway, and right now I can think of no better way to spend my transition years. When I look back it really shocks me to realise how much I’ve grown in such a short period of time, it’s amazing how much travelling changes you.
“So although I had no idea that my life would turn out as it has, I’m really happy I went to Foyleside that day!”
‘Return to academia’
While physics and maths are no longer on the menu short term, the Derry teenager hasn’t ruled out a return to academia in her long term plans. She’s practical about the longevity of the average modelling career but is determined to grab every opportunity which presents itself while she’s working with IMG.
“I still maintain that a good education is extremely important. Having said that, I do want to keep up the modelling for as long as I can.
“It’s a short-lived career but I am fully taking advantage of my voyages and using my experiences as building blocks to my education in the wider world.
“I will probably go to university as a mature student somewhere down the line, but in the meantime you never know what other opportunities life might throw up,” she says.
This weekend, life will throw up an opportunity to catch up with friends and family and enjoy what’s on offer at Derry’s Jazz Festival.
It’s a rare chance for Tabea to relax and unwind before moving onto her next job.
She says her family’s willingness to travel have meant feeling homesick hasn’t been high on the agenda.
“Typically I would spend a couple of months away, then return home with just about enough time to do my laundry before moving on to a different city!
“I cope quite well with being away from home, models generally form close friendships very quickly so wherever I go I always have good company.
“The past few months especially have been really great as I have been travelling around with Ellen from ‘The Model Scouts’.
“We went to New York, Singapore, Germany and Tokyo together.
“Fortunately for me, my family love to travel at any excuse and have actually come over to visit me in both Paris and New York, so I’m rarely homesick!”