Max Made

Aussie Model Bree Warren Talks Body Confidence & The Model Life


Maxmade chats to modelling sensation Bree Warren about championing self-love, winters in New York and what being an athlete taught her about beauty.

Bree Warren needs no introduction. She’s the Queensland girl come-New Yorker who is taking the modeling world by storm, leaping off magazine pages with her honey blonde hair, radiant smile and self-assured, positive attitude.

Citing herself as a “model, surfer, journalist”, when she’s not lighting up the cover of magazines such as Women’s Health or modelling for brands like ASOS, Revlon, Ralph Lauren and Garnier, she is working on her travel blog The Wave Provocateur and bringing body confidence to babes around the world.

I met Bree a couple of years ago on a lingerie campaign – and we had, as they say, an instant connection. Her carefree, happy-go-lucky attitude (even with a 5 am hair and makeup call time she brought the lols) made our first stint together a pleasure. But it was her big heart and positive, yet strong personality that really sealed our bond. I love nothing more than a confident personality, a woman who knows who she is, what she stands for and can elegantly express her truth wherever she goes. Being beautiful is a given in this industry, but personality on this level is what elevates ‘just a model’ to a Unicorn – and Bree is just that! 

By never apologising for who she is, and championing her own voice and platform (check out her #breekiniweekly movement and blog), Bree is commanding the whole fashion industry to step up and expand itself into a new and exciting paradigm. Gone are the days of saying her beauty ‘didn’t fit’ a brief – even in the face of rejection, Bree stood her ground until one by one, the brands got woke and the offers to front campaigns starting pouring in.

During a recent fly-by visit to Sydney where Bree became (what the fashion industry describes her as) the first ‘curve model’ to walk Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia for Luxe Swimwear label Duskii (no biggy!), we managed to squeeze in this sizzling MM photo shoot. With another pre-dawn start (early mornings seem to be a running theme in our friendship!) we spotted a break in the grey skies and seized the opportunity to shoot, play with makeup and chat.

We had talked about this story many times, and I knew that beyond capturing Bree’s undeniable beauty, what I really craved was to showcase her strength, while also celebrating her vitality and feminine power.

Between lip applications and takes, Bree told us about what it really takes to make it in the fashion industry, why she is actively pioneering a new standard in modelling, and even let us peek into her makeup bag and see what always travels with her from New York. Prepare to be mesmerised.



Body confidence begins in the mind – what are the three things that you tell yourself every day?

That I am enough, that I am doing the best I can and that positive attracts positive. Body confidence is a choice and a process. It’s so different for everyone but ultimately it has to start with you. It’s a cliché but I really believe in the Law of Attraction and positive thinking!

As do we! What lessons learnt from succeeding in basketball and other sports do you now apply to guide your modelling career?

Sport and modelling are actually very similar for me. They both need commitment, perseverance and resilience. In sport, you can train and prepare to the best of your ability but things don’t always go your way and they don’t really guarantee the outcome. Modelling is very similar in that way. You don’t have much control over what jobs you will or will not get, but you can work hard and prepare yourself just in case you do. I think people in fashion tend to keep up the illusion that everything is fabulous and easy, but we are actually all working really hard.


When did you personally feel a positive shift in the industry regarding shape inclusiveness?

The change always felt pretty slow until now. There has been a big shift in the last 12 months for me. I’m really excited that I am being booked by a lot of mainstream brands now. The market has opened up but in the beginning, it wasn’t like that. There wasn’t really a place for my size in Australia when I started. I was in this in-between space that didn’t quite fit in anywhere and most people didn’t know what to do with me.

Where do you feel brands, the media and modelling agencies can still improve in championing sizes?

I want to see diversity across the board and more regularly. The old rules don’t apply anymore. You can’t just have one way to be beautiful anymore. I think people want authenticity now. They want to see something that is relatable, not a heavily curated image of something that is unattainable.

Realistic body types can be shot for Vogue, they can sell swimwear and can book beauty campaigns. For so long those areas have been off-limits for diversity but those days are gone.



Have you ever come across resistance from brands in dressing you or participating in your #breekiniweekly initiative?  What do you have to say to those brands, or any others who are still unwilling to represent diversity in their campaigns?

There is definitely still a percentage of the fashion industry who think that I don’t belong. But that doesn’t really affect me to be honest. There will always be people who are resistant to change and I hope that one day those tides will turn.

There were a lot of brands who refused to dress Ashley Graham for her British Vogue Cover a couple of years ago and there is an amazing quote that I love from Alexandra Shulman the editor at the time,

“It seems strange to me that while the rest of the world is desperate for fashion to embrace broader definitions of physical beauty, some of our most famous fashion brands appear to be travelling in the opposite – and in my opinion, unwise – direction.”

What do you say to criticism of yourself as a “plus-size model”?

I feel like the whole thing is getting a bit old. Diversity is a really important conversation but why do we need to get caught up in the labels? I don’t categorise myself as plus size. I am  5 ft 11 and a size 12 to 14 Aus and I know that I am also a completely normal sized person. I think most people are happy to see a body that is closer to their own represented in fashion.


What message do you have for women who are having a hard time accepting their bodies?

You will get there! It’s a process and it takes time. Everyone has moments of doubt but I think the best thing you can do is focus on what you have rather than wishing for what you don’t have.

What helped you the most to feel good in your skin?

I think surrounding yourself with positive influences helps. Negativity just doesn’t really sit well with me. My parents have always been strong on being comfortable in your own skin. I grew up in a very encouraging environment in that way. Modelling also gave me some perspective. I see so many beautiful girls every day and I know that nobody wakes up every morning feeling perfect. We are all different, we are all human and we can all chose to be kind to ourselves.



As a QLD girl, how do you cope with those New York winters?

Haha cheating and coming home to Australia helps! I have to say I have never fully committed to an NY winter, however, I have learnt a lot about layering. I was so clueless about dressing for warmth when I first arrived but I know now you just really need to invest in proper coats and boots. They will save you!

Do you have any tips for overcoming jet lag?

Best I can offer is drink lots of water, try to get into the time zone of where you are headed while you’re on the plane and no alcohol. I know it’s tempting but I know I will feel so much better when I land if I don’t.

What products always travel with you? Add your shopping links

La Roche Posay Thermal Water Spray, SKII Facial Treatment Mask, Dior Hydra Life Eye Gel and a super heavy duty lip balm. Right now I am using Clinique Pep Start Pout Storing Night Mask.


You love to surf – how do you protect those blonde locks from the elements?

This is legit my biggest beauty dilemma! Haha I want luscious hair but I also want to surf. I have tried a lot of different methods and I’m not really sold on any! Oils do not agree with my hair and I avoid all kinds of sea salt sprays as they dry it out too much. Probably the best and easiest is to put conditioner in before you go out.

Where is somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and why?

Namibia. I saw a photo of the Skeleton Coast years ago and I have been obsessed ever since. It’s where the desert meets the ocean and it looks insane.

What have you already managed to tick off your bucket list?

Bora Bora! I had wanted to go to French Polynesia forever so we went for my birthday last year. It was a dream.

What is your makeup philosophy / go-to-look for the day?

Less is more. My pre-model days were make-up heavy! I used to love colours and would try out all the trends….sometimes all at once. I’ve done a complete 360 from that now. If I am not working, I let my skin breathe and I prefer to not have much on at all.

My go-to look is Anastasia Brow Pencil and Clear Brow Gel, Milk Matte Bronzer Baked on cheeks and eyelids, Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze Highlighter or Glossier Haloscope Highlighter and Lucas Paw Paw.


And how do you shift your make up for the evening?

Usually just pump up the eyes a little bit with Shiseido Eyelash Curler, Kevin Aucoin Volume Mascara and Nars Eyeshadow Duo Isolde. 

Have you discovered any cool beauty brands in NYC?

Basically, anything Glossier and Milk Make Up have made my make up bag so much more fun! Weleda Skin Food is the best for everything. For hair, I’ve been loving The Ouai, O&M and R&CO. 


What does the rest of 2018 hold for you?

I am headed off to Europe next week for a trip to Italy and Greece, then to Miami Swim Week in July and that’s about as far as I have got right now!

What do you hope women feel and learn from interacting with you via your Insta and travel blog?

I hope women feel happier! I am stoked that I get to have a voice and a platform so I really hope that I can use it in a positive way. I think social media should be a fun, creative and inspiring space. That’s why I follow people anyway so I hope that’s what I can offer.


Beauty Notes



Prep: Prime the skin with Edible Beauty Luminous Angel Drops – they are fast becoming one of my favourite products when looking to create a dewy, lit-from-within glow. This feather-light oil instantly nourishes normal through oily and/or dehydrated skin from one side of the face to the other, creating the perfect canvas to add foundation – and less of it – due to the delicate pearlescent pigments that help even the skin tone with a more youthful GLOW!

Base: Going for a no-makeup-makeup look, I always use Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder Foundation. Its super lightweight formula has just enough coverage to even skin tone and just enough dewiness to attract and reflect light off the skin, making it appear to have richer coverage. I used a little of Charlottes The Retoucher Concealer Pen in #3 under Bree’s eyes and on a few spots that need a touch more coverage.

Contouring: I’m obsessed with Guerlain’s Terracottas Light Bronzers! Not only do they come in a ‘light, medium and dark’, there is a ‘cool and warm’ tone in each shade to capture every skin colour and configuration. I used Medium Warm on Bree to enhance those natural peach undertones and give a more bright bronze look to her cheeks and other contours.

Highlighting: No hard angles of highlighting creams or powders needed with this super radiant skin mix. I just spritz a little of Cynch Face Cheat Moisture & Glow Spray on a large Powder Brush and sweep it over the cheekbones, end of the nose and any high points of the body for that EXTRA glow-baby-GLOW!

Lashes: With so much dewiness, I do lean towards using a water-resistant Mascara like Dior Show Waterproof Mascara in Black – but only in this case as water-resistant mascaras can make lashes brittle and break when worn too often. Don’t forget to curl lashes with your Bobbi Brown Eyelash Curler in Gentle Curl. They’re the best and kindest on lashes with their specially designed rubber protector.

Brows: No expertise required when using Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizer Fiber Gel in Blonde. Its fills, thickens and sets all night long!

Lips: a fail-proof way to choosing the right colour for you and improving longevity is choosing a lip stain that is similar to your natural lip colour. I used Sisley’s NEW Phyto Lip Delight in Pretty to stain and add a no-fuss sheen to the lips.





Words: Alina Berdi |  Photographer: Josie Clough for Maxmade.com.au | Graphics/ArtWork: Carissa Smart | Creative Direction / Hair & Makeup: Max May


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