mali koopman is the modeling world's new golden child
We catch up with the fresh-faced screen writing student to discuss life in the spotlight of the world's brightest labels.
Mali Koopman is the 19-year-old Australian model with the golden complexion, otherworldly glow, and effortless cool that's seen her take off around the world. Last year she was discovered and signed to Chic Management — ever since, she hasn't stopped. So far, Mali has opened for Céline and walked for the likes of Balenciaga, Valentino, Lanvin, Fendi, John Galliano, DKNY and Calvin Klein — bringing an air of grace to every job. It's an exciting change of pace for the Sydney teenager and screen writing student, who likes nothing more than staying in and watching movies.
Despite now being based in New York, Mali's Instagram hints at a regular life spent having fun with friends and animals — although most kids don't count models Charlotte Morton and Bridget Hollit as besties. Nor do they travel to Cuba for the Chanel Cruise show, but right now, that's Mali's reality.
Congratulations on all your success. How did this wonderful ball get rolling?
My brother basically scouted me when he had a brief job working as a scout. I was the closest tall person.
When getting to know someone, it's nice to start at the beginning: What was your childhood like?
My childhood consisted of tackling my cats, boogie boarding and listening to free CDs from the local newspaper. As soon as I got a computer I just spent most of my childhood time downloading everything from Limewire. I now realize I was probably the one who gave the household PC a lot of viruses from years of illegal downloading.
So, you clearly love music — what's on high rotation right now?
Rasputin by Boney M. It has been my alarm clock for a while now.
Excellent choice. How would your friends describe you?
They'd say I'm someone who can't hold a commitment. They never trust me when I bail and have the excuse of, "dinner at grandma's." They all know. I think they'd also agree that I don't know how to respond to a text fast enough.
That's understandable considering how busy you have been — how have you adjusted? What are the biggest changes?
Definitely traveling. As well as getting access to the latest inflight entertainment, you get to actually work in different countries — not just be a tourist. You're able to see how the world functions and how it varies from place to place, it's exciting.
Does your nationality come into play when you're traveling?
It's kind of an ice-breaker now to ask the people you work with where they're from, but when the question is returned, Australia still seems pretty mysterious to people. Only the British seem to understand properly when I say I'm from the place where they film Home and Away.
What are three things you always take with you?
My laptop, some lip balm and some pens.
What else are you passionate about in life?
Watching a lot of movies.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Red Market by Scott Carnet
Which fictional character would you compare yourself to?
Someone from Puberty Blues.
Who are your role models?
At the moment, my family. Every week or so I call home and it always leads to hearing about my dad's new music collection that is fresher than mine, my mum going for swims in the ocean before work, my grandma having a better sense of style than me, one brother planning trips abroad and the other studying at Cooper Union. They're this really impressive unit of architects and designers and they collectively inspire me to one day get my driver's license.
Is there someone you'd love to work with that you haven't already?
What's the best thing about being young in 2016?
Being able to connect and stay in touch globally.
Text Briony Wright
Photography Hannah Scott Stephenson
Styling Britt McCamey