When Tegan Martin won Miss Universe Australia in 2010, her ultimate modelling dream came true.
But it was just a few years earlier when she was battling medical issues after leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
Speaking to Be, the 26-year-old Oscober ambassador reflects on her binge drinking days while living in Europe in her early twenties, and the subsequent chronic fatigue and glandular fever she’s suffered.
“My binge drinking phase was when I was living in Europe as a model,” says the model.
“I was living in Paris and it was nightclubbing every single night from Thursday night to Sunday night.
“It was almost a bit of a culture within the modelling space to ensure that you were out and about networking amongst it,” she explains.
“I hadn’t grasped the fact yet that it can play such a major part in destroying your health.”
The model admits being stressed in her teen years also steered her towards alcohol.
“I remember being so anxious in my teens and always on edge and feeling like I didn’t know why things woudn’t go right for me,” she says.
“It was because I was spending my week working and then getting to the weekend and drinking. It would take me three days to get my cognitive function working good again.”
After living in Europe Tegan realised she was constantly feeling tired, leading to her being diagnosed with a chronic illness.
“I got chronic fatigue in my early 20s,” she explains.
“I really noticed it the year I was Miss Universe Australia. I know that I’ve never been an overly energetic teenager but it was in my early 20s that I started noticing, especially after I won Miss Universe Australia, that I couldn’t get out of bed.
“I’d sleep 10 hours and then I’d wake up for an hour or two and then I’d be sleepy again. I was just always tired.
“I really had to look at my health and my liver and all of the vital organs that keep our energy up and cutting down on drinking was a big factor in improving my health.
“Then I later found out that I actually had glandular fever at some point.”
The Newcastle-raised star, who says “I actually have finished my health coaching now”, says she and partner Blake Worrall Thompson choose to lead the healthiest lifestyle they can, whether it be through eating wholefoods or exercising regularly.
“We both love drinking bone broth and eating fresh veges out of the garden,” she admits.
Next month she will be participating in Ocsober, choosing to not drink a drop of alcohol for the whole of October.
In its 10th year, Ocsober is a fundraising initiative encouraging Australians to lose the booze for the month of October to raise money to help educate kids. It’s run by Life Education, the team behind iconic giraffe Healthy Harold.
“It all comes back to education,” says Tegan about her decision to become involved with the campaign.
“There’s kids, they don’t know that it’s [alcohol] destroying their health and they don’t understand that that’s why they’re waking up feeling depressed. If anything, that’s just their way of trying to pull themselves out of their hole – to get out and be social and keep drinking to try and keep on that high.
“But unfortunately, it’s not a sustainable way of living and that’s information we need to be getting into these schools at a young age. I personally think it’s not acceptable that any child misses out on this education.”
Information about signing up for Oscober can be found here.
For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs, call the National Alcohol and Other Drug hotline: 1800 250 015.
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