This is not Bikini Bottom

iOS 7 ‘Moments’ from an Easter long weekend spent keeping it real. Because, let’s be honest: when I drag myself out of the ocean, I do not look like Jess Gomes. And this is not Sports Illustrated.

Over Easter, Alex and I escaped the city, for want of a better phrase. Not that we live in the doldrums of Sydney’s CBD – indeed, I could think of nothing worse (and yet, here I am wanting to move to New York City as soon as I graduate) – but counting the hours on a freeway, North or South, the water and stars are crystal clearer, the first light is crisper, and what would have been a biting chill at Bondi, Bronte or Coogee, suddenly becomes a refresher.

But, despite NSW’s picture perfect South Coast, we spent the long weekend keeping it real. Because, let’s be honest: when I drag myself out of the ocean, my face is patchy because it’s almost Winter, my eyes are a puffy because I wear contacts, my hands and feet are pruned from soaking for that extra hour, and my wetsuit tan, despite my most arduous sunscreening efforts, is rife with inequality.

I do not look like Jess Gomes.

And this is not Sports Illustrated.

Why else would I be Instagram-ing my toes and behind? They’re surely the least flattering body parts bestowed on this water baby.

By the same token, this is not some ostentatious display of surfing ability, either. While I do enjoy the rough, tumble, and upper-body workout involved in the sport, I’m no Kelly Slater. Nor do I have a photographer with underwater housing to tumble along with me when the surf is actually up (and alas, I left my Lifeproof case back up in Sydney). Only when it’s flat or we’re leaving the ocean for the day, snot-nosed and sand-rolled, did we have a muck around with the non-waterproof (or even sandproof, as it turns out) digital and analog shutters we’d brought down with us.

Otherwise, rocks and changing tides are far too destructive an environment for such devices.

And apparently, my poor old 80s Waterforce board is far too dated for the young ‘uns razor fins – get a load of those mammoth post-collision gashes…



So, without further ado, here are what iOS 7-point-something wants you to call ‘Moments’.

Because if you look closely, you can actually see the seaweed in my hair, and post-surf spittle down the numb corner of my mouth at six in the morning.

This is not a decree, however, that all future coastal vacations ought to preach Normcore to the choir. When in Miami, by all means, wear booty shorts. I just won’t be the one buying a booty to match. Australia and, perhaps, some of the Mediterranean and Caribbean, are unique in their championing of true natural beauty over booty, so to speak. Simple things like eating clean, staying active and protecting the skin you’re in, over Hollywood’s fad diets and, dare I say it, the cult that is Soul Cycle,* make Aussie beauties famous Aussie beauties.

Or perhaps just the boys. Otherwise, the rest of the world just thinks we ride Kangaroos to work.

I’ll claim it.

Back at the ranch, I’m not here to discredit aesthetic enjoyment of a dusty Australian beach holiday altogether. To me, bikinis are to a wetsuit as lingerie to your daily basic. Sure, it has taken me a good year to learn the non-exclusivity between swim and surf attire (I used to surf in sports bras), while (and call me stupid) I’m yet to broach the same learning curve beyond lacy triangle bralettes… sexy lingerie doesn’t seem to strike the same chord of power with me.

From time to time, innerwear as outerwear has its place as a statement – nobody I know with half a head of seawater is going to say no to the above intensity of a tiger in the flowers, nor would they say no to We Are Handsome in general (even less, their collection that just walked at Fashion Week). Or, perhaps this Cynthia Rowley situation I’ve been eying off for as long as she and ROXY have been collaborating.

But for now, here’s my seaside lingerie on high rotation, if you’ll have it that way.



Clearly, neoprene is still the go here – even when the shell’s off and I’m just in for a swim. Mikoh and We Are Handsome are currently my two favourite executors of streamlined, practical, and innovative swimwear all at once. Though they’re arguably on two very different ends of the spectrum, with the former founded in love of surf, and the latter in eternal Summer and print pioneering, neither are about suits that are going to full right off as soon as the going gets rough – because until we get to Bikini Bottom, leave it to Miami.

Make the investment.

Get involved:

Mikoh Byron Bay Neoprene Top

We Are Handsome Neoprene Tiger Top and Floral Briefs Set

Mikoh Namotu Top

Mecca Cosmetica Sun Series – SPF50 Body Sunscreen

We Are Handsome Neoprene Crossover Bustier Top

Mikoh Trestles Neoprene Top

Adrenalin Spring Suit

Blue Life Maxi Dress

photos shot by Alex and yours truly on Canon T60 (with Kodak Gold 200 film) and Nikon D600

*no hard feelings, Soul Cycle – I thoroughly enjoyed my one class in NYC as much as you freaked me out.







Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

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