Inside Backyard Opera’s studio, Rachel Tee Tyler sits perched on the edge of a white pedestal, studio lights reflecting off her Tortoise shell frames, preparing for the latest collaboration between Backyard Opera and Oscar Wylee
Upholding their strong belief towards championing diverse ethnics, age, gender and background, OW was one of the first brands to reach out to Rachel during the beginning of her career. Rachel was offered a set of hand-made spectacles after a professional consultation she chose the clear Chamberlains, an overlooked and “fashion forward” style in the Oscar Wylee collection at the time.
“I’ve never really been in the norm, my whole life I’ve always been different and dressed different, I’ve never really wanted to be the same as everybody else … Oscar Wylee has really let me express myself freely and choose and style things differently and how I’d like to. It’s definitely helped me to keep growing, my style, my aesthetic and my brand. “
Fluidly posing to each flash of light, Rachel’s girl next-door charm magically transforms each pair of glasses she wears into a piece of stylish iconography. She is the ideal ambassador for the women of character campaign, embodying an honest diversity and pure sense of self that has become synonymous with the Oscar Wylee story. Combine her character with her baby face appeal and dark brown eyes, her unconventional look is what caught the eyes of the Australian eyewear label.
“[For] young Philipino girls because in my culture, whiteness is often idealised, it just has been in my culture for a very long time. Young girls [are] saying they’re so happy to see someone who loves their own skin – to represent the dark Philipino beauty is really touching. Because I didn’t really have that growing up.”
For Rachel, it had all began during the era of the voluminous teased hair, MC hammer pants set in the early 90’s. Born in the Philippines, she experienced a childhood of immense cultural difference to any Western country. Influenced by the American culture present in the Philippines, she formed a fascination towards American pop culture and style. After moving to Australia and growing up in the culturally diverse Inner-West, Rachel further opened up to an avenue of variance, influenced by the burgeoning multiculturalism of Australian society. Naturally, Rachel grew an itch of creativity and artisan, manifesting through her love of fashion and self-expression.
“I find in this industry you meet a lot of people that put up a front. If they have an original idea or style I tend to vibe off them more knowing they don’t like to conform to what society may think is “cool” or “in”. Social media is always about perception than reality. I think that’s why I struggled at first in the industry because I wasn’t much like everybody else in terms of blogging, what they put out there like their content and what they look like. I think you attract what you put out. I’m more of a street girl with edge who always wore boy’s clothes, I think I was always a bit different like that.”
After gaining huge support and recognition for her unique persona and sense of style, Rachel eventually left her day job to pursue creative content fulltime. Her expressions of self-love for her own identity and skin naturally inspires other young females to embrace themselves for who they are.
“I was always the dark younger sister who was kind of overlooked and now I’m in a position where I’m being booked as a model, it’s kind of mind-blowing that my beauty is now being celebrated and I kind of didn’t know that it was beautiful at the time … pretty crazy”
Her authentic look encourages many young girls to proudly express themselves without being concerned about your typical standards of what society considers pretty or acceptable.
“Young girls will message or email me just to say they’re so grateful to see somebody with my skin tone in the media and even just being on set at photo-shoots with 'Aussies', pretty white skin tones I often feel that I can be that person that is representing my ethnicity. I’m just glad I’m being celebrated for my skin and I’m proud of my skin tone and I actively like to lay out and tan like I’m not scared of being dark.”
Check out the full exclusive editorial collaboration between Oscar Wylee and Backyard Opera here www.backyardopera.com/backyard-editorial-2-1/2018/3/25/throwing-shade