We don't like throwing out figures of speech like "Jack of All Trades", but in this case there's truly no better way to describe the latest addition to the OTIS Eyewear team.
Imogen Caldwell is a Western Australia native; where the OTIS mineral glass eyewear brand was born. She's a true embodiment of WA style and substance, with talent on land and in the water. Equal parts hard-charging surfer and internationally renown model, she is as diverse as they come.
The latest installment of Sophisticated Banter peels back Imogen's layers, so you can get to know where she's from, her ideals, her hobbies and what the future holds for her and OTIS.
We want to go back to where it all started – your childhood and upbringing as it’s about as unique as they come…
When you were super young, your parents picked up your family and moved across Australia to a place called Red Bluff. What do you remember about that transition and the early days of living somewhere new?
I was really young, but I remember all 7 of us in the Caravan they bought to travel Australia. I remember first arriving at Red Bluff, school of the air, learning to surf.. I don’t think any of us kids ever protested against living there, we were all for it. The desert life.
For those who don’t know or have never seen Red Bluff, paint them a picture…
Red dirt, perfect left hand barrels, zero phone reception, a couple flies and hot as F$&!
What was it like growing up in a place like that? I’d imagine it involved a lot adventure, both in and out of the ocean..
One of the first things we learnt as kids was how to treat a snakebite, how to fillet fish, catch rainwater, how to be resourceful. We created our own fun, but at the same time, it shaped who I am.
While the grass is always greener, I have a feeling it isn’t in this case but did you or your siblings ever wane for city life or something different growing up?
That’s a hard no.
And what about the early days on a surfboard. Red Bluff doesn’t seem like the most beginner friendly place to sink your feet into the wax. What was that whole experience like – learning to surf and gaining your sea legs?
My brothers and my dad did it, so I had to. Plus we had a pretty good girl gang, between the two families that lived there, there were 8 girls! We would all go out and bus drive the end section until we could stand up.
What’s your favorite wave to surf around home? What’s it like on it’s day?
Jakes pumps, there’s always a wave. When it’s on, it breaks on the suck and grinds and bends around the reef.
What’s your favorite memory of surfing around home?
Surfing perfect Bluff, with no one else out except my family.
Outside of surfing, what can we find you doing on any given day around home?
Far out, I like to keep things pretty interesting and I’m not one for routines. Hence why I have 74648280 hobbies.I could be bobbing in the middle of the ocean fishing for dinner, 50km inland looking for my runaway huskies or you might find me buried in books studying aviation.
From growing up in the desert to now becoming a traveling international model, did you ever expect this would be your path, or better yet did you have goals when you were a kid playing around in the sand?
No way, I mean, I was always a confident little kid but I never thought I’d end up modelling. I dreamt of being a professional competitive surfer, but that changed soon after I actually started competing ha ha. I think that’s when I split my focus, and started modelling as well as free surfing.
These days you split time between scoring waves and modeling gigs around the globe – that’s quite a contrast! Tell us what that is like. How do you prioritize what gets your time?
At the moment I’m just trying to juggle it all, from being in Portugal for a 1 day campaign to flying back to Australia for a swell the next.. my schedule looks like a bomb hit it, but that’s ok.
The ocean is where my heart lies and it’s always where I feel most alive, but modelling is where I can build a platform and hopefully use my voice to inspire others to be more than just a pretty face.
For a surfer who loves the outdoors, what has been the most challenging aspect of the modeling industry?
I get lonely, and being in the city too long sends me nuts.
Both professions; modeling and surfing must bring you to some special places – tell us about some of your recent favorite trips.
I recently flew to Canada for a snowboarding campaign, then went over to Tofino to surf then flew to the Mentawais in Indonesia for another campaign before heading to Bali to finish it all off. Home for one day, Cort (Imogen's partner) and I decided to visit Kerby (Imogen's partners brother/hard charging slab surfer) in Denmark, a quick 15hr drive south.
For someone who is constantly on the move, you must appreciate durability in any products you back. How did you firstly get word of OTIS, and what do you like about the brand?
When I think of OTIS, I just think of home. Born in the West and built for the West. Glass, polarised frames and stylish designs that could compare to a high end fashion range. I’m sold.
There must be some exciting things coming from you and the brand. Tell us what we can expect from the collaboration in 2019 and beyond…
I’m super excited to announce I’ll be co-designing a signature range with OTIS! I love a stylish, on trend frame but I also look for functionality and durability when picking eyewear. Which is something I know Otis is incredible passionate about. We can’t wait to show you more!
What’s next – where to, goals this year, waves to conquer, cities to explore…
I have a few projects in the making, and a giant bucket-list of places to tick off. As well as hopefully surfing some heavy waves this Winter.
Follow Imogen's adventures around the globe and at home @imogencaldwell