Meet Aquila Bergstrom – model and globetrotter extraordinaire, currently sailing the Whitsundays of Australia after years of sailing adventures around the world. With an inspiring lifestyle of endless travel embodying the free and adventurous spirit of Tigerlily we sat down with Aquila to find out more about her travels, inspirations and her personal style to share with you.
Aquila wears our Rosalie Tara Tri Bikini Top in Purple Blossom.
Name: Aquila Elle Bergstrom
Occupation: Model, Anthropologist, Travel Journalist. I’m currently studying my commercial pilots licence
Star sign: Leo
How did your career in travel journalism begin?
Travel was always part of my life. My family is scattered around the world and the second I was old enough to leave home I was on a mission to explore different cultures. I completed my first degree in public relations and journalism and have been fortunate enough to have had modelling or journalism opportunities in some really special countries which gave me the income to keep going from one place to the next. Travel journalism initially started through my blog ‘Paradise Found’. It was never meant to be anything more than an easier way to keep my friends and family updated on my whereabouts and the wild adventures that continually unfolded. I then went back to University and studied anthropology whilst expanding into Instagram. The platform became an extension of my blog and further opportunities for cultural or anthropological journalism as well as modelling work continued to flow. It’s been a fun ride with lots of challenges to balance everything but I wouldn’t change it for the world. e
How and when did you learn how to sail?
Sailing is in my DNA, my father was a competitive sailor by trade and my mom came from Annapolis, Maryland, in the U.S.A, which is a huge sailing town. I didn’t discover my love for sailing on my own until my early 20’s. I took a bunch of courses and later completed my yachtmasters before doing sporadic sailboat deliveries for work for extra income on University breaks.
When did you decide to travel the world by boat?
I’ve had a wild dream since I was 9 to have my own history/ travel show where I could sail or fly people to remote cultures to document their way of life and endangered languages. I’m studying aviation right now in hopes to fulfil this dream. Anthropology and more specifically maritime archaeology is my biggest obsession and I believe there are so many lost cultures and sites to discover in remote locations. When I realised how much more accessible these sites become when you pick a location on a map, and set sail for it, it made my crazy daydream seem possible. I’ve been working towards this end goal for what seems like forever. I believe that it will come to fruition sooner than later, or at least I hope so.
What draws you to the ocean?
The sense of freedom. The undeniable energy, natural beauty and rawness of the elements in remote places. The ocean feels more like home than anywhere on land, hence the obsession with wanting my own boat.
You have a very minimalistic and feminine sense of style, who or what inspires your style?
Firstly, thank you! What a compliment. I really love timeless pieces that are staples for both day and night. When I travel I don’t want to be weighed down with clothes, I’d rather have a few bold statement pieces that can be paired in a multitude of ways. My style icon is Sofia Loren for her effortless elegance.
Have you always loved style and fashion?
Of course, I have been blessed to have travelled so much in my youth. My mom has an art history major and every holiday we went on had some form of art, fashion, or cultural experience intertwined. I have vivid childhood memories of visiting the outer islands of Fiji and sitting with the local artisans who were hand embroidering sarongs and sharing stories of their lives. Seeing how much time and love goes into fashion, which to me is wearable art, is beautiful. Fashion is an extension of yourself. Mum passed on a love for detail, and that’s why I’ve loved Tigerlily ever since I discovered the brand.
How do you store all your clothes on a boat?
My first overseas modelling contract was when I was 16- years- old, from my teens I learnt how important it is to choose quality over quantity purely because my life had to fit into a 23kg suitcase. Like modelling, minimalism is essential to planning my wardrobe for sailing trips. Cupboard space is a prized commodity on boats so to keep my essentials organised I store my clothes in colour coded waterproof bags. Packing is undeniably morbid and the process of elimination feels impossible. Choosing reef boots over Italian leather boots is never easy.
Aquila wears our best selling Ramo Sloane Slouch Shirt in Ramo Stripe.
How many countries have you visited?
I’ve visited 62 countries and I have barely scratched the surface of Europe!
What inspires you?
I love hearing people’s different life stories and truly am inspired by anyone from any walk of life who is following their actual childhood dream, rather than settling for a life they aren’t in love with. I have a deep love for understanding history and cultures around the world.
What is your favourite country?
What is your favourite beach?
The Tuamotu Islands of Tahiti.
Have you ever been scared whilst out at sea?
Absolutely. Two years ago I was doing a delivery for a 74 ft monohull from Indonesia to South Africa (3 weeks at sea with no internet) and cyclone Daniello hit us. Let’s just say it was a surrendering experience. When the winds are that strong all you can do is take the sails in and wait for it to pass. Other than that, years back I was sailing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas and we had a nice storm creep on through where the waves were literally breaking on the boat. It’s always a bit of a laugh, but when things feel overpowered it knocks your mind straight into the present moment that's for sure!
What are your favourite memories of Tigerlily?
I am in love with Tigerlily’s original styles and patterns, and it’s been so heavenly to see the brand transition back towards their original prints and styles! It feels like a trip down memory lane.
What pieces from our current collection are you loving?
Ramo has my heart for sure. The bright fusion of colours is so stunning!
Are you more of a bikini or one-piece girl?
I love both! A one piece for surfing or freediving and bikinis for everything else!
Some photos from Aquila's sailing adventures around the world.
Where are you off to next on your adventure?
I’m travelling around the East Coast of Australia for the next couple of months and am beyond excited to be returning to the Philippines in January. I bought land there in 2015 and am finally ready to start building my home in paradise. Stay tuned for palm fringed island posts.