• Jessica Taylor Yates

Notes from a model in quarantine

Think you could handle two weeks in quarantine? Read this first.

I also totally look like this when I'm just chillin'... Source: @ miawoolrich


Be honest - in lockdown, the thought of running away to another state, particularly if you are form Victoria, has totally sprung to mind more than once. Stuff it, I could do two weeks in quarantine if it means I can go to dinner or the movies again! But what's it really like? We get the tea from our favourite model Mia Woolrich on what has been going down at the mandatory quarantine facility in Howard Springs, Darwin.


Mia, who you may recognise from her various campaigns for Bonds, Ralph Lauren and Jeans West to name a few, has modelled all over the world, having been based in New York, LA and most recently, Melbourne, Victoria.

So, how come you’re in Darwin?


I’m en route to Sydney for work from Melbourne, and had to choose somewhere to quarantine to get out of 'dirty' Victoria! The idea of two weeks alone in a hotel room in Sydney with no fresh-air wasn't appealing for my mental or physical health, and I’d heard from friends that the quarantine facility in Darwin was actually really nice.


What was the airport like? And the plane?


Melbourne airport was rough. The security people were pretty hard on everyone I’ve spoken to here. You’re allowed to fly out of state if you have a valid reason (I had a legitimate letter of employment - I couldn’t work in Melbourne so need to in Sydney), but for whatever reason, the security officers gave us all a hard time. Even some of my neighbours here are travelling due to serious family illnesses or deaths and they gave them a hard time.


The plane was like normal, no empty seats. Vibe was funny though, because everyone knew we were all about to be locked up together for two weeks. Everyone flying into Darwin automatically gets put on a bus on arrival and taken here, so you better be friendly with everyone on your flight!


So, are the reports true? Is it nice?


It is really nice!!! Think school camp crossed with a health retreat slash prison vibes! After Melbourne winter, I’m loving the heat and everyone here is in a good mood! The only downside is the food (see pics). Thank goodness we have supermarket delivery and a little bar fridge. Oh, and no booze allowed. It’s the forced health retreat I never would have done on my own accord.

A view of the quarantine facility at Howard Springs, Darwin. Source: Mia Woolrich


Can you go outside?


Yes! You can chill on your verandah all day and night if you like. And you can walk around the facility, but you have to wear a mask.


Do you have to pay for it?


Yes, it's a mandatory $2500 for the full two weeks.

14 days in quarantine, but who's counting? Source: Mia Woolrich


Do you feel safe, Covid-wise? Are you tested?


Yes, we are tested on day 1 and 13, and we have a temperature check every morning and wear masks around the compound.


How many people are there? Are you making friends/emeies?


No clue how many people there are, as it's divided into sections. I’ve made some great friends, they put all kinds of people together - men, women, families etc. which is nice and gives serious school-camp vibes! I have a group of girls in my area who I have a laugh with...including Karen from Brighton who likes the tan and dislikes Dan (Andrews)! Luckily, zero enemies (so far, only on day five. Watch this space).

Tell us about quarantine food. Is it really boring?


Yeah, it’s boring. Boiled eggs, yoghurt and fruit for brekky, a beige sandwich for lunch, and wet, hot mush (think oily brown sausage/fat-laden pork/grey roast beef with overcooked veggies) for dinner. Also juice boxes galore. I give them all to a woman a few rooms down from me. The best food they give you is the oranges, they’re perfect and one of the girls who I teach yoga to gives me hers as payment for the class. I’ve been eating my own food though.

Not 5 star, then. Source: Mia Woolrich


How are you filling the day?


There aren’t enough hours in the day here! I go for a run/power walk around the facility in the morning, do yoga/pilates/HIIT workout with the girls in my area (they brought weights, skipping rope etc), then I study until around 2.00pm, when the sun hits my verandah and I whip out the Reef oil and fry myself. At 5.30pm, I run a yoga class with the other inmates, then we all have a chat and retreat to our rooms early for dinner and Netflix/reading and bed.

Yoga with Mia! Source: @therealkarenfrombrighton

Can you order stuff in? Watch Netflix? Go on the internet?


Only Coles or Woolies. There's no cooking equipment, but I brought a blender (thank god for a friend’s suggestion!) I make a green smoothie for brekky and salads or rice cakes for dinner. And yes, we can watch Netflix and luckily the wifi is good.

Wifi and sunshine? I need an NT job, stat! Source: Mia Woolrich


What could be done better / worse?


Food, but I don’t blame them though as they are feeding so many people and people have different tastes. Honestly there's not much they could do better, in my opinion. The staff are all beyond nice and everything run super efficiently.


What should people know beforehand?


It’s not too bad here. Essentials to bring: your own cutlery, your own pillowcase/sheets if you're fussy, a small blender and workout gear. Also, I recommend having a few drunken nights before you get here so you actually feel like going sans alcohol and having a bit of a detox!

Anything else we should know?


Oh there’s a pool you’re allowed in once during your stay…I can’t wait for that!

Follow more of Mia's adventures on Instagram.

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