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Mum’s the word!
“I was a tomboy when I was growing up. I ran around and climbed trees; but when it was time to go somewhere, a switch would come on and suddenly, I was Barbie – ready for the ball!” says Tatum Hertogs. And her eyes sparkle as she narrates her story.
Shades perched on her head and a mask securely in place, she explains who Tatum Hertogs is. With a mix of Sri Lankan and Belgian parentage, she spent the most part of her childhood in Negombo before moving to Colombo for secondary education.
Her beauty is undeniable; and her styling choices had us feeling she’s a character straight out of a Darren Star production.
But what’s even more fascinating about this young model is her life behind the camera.
We could call her a ‘momfluencer.’ Tatum’s online platform has generated thousands of followers both local and foreign, all of whom scroll through her grid in the hope of catching a glimpse of her life as a full-time mom to two beautiful little girls.
Having entered the world of parenthood at the tender age of 20, Tatum has found a balance between being a working mother and ensuring she’s a hands-on mom. And through the gift of Instagram, we get to be a part of Hertog’s happy life.
Ashwini Vethakan chats with one of Sri Lanka’s leading digital creators and Colombo’s favourite ‘momfluencer’ about her likes, loves and dreams for the future.
- How would you describe yourself to our readers?
I consider myself a very free spirited soul – one who’s still trying to figure out her journey through life while making the best of it.
- Besides fashion and lifestyle, what other passions do you have?
My husband and I started up a restaurant after we married. My mom was a baker and I picked up on that trade – so I guess I’d say that food is a large part of our lives. Cooking is a passion and since my husband is also a race car driver, cars are another definite passion.
- What sort of child and teenager were you?
I was an extrovert and extremely adventurous child. I was the one running around, climbing trees and always up to something or the other while my brother was the mellow one who spent time indoors with his computer and video games.
Weirdly enough, I was also very girlish when I wanted to be – it depended on the situation at that particular moment.
- Would you call yourself ‘a romantic’? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done and someone has done for you?
I’m a romantic but sadly, there haven’t been a lot of romantic things happening lately.
However, I must say that it’s those unexpected moments between us that I find the most romantic. Random bouquets of flowers or a cherished unplanned outing together – stuff that’s spontaneous is what I look forward to.
- What’s your happy place?
My happy place is being surrounded by my friends and family, spending time laughing and chilling with them.
- Have you gotten used to the fact that strangers can have an instant relationship with you and your daughters?
I’m used to it to some extent. The way I see it, people are still seeing only what I want them to see. It’s not like I share every private moment with them because I try to keep what’s personal out of the limelight.
But there are moments when it can be overwhelming and slightly weird. At the end of the day, these are my children and there’s a level of safety that needs to be taken into account – especially on social media.
- Your most memorable moment in life so far is…
When I became a mother. Motherhood has opened my eyes to a different world. I know lots of women say this and it’s true because being a mom does change you.
Another moment that I hold dear is when a friend and I went backpacking in the Philippines. It’s another world out there and I experienced so much as we travelled around the islands. It was freeing and I’ll always cherish that memory.
" I was also very girlish when I wanted to be
it depended on the situation at that particular moment "
Nap or early bedtime
Early bedtime – I am a tired mama by evening
Netflix or TV
Facebook or Instagram
Bath or shower
Cocktails or mocktails
Dress up or dress down
Dress up with friends and dress down with kids
Sunrise or sunset
Dogs or cats
Ride or drive
Diamonds or pearls
Diamonds – because my parents met in a diamond factory
Men or shoes
A man – the man
" My happy place is being surrounded by my friends and family, spending time laughing and chilling with them "
- If not for fashion and modelling, what would you see yourself doing?
There was a time when I would’ve loved to have become a veterinary surgeon or run a small cafe.
- How do your days pan out when you’re not creating new content? Or are you always working… even behind the camera?
Most of my days are spent coordinating content so I’m basically always behind the camera… and feel like I’m constantly working.
When I am not doing that, I’m a hands-on mom. My days are spent being a full-time mom, as well as a part-time student. I don’t have a lot of help so it’s all on me.
- Your advice on managing online criticism…
I’ve been really lucky so far when it comes to not being at the receiving end of online criticism. In many ways, this is because most of my followers know the real me. They know where I come from and what my intentions are.
But if I do receive negative comments or criticism, I find it’s best to simply ignore them. There are plenty of other things I’d rather use my energy for.
- How has motherhood been in relation to your line of work?
At the end the day, my children are my priority so my work revolves around them. Before I undertake a job, I check my schedule to see if I’m free and if there is someone who can take care of my kids – only then do I agree to anything.
What’s more, there aren’t many models who are mothers so obviously, my body is very different to what it was before having kids. I’ve accepted this; and I expect my clients have as well. Our bodies should be normalised.
- When it comes to the content you upload, particularly with your children, what inspires you?
My girls inspire me. They are freethinkers, as well as hilarious, energetic and creative characters. Most of the time, I’m trying to capture that for our audience – and I miss a lot of it off camera because it happens so fast!
But when I’m lucky to get even a few funny moments, I share that content with our viewers to keep them entertained.
- When it comes to influencers, what changes would you like to see?
I’d like them to be more realistic. Most influencers are like everyone else out there. It would be good if they specify a certain area and focus on it.
Their content needs to be unique. When you scroll through your feed nowadays, you see the same types of posts, poses and places. Influencers should push their boundaries and create more entertaining content without looking over their shoulders at what everyone else is doing.
4 January 1994
Daughters (Oceani Ariya
and Teyhana Skye)
Children’s Education (N.I.C.E.)
Colombo International School (CIS)
Currently reading for her degree at Mod’Art
Always wanted to be
“Become my girls’ best friend.”
Invisible crown on her head
Motto in life
“Balance in life is not something that’s found – it’s created.”
- How did you meet your husband and what was the inspiration for the names of your girls?
I met my husband at a racetrack. My dad was an official in the racing world and even my aunts and family in Belgium were quite involved.
So we pretty much grew up in that environment. And one day during the Fox Hill races, I bumped into Pasindu. Since the racing community is a rather closely knit group, we did know about each other; but meeting him that day was fate.
As for our girls, my older daughter is Oceani – named after my love for the ocean. Initially, I wanted to name her ‘Ocean’ but my husband wavered and decided it would be best if we add an ‘i’ at the end. Her name is perfect for her because she is a real water baby who loves the ocean too.
Our younger daughter is Teyhana Skye. I heard the name Teyana somewhere; and when I mentioned it to Pasindu, he tweaked it a little until we came up with Teyhana. Skye highlights the question: what is the ocean without the sky?
So now I have my ocean and my sky. Picture perfect!
- You suddenly find yourself stranded alone on an unknown island – what are the five most important things you’d need?
A water purifier, a knife, a matchbox, an inflatable boat and GPS.
- Describe your ideal date…
My ideal date would include something super-adventurous such as skydiving. I want to make memories rather than only dining out since we have dinner together every night.
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to learn to be not overly optimistic because it makes me too trusting and I tend to read people wrong.
" My ideal date would include something super-adventurous
such as skydiving. I want to make memories rather
than only dining out since we have dinner together every night "
50 First Dates
Middle Eastern cuisine
- What advice would you give other working moms who are trying to balance their careers and parenthood?
Enjoy the little moments. This is not an easy job but it’s the most rewarding. Your kids are growing up fast and you won’t get back any time that you’ve lost. So make the most of it. It’s all about finding the right balance between work, your kids and yourself!
- And what’s next for Tatum?
I have many exciting things in store and I can’t wait for them to come to pass.
" I’d like to learn to be not overly optimistic because it makes me tootrusting and I tend to read people wrong "