Wednesday 29 June 2022 01:18 AM Blockade Australia: Inside the secret model past of Mali Cooper, Australia's ... trends now
The young woman who brought Sydney to a standstill by blocking a major road and chaining herself to her steering wheel once pursued a career as a glamorous teenage model.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal Mali Poppy Cooper, 22, was once a budding catwalk star in her mid-teens and was on the books of a top model agency until it went bust five years ago.
She appeared in several advertising campaigns and fashion photoshoots and was even in a pop video before becoming an eco-extremist.
But on Monday, far from starring as a pin-up, Cooper was instead pinned down by police after allegedly bringing Sydney's traffic to a grinding halt during rush hour.
The woman at the centre of Sydney's roadblock chaos is former teen model Mali Cooper whose stunning looks stopped traffic and brought the city to a standstill
Cooper is accused of parking a white rental hatchback diagonally across the entrance to the busy Sydney Harbour Tunnel, causing a queue of traffic that stretched for 20 kilometres and promoted widespread fury in the Harbour City.
She even livestreamed her Blockade Australia protest from her phone in the car as furious commuters screamed abuse at her over the peak hour delays she caused.
In a video, Cooper could be seen with a heavy duty bicycle lock around her neck which was looped through the steering wheel to stop police attempts from easily removing her from the front of the tunnel.
Specialists from the Police Rescue unit eventually had to cut her free before she was dragged from the car and held face down on the tarmac as she was arrested before she taken to a cell along with five other women and four male protesters.
Cooper, 22, appeared in Central Local Court via video link on Tuesday where she was given liberty under strict conditions that she return to her home near Lismore, northern NSW, and abide by a curfew between 10pm and 6am.
She was one of 10 Blockade Australia activists charged with multiple obstruction and disruption offences in Sydney's central business district on Monday. A further 11 were arrested during similar protests on Tuesday.
In court, Cooper's lawyer Mark Davis acknowledged her alleged offending was more serious than others in the group. But he said that she had strong family support with her grandmother and aunt present in court, and no prior criminal history.
Mr Davis said the condition - she will have report to police three times a week, not enter Sydney's CBD or contact her co-accused - would be enough to cause her to 're-think activities of protest'.
Just six years ago, gangly 1.78m Cooper was a fresh-faced teenager hoping her distinctive looks could crack the cut-throat world of fashion modelling.
Mali Poppy Cooper, 22, was a budding catwalk star in her mid-teens and was on the books of a top Sydney model agency until it went bust in 2016
On Monday, she turned her back on life as a pin up - and was pinned down by police instead after allegedly bringing the city centre to a grinding halt at rush hour
Cooper now lives in flood-ravaged Lismore, in Australia's alternative lifestyle heartland in northern NSW.
She was talent spotted by agency boss Jaz Daly at a Skye Ferreira concert who had high hopes for the youngster who was a football fanatic and skilled circus performer.
Her model agency sold her looks as 'a pillowy pout, finely freckled complexion, and uniquely idiosyncratic nose.'
'This rap and grime music fan has been juggling her studies