Helena Christensen is a hero of ours for many reasons. So many, in fact, that listing them here would be near impossible, since we’ve all got places to be, people to see etc. To give you the abridged version, she: will always be our favourite 90s supermodel, breathed life into Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games video clip back in the day, has one of the most impressive and nuanced careers we’ve had the pleasure of tracking (from modelling and her work as the original Creative Director of Nylon, to designing clothes and taking photos), and when she’s not busy doing the above, you can catch her volunteering as an ambassador over at Oxfam or giving out incredibly sage advice in interviews.
The accomplished angel recently dropped by Australia with her business partner, Camilla Staerk, to introduce this slice of the world to another venture of hers—a range of sunglasses she made in collab with the cuties at Pared Eyewear. While in town, we had the immense privilege of chatting to her and Camilla about personal style, her beautiful photography, and the joys of living a curious life. Be your most inspired self below…
Since we’re predominantly a style website, I might jump in with question on your personal style. What is your thought pattern when getting dressed in the morning?
Helena Christensen: Ahhhh [laughs]. I don’t think a lot in the morning—I’m too tired. Easy, quick and comfortable, and then you can have more fun in the evening…
…Once you’ve had time to wake up! And, who or what is that makes you excited to get dressed?
Camilla Staerk: The way clothing can make you feel—whatever it is that day.
Helena: I mean, I love colours and patterns, so I’m always looking to mix them all so that they look absolutely horrible together [laughs]. I love when they don’t work out, but that to me works out. So anything that you wouldn’t expect to go together—that’s what I’m looking for.
Camilla: And I love to wear all-black [laughs]! So it’s just about the texture, tone and silhouette for me.
You perfectly balance each other out! Helena, your photography is really beautiful—as a viewer, you feel a real sense of intimacy with your subjects. How do you think your experience working on the other side of the lens has helped you to achieve this symbiosis?
Helena: Well, actually I was behind the lens first, and then I was in front of the lens, and then I was both. So, I was a photographer first and then my modelling career took of, and then I was basically shifting from behind to in front. It was really amazing to be able to do both at the same time, because obviously having worked with all those incredible photographers helped to give me more technical experience, and at the same time, it was a way of learning how to make the subject feel comfortable. Because it is very intimidating to have your picture taken, for most people.
I know! I really admire you guys for just having so many press photos taken—I could not do that!
Camilla: [Laughs] Oooh, no!
Helena: You know, it’s funny, because I am totally at ease and comfortable on a photo shoot, but when it’s something with the press, it’s just gets a little stiff and awkward.
Totally. OK, last question! We’ve been talking a lot in the office recently about the importance of mentors—in love, life, careers, whatever—and you are so inspiring to so many people, especially in terms of your multi-pronged career trajectory. Do you have any advice for people starting out in the industry, or for anyone wanting to move into a new role, or try something new?
Helena: It’s so hard to give advice on this, because every situation is different. But, yes, as you said, mentors are so important. It’s a beautiful thing if you have somebody to look up to and respect—whether that’s your mum, your dad, a writer, an architect, a designer, or just somebody where you can see that they’re putting in a work ethic that inspires you to do the same. I think for kids in school, if they have a great teacher from when they are very little, you can almost with certainty say that they are going to be a student that wants to learn; that has a hunger for knowledge. Whereas a kid who doesn’t have a teacher to inspire them will be the complete opposite. So it’s really important to have that, and it’s really important for grownups to inspire kids, every which way they can.
I will say this: be curious about everything in life; try to absorb as much as you can. Read a lot, watch a lot, be observant, be open to anything around you, and be like a sponge. And then, of course, filter all that. I think, somehow, we all have something inside of us already that just needs to be woken up.
You can shop the STÆRK & CHRISTENSEN + PARED range of sunglasses here.