My Secret Life: Helena Christensen, Supermodel, 40

Author: Interview by Charlotte Philby

The house/flat I grew up in … was tiny. We were five people in a
one-bedroom flat, but to me it seemed enormous and very cosy.

When I was a child I wanted to be … a child for the rest of my life.
I think I’ve done quite well so far.

You wouldn’t know it but I’m very good at … standing on a balancing
ball while punching a speed bag.

You may not know it but I’m no good at … Where do I begin?

What I see when I look in the mirror … Either it is early in the
morning and I look kind of fuzzy, or it’s late and it’s dark and I look kind
of fuzzy.

At night I dream of … situations inspired by the work of artists such
as Egon Schiele and Carl Larsson, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House on
the Prairie’ book series, and the intricate yet utterly simple compositions
in nature.

If I could change one thing about myself … I would be a tiny little
flower-fairy dancing on the top of misty lakes in dark forests at night.

My favourite item of clothing … is a Victorian full-length,
hand-woven lace dress in mouse-belly colour.

I wish I’d never worn … I never mind looking odd in the things I wear.

I drive/ride … a veteran Morris Minor from 1968. It’s a dusty
grey/blue colour.

My houses are … The one is New York is quirky, curious and full of
little areas suitable for different moods. I keep my favourite piece of
furniture there: it’s a Gustavian gold bed, which was the first bed I ever
bought. The other is a cottage by the ocean in Denmark. My dream home would
be [the author and illustrator] Edward Gorey’s house on Cape Cod ? but if I
could live anywhere, it would be a treehouse in the mountains of Nepal.

My favourite building … is either the Duomo in Milan, or Machu Picchu
in Peru. How can creations like these even exist?

A book that changed me … could have been ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ by
Francoise Sagan, ‘The White Hotel’ by DM Thomas, or ‘Brave New World’ by
Aldous Huxley. I read them all before I was 18 years old.

Movie heaven … would be a triple-bill of ‘The Last Picture Show’ by
Peter Bogdanovich, then ‘Le Bonheur’ by Agnes Varda, finishing with ‘Friday
the 13th’.

My favourite works of art … One is a pencil drawing by my son with
the title ‘Can This Be True?’. The other is a little owl made of rocks, tin
foil and with one diamond eye, which my mum made for me.

My greatest regret … is that I will not be around to see the
discovery of the magic elixir for immortality.

The person who really makes me laugh … is my son Mingus. Where do
kids get their genuinely great sense of humour, and why does it turn into
sarcasm as we get older?

The last time I cried … was the other day. I suddenly felt a heavy
sadness come over me out of nowhere. I laid down on my bed, cried for half
an hour, then got up and I was fine. I never found out why.

My five-year plan … I try not to even have a plan. Plans feel
constraining, though I know that most of the time they are a necessity.

What’s the point? Well, either nothing matters in the end ? or
everything matters so much more than we will ever understand.

My life in six words … Is this really happening to me?……… 

A life in brief

Helena Christensen was born in Denmark on 25 December 1968 to a Danish
father and a Peruvian mother. In the Nineties, at the height of her
modelling career, she married actor Norman Reedus, with whom she had a son,
though the couple later split up. In recent years, Christensen has taken up
photography and launched her clothing line, Christensen & Sigersen. She
lives in New York with her son Mingus, now 10, and is the face of the ‘This
Is My Habitat’ campaign

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