How good was Versace’s recent Spring 2018 show? In case you missed it, Helena Christensen and her contemporaries, those legendary ’90s supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Carla Bruni walked the runway, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, back together again to honour the house’s original founder, Gianna Versace.
Helena Christensen hasn’t walked a runway in several years, but she’s not forgotten how. She strides, more powerful, confident, proud and aspirational than ever. Christensen tells Gritty Pretty that she appreciates that period, dubbed ‘The Golden Age of Supermodels’ and the company she kept now more than when she was living it. Isn’t that always the way? “I am still friends with the girls I started out with and we try to keep in touch, even if we’re rarely in the same room, let along the same country, at the same time,” she says.
Since the ’90s, Christensen has carved a uniquely artistic path for herself. She was the founding creative director of NYLON when it launched in 1999, and is a seasoned photographer having shot for ELLE, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and exhibited her personal works in New York, London and Amsterdam. These days, she has a fragrance oil line to her name (more on this later), and last but not least, there’s the ongoing humanitarian work with Oxfam in Peru, her mother’s native country, on climate change.
After the whirlwind of Fashion Week, the wildly talented OG supermodel sat down and answered Gritty Pretty’s questions via email about nostalgia for ’90s-era supermodels, beauty, self-care for the long haul, and her new partnership with anti-ageing supplements line, Lumity.
Christensen (far right) at Versace Spring 2018 runway.
GRITTY PRETTY: A lot of people, especially the media, love to reminisce about the so-called ‘Golden Age of Supermodels’ in the ’90s. You were a part of that. Is it a period of your life you like to reminisce about too?
HC: I am more grateful now for that time than I was then. I am still friends with the girls I started our with and we try to keep in touch, even if we’re rarely in the same room, let alone same country, at the same time. It’s amazing because we were that little group of girls in the same boat experiencing a strange and amazing life. I don’t think anyone would be able to understand what that was really like. We don’t need to explain anything, we just get together and laugh.
GP: You started modelling when you were 9. When did you start consciously taking care of your body?
HC: To be quite honest, I wasn’t really into exercising until I realised I wanted to feel stronger and more athletic so I started boxing about 12 years ago.
GP: Do you have a set fitness routine?
HC: My routine changes depending on where I am and what I’m up to. If I’m out of town I will go for a sprint and I will always go swimming if I’m close to water. I’ve recently taken up pole dancing, which is incredibly hard. Boxing would have to be my go-to. It’s become a bit of a ritual for me.
GP: You’ve partnered with Lumity supplements. How did that partnership come about?
HC: I came across Lumity in Harrods on a trip to London and have been using it ever since. Lumity is a two-step supplement that I take every morning and night. I really believe that if you nourish your body on the inside, it will show on the outside. Lumity approached me to be an ambassador and I knew it would be a great fit due to the brand’s philosophy, results from its clinical trials, and my own personal experience using the product.
GP: Has beauty always been a big priority for you?
HC: Natural beauty, yes. I am obsessed with freckles, sun-kissed skin and a glowing complexion and I am fortunate to be using some great products for that, including Nimue and I am taking the right supplements, which give me a twinkle in my eye and makes me feel ready to take on all my little projects. After a month on Lumity, I noticed my skin was more luminous and hydrated. I fly often, so feeling my skin less dry was a welcome benefit. I also feel more energetic and sleep more soundly.
GP: We have to ask, what is your beauty routine? Do you wear much makeup?
HC: I have a very simple daily look. I put a bit of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant gloss my lids which gives them a natural shine or I’ll smudge some Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon eyeliner and I’ll use a little blush. I’m a fan of red lips and I love CHANEL’s La Fascinante.
GP: People may not know that you also have a perfume oil collection called deadofnight. Fragrance oils are still very niche in Australia. What inspired you to go down that track?
HC: My friend Elizabeth Gaynes (founder of niche fragrances line strangeloveNYC and sustainable fragrance sourcing company, GaiaOne) approached me about collaborating and creating a unique perfume based on pure oud. I smelled the first version in the early beginnings and I was literally mesmirised and wanted to be a part of this adventure. It’s completely different from anything I have ever smelled, like an explosion going off in your head. I love natural and authentic scents like the notes in deadofnight, they are an extension of your own scent – only intensified and mixed with very rare ingredients.
GP: Tell us, what’s next? What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2017?
HC: I am travelling as a photographer with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, to Uganda to take pictures of and talk to refugees, mostly women, about their lives. I am also going to a wedding in Rio, which will be very exciting. We’ve also just launched our 4th perfume by our little scent company and are very excited about that!
Helena Christensen shot by Bruce Weber for Vogue 1995.
Helena Christensen shot by Xavi Gordo for ELLE Spain 2013.
Helena Christensen for Lumity, 2017.