Ever wonder how a supermodel spends her downtime? And where? For its latest issue, on newsstands July 31, Porter magazine took a visit to Danish model and photographer Helena Christensen’s fairy-tale weekend retreat in the Catskill Mountains to talk about her “crazy” impulsive decision to buy her home; her 13-year-old son, Mingus; her love for Peru, where her mother was born; her memories of her friendship with Heath Ledger; her relationship with her boyfriend, Interpol singer Paul Banks; and more.
Today, the magazine is giving an exclusive sneak preview of the issue, complete with dreamy photos of Christensen at her enchanting house on the river and soundbites that only make us love her more. Read for a few of the interview highlights.
On her impulsive decision to buy her Catskills retreat after a friend put a down payment on it without her actually seeing it:
“I was like, ‘Okay, this is crazy.’ I got back to New York, rented a car, drove up by myself, walked in, and thought, ‘This is the craziest thing ever but I think I’m actually going to buy it.’”
On yearning to return to Peru:
“For some reason, the memories from there are washing over me again in a way they’ve never done before. We used to go there a lot when I was a child, but then there was a period when it wasn’t safe—my mother didn’t want to return for many years. … Even though I love traveling and I love exploring the world, there are not many places that I would want to settle and live. New York is one. But when I was in Lima last time, I had that feeling. Something inside of me just felt warm and safe and right.”
On fighting for the people she loves:
“There are just some people in my life whom I would fight for until the end, no matter what. And Norman [Reedus, Mingus’s father] is one of them. There’s him, my son, my boyfriend, my family. That’s my South American side, where you fight for your family, you fight for the people you love. My boyfriend’s always teasing me with, ‘Here comes that Peruvian side! The emotions are erupting.’”
On working as a photographer:
“When I work as a photographer, I get so excited and exhilarated I forget to breathe. I don’t ever once talk about stopping for lunch as a photographer, but as a model I want to stop for lunch like an hour into the shoot.”
On the generosity of her late friend Heath Ledger:
“I helped him furnish his apartment in New York, and we were out shopping in a store that was full of the most beautiful furniture. I was looking at them [a pair of midcentury Danish chairs], I guess a little too long. Next thing he had bought them and said, ‘Thank you for helping me with my place.’”
On the dating rumors around Helena and Heath:
“There’s a long list of guys like that. It’s like, ‘Yeah, that one was actually my cousin and those are my two best friends.’”
On the closeness between her boyfriend, Interpol singer Paul Banks, and her son, Mingus:
“I see my boyfriend and my son hang out, or hear them talk, and it makes my heart completely melt.”
On the anxiety dreams she has from watching Mingus deal with homework and exams:
“Seeing this person you created and take care of and suddenly now they’re so independent…”
On her modeling career and keeping in touch with other models:
“I am more grateful now for that time than I was then. I am still friends with my group of models, and we try to keep in touch, even if we’re rarely in the same room, let alone country, at the same time. It’s amazing because we were that little group of girls in the same boat. I don’t think anyone would be able to understand what it was really like. We don’t need to explain anything, we just get together and laugh.”
See the full interview in the fall issue of Porter, which hits newsstands this Friday, with a special double cover, both featuring supermodel Daria Werbowy shot by acclaimed photographer Mikael Jansson. You can also buy it as a digital edition.
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