If you’re all about snooping on some random model’s social media page just so that you can get a reality check about your own existence as well as amass new fashion and fitness goals, it’s likely that you’ve got this 26-year-old Dane listed on your timeline and Tumblr Likes because of the flawless images she has starred in. The other thing is that she’s not just a random model with gorgeous locks, a chiselled jawline, and an all year round swimsuit-ready body. She walks the most badass runway shows on the fashion calendar, has posed for more big name brand campaigns than you have
hands and toes to count them, and calls Karl Lagerfeld a friend. How’s that for a reality check?
MANIFESTO: Tell us a bit about yourself. What are you up to these days besides modelling?
NADJA BENDER: Well, I live in New York I spend most of my time there.
M: You spend a lot of time on the road. What do you miss about home?
NB: My bed and a full fridge.
M: How would you describe the qualities of a Danish girl?
NB: Super down to earth and never judgmental.
M: What has been the turning point of your modelling career?
NB: My amazing mother agent has always believed in me and always makes me proud of who I am and what I do. I owe her my whole career.
M: You have a close friendship with Karl Lagerfeld. How would you describe it?
NB: Karl is a dear friend whom I deeply respect. He has a care for people that he loves that is remarkable. And he is always true to himself.
M: Which part of the year do you enjoy the most?
NB: Winter. I love snow, the cold, and the darkness.
M: What has this industry taught you?
NB: Always be yourself. If you do not love yourself, who will?
M: Has your life changed since becoming a model?
NB: Yes, I dropped out of school, moved all by myself around the globe.
M: Has modelling changed your perspective of fashion?
NB: Yes and no. When you get to dress up every day, you do not feel the same need in your free time. The passion in this industry is just marvellous. People really have vision and it is beautiful to watch and also be a part of it.
M: What improvements do you hope to make?
NB: Everything, you should always want to improve yourself.
M: You’ve been on the fashion week circuit for around four years. How would you describe the experience? And do you still enjoy being part of the madness?
NB: (Laughs) No, people always thinks it is a walk in the park doing fashion week, but it is not. It is so hard physically and emotionally.
M: What do you do in your downtime?
NB: Doing up my new apartment and I’m starting to learn pottery just for fun.
M: What do you enjoy the most at this point in your life?
NB: My freedom and knowing who my true friends are.
M: What would you be doing right now if you weren’t a model?
NB: I would be finishing my master’s degree in Copenhagen but again you never know.
M: You studied nanotechnology in school. Any plans to return?
NB: Yes, I would love to finish at some point, maybe when I have more time on my hands.
M: Do you have a specific fitness routine in order to achieve a figure like yours?
NB: Not really, I am a strong believer that you should do and eat anything you want but do not overdo it.
M: Which is the favourite part of your body?
NB: That is a hard one. I like how my teeth turned out after wearing braces for years.
M: You have 12 tattoos on your body. Any new additions lately?
NB: (Laughs) No, I think I’m just gonna stay at this number for now. I’m in love with tattoos, I just can’t help it.
M: How does it feel like to be famous? You’re one of the top 50 female models on Models.com.
NB: It’s funny because I don’t feel famous at all in my everyday life but it’s always a bit interesting when people who’re not in fashion know who you are and want to take pictures with you. Thankfully, it’s not crossed that point where it’s turned into something negative. I consider it such an honour to be on the top 50 and to be recognised for my hard work.
M: Name three places you’d like to go.
NB: I really want to go to Canada to ski or snowboard. I love these places during winter. Then, I have always wanted to go on a safari on horseback. The last one is a secret place I have found so I won’t tell you that one.
M: Well, we know it’s somewhere in Indonesia.
NB: (Laughs) I actually read an article about this place. It looks amazing and so peaceful, so it is my secret getaway.
M: What’s on your current playlist?
NB: A lot of classics right now, otherwise White Lies, Coldplay, and Kiss Kiss Kiss.
M: Any guilty pleasures?
NB: I love getting massages even though I always fall asleep [during the massage] and snore like a crazy person.
M: Any weird habits?
NB: I brush my teeth at least three times a day.
[More pictures in the May-June 2016 issue of MANIFESTO]
Photography: Paul Empson
Fashion Director: Jonathan Yee
Styling: Sam Ranger @ Serlin & Associates
Hair: Panos Papandrian @ Clm-UK
Make-up: Lucy Bridge @ Streeters London
Agency Support: Pui Management