Karen Elson was bullied for her looks growing up. “I was just the skinny whippet – that was my nickname, mercilessly tortured for just being weird,” she told The Guardian. “And then, as life would have it, my weirdness was celebrated.” The tall, awkward girl who eventually becomes a model — it can sound cliche, but it’s also eternally satisfying. It reminds every person who is certain she hasn’t peaked yet (whether that be in confidence or career) that no, actually. She hasn’t. The world gets so much bigger.
Elson didn’t just become a model, she became a supermodel. She founded the Citizens Band, a New York-based political cabaret troupe, became a mother twice over and delved into music and songwriting. In 2010 she released her self-written debut album, The Ghost Who Walks. Seven years later, she debuted Double Roses.
1. Top five beauty products that you absolutely always have to travel with?
This list changes often, but right now it’s…
+ And an assortment of red NARS lipsticks
2. Top five things you always have in your wardrobe rotation?
+ Vintage dresses
+ La Ligne striped tees – I love all things La Ligne!
3. Top five pieces of career advice:
+ Dream big…
+ But back it up with hard work. “The people I know who are successful will work night and day to make their dreams a reality.”
+ Be strong-willed…
+ But be kind. “I hold the people I work with up to the same standard of work that I expect from myself, but gratitude and kindness also elevate the working environment to be a positive one. It’s needed!”
+ Everyone has insecurities. “You have to move through them and try anyway. Let the fear of failure propel you forward, not stop you from ever trying.”
4. Top five things that make you feel most like yourself?
5. Top five things you’re currently consuming (food, books, television, songs, all of the above)?
+ I LOVE the TV show Feud. I’m obsessed with it! Great show, and so powerful. Ryan Murphy is a genius.
+ I’m always reading biographies. Right now I’m reading a book on Joan Didion.
+ I just saw a band called The Temples at SXSW – young kids, great music and good style.
+ I love bad British TV. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine.
+ I LOVE my house and garden in Nashville. I’m always working on something with interiors.
What’s the question no one asks you, but you wish they’d ask you…and what’s the answer?
I’ve been asked a million and one questions in my life! Impossible to answer!
Photos by Simon Chetrit.