By Hillary Latos.
“LIFE IS EITHER A GREAT ADVENTURE OR IT’S NOTHING.”
– Helen Keller
This is a mantra that supermodel Heide Lindgren seems to live by. From the time she started modeling as a teenager, this Boca native has been on a non stop adventure taking her to all four corners of the globe where she uses her influence and modeling prowess to effect change in third world countries. A free spirit and humanitarian, all of her energy is focused on helping the less fortunate from spearheading charities to empowering locals with jobs to develop skills, and self sufficiency, to promoting brands with a social conscious. Here Resident catches up with the dynamic and gorgeous Heide Lindgren on the panoramic Jimmy atop the James Hotel in Soho with glorious views over downtown Manhattan and beyond.
Q: Can you tell us more about the charity that is closest to your heart?
Lindgren: The charity I work with is called Rebuild Globally, which was founded after the earthquake in Haiti. Originally, the founder, Julie Colombino, went down to help out with their disaster relief. Basically during that process, we kept hearing we don’t want aid, we want jobs. So she took it upon herself to found Rebuild Globally which started with a sandal company to provide jobs for the community. She partnered up with women from the community and began a cultural liaison so we didn’t step on anybody’s toes and made sure everything is done the way they like to do things down there, so it wasn’t people rushing and telling you how to do things. Through the non-profit we were able to found a for-profit Haitian company that is now self-sufficient.
So I traveled down to Haiti three summers now, with a school called English in Mind, one of the only free adult English schools in the community down there. In the mornings when we weren’t in class, we would travel around and visit with different organizations that had been getting started in the Haitian community. I came across Rebuild, they’d been making flip flops for about five years at that point. I fell in love with their mission and just everything that they stood for and the work they were doing in the community. I said I really wanted to help but I didn’t know how so I said why don’t you let me design you a cuter sandal rather than just a flip flop because we don’t wear flip flops in New York right? Design something that you can go to brunch with, go to castings with, so that’s how it started and then it just turned into family relationship.
Q: What are some of your summer plans?
Lindgren: I actually just found out that I would be traveling to Honduras and Nicaragua with a company called Rice Bowls. I’m definitely going to go home to Florida see my family and check in with them. I really haven’t spent a ton of time out in the Hampton, I’ve been out a couple of times but I would love to go explore it some more.
Q: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Lindgren: Deux Mains is obviously one of my favorites, the sandal company. But I also really love Article 22. They turn bomb shreds into gorgeous jewelry and I really love their story and mission. I really love Sasa designs, they work with deaf women in Kenya. It’s really a beautiful and wonderful mission they have there and they also create beautiful products which is important. You can have a great story but if you’re not creating an amazing product then people aren’t going to buy it. Koopels has some really beautiful lounge wear, while Raven + Lily also does an amazing job.
Q: A lot of your clothing looks like it has a story behind it for the greater good.
Lindgren: When we were doing impact garden that was our absolute goal. To have each one of the brands with a purpose beyond just a profit. We made sure to bring that together.
Q: You sound almost like Angelina Jolie, like a goodwill ambassador.
Lindgren: I just pinch myself everyday, I can’t believe I get to live the life that I live. I can’t understand living life where you don’t pay that forward or you look bad in some way. It just doesn’t make sense to me to be any other way.
Q: What campaign are you working on?
Lindgren: Workwise, I told my agent not to call me for six months because I was so obsessed with this event and making sure that the inaugural kick off was a winner but I’m actually going to London next week. I’ve got a new agency over there so I’m going to be visiting with clients next week and getting started in London again so that will be exciting.
Q: So you’re living bi-continentally?
Lindgren: Yes. I spend a lot of time over the Atlantic Ocean.
Q: What are some of your favorite places in New York?
Lindgren: I am in the process of moving. I’ve been on the upper west side for a while now, so I’m exploring downtown now and checking it out. I lived here 10 years so I definitely know it. When you’re not in the midst of it, it’s kind of unfamiliar but I love Locanda Verde it’s one of my favorite restaurants in the Greenwich Hotel. I love to go dancing but I don’t go often but every once in a while I hit Up and Down to get my dance on, they always have good music. I also love to hit Central Park, I’m such a nature girl, as well as going upstate to Cold Springs to go hiking.
Q: How long are you going to be in London for?
Lindgren: Just a week. We actually have our annual fundraiser in Orlando for Rebuild Globally so March has been a packed month for us. So right after London I’m going to head to Orlando to get ready for that.
Q: Is there a place that you haven’t been that you would like to go to?
Lindgren: Yeah I was actually saying this morning that I’d love to go to Turks and Caicos and Tahiti.
Q: Post modeling, what are you thinking of doing?
Lindgren: I actually just applied to Columbia, so waiting to find out if I get in. I am looking to go into their School of General Studies and study Psychology with the intention of finally getting a Masters in occupational therapy. I’d love to work with older people and help them rehabilitate themselves and get back to their normal lives from whatever situation they were in before.
Q: Where are you from originally?
Lindgren: Boca Raton, Florida. So I’m going to see some of my family at the fundraiser which will be great.
Q: Are there any other projects you’re working on?
Lindgren: We’re already talking about round two for Impact Garden but I think we should probably hold off on that and the details for now but we’re really looking forward to doing it again. We got really great feedback and everybody seem to have a fun time. I think that really great connections were made which is kind of the purpose of what we were going for. Obviously we wanted all the brands to have sales but the connections and the exposures that you can get were amazing in a venue like MSG. They were so kind and wonderful and so great to work with so we definitely have to try to make sure to live up to that in our next event.
Q: How did you team up with Angela Lindvall?
Lindgren: I just met Angela. It was so fantastic that she came out for this. It was kind of amazing to see how much of her life just kind of intertwined with what we were doing and what we believed in from the wellness aspect to the environmental aspect to the fashion aspect of things. She just completely embodied everything Impact Garden was seeking to achieve. So we were really thrilled she was able to come out and teach that class for us.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
Lindgren: For sure laid-back. I don’t like to put a lot of effort into it. I usually like to keep it cool and comfy but with a little bit of sexiness in there for sure. I’m not cutesy at all, I’m not a bows and headbands kind of girl.
Q: What was your favorite campaign that you’ve done?
Lindgren: Oh Guess for sure! My favorite one was the Marilyn Monroe ad that they shot at the airport and one of my favorite shots was where I was on the airplane wing.
All photos by: Evan Guttman EvanWasHerePhotography.com
Hair Stylist: Marco Maranghello
Makeup: Oscar Caballero
Fashion Stylist: Engie Hassan of EngieStyle
Assistant Stylist: Michael Roseberg
Location: Jimmy at the James Hotel.