‘Women should be seen and not heard’ isn’t an adage that Helena Christensen, ’90s supermodel, photographer, iconic music video babe, and now, handbag designer, subscribes to. When she caught wind of the media shitstorm over pregnant reality star Kim Kardashian‘s recent weight gain, the 44-year-old mother of one with impossibly perfect cheekbones couldn’t resist chiming in with her two cents.
“I am the kind of person that, once in a while something just touches me more than normally–it literally feels like your stomach hurts,” she said. “It was speaking up for something that I fundamentally find so wrong that it makes me angry and frustrated on a deeper level than anything else.”
The result of that anger and frustration was a much-circulated open letter, penned by Christensen and published on The Huffington Post late last month. In the piece, the model calls out the media for being “disgusting and despicable,” adding that the “public bullying and attacking of a pregnant woman because of her growing shape is just lower than low.” It was a bold move–and one that not everyone agreed with, mainly for reasons associated with Kardashian’s criticism-driven career choice.
We caught up with Christensen yesterday at a press preview for her latest gig, guest designing for accessories brand Kipling. While she doesn’t regret writing the letter, she acknowledges that she may have overlooked the reason people feel they can ridicule Kardashian so freely: “I realized afterwards that people get so absorbed by the reality shows and the tabloid gossip,” she explained. “People just react so strongly to a certain type of person, and I’m like, ‘How do you guys even know so much about these people? You obviously must be watching reality shows and reading a lot of tabloids if you react this strongly,’ which I don’t do–I just react from a woman’s point of view.”
So has Kardashian reached out to her to thank her for her support? “No!” Christensen said with a laugh. “But you know what, honestly, I think women just stand up for each other in a certain way. It’s not about who the woman is or what she does, there’s just something about when it’s a pregnancy thing, it shouldn’t be ridiculed. It’s just going a little too far.”
As for her design ambitions, Christensen describes her current project for Kipling as “a great little challenge and honor.” A far cry from Kipling’s usual nylon-fare, the bags she’s created for the brand are sophisticated and luxe, with rich leather and an abstract print from her own photography back catalogue.
On how creating accessories differs from designing lingerie (she has an ongoing collaboration with Triumph), Christensen says there are “a lot more intricate details” to consider for the latter. “All bodies are different, and you’ve gotta create something that supports not just a handful of women…”
More than a handful? And also less than a handful, right, Helena?
“No pun intended!” she joked, “but yes–handful-sized boobs are a good thing to have.”