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Interview: Model Therese Bengtsson (New York)

Can you tell us a little about you?

I'm a Swedish born model based in the United States, and I am a model because I aspire to be a positive influence in this world. I care a lot about people and this planet, and I burn for sharing my stories. Through my modeling and writing, I wish to be an advocate for positive change and to inspire people to make healthy choices in their lives.

If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?

I've always been a get-goer and a hard worker and something I'm working on with myself right now is to just be in the moment more and appreciate what's already here. Life is so abundant and it's imperative that we open our eyes to see that.

How did you start modeling?

I was 24 when I decided to become a model and I got there all through hard work and paving my own way. I wasn't discovered on the street (although people kept asking if I was a model) so I decided to reach out to a bunch of photographers in the area and slowly build my portfolio and my skills. Being a model is not as easy as it looks like and there's a lot of practicing and building a mental strength that goes into it. I'm actually very glad I was as old as I was when I started, I can't imagine what the industry will do to a young girl who's not mentally and spiritually ready yet.

What do you think of the work as a model?

When you do it for the right cause and with the right crew it's so much fun. You get to be part of creating art and communicating important messages and values. I've always been amazed by photography and how it can consume people. Being model I've discovered that being in front of the camera can be just as fun as standing being and pressing the button. It's all about teamwork and when you get to work with a photographer that you really "click" with - you can go on for hours.

What are your personal qualities which distinguish you from others?

I would say I'm very stubborn and hard working, and I tend to believe in things even though I don't have any proof it will work out yet. I guess I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I've always known I'll be my own boss. Other than that I'm also big on forgiveness and trusting other people. Sometimes that comes back and bite me but I'd rather think good things of people and be proven wrong than the other way around.

What is your beauty regimen?

Natural, simple and minimalistic. I was a tomboy growing up and I've never felt very comfortable getting too "dolled up". Of course it's fun sometimes to do your hair and put on a little bit of makeup, but I always feel the most beautiful when I just put my hair in a bun and wear clothes that are comfortable and truly represent who I am.

What are your plans for the future?

My modeling agency that I started earlier this year will be worldwide and making headlines, my podcast has at least 100,000 listeners and I'll one day publish my own book. Hopefully, I'll get gigs being a public speaker and for the fun of it I will keep modeling on the side. Modeling has never been my main goal, but more of a mean to help me communicate the values I'm trying to put into this world.

What are some of your favorite experiences so far?

Everything. Haha no, but I just think life is one big experience and we have to treat it like one. But definitely, moving to New York and starting my own agency have by far been my two biggest experiences. I've learned so much both about myself and other people.

Do you have any advice for those who want to start modeling?

I would say watch some videos on Youtube and start posing in front of your mirror at home. Then research photographers in your surroundings and start building a portfolio and see if this is something you really like doing. Modeling is not always as glamorous as it looks and it's a lot of hard work. It's important that you've learned to love yourself and your own body and to bring that love with you into any job. Unfortunately, in this industry models get treated like some product or a "thing" and they will sometimes talk about you as if you were an object with no feelings. They may comment on things that you have always felt uneasy about but they don't do it to make you sad, it's just a way for them to do their work. If your hips don't look good in a pair of pants that just facts that need to be noted and has nothing to do about if you're pretty or not, so you have to be able to take yourself out of that body and just treat it for what it is - a job. You are beautiful, never forget that.

What do you think of the magazine? I love that you have a magazine where models get a chance to speak up and use their voice. We're so used to just being a face and your magazine gives us a platform to be more than just that. Thank you :)

Neil Tandy

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