Monica Hansen successfully transitioned from a model that graced the pages of many international magazines to a highly-praised fashion designer whose pieces are featured in Vogue and Sports Illustrated, among countless other publications.
The designs of this almost-6-feet-tall Norwegian “Amazon” and multi-talent are becoming a celebrity favorite with stars like Beyoncé, Bella Hadid, Christie Brinkley and Khloe Kardashian. In short, many celebrities can be seen flaunting their curves in Monica Hansen Beachwear. VIVA GLAM Magazine met up with Monica for an exclusive chat.
What was your first big breakthrough as a model? And as a designer? How do both professions compare?
I first became the “Elite model look of the year” when I was 14. I did a campaign for H&M, which was my first real recognition. My first real breakthrough as a designer came when we began getting publication in magazines and my designs were being worn by celebrities, in particular, being worn by Beyoncé and being published in Sports Illustrated. I think both modeling and designing have challenges in their own ways, but they do have similarities. Marketing yourself and marketing a product is not all that different. But modeling is more short term and designing is more strategic. I can exert more control over designing. I can choose what to design to stay relevant, whereas it is harder to reinvent yourself as a model to fit whatever the current trend for the season happens to be.
Christie Brinkley wore one of your pieces in an issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Tell us how that happened and how you found out about it.
It actually caught us by surprise. We had sent in suits to Sports Illustration for consideration and it wasn’t until the issue came out that we learned we had been selected. It was a very exciting moment!
At Miami Swimweek this year, you stunned the audience and media not just with your gorgeous designs but by closing the show wearing one of your bikinis. Your body looked amazing. Are you blessed with that “I can eat what I want” gene or is your figure the result of hard work and discipline.
Thank you for the compliment. I actually have a hypo-thyroid problem, so I need to be very strict with my diet. I have a naturally slow metabolism and slow heart rate due to my thyroid condition. Just to maintain my current weight, I must constantly be dieting. High water intake is essential for that matter – I like Fiji Water because it contains silica. The old saying, “You are what you eat.” is true, and diet is even more influential on your body’s condition than exercise. But as for my work out regime, I’m doing mega Pilates several times a week – it is a very effective workout as it creates long, lean muscles. I also love horseback riding.
Looking at your latest collection, I see animal print, high-cut legs, and strappy-front tie details. All that is missing is Jane Fonda. Are the 80s back?
It’s actually more the late 80s carrying over into the 90s with the high-cut legs and minimalist styles. Leopard print is a classic that women keep falling in love with!
Summer is over, but your new St. Tropez collection gives off an endless summer vibe. Still, we are entering a new season. Which trends are hot now, which ones will stay, and what is definitely over and out?
In the new season we will see that a lot more animal prints, earthy undertones, and dressy western styles are coming in with embroidery, lace, and suede fringes. Low-cuts are going to be out for a while. We are going to see a lot of belts coming in. The hip-hop styles of the early 90s are coming back in. The colors for next year are going to be a lot of safari and earthy colors like burnt orange, brown, copper, olive, snakeskin, leopard, and tiger.
What is the biggest mistake women make when choosing swimwear? Do you have some general advice as to what looks great on which body types?
If you are a bigger person and you wear something big or baggy, it tends to make you look bigger. Something that pulls you in will make you look better. Push up bras that offer more support are good for women with larger breasts. If you are smaller chested then something like a triangle top will make you look like you have more cleavage, whereas a sports bra will make you look flatter chested. If you are shorter, something with high-cut legs will make your legs look longer.
Since you personally oversee your photoshoots, please give us some tips on how we can look better in our Instagram bikini posts.
High heels not only make the legs look longer, they also make the butt and legs look shapelier and more toned. So, always choose high heels over your beloved flip-flops or flat sandals. Having one hand or both on the hips makes the body look more dynamic and leaner than having them straight down. Light is key, so it’s always best to take pictures in the early morning or late afternoon and to avoid the harsh midday light. It is best to have the light behind you.
Shop for YOUR favorite MHB swimsuit on www.monicahansenbechwear.com.