Amanda Nørgaard is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to good advice. Seriously — I want to clear out my upstairs attic (brain) and fill it with her beautiful words. If you’re lacking knowledge on topics like practical dressing, empathetic thinking, mindful eating, tasteful decorating, and healthy living, or are on the hunt for your next book, film, or TV recommendation, you’ll be chuffed to know that aaaaall exists in our conversation below.
Perhaps the best soundbite from our lengthy chat is: “I like to live life in reverse. It keeps it interesting, sometimes chaotic, but very exciting, always.” Hands up if you want to turn the first sentence into a bumper sticker. Us too! Read on to find out which creams and serums brighten up that divine face, and feel your most inspired self. Thanks, Amanda!
What would you tell your eighteen-year-old self if you could?
Your intuition is guiding you, and everything is aligned. Also, don’t throw out the vintage python boots.
What are the most important life lessons you’ve learnt?
“The life that lives in me lives in you, too.” It’s my mantra. It reminds me of the interwoven universe we move in. It warms my heart, and gives me hope in these high-tech-connected times where we are more disconnected than ever. Humanity lacks empathy. People appear to be just numbers in the news, and not our brothers and sisters, or someone’s father or mother. Times where Instagram likes are more important than the physical sensation of receiving and giving love. The life that lives in me lives in you, too. We are all equal.
What is your thought process when getting dressed in the morning?
“What’s the weather like?” “Will I be too warm?” “Will my feet get cold?” I’m very concerned about the weather and how it’s going to make me feel. Sometimes I wish I was better at rebelling against the weather — to just be cold if I had to, because I wanted to wear a specific dress. But that happens rarely. I don’t like to feel uncomfortable in my clothes.
Is there anything that used to bother you, that now doesn’t?
Ignorance. It still bothers me, but I accept that each one of us are on our own journey, and certain people haven’t traveled that far yet, and so haven’t expanded all that can be expanded.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The very wide range of people [I meet] and conversations I get to have. I love hearing stories and opinions from other people. Besides that, I’m grateful for the money that I have made, which has brought me freedom and allowed me to go on so many incredible adventures from a very young age. Everyone has shaped me into the woman I am today.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
The body measurements. They are solely numbers, and beauty, strength, and personality can’t be measured in numbers.
What is your morning skincare ritual? How did you come to arrive at this routine?
I’ve been through every single product and routine. I’d always liked the idea of having a routine, and I’ve loved products since the early teens — they made me feel decadent and fancy. Only now I realise how much I’ve stressed my skin with all sorts of cleansers, scrubs, mask, serums, and moisturisers. I simply overdid it. I’ve got normal/combination skin, and I get a zit every now and then when I lack a bit of sleep, am stressed, or have smoked one too many cigarettes. But ever since I started doing basically nothing, my skin has never been better. In the morning I dry brush my face with a facial brush from Karmameju, which aids in lymphatic drainage and gives an incredible glow. After that, I wash my face with cold water, and sometimes a warm washing cloth, to open up the pores. It’s so comforting. Then I moisturize with 100% cold pressed organic argan oil that I get at my local health store. At night I do the same. If I’ve been working or wearing a lot of makeup, I’ll use coconut oil to remove the makeup. It works wonders.
Do you wear makeup routinely? Why/why not?
I stopped wearing makeup three months ago. I woke up one morning and thought to myself, “I don’t know what I look like.” All these years of wearing makeup, I was becoming ‘someone else’ or an ‘upgraded version’ of myself, and it had brought me so far away from my own face. Even off-duty, I used to wear just a little bit of makeup every day, to ‘improve’. Now I barely cover up a zit. Not wearing makeup has forced me to face (pun intended) myself, and embrace what I see. I love the little lines I have in my forehead, and I love the lines I have around my mouth, from smiling and laughing so damn much. I embrace my puffy eye bags that I get every so often, because I’m up all night or solely due to PMS. All these ‘flaws’ that I’ve tried to cover up for so long are a part of me and I wouldn’t be me without them. I had no idea that stopping wearing makeup would be such a spiritual journey. So cool!
What is your favourite makeup ‘look’ at the moment?
My all-time favorite look is sun-kissed dewy skin, sun-bleached, saltwater hair, and the aura of love and happiness.
How do you care for your hair?
I use Kevin Murphy’s Angel line for fine hair. That’s it. I wash it every third day. I also like Less Is More. It’s an organic hair brand that makes so many amazing products, which all smell so yummy. Luckily more and more people are using them for work, too, so I leave jobs feeling like I’ve just stepped out of an organic beauty salon.
Are diet and exercise important to you? Why?
It’s important for me to feel strong and balanced in my body, which automatically happens when I feel strong and at peace in my mind. This past half year, I’ve been working on opening up my shoulders and chest in order to open up my heart and the heart chakra, since it’s important for me to learn how to trust and to love again. When I think of exercise as a friction created by body and mind to improve both, I feel inspired to practice. I need a bigger purpose and meaning behind exercise, otherwise I’ll get bored with it, as I do with everything in my life. So, my exercise routines are very on-and-off. I boxed for a bit during the winter, and during the spring and summer I have done a lot more Vinyasa and Bikram yoga, and I love it. I feel I’ll have my proper yoga breakthrough soon. But the best thing I know is biking in Copenhagen. I bike everywhere, all the time. I bike because I love it. Listening to music, and racing through the city and nature makes me accelerate with synergy! As for food, I’ve been a vegetarian for seven years. I eat a bit of fish every now and then, but mostly eggs, all sorts of vegetables, and wholesome carbs like quinoa, Danish rye bread, and brown rice. I try to avoid refined sugar and processed foods, because I get a food hangover from both the next day, and that makes me feel sluggish and lazy. I love good food and avoid having bad meals, because life is simply too short. On the other hand, I’m also into “real food,” and I’m over the whole superfood/supplement trend that has been going on for quite some time. Good, organic, wholesome ingredients take you a long way.
What’s your party trick?
Dance, friends, and tequila!
Have you ever found that you’ve had to fight certain stereotypes as a model?
Absolutely. Eating disorders, lack of intelligence, lack of depth, etcetera etcetera. When I was younger, I got very feisty and felt very strongly about standing up for myself, my friends, and my intelligence. I’m calmer now. If I come across such questions, I just reply that some of the most intelligent, brave, and kind women and men I have met have been through modelling.
Outside of modelling, how do you like to spend your time?
I spend a lot of time in nature — I like to travel and go on adventures. I love to read and to dry flowers. I write, and am about to finish my first novel. I love words, they make my heart beat faster. Next year I’ll start studying for my high school exam, since I never got that — I moved to New York when I was seventeen. I haven’t needed one, until I realised I wanted to study theology. I like to live life in reverse. It keeps it interesting, sometimes chaotic, but very exciting, always.
What would you like to be remembered for?
All the love and hugs that I gave.
You have such impeccable style — both sartorially and inside your beautiful home. Do you think this is innate, or did you grow up in a style-conscious environment?
I grew up in two polar opposite homes. My mum has a very beautiful, refined style. She has such a good eye, and a great understanding for how colours affect the energy of the room. Her style is very scandinavian and delicate. My dad is a filmmaker and very eccentric. His home was an explosion of colours, flowers everywhere, and a mix of classic Scandinavian design and furniture from Tunisia. He painted all the doors orange once, and always hung every single painting or drawing I’ve ever made up on the wall. So I definitely am lucky to get the best of both worlds.
How did you decorate your home? What’s your favourite thing about it? I see elements of my parents in the way I decorate. I love colours, flowers, and quirky things — memories, from all over the world. I’d like for people to walk into my home and sense the life I’ve lived so far, and the kind of person I am. And of course, for them to feel at home and welcome. I am kind of a hoarder, yet I need order and tidiness. And white sheets, I only sleep in white sheets. People often get surprised when I tell them how particular, and sometimes borderline control freak-ish I am when it comes to my home. It looks effortless and random, but there is a thought behind everything. It’s within the order that I can enjoy the chaotic vibe. Refined chaos, you can call it, perhaps?
What’s your most treasured article of clothing? Can you tell us the backstory there?
A caramel-coloured Mongolian fur that I got in a Tibetan store in New York three years ago. It’s gigantic, fluffy, and has kept me warm through many New York snowstorms. I also love flying with it, because it functions as a teddy bear, blanket, and pillow, all at the same time.
What music is on high rotation for you at the moment?
The soundtrack from Moana, and ancient South American healing songs. Besides that, I have the same music taste as my dad — The Doors, classical music, and Dire Straits.
And books, TV, movies?
I recently finished the fourth and final book in the Naples series, The Story Of The Lost Child by Elena Ferrante. I was so sad to say goodbye to that story and its characters. It meant so much to me. I always read a few books at a time — a novel, and essays, or poetry. Now I’m captivated by a new book by Linn Ullmann, De Urolige (I don’t think it has been translated into English quite yet), and Nature And Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I don’t like watching too much TV — I can’t concentrate very well, and I feel there is a lot of ‘noise’. Moana made a huge impression on me, and so did the two documentaries Awake and Innsæi, both which can be found on Netflix.
What does your average day entail?
I wake up and drink water and coffee. Then I do some breathing exercises and write in my journal — I write three pages every day, and I’ve done so for the past five years. If I’m not working, I’ll do an hour of Kundalini Kriya Yoga, and continue my day with writing, reading, researching, meditating, and hanging out with myself or my friends. If I’m working, I’ll take a quick shower and have a calm, quiet breakfast before being surrounded by loads of people. That’s why breathing exercises are key for me. At night, my boyfriend often cooks for me, which is such a kind luxury, or I’ll have dinner with friends. In Copenhagen, there is a much bigger culture and tradition having people over for dinner. I recently moved back to Copenhagen, so I really enjoy all the at-home hanging and cooking, but also love trying out new spots with my favorite people, laughing, and talking over wine and all the good food Copenhagen has to offer.
Do you prefer Saturdays or Sundays? What does your ideal weekend look like?
Saturdays! I have suffered Sunday melancholia since I was a child, ‘dreading’ the new week, and the nostalgia there is of saying goodbye to what has been. Now I’m treating the melancholia by being in nature, and being active. I’ll get depressed if I’m on the couch the whole day. My ideal weekend would therefore be a slow morning with coffee, kisses, and a book in bed, before meeting my friends for a walk, talking some more, and drinking some more coffee, or exploring new areas around Copenhagen. Saturday night, I love dinner, good people, and wine, and to BOOGIE! I love dancing! Apollo Bar in Copenhagen is my favorite place — there is always such a great vibe and people you know who are up for a glass and a dance, even though it’s a restaurant. To treat the hangovers from the following night, I’ll get my ass to yoga and just get out and breathe some fresh air. Buying flowers is such a Sunday treat, too. I like to spend Sundays with my family who live north of Copenhagen, close to the ocean and nature. I’ll hang out with my three siblings and our dog in the garden, and get an incredible home-cooked meal, talking about the past week and the one to come. Then I’ll fall asleep next to my ten-year-old sister, and the sound of her snoring makes my heart so happy, knowing the upcoming week can only be good.
Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Polina Vinogradova.