Cover story: Victoria’s Secret model Josephine Skriver on supporting LGBTQ
March 1, 2018
Josephine Skriver is the first Victoria’s Secret Angel I’ve ever shot with – and with New York Fashion Week in high gear and our busy schedules only allowing for our cover shoot to happen right in the middle of all the craziness, it was admittedly a little daunting. But when I met the Danish model, her powers were immediately apparent.
Being that this was Fashion Week, I was already seeing numerous darlings of the current industry – faces that could transform clothes and transport the people looking at campaign images. But Skriver’s inherent allure and sex appeal is undeniable. Even stripped of the professional cosmetic tools of the craft, it’s easy to see and feel the force that she is. It’s hard to take your eyes off her – almost instinctually.
What I really appreciate about Skriver is how fun she is, too. She’d break into a jig whenever a good song came on, or challenge the conversations with her thoughts and questions, engaging everyone as they leaned in. Even in her videos online, she’s funny and approachable – not that we needed one more reason to fall in love with her. Add to that her unique story and her relentless activism… “too good to be true” comes to mind.
I watched your beauty video on Vogue.com and I really appreciated your sense of humour. Do you think a lot of people know how funny you are?
Am I funny?! I think I’m just such a dork. I’m such a kid at heart and probably will never fully grow up. I feel like it’s important to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously all the time. As they say: “Don’t grow up! It’s a trap!”
You were recently at the Victoria’s Secret Show in Shanghai. What were your impressions of the city? Did you get a chance to go to anywhere else in Asia?
Shanghai to me felt like a place where the past meets the future. China, in general, has such a long and gorgeous history, yet somehow you feel like it’s pushing the world forward and setting the tone for how other cities may look in the future. It is without a doubt one of the most vibrant places I have been to, and many cities could learn a lot from Shanghai. I believe it’s becoming one of the fashion capitals of the world.
You’re very active in the LGBTQ community and with causes that focus on children. What are some of the programmes you support?
What’s more important than supporting the youth? They are our future and are going to be pushing our world forward! I have met so many strong, aware and smart kids recently, and I think our future is in good hands. As humans, we should always try to leave our planet and people further along than we found them, and I feel like passing along a support system and collection of knowledge is the most important thing we can do. Being a rainbow kid myself, I want to share my story and hopefully help and inspire a few. Right now, I’m involved with Colage, Family Equality and Keep a Child Alive. Kids are just so important in this world. They’re unicorns – and should be protected from any harm and all hate so they’re able to live in a world full of freedom, love and promise.
What was your childhood like in Copenhagen? Is it a place you’d want to raise your own family some day?
Copenhagen was the best place to grow up! I couldn’t have imagined a better childhood. It’s definitely a bubble, which has its pros and cons, but overall it truly is a perfect place for a family. People are proud, humble, hard-working and loyal. We also enjoy trying to push as many boundaries as can be seen in fashion, design, architecture and engineering. You can also bike anywhere, so I was never far from friends, but it’s still big enough to have that city excitement you crave when you’re a teenager. I don’t know where I’m going to raise my family and kids yet. Be it Copenhagen or not, I’ll always carry a piece of the Danish approach on how life is lived.
What’s some of the best advice your mum gave you?
You can’t understand someone unless you truly know their full story. Don’t hate or criticise too quickly, because you don’t know what someone has gone through or is going through. Different isn’t a bad thing. Being unique is powerful. You might not understand everyone else, but you should always show tolerability and respect. Difference and contrast is part of what makes this planet so beautiful and special.
I have three kids, two of whom are daughters; I can’t wait to tell them about our meeting to inspire them! It’s a real choice to not just sit and keep your thoughts to yourself. Can you describe this impulse? Where does this come from?
We all have a voice. Why not use it? You get one life. You only have so many days to make a difference, to push boundaries, to touch someone else. I have always had the urge to speak up in class, to question everything and to try to help defend those who maybe weren’t able to defend themselves. When we go, we can’t take material things with us. All that we will have and be is what we left behind and how we made people feel – how we affected those around us. We have to stand tall and be strong, because we wouldn’t be where we are today if the people before us didn’t do so as well.
I know not everyone will relate to my story or understand it, but I hope by telling it using my voice, it will at least allow people to be more informed. It might help them feel empathy towards other groups of people they may not understand or feel for. I firmly believe if people knew better, they would do better. Your voice is your power, so go educate and inspire!
Do you have any interest in getting into acting or film?
If Marvel or DC ever called and asked if I wanted to be a superhero, I would say yes in a heartbeat! That’s always been a dream of mine.
In your career, can you describe what changed when you became a Victoria’s Secret model?
As an Angel, you get put on the world map. You are on the biggest platform – and it’s really up to the individual model on what to do with that platform. Victoria’s Secret is such a household name and phenomenon; it’s just such an honour to be a part of this family and I’m so incredibly grateful. Most of all, I want to make sure I use this platform for good. I want to help others, inspire others and shine a light on issues that are important to me. That’s what being a Victoria’s Secret Angel is all about. It’s about being a powerful woman and about inspiring the next generation of powerful women. What good is a platform if you don’t use it for… well, good!
Which social media platform is your preferred one?
I love Instagram. It’s such a fun way to share your life with your fans. I’m a very visual person and it gives me a creative outlet to have fun with fashion, pictures, make-up and workouts. It’s also a place I love to go and get inspired by others, and it allows me to keep up with my family and friends while I’m travelling. It’s a really fun community.
Good beauty habits start early. We want to know what yours are. What are some of your favourite beauty regimes?
First off, never go to bed with make-up on! I always have make-up wipes by my bed so that even on those days I’m too tired to do the whole night routine, at least I don’t have an excuse to not at least take my make-up off. For me, less has always been more. I mainly just wash my face in the morning with water and add a moisturiser, and that’s really it for skin. At night, depending on how long and how much make-up I have had on, I sometimes do a mild exfoliating of the skin, add some toner and a thin night oil or moisturiser to sleep with.
The very simple tricks are: drink a ton of water – nothing works wonders like water! Wash your pillow often so you don’t sleep on bacteria. Also wash your make-up brushes. Just keep your life clean! It helps the skin a lot.
The Quick List
What’s something that you could eat every day?
Who are your top five favourite Instagram accounts to follow?
@beautifuldestinations, @natgeo, @bohnes, @krystlejwright and @dogpound.
What are you reading right now?
The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin.
What is your favourite city in the world?
New York City. No other place is as vibrant and beautifully chaotic.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Anything by the Backstreet Boys!
Do you prefer to drive or sit in the passenger seat?
The passenger seat – I actually don’t have a driver’s licence yet, because in Denmark we bike everywhere!
How do you take your coffee?
Simple – black, no cream or sweetener.
What is your favourite colour?
What are your top five favourite apps?
Instagram, Snapchat, Weibo, Twitter and WhatsApp.
If you had a choice between a hairstylist or a make-up artist who would help you every morning, which one would you pick?
Hairstylist. I feel like I’m getting pretty good at my own make-up and love playing with it myself. Hair, on the other hand, is so difficult to master!
This feature originally appeared in the March 2018 print issue of #legend
Photographer / Christian Högstedt
Creative Director & Stylist / Kim Bui Kollar
Hair / Takashi Yusa
Make-Up / Cedric Jolivet
Photography Assistant / Patrick Roxas
Hair Assistant / Tomoaki Sato
Producer / Dora Fung
Location / New York