Vogue CS in English
Carmen is present
Eva Herzigová20. 1. 2023
She has been modelling since she was 14 and there is probably no leading fashion brand she hasn't worked for. It's no wonder she's hailed as one of the best supermodels of her generation. Carmen Kass is a phenomenon. She was interviewed by friend and colleague Eva Herzigova for the February issue of Vogue CS. You can read the full interview in its original version right now on Vogue.cz.
This is a very intimate and personal interview with my dearest friend Carmen Kass whom I have known for almost 25 years, talking about modelling, Instagram, personal transformation, the war, and why showing a nipple is the right thing to do…
Carmen is home in Tallin, Estonia, sitting on her yellow sofa with a huge pop art portrait painting of her face hanging on the wall behind. We are doing this over Zoom, and it's not working very well…her voice is muffled, and the image is blurry. She is vaping on one of those sweet-flavored things that have just engulfed the smoking market (I would compare it to shisha even though I never smoked one)... and so am I. We both complain about how addictive these sugary things are, but her position on it is: “It’s the excuse of ‘The one bad thing I do’.”
The images pop up, and now I can hear her perfectly well. She wasn’t going to move either as that’s where she’s feeling the most comfortable…
Carmen: I mean in the sense of like a habit, you know what I mean? There are things – other bad things - that come up or whatever, but they are not like intentional or knowledgeably initiated. But these are something that you know that is wrong, but you do it anyways.
Foto: Claire Rothstein
Carmen Kass by Claire Rothstein pro Vogue Czechoslovakia, February Issue, 2023
Eva: And I'm recording. Is that MarioTestino image behind you?
C: That is Mario. But it's a work by a German artist (Barbara Steinmann) that I saw on Instagram, I liked it, and then they sent it to me, which doesn't happen so often.
E: That's very sweet of her, and it's very good because sometimes these strangers try to draw you, and it does not look like you and you kind of comment like, ‘Thank you, it's very kind of you’, but…
C: But I like all those works where I don't look like myself. And especially when it's not pretty. Because I really think that everybody does see things a little differently. And that means that somebody sees it this way. That’s incredibly fascinating to me. Like if you do meditation, then you see yourself in every kind of way.
C: So it's nice to still to see the side that is maybe not the most pleasant to our eye or... Yeah - of course - you have untalented people, too, but it's still interesting to see those perspectives.
E: But that one is great, very pop art-y. It's a good wall piece. Absolutely! Because it is art and not a photograph of you. It's an interpretation.
C: Exactly. Somebody did something else with it and created a little more out of it in that sense. But it's also because…So I got it, and it's a nice gift. And because my walls were empty at the time. So I put it up despite not liking the idea of having my own face up on my wall staring at myself at all times.
E: I was just wondering, how do you feel about the industry when all these amazing, greatest photographers are no longer part of it for whatever reasons they are…You know there are all these new guys. They're all shooting digital, they have no clue how to use light, and they all do post productions like, Oh, don't worry about it, Eva. We'll work on it later…I'm just wondering how you feel when you go on a photo shoot today (nowadays) - in general... Do you love it? Do you still like doing what you do? Or do you have a whole different kind of mindset when you go into fashion shoots?
C: I really didn't think so much then about liking what I did. I just did it, and I did it the best way I could; I understood what I was supposed to do... So in a way, the same today. But is there a difference? There is a difference. But besides anybody being able to click and a lot of people trying to be photographers and maybe even getting a chance while they're not so great from quickly looking at it or something... You wonder why? But there are, I think, really good ones too.
Foto: Getty Images
Carmen Kass a Eva Herzigová
E: So you still like being a model?
C: Yeah, I still do it. But the one difference is that now I do think about that. Do I like it? You know and... I think there are different experiences. There are aspects that I like, and there's aspects that I don't. But all in all, I do it, so... (laughing) There is something to it that brings me back to it, you know, in a way.
E: Okay, I'm just going to elaborate on this… I'm just wondering, what are the bits you like? What is it that makes you go for it?
C: It's still the creation. Doing something cool. That's what makes me want to go for it. But not only of course, there is the financial side as well for different things... So... (thinking) And what I do is I trust my agents first, most of all…I ask them always to tell me. Who is it? Why is it good? Why should I do it? Because to me this is how I grew up in this business. That’s what the agent was doing and giving me constant updates on what is happening deep in that world. And because I do not - in my private life - follow fashion every day, or I don't want to live on Instagram and all of this. It's not a full-time business for me anymore, but it's still my business, so I can zap in and out of it too.
E: Okay, so you trust your agents, and then you go for it. And you know what? I guess it's good because you kind of move on. And what I mean by that is that you accept what fashion is today and just fly with it.
C: Yeah. Principally. (Carmen is talking to her dog.)
E: How do you use Instagram?
C: It's more just to have a presence because, unfortunately, today's fashion world pretty much commands for it. (laughing) Most clients write it in conditions that you post one or two times or whatever… So, for me, it's just literally thought directly of the fashion - in my sense - as working as a model for that presence.
E: So, if you wouldn't be a model, if modelling wouldn't be your bread-winning kind of profession, would you not use Instagram?
C: When I came back from London, I thought I wanted to quit every social media. But then I started thinking about it, and the problem is that in being a model, the presence there is sort of asked. So, I thought I will do it, actually, but I will see if I can somehow have the presence without actually being on it every day and zap through it all the time. But just posting - it's not about getting back, but it's keeping that presence. Or I just quit and don't have it. And I don't know how it will affect me. So, I will have to take that risk then. I think Instagram - or in that sense, any other social outlet - is, you can look at it in many ways, but what we're doing there is creating an image of ourselves that we want the world to perceive of us. Some people will make money, and that’s great, but at the end of the day, we share something. And what we're sharing is a story of ourselves. So, what we're showing, that's what we are, I guess, in a way. Or maybe not who We are not, but that's what we want to present ourselves to be. That is a great thing. But unfortunately, what's not great about it is that people don't own up to (laughing) their choices for that. But I am.
E: But people always - sorry, there's some commotion going on with the boys. They're like fighting or something, and I can hear one crying, actually. Sorry-
C: Do you want to check?
E: No. Greg is there. He's trying to peace out everyone. Oh my God. Being a mother of three boys at Christmas time…
C: Oh my God. I have such a high respect for that. It's insane. It's like having a dog. I know it's a bad comparison and everything, but you at least understand the necessity of always giving attention, being always – always - present for them regardless of where you want to be. Unless you're a little bit separated. But even then, it's like incredible multitasking, like the highest level.
E: I mean…It's a whole different conversation. This is about you. But thank you. But wait, you said something about the Instagram. When you said…
C: Yeah, it's like a story that we present and so it's everybody's choice to present themselves the way they wish which is a great thing,
E: Which is nice because people probably think about you in a certain way because of your modelling career...
C: If you pretend to be stupid or super self-obsessed when it's constantly, literally, self-piece every five minutes. But that's okay. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be doing this or that. I'm saying that each person chooses their own outlet, right? The way they want somebody to perceive them. So then when somebody does perceive them that way and says it then they get often hurt and then all kinds of labels start going out and then it's like this is who you're projecting.
E: Very true.
C: That's why… Mostly my Instagram is just simply… I'm not getting into too deep subjects in there, or I'm not trying to tell anybody who should do or think what. But it's more about, Okay, this is - in a very small way- how I see the world and want the world to see me.
E: I think you have gone through some form of transformation. I'm not saying that you have not been like that - and plus, we didn't have that outlet of this kind of social media back then, but I feel like there is kind of a different Carmen these days. Was there anything that happened in your life that caused that? You seem like you are on a different page, you know…
C: Yeah, I think many things coincided, and life does most of it, right? So I think partially, it’s that… I’ve lived 44 years, and maybe now it's time to contemplate and see and look a little deeper. And the things that you care about and why do you do what you do? Why are you making the money? Why is it that you go to all these parties? Why do you drink, why do you… I don't know, waste your time on things that you don't really want to do and how to make this time that you are here somehow enjoyable? Whatever then that is… of course, everybody's different.
E: What is it that is important to you in life?
C: To be present, I think. (giggling) I think that's very important. And to be kind… Yeah, I think it doesn't happen all the time, and I am a human, and I get emotional, and people push my buttons, and when I get upset, I'm not necessarily the nicest upset person. (laughing) Even when people push and push and push, I keep trying to not react because I believe that if you can resist the bad energy that's given to you and not react to it, then - it's silly, but - you almost like cancel the negativity and intentionally pass on better energy.
E: Correct. What is it that has helped you to realise that... Did you just wake up one day and that was it or did you read something or did you take any courses... I don't know. Do you have any sort of guidance?
C: Yeah, I did psychedelics.
E: You did psychedelics? Okay. Do you want to talk about it?
C: Huh? (laughing)
E: You want to talk about it?
C: Well, it's a very personal thing in general, right? But absolutely to a certain point…No, but it just simply means that because it's an important thing and it shouldn't not be talked about. (laughing) I am not a professional, so definitely not the person to talk about it thoroughly. I can only talk about my experience somewhat in that sense, but then a lot of that experience is that personal that you don't want to talk about it openly because there are intimate personal things I believe don’t always have to be shared publicly. Some people like to have it all out, and if not, some may judge it to be that you're not vulnerable, but I like the privacy, and when sharing, then everything in the right context in that sense. But in general, yeah, ... I think certain psychedelics we see everywhere now - luckily - that they're doing wonders, and of course, we don't know so much still, but there is also a lot of information available already. A lot of research and science behind it in that sense and - not only science but - ancient beliefs and all of this. So, it's not one-sided; it's actually somehow all coming together... You cannot say Oh my God, you can't always believe science, nor can you dismiss someone who experiences not proven phenomena, so it’s amazing to see this commingling of science and psychedelics … it just serves to expand our knowledge and perception of ourselves and our universe.
E: Are you saying that because of the experience - having done psychedelics - you have had like an understanding of your subconsciousness? Maybe?
C: I think it has helped me to - psychedelics and also, actually, meditating; mindfulness as well which I've practised now for four years or something - So yeah... combination. But I think what psychedelics do - it does it faster because you break through your fears quicker because you start seeing yourself. Why do you do what you do? How do you... You sort of, like, observe yourself from a side, in a way. It gives you that possibility to learn how to see that. And then you take it with you to your life, and you also see it, and it makes things just easy. And you don't fight so much about everything. And there's no… “Yeah, you have this good, like, a steady place inside of yourself to go to when things get heated.” But, like I said, it doesn't always work. But the more you practice, and the more you are aware of it, then it gets more and more systematic and you keep doing it, and it feels good. You feel better about things because you're not always reacting to everything and you understand also your past of why a lot of things... I mean, obviously, there's genetics, and there are geographical things and all kinds of influences. Everything matters, right? But it's all intertwined, and it only helps you understand it in order to let it go because otherwise, you're just reacting to some very old perception of something. So to me, psychedelics definitely opened the door to my subconsciousness, but it also clarified that everything locked behind that door
E: What I'm getting from it is that it kind of liberates you from the kind of...
C.: Rules or like a cage…
E: Rules - set rules - by society and by the culture and whatever is that how we were brought up. So it just kind of centres you.
C: But it doesn't mean you have to rebel against it necessarily. But you just become aware of what it is and how you can best live in that possible society as well. It's also that side. It's not simply, Oh my God, it's all wrong, it's bad, I'm going to change it, but it's also Okay, there are a lot of good things. There are some bad things…It's more like you're not always fighting because to me, it seems like our society is constantly fighting. Competing and fighting and just trying to be richer and better. And you’re like, What's going on?
E: I could not agree with you more. And I think what you're expressing - what I'm hearing - is that it kind of centres you about what it is that is the most important to you and who you are.
C: Why are you living, and what are you doing for your own good at the end of the day? Because if you're just running the race and - I'm not saying that everybody has the luxury to do everything -but little things you can do for yourself like meditating for instance or little things that help you to turn more inwards and not be so reactive so we can all live in a better world for that matter.
E: You said running a race, so...
C: But again. I cannot tell the people That's wrong what you're doing. It's just my perception of what I feel good about.
E: But in a way… I feel like they are wrong in a way. I mean, they are not wrong in a wrong way, but they are kind of lost. I don't know, I feel like what you’re saying is much more of a grounding, essential way to enjoy life, no?
C: So that... they're wrong if you believe that life is about enjoying it. Then they are wrong. (laughing) But you see, we all have a base and I think that's maybe a little bit of a problem as well in society. That we've kind of lost like this agreeable moral base somehow because everything is a fight and everything is personal in a disconnected way.
E: But don't you think what you are expressing is you are really getting in touch with what gives you pleasure and what does not give you pleasure - like in a sense of like this is not good for me, I just don't want to be there...
C: Not even pleasure. But yeah, it's like a big picture of it. I've been not drinking for a little while now, for instance, right? And I did it for 2 years some time ago as well. And I felt better than- I think I told you - better than ever. And so I'm trying to do it again. And it's not because it's a trend or it's something that somebody now has to do, but for me, it's because the science behind it -what it tells me how bad it is and how much I'm ruining myself every single day by doing it. And even if you say Oh I just have one glass with the food, you know. Apparently, everything points to different story and it's not good, in any case. I think for myself Okay, I believe this knowledge, right? Some people maybe don’t believe the scientific, whatever, research behind that. But that's fine. I believe it. So, I decide to – I try to live by what is better for me in the sense of my health and my mind and then obviously my surroundings. Because if I'm feeling good, then I can also give good. Otherwise, what energy I have, then that's what I can give, right?
E: Well said. I don't know if it would be running for a president or anything like that, but if you would have taken that route, is this something that you would promote? Is this something that would be your guiding point?
C: I don't know, really. Well, I don't think I would go to politics, to be honest. But never say never. But I'm not sure politics is the place for this kind of promotion. I mean, it should be, but I don't think the system today is fit for that, really. Because we are living the economy thing, and this is what the politics do, and a little bit of... it's not centred on... how do I say it... Politics at the moment - politics is like it's just business, and business, to my mind is built for profit, not for souls nor minds.
E: Yeah, but don't you think you could have that voice if you do take that route into politics, that it does not have to be always about marketing and consumption and money?
C: No, because I think the system is soaked in it.
E: Exactly. But wouldn't you want to?
C: I think many good people have tried. But yes, one can dream of better world.
E: They're looking for the CEO for Twitter. (laughing) That could be a good job for you...
C: (laughing) Very good platform. Another social media platform to quit even if I'm there rarely.
E: Exactly. It would be amazing.
C: Yeah. But somehow still… I'm reading, this interesting book Behave by Sapolsky, and it mentions how we behave on the emotion of fear, basically. And how we actually - we say we dislike violence, but we're not honest about it. We do like violence, but we like it in a certain context. And he brings really cool examples or little details he points to. If you look at the names of American football teams, they’re all like patriots, Vikings, etc., it's all about fighting, and violence in our hero’s storyline is. And I don't know. There's always a lot of violence in human history, right? But in a certain context, we don't like it. It's interesting. I mean, I'm just reading it, so it's quite fascinating. So... The thing is, we're not really quite honest with ourselves about what we are, and that's why … we do unfathomable things. You know we look at the world today, what's going on, really. Like, Russia and Ukraine are actually in an incredibly bloody and awful war. Seriously? How can we have a better world if we don’t understand or admit what we made of and what we can and want to be?
E: How does that make you feel being in Estonia? Does it make you nervous because you are on the border with Russia?
C: It did. It did make me nervous. And it still does. Yeah. that's the thing. It's like you see it ... I mean I don't think anybody thought it really would happen in a way. Until people started thinking it is happening, but pretty much I think it was unthinkable. If it could happen to them, obviously, it's simple to - for us Estonians - not only think that it can happen to us, but also we have the memory of it already been done. Estonia has had that with Russia, so we understand what's happening, so and I think that's why Estonia is also one of the biggest supporters to Ukraine - considering how small we are. But it's a very strong nationalistic thing in a way. It's hard.
E: It's an invasion, an oppression.
C: Yeah. It's the history of your nation in a sense, but it's more like even like a personal heritage rather. Like a personal history of your ancestors and grandparents and their story is your story too. And it's not so long ago, and you just can't fathom how this can happen again. And that makes me scared too.
E: Are you referring to the fact that Estonia was once part of the USSR?
E: You got a house in Italy, right? So that's your backup plan?
C: Yes, yes. But that's not even a backup plan. That's like a long-term, long long time dream coming true.
E: So you consider Estonia being your home forever? Do you feel like you could actually create your identity there? Or do you see yourself always kind of roaming around being nomadic or… You have been for the past, whatever, 20 years?
E: Thirty... Oh my Gosh!
C: 29. 30 is going,
E: Wow, okay. Would you see yourself in Estonia?
C: Yeah, in general, yeah. I'm always going to be somehow in touch with it, I think. And always will have a place here, but I don't think I necessary will be here most of the time. But I will be here one third of the time, I think, and then… be around the world and then spend some time also in Italy, but still be…yeah, calling Estonia my home.
E: Do you have a lot of friends in Estonia apart from your family?
C: Well, I mean, I don't have lots of friends. I have lots of acquaintances.
E: You haven't lived there for so long, and now you have a person you're in love with that is from Estonia, and he's an artist. Do you still have friends from high school?
C: I've never really been mixing much of a business with friendship. You're rare.
C: But I'm friendly with many people, but it's not like I keep in touch all the time or something. But we get together. Estonia is small, so you get together with groups of people you know and they know someone else and then you chat and you become very acquainted. I don't have nor need that many good friends. One of my friends is a therapist for kids with certain disabilities. Few other people. Pilates teacher, very good friend. A chef, you know (laughing) So it's not necessarily from fashion.
E: Also, in the Eastern European countries, we didn't grow up with idolization. So it's not like when you walk in Italy or in New York where people recognize you. In Estonia, I suppose it's like in the Czech Republic, where it's just like, Oh, look there is Carmen Kass… it's not a big deal, in a way. They don't freak out right in front of your face…
C: Yeah, they look and - of course people are impressed, and people want a piece of you; they’re interested in a good sense, in a good meaning way. When I was younger, I couldn't really appreciate it so much because - like you said - I didn't grow up idolizing anybody, really. There were some interesting people that I was impressed with, but it wasn't like Oh, I want to be like that or I need to meet them or inspire to be someone. I was like, Okay, very cool. Interesting. If I hear something more, cool. But then again, it's quite amazing if somebody appreciates what you're doing and if it's given them something, then it's very pleasant and satisfying as well. You're like, Oh, great, that gave something meaningful to you, you know. It may Be a scent of a perfume I advertised for or other ad I was a face for that may trigger a fond childhood memory for someone of their mother or inspire them to become a fashion designer or a stylist or a model. or other such stories I’ve heard from admirers and greatly appreciate but there is a value in a personal space and I think Estonians are pretty decent in respecting that I think. No they don’t freak out.
E: So how do you spend your time when you're in Estonia? What do you do?
C: Well, I walk my dog. (giggling) It's quite pain in ass because normally it's time that I take for myself. And going for a walk with him is also can be for myself, but it's also for him. And because I'm being there, then I'm kind of there with him. So I cannot do other things. It's a good thing, but it took away a time which I normally would do a writing or meditating. And now I tried to do that in the other times, but then it's not so good.
E: So you spend a lot of time on self-growth? Kind of relearning who you are.
C: It's just observing where you want to go and asking yourself a question also, like, what's next and what are you doing? And if you're doing this, then do this. It's just more being present, trying to be present. It's not easy.
E: I know it's not. Is there a next? Do you have something that you are thinking about?
C: Not quite. I trust the world, actually somehow. I don't quite believe that we have this kind of power to completely be in charge of what's going to happen to us. So, I go with the flow and I have this like a thing in my head that everything is exactly how it has to be.
E: Oh, that's lovely.
C: Yeah. And then I work with that.
E: So you just live for what is now. Nice.
E: I mean, that is so hard. I've been working on that for the past two years as well.
C: It is hard. It is hard. It's something you have to constantly remind yourself.
E: There's this amazing book called Oblomov by a Russian writer Ivan Goncharov, and it's about this guy that he’s nothing in other people's eyes and he's just home reading and thinking and reading more and just not doing anything. You kind of realize...
C: I love that.
E: You would love that book.
C: I mean, this is what I do most of the time. So I walk the dog, I come home, I read, I write, I contemplate, I speak to friends, I go for a walk again and I eat.
E: Yeah, but it makes you happy. Like that thing somebody might freak out and not thinking they're missing out on something or wanting to be in the faces of others doing the TikToks or whatever. Doing Instagrams and Look at me, look at me. And you are actually just enjoying those moments of your own pleasure.
C: But of course I have the luxury, right? So we do have to remember that a lot of people don't have this luxury to say I'm not going to do much, I'm going to do these things because most people have to go to work to just get the meal on the table. So that's something to definitely keep in mind, obviously. But then I think this is something that maybe we should puzzle about, contemplate about, like why is this society like that? Is it really the only solution?
E: Why is it that people don't take time for themselves when they're not well, you know?
C: Because they don't understand that taking the time, they would actually enjoy it at the end. It may feel awkward, it's something that we're not used to, but if they would be given opportunity to do that, I think - and understand it - then they would choose it too, yeah. But yeah. It’s complex.
E: Don't you think it's about not being in the present moment and thinking tomorrow…tomorrow and it's kind of like never fully understanding the vulnerability of life that, actually, there might not be a tomorrow.
C: Like, I think Alan Watts, said you never get there, actually. If it's always tomorrow, then when you get to tomorrow, your thought will be the same - tomorrow. So, you will never actually reach a destination in a way.
E: Who said that?
C: I think Alan Watts if I'm not wrong, but I think so. Okay, something to that thought. What matters is now. What matters is to do your best in this moment towards your goal. Because then you do something that you want to achieve, then you do it with passion; then you do it with, you know. Instead of just doing it because you have to because you have to pay the bill.
E: But don't you agree with the fact that, actually, you don't need much to live. You just need food on the table, a roof and kind of just settle and enjoy those little moments of joy?
C: As a human, we don't. I think in our purest nature, as human beings, we don't need much. Yes. But a little bit of luxury obviously is good, and I think we all could have that. (giggling) But yeah, I mean but the world we live in, we do need much because we live in this crazy consumption world and the information is just flowing in and out and we never stop to see what we are. What are we doing? What are we feeling? What are we? It’s a choice. But that's why I hope humans will go to more of enjoying life instead of just chasing something. But I don't know how that is executable.
E: You're right about that. I'm very grateful for not having the nine-to-five job anymore; we now have a huge opportunity that’s truly a luxury to pause and reflect actually.
C: We're very lucky. Yes, we worked hard for it. But we're also very lucky. But I think with the luck there is - a little bit that too somehow - that I think everybody gets lucky moments, but sometimes they don't recognize it, and that's also meant to be that way. So, they got something to learn from that. And when you're lucky, you also have to be careful, and it's way difficult in other ways.
E: I've covered your state of mind, which I'm very happy about. What would you wish for next year? Are you making one of those end-of-the-year lists?
C: But wait, emotional state of mind (laughing) The other day, when I went to London. It's just funny. Because yeah, I try to be very calm and kind of stable. I try not to get triggered, and so on. But sometimes it's just that everything goes in the wrong place and goes and goes and goes, right? And then this girl in front of me in the plane, where we're already sitting like 2 hours, she like puts her feet under her seat reaching out to my side, right? But you know it happens, so I kindly check it with my feet to push it back a little bit so she would notice. And she pushes back but strongly. And I'm like, Okay. Okay, okay. So I think, what to do? So, I go to tell her I'm like, Excuse me, excuse me. I try to get her attention, and she just ignores me. And then she gives this look to her friend who sits next to her. And I'm like, Really? And so I'm like, I push my feet out, and I just stretch them to the limit and... She just kicks me. But I had really strong PRADA boots, combat boots on.
E: Oh my gosh. Like a serious foot fight!
C: And I'm like, did she just totally hit me? So, I lean over, I pull away, and I'm like - it was pretty strong kick - and I lean over again, and I'm like, Excuse me. And she like ignored, and then I was like - what was circling in my head, I mean correlations that we can pull... - In my head it was like this is like fucking Russia. It's like coming to occupy your territory and then not communicating with you, right? And then I kicked back, right? I couldn't stop myself. I was like, this is not... I need to get my attention somehow, right? It's like you can't just let her roll over you like this. And then I kick her back, and she turns around, and she says, Give me a break! And the analogy was that basically, Russia went to Ukraine to destroy and occupy, and then Ukraine pushed back, and Russians are like, Give me a break! And I'm like, really? Give you a break? (laughing) And then she stopped. And then that was that. But that's the thing. Even though I tried to be calm, in certain situations where you just like pulling, it wasn't right that I kicked her back. But it's like she's not reacting. You're trying to get her attention; she gets aggressive, and then what are you doing? Pull back and be like Okay, take my space? No big deal? No, you fight back, but then you become exactly that what you are fighting against. There has to be another way.
E: No way.
C: And while your own knees are hurting or whatever. There’re so many people who are - I'm sure she's not maybe a bad person, but she was - in her mind, oh whatever.
E: She was definitely not being considerate...
C: Yeah, exactly. And, I mean, I've been selfish in my life, but that triggered me because it's mean. Yeah, it's mean to other people around you. And I think, you know. And then that triggers that meanness in other people, too. Like, in that sense, it triggered it in me. You know, we all have mean and good inside, I think. Both sides. But how do you control it? So that's why it's like it's so important how you treat people around you because it triggers others. Your emotions trigger others. So, the impact is so big.
E: Well, that's such a good example, actually.
E: ... with aggression and not acknowledging it and thinking, like, this is ok.
C: Because she kicked me first, right? So, she started, like, a violent act, actually, right? I don't know. It just makes no sense, right? She took her right to be to invade my space without my consent.
E: That didn't work with you. No way. I'm glad it ended up the way it ended because (laughing)…
C: No, it ended there. After I kicked her back and she said Give me a break! and I ironically asked in return if I should give her a break. Then it ended there. That’s it.
E: Let's talk about this photoshoot…You were such a trooper with all that was happening. I mean, you were called last minute, and you went for it. And then your flight home was cancelled, and it was already cancelled going to London for this job, and then you actually went three days later and then there were snowstorms all around the world…
C: This was not my roll. It was like, no. Wow! - I don't know - back in the day, it was so easy to travel somehow. And today, it’s so many rules and regulations and everything... And then cancellation and all this. And sometimes the weather, too. (giggling) But it's just annoying. It's sort of not worth it, in a way. But in a sense, like, when you think about it Oh, my God, I don't want to go through it, but at the end of the day, once you already make the decision to commit, then you just go with it and you're like Okay, I'm doing this. So it's no point in getting stuck on it... This sucks. Fuck this. Fuck. Terrible. I hate this. Because you're just making yourself worse.
E: The pictures are unbelievable.
C: Really? I'm glad you liked it. Yeah, it was very fun. It was fun. It was super-fast, which is - for me - always great. And I think it was also great for others. And it worked. So, it was super.
E: Looking at the pictures, there is a lot of flesh and nipples. And I was told actually by Vogue that nowadays, if that was shot by a man photographer, they would not be able to run it.
C: Seriously? Why is that? But now, men can never shoot a naked woman? What the hell?
E: Exactly. So, I just wanted to share it with you because I said You know what? It's not something we actually know. But wow! That's crazy. That's why many artists - or photographers - take pictures for themselves, for their books, for their expositions. But they cannot be run by Condé Nast, or they cannot appear in Vogue. Were you conscious about being naked in photos?
C: I always am. I haven't taken that many nudes. My first time I did it – it was about really making the decision to do it nude because, for a long time, I didn't do it because I didn't feel comfortable.
E: But you look so comfortable in those images, and they are very good...
C: And I’m a really good poker face.
E: (laughing) Well, I understand that it can be uncomfortable, but you project control and are absolutely in charge.
C: I think that's my biggest trait.
E: (laughing) Okay, but you did do it.
C: I overcome myself because I don't want to be in these clichés because I don't think it's okay to also not be able to show a nipple. I don't think there's anything embarrassing about it. And it can be provocative. Yes, okay. Maybe certain magazines, certain ways, certain things. But I think it shouldn't be ashamed or it shouldn't be shamed or like, how do you... controlled. I don't think it should be controlled. I think it's the most natural thing - and also sexuality. So, I don't think it has to be controlled in such a way. I think it should be normalized. That we shouldn't be ashamed or…
E: It shouldn't be taboo, no? It should be… A woman's body. Now you are 44 and showing that comfort with your body...
C: ... it has changed, definitely.
E: Of course, it has changed. But you are proud in those pictures. You are projecting glamour but extreme strength about your body. And that's why I think they are amazing.
C: Thank you... And it is about the body. And my body is my body. I'm sure there are people who don't like this body, and there are people who like other bodies, but it shouldn't be like... So what? And why are we hiding? So, when I'm in the picture - even if I'm a little bit uncomfortable, I don't think I have the nicest body; this could be this - and with the whole world of plastic surgery today, it's so easy to think, Okay, I got to do something. But then it's like - I don't know - in a way, I cannot be bothered. And I don't know. It's interesting how my body changes. And it's okay. And I don't want to start feeling that it's despicable or it's something bad. So, I tell myself Okay, this is what it is, and it's beautiful enough - for enough people and for myself - beautiful enough that I can live with it. It's healthy. I'm healthy. I treat myself well. But it's everybody's choice and likeness, whatever. Some like it; some don't. So what?
E: What do you consider sexy today? Like, what do you think sexy is?
C: I think, like, centeredness. I think when you see a person who is centred and confident enough and don't constantly try to prove. I think that's sexy. Yeah. I think centeredness.
E: It's well said. When you look at images, what images do you find sexy?
C: I find all kinds of different images sexy (laughing) You have stuff from porn to all kinds of things. And I think in every genre, every place, you find something sexy. But for me, it really depends…If I want sexy, like familiar sexy - that is not necessarily like sexy hot that turns me on - but it's like beautiful. And it can be very natural and light and black and white and something - I don't know - like Peter Lindbergh's moody, a little bit dark, but pure in a way.
E: Okay, and what does turn you on? (laughing)
C: I’ll skip that (laughing)
E: (laughing) I love that. Okay. Anything you did for Valentine's? Do you have anything... Like what you received for Valentine or have you done something for Valentine for another person that you want to talk about?
C: I never really like these celebrations of things. I somehow don't get it. It's always someone like Okay, somebody tells the story, and now we all are doing something for that day, but at the same time. Yeah, people do it, and it's fun, and it's a tradition. But I never valued these things. So, my special maybe extra attention... That could be any day. But what would I do? Yeah. Too personal, I think.
E: (laughing) Okay. I love you. I think this is perfect. I got it. I got what I wanted. So, if you are cool with this, I'm fine with this.
One more thing. Just looking at your house. Is there something - I can't see much. I just see this yellow sofa and this pop kind of art behind you of yourself - ...
C: I have more pop art.
E: I was going to say. Is there anything that you collect when you travel?
C: I collect art. All kinds of art. Whatever I like. Like this one... it says olla. By Marta Vaarik.
C: Yeah, but it says Olla and at the same time it says Hea. Olla means to be, and Hea means good. I don't think it was initially her idea, but that's how it all turns out. But maybe it was, so. It doesn't matter, but that's what I see in it.
E: Is it Estonian? Olla?
C: Yes. She's Estonian. Olla is to be.
C: And hea - H-E-A - is good.
C: So... To be good.
I think Simba was just showing you his dick. (Carmen’s dog just walked past the computer camera)
E: No, he's not... he’s showing me his tail.
C: He was!
E: He was not! (laughing)