Top right, Kat wears a dress by Versus and glasses by Cutler and Gross. Top middle, she wears her own jacket, sunglasses by Jeremy Scott for Linda Farro Projects. Middle left, Kat wears a T-Shirt by Vivienne Westwood and a vintage cap from Beyond Retro. Middle right she wears a vintage jumper from Beyond Retro and a headress by Two Weeks. Bottom left, Kat wears a vintage T-Shirt from Beyond Retro and sunglasses by Cutler and Gross. Bottom middle, she wears a jumper by J.W. Anderson and sunglasses by Charles Anastase for Linda Farrow Projects.
Kat Hessen just turned 20. She celebrated by herself, in a forest in her native Norway, after getting on the wrong internal flight. She wasn’t too fussed. Her laid-back attitude, she says, is actually the key to her quick rise in the industry. “If this was my dream, I don’t think I would ever have had any success,” she muses. “But when it’s not your dream, you just go with it, you’re not afraid!”
She seems to have had a lot more reservations about the whole modelling-career thing than most girls. “It went against all my principles,” she says. “I didn’t want to be a model, I didn’t like fashion, I don’t wear make-up, I’m anti-consumerist, I don’t want people to buy more stuff, and yet here I am promoting it.” So if this isn’t her lifelong dream, what is? “I want to study for the rest of my life!” she exclaims. “I love how you can never know everything! There’s so much I want to learn.”
There’s no doubting that Kat is well-informed, and opinionated to boot. She happily spends lunchtime on the shoot sharing gory facts about the meat and fur industries, until everyone on the team quietly lays down their sandwiches. She’s proud to be a self-proclaimed loner who loves nothing more than reading, listening to Norwegian death metal and playing Call of Duty. She’s a far cry from the neurotic waifs typical of the industry, although she does reveal, shamefacedly, “I do drink Diet Coke. I surrendered!” That’s probably where the similarity ends.
It takes her a moment to pinpoint the best moments of her career so far. “I guess it should be something like booking shows,” she says unconvincingly. (Between Alexander Wang, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and Prada – and that’s only the cream of her bookings this season – there would be plenty to be proud of.) Instead, she describes her move to London last year. “I had all my stuff with me in a little suitcase and I opened the door to the apartment,” she recalls. “It was completely empty and I remember feeling terrified and I walked over to the window and I had a view of... I wish I could say ‘of London’, but no, all I could see was the Liverpool Street fried-chicken shop! But it still felt exotic, like the beginning of something great.”
Beyond the glamour of further education, Kat is busy looking even further ahead in her future. “I can’t wait to get old!” she says with genuine passion. “I was at a restaurant the other day and there was an old couple next to me, and the husband took his wife’s picture. I’m photographed all the time, every day, and I never get to do what she did in that picture. She just sat there and smiled at her husband, who she loves so much. That struck me as very beautiful – it was kind of an awakening. I always have to pose in pictures, and I guess my goal is to come to a point where I don’t have to pose in any way in my life.”
A moment later, she’s stripped off and running naked through the streets of London in minus-one-degree weather, draped only in a Union Jack and plenty of Norwegian determination. §
Left, Kat wears a blouse by Paul Smith shorts by D&G, shoes and bracelets by Tod’s, a vintage visor from Beyond Retro and sunglasses by Linda Farrow. Necklaces throughout are the model’s own. Right, she wears a jumper by J.W. Anderson, vintage shorts from Beyond Retro, boots by Ashish and sunglasses by Charles Anastase for Linda Farrow Projects
Left, Kat wears her own T-Shirt, shorts by Diesel, a cap by Piers Atkinson for Ashish, bracelets by Tod’s and a foxtail by Two Weeks. Right, Kat wears her own jacket, leggings by Mark Fast, shoes by Christian Louboutin, bracelets by Tod’s and sunglasses by Jeremy Scott for Linda Farrow Projects.
Left, Kat wears her own jumper, a shirt by Ashish, Boots by Dr. Martens and a headdress by Two Weeks. Right, Kat wears a dress by Ashish, a vintage jacket from Beyond Retro and Bracelets from Tod’s
Left, Kat wears a jacket by Miu Miu, a bra by Stella McCartney and knickers by Calvin Klein Underwear. Right, Kate wears her own T-Shirt, Jeans by House of Holland, bracelets by Tod’s and sunglasses by Cutler and Gross
Hair: Alisha Dobson at Bleach London using Bumble and bumble / Make-up: Annabel Callum at annabelcallum.com using Illamasqua / Styling assistants: Angel Middleton, Madeline Ruggi