Karlie Kloss is at the forefront of the new generation of supermodels known for their strong, athletic bodies and dedication to fitness and wellbeing. We caught up with the former Victoria's Secret model to talk about her new job as the face of Adidas by Stella McCartney, her work-out regime and the mantra that gets her to the gym when all she wants to do is watch Netflix in bed.
Harper's Bazaar: How do you decide which brands to work with?
Karlie Koss: I try and work with people who are like-minded – brands that share the same kind of values as me. Working with Adidas has truly been a pleasure, as I have always considered myself an athlete even in my small way. I like to be focused and push myself. It's part of my lifestyle.
HB: Why do you think you, Adidas and Stella McCartney are such a good fit?
KK: I think that Adidas is really unique as a brand in that it cares about functionality but also the fit and the style; that's why it's such a natural partnership with Stella McCartney – she's this incredible designer who understands what women want to wear. It's this perfect marriage of style and practicality. Adidas really cares about its consumer and it knows who their woman is and how she thinks about pushing herself to be stronger and better, and that's the way that I live my life too.
HB: Why is it so important to you to keep fit?
KK: It's important to me because it changes the way I feel – I feel like the best version of myself when I feel strong and well rested. Something that I've learned during my time as a model is to take time to take care for yourself – to rest and to exercise and to indulge in good nutrition and wholesome food. It's not a matter of vanity; when you take care of yourself you're able to perform better, to have more energy, to think clearer, to work harder.
HB: What are your favourite ways to keep fit?
KK: I really love to switch it up. I love to focus on cardio one day, then strength training another day, then stretching and yoga. I like to do a bit of everything.
HB: How would you encourage girls to get more involved with sport and fitness?
KK: I grew up in a house of four daughters, and I think my dad was actually the least active of all of us. I've never thought about sport as more of a boy's thing. All of my girlfriends were always really athletic. I danced for my whole adolescence and I was always really drawn to sports and I had a natural knack for it. I love the strategy that goes into playing games and knowing about the defensive and offensive tactics. I'm also really competitive.
HB: Today the aesthetic for models is strong, not skinny. Why do you think that's a good thing?
KK: Everybody is different – everyone has to figure out what's good for them. For me I really try to find the right habits, the right way to fuel my body and to push myself to be the best, strongest version of myself. Everybody has to determine that for themselves. You start to feel better when you're stronger and you can run for five minutes longer, or do an extra five push-ups. When you hit those minor wins it's a great feeling, it's an upward cycle.
HB: How much responsibility do you feel to be a role model to girls today?
KK: To even be in the position that somebody would consider me a role model or somebody that has influence is amazing. I very much had a lot of role models of women that I looked up to in my community and my school and public figures that really inspired me. Now that I'm that for someone else is a huge honour. I don't take it lightly. It's really important to me to use that influence in a positive way. If I can make any impact on anybody else to push themselves a little bit more, whether that's in a physical sense or trying something new – I'm very passionate abut education as a whole and trying new things and pushing myself to be better – that's definitely something that is important to me.
HB: Do you have a mantra that gets you to the gym when you don't want to go?
KK: Totally. Yesterday I was doing interviews from 7am to 3pm, then in the afternoon, from 3pm to 7pm, I was doing another photo-shoot. When I got home at 7.30pm I just wanted to crawl into bed and watch Netflix. But I knew that the best gift you can give yourself is that gratifying feeling after a good sweat, so I put my tennis shoes on and my ear buds in and went out to the Westside Highway and ran as the sun set. I love to listen to podcasts and audio books while I'm running, so I'm sort of multitasking. Putting the gym clothes on and getting out the door is always the hardest part. Exercising is easy, it's getting there that's the hard part.
The Adidas by Stella McCartney A/W16 collection will land in stores across the UAE this summer.
Via Harper's Bazaar UK