Charlotte Carey for Augustinus Bader
We challenged Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson to shoot a series of images that would reframe the human body and provoke people to reconsider their own remarkable machine. The results channel the intimacy, emotion and authenticity that pervade all of Anderson’s work, from documentary to portraiture.
The first of his three muses for Augustinus Bader is New York-based Charlotte Carey, whose mysterious bleach-blonde rebel look has taken her to the top of the international modeling circuit. She spent her early childhood in northern Indonesia, before moving to California. A super-creative teen, into dance and piano, she was scouted while cutting class at the local mall. Since then she has walked for fashion houses from Opening Ceremony to DKNY, and fronted campaigns for Diesel Reboot and Tom Ford fragrance.
We caught up with her on set in Barcelona to talk about her take on beauty, her secrets to health and happiness, and what her body means to her.
The body is...
My body is my story, my heritage. I’m very into ancestry and it’s great that each part of your body comes from its own history to complete into one. I think that makes it so beautiful. I hadn’t met my dad up until I was 16 and have always been curious. I had the one side of my family, my mother’s side, saying I reminded them of my father and then others would see me and feel I resembled my Mom. Yeah, my body is my heritage, you know, and no matter what, that's you forever and you should love it and appreciate it.
As you get older, you start appreciating things more. I used to hate my mole. As I started learning more about my family I started loving it, as it started making sense. You might feel a certain way, insecure or however, but trust that instinct and deal with it and it’ll make you a stronger person.
Growing up, people used to call me skeleton – I was too tall, more than my friends. It was a really rough time for me in middle school and high school. I got into modelling and remember for the first time in my life, someone told me I was beautiful, which was very weird for me. I think honestly, there is bad and good to the industry, but in my case it's helped me a lot to love ‘me’ under my skin and I'm very thankful for that. Because if it wasn't for that, maybe it would be a different story.
Ten years ago I was in a confusing state of mind. I was insecure with myself. I think it was a year before I started modeling and growing into myself. Now I know why things happen for a reason, if I don’t get a job or if a bad day happens. It makes you a stronger person and that all makes sense later on in life. I tell my sisters the same, because they’re going through it now. That’s my motive in life: to go with the flow and trust the universe.
On beauty regimes
I love skincare, I'm all about skin products. I love trying things on and seeing what they do to your face and your skin. The surprising thing for me is actually putting make-up on. I've been working in this industry for a while and I I still don't know how to put make-up on, so when I put on eyeliner or lipstick, it's like putting on heels on for me 'cause I'm such a tomboy. I'm always, like, ‘is this normal?’
I think whatever you put into your body, reflects on to your skin. If I’m flying a lot, or really stressed about a situation, or eating and not cooking at home, I can definitely see it on my skin. I see a facialist in New York City and I'm quite interested in all that – your cheeks being acne-prone due to your hormones. I know that most of my breakouts come because I eat out too much or I'm out drinking with my friends, catching up, and you have to remind yourself to always constantly drink water – that's a huge key.
On reconnecting with the body
Living in NYC I come back to LA and my Mom is always like: “you’re sick.” But it’s because I haven’t had any sun in NYC or London. The sun makes me feel connected. And I feel connected being back in my home and routine. I’ve been away for a while, so when I go back, I’ll get back into my groove and reset my body.
I love to sweat, like the feeling of when my face starts pumping and there’s a pulse in my face. With boxing three times a week, I then do pilates to lengthen and stretch my body out. I also do yoga and I’ll run five miles. I’m pretty active.
On the power of touch
I'm not a girl that links arms or holds people's hands. I like to hug though – apparently I give really good hugs. Me and my mum were never really close because her and my Dad had a bad break-up before I was born and I reminded her so much of him. We’re best friends now, but we were never really huggy or touchy. But there was a moment when I’d broken my leg when she hugged and kissed me and since then, every time she does that it really means something to me, it makes me really happy.
On the incredible human body
One thing that amazes me about the human body is aging: how your skin changes in terms of texture, and how you lose your baby fat. The regenerative powers of the body are amazing. If you cut yourself, the body automatically heals itself, it knows to repair itself. Our bodies keep producing cells, no matter what.