A run­way suc­cess

Kristy Hinze plans to make sav­ing the oceans her next big fash­ion trend, writes Colin Vick­ery

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KRISTY Hinze rose to fame in the su­per­fi­cial, im­age-ob­sessed world of mod­el­ling, but now she is out to show there is much more to her than the cat­walk, fash­ion and re­al­ity-TV star­dom.

The 29-year-old is in Aus­tralia to host Fox­tel’s Project Run­way, but in an in­ter­view at the Dock­lands stu­dios where the re­al­ity show is be­ing filmed, it’s talk­ing about his­tory and marine bi­ol­ogy that re­ally gets her ex­cited.

Hinze has been im­mersed in the world of fash­ion since she was 14, but now she’s ready to break out and have an im­pact on a much larger world.

She has big goals in mind — get­ting a uni­ver­sity ed­u­ca­tion and help­ing to save the en­vi­ron­ment.

It’s clear that Hinze’s mar­riage in March to bil­lion­aire US en­tre­pre­neur James H. Clark, 65, has had a huge ef­fect on her think­ing. The re­la­tion­ship made head­lines be­cause of the age dif­fer­ence (Clark is a grand­fa­ther) but Hinze in­sists that it has given her ‘‘a re­laxed, beau­ti­ful, happy, in-love feel­ing’’ that any other cou­ple would envy.

As the Project Run­way con­tes­tants line up in the back­ground with a new set of cou­ture cre­ations, Hinze talks with pas­sion about her love for Clark and their own projects — which cen­tre on marine preser­va­tion and, down the track, ba­bies.

‘‘Mar­riage has def­i­nitely made me more driven to go back and get an ed­u­ca­tion,’’ Hinze says. ‘‘I’ve just fin­ished my high school equiv­a­lency so that I can go to uni­ver­sity in New York.

‘‘Now I have other goals. I’ve been mod­el­ling for half my life. I’ve al­ways loved his­tory and I love sciences, es­pe­cially bi­ol­ogy. I hope to get into marine bi­ol­ogy. That’s the end goal.

‘‘I think I’m much more aware of the world now (be­cause of Clark). His world is so dif­fer­ent to mine. I feel like ev­ery time we have a con­ver­sa­tion I’m learn­ing some­thing new.’’

Clark is a for­mer com­puter sci­en­tist who founded Sil­i­con Val­ley tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Netscape. A pas­sion­ate sailor and diver, he is us­ing some of his for­tune to fund en­vi­ron­men­tal projects.

Any­one who thinks Hinze’s so­cial con­cerns are mere hot air had bet­ter think again. It’s ob­vi­ous she and Clark have the mon­e­tary power to make a big con­tri­bu­tion and a sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ence.

‘‘Jim started an oceanic preser­va­tion so­ci­ety and I’d love to have a big­ger voice within that or­gan­i­sa­tion — to be in­volved in sav­ing the world’s oceans,’’ Hinze says.

So where does all that ac­tiv­ity leave the prospect of hav­ing chil­dren? Hinze re­cently said she would love to start a fam­ily with Clark and that two chil­dren would be the per­fect num­ber.

‘‘It would be great, but ob­vi­ously I’m very busy at the mo­ment and he’s start­ing his fourth com­pany. But if it hap­pens, it hap­pens,’’ Hinze says. ‘‘I’m not in a rush.’’

Hinze is com­mit­ted to Project Run­way, but it’s dif­fi­cult not to be­lieve, given her in­creas­ingly wide in­ter­ests, that fronting doc­u­men­taries for The Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel, for ex­am­ple, could hap­pen down the track.

‘‘Hmm . . . Kristy’s Un­der­wa­ter Aquar­ium (sounds good),’’ she says with a laugh. ‘‘I re­ally do like host­ing. I’ve dab­bled in act­ing, but I think I’ve found some­thing I’m re­ally good at.’’

As Hinze is called to re­sume film­ing Project Run­way, there’s time for one last ques­tion. What does she think she’s brought to Clark’s life that has made their re­la­tion­ship such a suc­cess?

‘‘He’s def­i­nitely chilled out a lot since he’s been with me be­cause I’m fun,’’ she says.

‘‘We’ve had a lot of laughs. I taught him how to play golf and he’s def­i­nitely a good shop­per!’’ Project Run­way, PG Arena, Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm Cat­walk cre­ations Du­ra­tion: 1 hour

Sci­ence and sen­si­bil­ity: Kristy Hinze’s next goal is to com­plete her ed­u­ca­tion.

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