Mov­ing On Up

She might be a su­per­model but Mi­randa Kerr's nu­mer­ous suc­cess­ful en­deav­ours are proof that you can be both sexy and smart

CLEO (Malaysia) - - COVER STORY -

Mi­randa Kerr is not just a pretty face. The phe­nom­e­nally suc­cess­ful su­per­model has a great re­la­tion­ship with her ex, Or­lando Bloom, a raft of con­tracts, two books, and a sk­in­care line – about all of which she hap­pily re­minds her 3.75 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers. Her lat­est project? A range of china. Jes­sica Grose meets her for a cuppa to talk about what looks like yet another bumper year.

Mi­randa Kerr wafts into a Man­hat­tan ho­tel suite a block from her home along with a wave of flow­ery scent and an en­tourage of make-up artists, pub­li­cists, and uniden­ti­fied staff. She’s wear­ing a struc­tured black and pink Dolce & Gab­bana flo­ral dress and brightly pat­terned Louboutins. Flow­ers sur­round us: peonies – her favourite. They are on her new col­lec­tion of tea china for Royal Al­bert, which she is here to pro­mote, and ar­ranged in vases around the room. As we drink green jas­mine tea out of her dainty cups, sit­ting around a stand of petit fours and mac­arons that no one eats, it is as if we are trans­ported back to a child­hood tea party. Those treats might as well be plas­tic ones, since they are merely dec­o­ra­tive. Kerr, with her bright blue eyes, soft curls, pore­less skin, and trade­mark dim­ples, looks like the pret­ti­est dolly at the party, the one for which you’d fight your sis­ter. “Friend­ship is the ba­sis of the col­lec­tion,” she says, when asked about the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind her Royal Al­bert line. It’s about “hav­ing tea with friends and tak­ing time to sit down and con­nect, es­pe­cially in the busy world of to­day.” She is per­fectly, en­tirely on-mes­sage, whether talk­ing about that or any of her myr­iad other ven­tures, from her sk­in­care line, Kora Or­gan­ics, to her two self-help books, Treasure Your­self and Em­power Your­self.

When I have chal­lenges now, I feel like I sit with them, I try to look at things, be­cause there’s al­ways a pos­i­tive and a neg­a­tive to ev­ery­thing.

Mil­lion-Dol­lar Baby

In sum, she is a mar­keter’s dream. Last year, Forbes listed her as the world’s sec­ond-high­est paid model, be­hind Gisele Bünd­chen. Kerr, 31, raked in a re­ported US$7.2 mil­lion in 2013, thanks to con­tracts with Mango, the Aus­tralian de­part­ment store David Jones, Lip­ton and Quan­tas. She’s been a name since at least 2006, when she broke the Amer­i­can mar­ket, sign­ing con­tracts with May­belline and Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret, and ap­pear­ing with Rosie Hunt­ing­ton White­ley in the video for the Phar­rell Wil­liams song “Num­ber 1”. Within a cou­ple of years, as she be­gan to be spot­ted with the ac­tor Or­lando Bloom – whom she mar­ried in 2010 and split from last Oc­to­ber – her name was ut­tered along­side fel­low Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret An­gels Heidi Klum and Gisele. That’s when her agent told a news­pa­per how well Kerr sells prod­uct: “It’s all about the bot­tom line for the clients. It’s as blunt as that.” Although she is clearly ex­cel­lent at her job, Kerr claims that she doesn’t take mod­el­ling very se­ri­ously, and never has. As a child in Aus­tralia, she lived on

a farm in a small, bu­colic town called Gunnedah, a five-hours ours drive from Sydney. “I grew up with horses and mo­tor­bikes s and be­ing out­side,” she says. In some pro­files, she’s been de­scribed as a tomboy, but she clar­i­fies, and is again right t “on brand”, con­nect­ing her child­hood to her new Royal Al­bert Tea Col­lec­tion. “I guess I was a tomboy in that I loved to be out­side, and then I had that bal­ance and I was in­trigued by the fem­i­nine as­pect,” she ex­plains. “I would sit and talk to my grand­mother a lot about cer­tain things. Her prize pos­ses­sion was her tea set. She had this lit­tle tea set, and all the bits and pieces that go with it. Lit­tle or­nate ob­jects in this cabi­net. We’d sit, and she’d say, ‘Let’s have a cup of tea.’” Kerr says she spent a lot of time with her grand­mother be­cause her own mother was just 18 when she had her, and was work­ing. Kerr might still be down on the farm with her gran if a friend hadn’t en­tered her in a Dolly magazine mod­el­ling con­test. Kerr won. “I was 14. I guess I wasn’t that in­ter­ested [in mod­el­ling]. I wanted to fin­ish high school,” she says. “When I fin­ished high school I trav­elled to Ja­pan, be­cause I had a con­tract in Ja­pan. Then I went back to Aus­tralia. I didn’t re­ally take it se­ri­ously to be­gin with. I just thought it was a fun ex­pe­ri­ence. I never thought it would last this long.”

An­gel No More

I ask her how work­ing with the hugely pow­er­ful lin­gerie brand Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret – a gig she got at 22 – changed the path of her ca­reer. It was “a re­ally won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence and one that I’m so grate­ful for, be­cause it opened up so many doors and re­ally gave me a voice in the in­dus­try,” she says. Although var­i­ous tabloids re­ported that Kerr was let go from her USD$1 mil­lion, three-year con­tract last year, she says that it was her choice to walk away: “I’m very close with the team. I just felt like I couldn’t com­mit to the amount of days that they needed and that was re­quired.”

She wants to work on shorter con­tracts than she did ear­lier in her ca­reer so she can spend more time with her and Bloom’s son, Flynn, who is three. “For now I like to work ide­ally a cou­ple of days on, a cou­ple off,” Kerr says. She tries to do as many shoot days as pos­si­ble in New York, so she can pri­ori­tise time with Flynn. When she’s with him, she turns the phone off and heads to the park.

Both Kerr and Bloom live in New York. “I’m grate­ful that I’ve got a great, am­i­ca­ble sep­a­ra­tion from my ex,” Bloom said re­cently and, in­deed, when the cou­ple un­ex­pect­edly bumped into each other on the red car­pet at the Van­ity Fair Os­cars party this year, the cam­eras caught just a lit­tle awk­ward­ness as he kissed her on the cheek. “We’ve been re­ally good about it,” says Kerr of their co-par­ent­ing ar­range­ment. “He’s a great dad, we’re great friends, and we both re­ally love and re­spect each other. It works out re­ally well, be­cause when I go away for a cou­ple days [Flynn] stays with his dad.”

Although she has only pos­i­tive things to say about Bloom, one of the few times I see a glim­mer of real per­son­al­ity dur­ing our in­ter­view is when I ask her about her re­li­gion and spir­i­tu­al­ity. It’s been pre­vi­ously re­ported dozens of times that Kerr is a prac­tis­ing Nichiren Bud­dhist, which she now de­nies. “No, I’m not Bud­dhist. Or­lando is,” she says, a lit­tle sharply. When I ask her if that’s been mis­re­ported, she will only say, “I’m not Bud­dhist. I’m Chris­tian. I pray ev­ery day. I med­i­tate ev­ery day and I do yoga. I’m not re­li­gious, I’m spir­i­tual. And pray­ing is some­thing my grand­mother taught me as well. To pray and be grate­ful; have grat­i­tude is a big thing for me.”

I like peo­ple from

dif­fer­ent walks of life.

Woman Of Steel

The un­var­nished Kerr is a com­bi­na­tion of airy and de­ter­mined: some­one who dec­o­rates her books with but­ter­flies but is also very clearly shrewd and am­bi­tious. The other sparky re­sponse I get from her is when she talks about post­ing a pho­to­graph of her­self breast-feed­ing the new­born Flynn on her web­site back in 2011. “There was so much pres­sure at the time on us as a fam­ily for that first pic­ture. And you know, the pa­parazzi were very ag­gres­sive and wait­ing out­side our door ev­ery sin­gle day,” Kerr says. “And so Or­lando and I de­cided – he took the photo – to post it on my so­cial me­dia. That way, that first photo wouldn’t be worth nearly as much, be­cause I’d al­ready posted it.” She says it takes a lot of ef­fort and time to avoid the pa­parazzi, but she’s san­guine about them. “It’s all part of the process. And I ac­cept that. You can’t be­grudge it be­cause it’s helped me get to where I am to­day. But there are times when [I wish] I didn’t have to worry about it so much.” I ask who her sup­port sys­tem is in New York, since she’s so far away from her fam­ily in Aus­tralia. She doesn’t an­swer my ques­tion di­rectly at first, in­stead talk­ing about a high­school boyfriend who died in a car ac­ci­dent when they were teenagers, and how the trauma changed her ap­proach to life. “When I have chal­lenges now, I feel like I sit with them, I try to look at things, be­cause there’s al­ways a pos­i­tive and a neg­a­tive to ev­ery­thing,” she says. “And some­times I’ll speak to friends, and some­times I’ll just med­i­tate and I’ll vi­su­alise let­ting it go, or what­ever it might be. Med­i­ta­tion and yoga, and hav­ing peo­ple, as I said, who you trust, who you talk to. But also writ­ing. I like to write, and then I can rip it up or burn it.” Kerr says that she has a “va­ri­ety of friends, and I like peo­ple from dif­fer­ent walks of life”. She men­tions one friend from home, and her make-up artist, Rose­mary, who looks af­ter her dog, Frankie, when she’s away. She says she speaks to her grand­mother and herr fa­ther. She does not men­tion her mother, Therese, who made head­lines in Fe­bru­ary when she com­plained on an Aus­tralians re­al­ity show that the fam­ily barely sees Kerr any­more. ore.

Eye On The Prize

Kerr does tell me she’s go­ing back to Aus­tralia for three weeks soon to see fam­ily. She’s re­port­edly edly dat­ing the Aus­tralian bil­lion­aire James Packer, ker, who also grew up in Gunnedah. To­day, though, gh, all Kerr will say about her cur­rent ro­man­tic life is that she’s “sin­gle and fo­cused on work”. In­deed she is fo­cused. Even with­out her Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret con­tract, Kerr is poised to have a bumper year in 2014. She’s cur­rently the face of the Swedish re­tailer H&M, the face of Es­cada’s per­fume, Joy­ful, the face of Swarovski crys­tal, the face (and body) of Won­der­bra, she’s filmed a sexy ad­ver­tise­ment for Ree­bok’s Skyscape sneak­ers and has branched into mu­sic, record­ing vo­cals on a track by the Ir­ish singer Bobby Fox. And, of course, there’s her china, by which we’re sur­rounded, and of which Kerr is very proud. She calls it her “pas­sion project”.

“I’m not lim­ited by mod­el­ling,” she tells me. “It’s not the be all and end all. I’m very ap­pre­cia­tive of it, but if it stops to­mor­row, that’s not the end of the world, be­cause there’s so much more that I’m pas­sion­ate about as well.”

A few hours af­ter I leave her ho­tel room, Kerr posts a pho­to­graph of her­self drink­ing tea out of one of her sig­na­ture Royal Al­bert cups on In­sta­gram for her 3.75 mil­lion fol­low­ers. Al­most ev­ery In­sta­gram photo she’s posted in the past month has been sup­port­ing one of her many branded deals. In this one, Kerr’s hair cas­cades over one shoul­der, and the photo looks cam­paign ready. The cup is be­decked with but­ter­flies and her trade­mark peonies and is cov­er­ing half her face. You can only see her eyes peek­ing out over the top. They’re slightly nar­rowed and look­ing off to the side of the frame. Though she protests that she still doesn’t take mod­el­ling too se­ri­ously, she looks like she’s plot­ting her next move.

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