“Only problem is,” he says. “I don’t really know how to get to 500 words”
-You say what?-
His name is Mark and we were in Monaco, I’d just met him as we both had press passes for the Top Marques, luxury car show annually held in the Principality, and we were both waiting to get in the Zenvo. I’m sorry but I don’t go easy on these people. I said, “Pardon me, 500 words on what? The car? I could write 500 words on the wheel arches alone. And that’s before I even get to tell you the color.”
I wasn’t finished.
“That’s what we do, right? We write about things. Which means you have to love writing more than you do the topics you actually write about. 500 words? That’s nothing.”
He didn’t take it well. And I went in the Zenvo first anyway.
In the unlikely event of your ever needing to know, the Zenvo is a Danish hypercar. Think of it as Koenigsegg’s less successful and less famous naughty cousin. I love it. But then again I’m biased because I love everything and everyone that comes from those Northern lands. Brief history lesson for you, Leif Erikson (Icelandic, that’s still Scandinavia) was the first explorer to reach North America, not Christopher Columbus, not the Dutch, not the English. Ironically enough, he was only trying to find a better route to get to Greenland so he too, like Colombus, was actually trying to go elsewhere when he stumbled upon what he called Vinland (remind you of anything?). Had Mr. Erikson been more stubborn or determined, Americans would speak Danish and Swedish today, instead of English and Spanish.
I’m constantly reprimanded, by colleagues and editors alike, for banging on about Scandinavia. They’re surprised at how much I speak about it but I’m flabbergasted because they don’t. We are being bombarded with Scandinavian products. The stereo in the car we drive is Danish and our company car is probably Volvo, the people’s car for those who won’t buy German. Saab, which is always a very popular topic with journalists, is, or rather was, Swedish. Koenigsegg, the only car that Top Gear Stig has ever crashed because he couldn’t handle it, is Swedish. And it doesn’t stop with cars. Ikea of course, but also the zipper, the seat-belt, tetrapak, the thermometer, Skype and Spotify? All Swedish.
My favorite female association football player, Kosovare Asslani, is Swedish, although she’s actually Kosovar; and my favorite male association football player, Zlatan Ibrahimović, is Swedish, although he’s actually Bosnian. One of my favorite actors, Fares Fares, is Swedish, although he was actually born in Lebanon; and my favorite model, and top class human being, is 100 % Swedish. Alexandra Bengtsson. Sverige born and bred.
When I first met her, at LAX, she was talking on the phone and I instantly knew she was a professional model. 100 % guaranteed. There were no doubts. None at all. For starters, she was tall. Very tall. 5’9’’, maybe 5’10’’. And she was wearing flat shoes. Converse. She was slim and slender, her legs were long and her stomach was flat, but not caved in. Slim, but not skinny. She looked healthy. She had long blond hair and bright eyes, blue-green, that peculiar color that looks turquoise under the sun and silver gray if it’s raining. Her skin was light and tanned. She looked exactly like the sort of person who comes from the North but spends a lot of time in California. She was wearing no make-up, a black tracksuit and a gray long sleeve top. And no bra. She had no luggage, save for a bag, which wasn’t small enough to call it a purse, and it wasn’t big enough to call it duffel. She looked tired but active. She looked like the sort of person who spends days traveling and moving around but was used to it and ultimately in love with it. And she was spectacular. Showstopper. A stunner.
As an atypical alpha male, I have no problem at all feeling belittled by a woman, I don’t care. I actually enjoy it. So when we started talking, the “belittling” process began. I’m fluent in four languages and can wrestle with the menu or grasp the content of a newspaper in four more. Good. She speaks, with various levels of proficiency, 12.
Spend any amount of time around any pro model, and I’m talking proper, full time models, and you’ll understand why they do what they do, whereas your local barista, random example here, can’t, though pretty as she may be. You and I may play basketball but we’re a million miles away from the NBA. It’s the same with them. Local pin-ups are not in the same ballpark as these people. They’re professional, they take it seriously and they are, contrary to popular opinion, hard workers. They wake up at five, stand and walk and get dressed and walk and stand and get dressed again, and walk and stand, all day long, and then they go to bed at 3 AM. Day after day. Some may think they’re actors but I think they’re a lot more like athletes. Their performance is gruelling and requires physical exertion.
Alexandra has walked for Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior and Lacoste to name a few, and she’s done commercials with big brands such as L’Oréal and Provence Bioslimming. She really shines with editorials, videos and fashion films like Made in LA by Benjo Arwas. By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, drop whatever it is you’re doing and watch it now. The list of her accomplishments is a saga and it includes featuring in the Guinness World Records’ longest catwalk in 2012 in Hong Kong
It seems everything I do these days is somehow linked to Scandinavia. She comes from Hörby, a small town in Skåne County, south of Sweden, and if you still haven’t connected the dots, please bear with me. That Mark dude, the journalist who couldn’t write 500 words, later joined me at a bar near the Grimaldi Forum (the Top Marques venue) in Monaco, to reconcile after the “beef” we had had. We talked about the show and about the Zenvo and then he went on for about 40 minutes, speaking about his favorite supercar. The Regera. The name means to reign in Swedish. While we were talking, I got an e-mail from my editor, he said, “I need a piece on the Agera”. That means to act. The Regera and the Agera are both made by Koenigsegg in Sweden and precisely, you’ve guessed it, in Skåne County.
words: Alessandro Renesis
model: Alexandra Bengtsson
copyrighted material ©- please don’t steal it