Fireside chat w/ Alexandra Bengtsson, model, petrolhead, person

“Only problem is,” he says. “I don’t really know how to get to 500 words”

-Say what?- His name is Mark and we were in Monaco, I’m having coffee, and he’s having coffee and we’re both inside the press office at the Top Marques, a car show in Monaco. And we’re both waiting to get behind the wheel of a Zenvo. Which we won’t, by the way, but that’s a different conversation.

“500 words on what? The car? I could write 500 words on the wheel arches alone,” I said. “And that’s before we get to the colour.” It’s orange, by the way.

The Zenvo is a Danish hypercar. Famous for catching fire on Top Gear. Think of it as Koenigsegg’s not-quite-as-successful cousin. I love it. But then again I’m biased because I love everything and anything from Scandinavia.

Leif Erikson – an Icelandic explorer – was actually the first person to accidentally discover North America. Not Christopher Columbus, not the Dutch, not the English.

Like most explorers that got to America, he wasn’t actually trying to get to America, he was just trying to find a better route to get to Greenland.

He found this new land, called it Vinland (remind you of anything?), and left. Had Mr. Erikson been more stubborn or determined, Americans would speak Danish and Swedish today, instead of English and Spanish.

We’ve been exposed to Scandinavian products, ideas and design for years. The stereo in your car is Danish, your company car is a Volvo, your furniture is Swedish. The zipper, the seat-belt, tetrapak, the thermometer, Skype and Spotify. They’re all Swedish inventions. Alexandra is also a Swedish invention.

Ph: Jeff Linett

I met her at the duty free at LAX, a few years. Tall, slim, tan, deep, cold eyes. 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, and converse. And she wasn’t carrying a bag. I asked for a picture because I thought she was someone else, I never told her that. Well, she knows now.

“I usually get paid for this, you know,” she was joking. But she also wasn’t. We tend to think of modelling as a form of art or photography or something like that, which it is. But it’s actually a physical job. Like playing basketball or football. The amount of time they spend walking and standing while wearing uncomfortable clothes is outstanding.

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.

Ph: Jeff Linett

I told Alexandra about the Zenvo. I thought she was gonna tell me to eff off but she didn’t. She actually enjoys cars. We talked about the La Auto Show, which was the reason why I was in Los Angeles, and the Zenvo and the Koenigsegg Regera – the name means to reign in Swedish – and 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. Which is in Sweden.

“So you’re often in Paris and New York, right?” I asked.

“You’d think that,” she replied. “But I actually spend most of my time in South Korea and Japan.” And that explains her fluency in Korean.

Speaking of, I wonder what she thinks of Squid Game. I may have to ask her so I can do ‘Fireside Chat w/ Alexandra PART II’

Edited and reposted from the original story I published in 2016.

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