Dutch supermodel Bregje Heinen illuminates everything from the runways of New York to the landscapes of Iceland…
When supermodel Bregje Heinen glides into Rudy’s, a bar in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, heads turn, not surprisingly. Heinen is only 24, but she exudes a quiet elegance that somehow recalls the movie stars of Old Hollywood. At the same time, she’s also down-to-earth enough that she doesn’t seem out of place in a bar room full of daytime revellers.
Heinen was born in Borculo, a sleepy burg of 10,000 in the eastern Netherlands. She broke into the business at the tender age of 14 after being discovered by a Dutch modelling agency on Hyves, a now-defunct Dutch social media platform. “I had been asked before, but I never took it seriously,” Heinen says, forgoing the Budweiser in front of her for a glass of ice water. “My mum and dad looked into it, and it looked okay.”
Her first job was a shoot for Elle Girl when she was 15. Heinen says she thought she would model for a few years, then move on to a “real” career. It’s been nine years now, and she has walked the runway for Victoria’s Secret, Prada, and Topshop and graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, shot on location in Brazil. In fact, these days she’s one of the most coveted faces in modelling, having appeared in campaigns for DKNY and Topshop.
Heinen lives in Brooklyn with three French bulldogs, Harry, Winston, and Norma. She may boast over a half-million Instagram followers, but Heinen is a homebody for the most part. “Clubbing? No,” she says with a laugh.
Heinen’s career has taken her “all over Europe, the Maldives, Mauritius,” and it’s obvious that she loves the work. Indeed, travel is one of the perks of what is already a very bright career. She’d like to go to Japan sometime, “but for fun, not for work.” For last month’s cover of MAXIM US, she travelled to Iceland with photographer Gilles Bensimon. Their workdays began at 5pm, and shooting took place from 8 pm till about three the next morning. Iceland wasn’t the easiest location for a shoot; it was freezing even in early summer, when the light lasts well into the night.
Heinen wore next to nothing all day while the others bulked up. “The best light is at 10pm,” she says. “It was so cold, and I was in a bikini, but everyone was so nice.”The hectic schedule meant Heinen didn’t get to do much sightseeing, but the “office” was admittedly spectacular. Prospective visitors, take note: One of her favourite spots was the famous black sand beach Reynisfjara, near the village of Vik on Iceland’s south coast.
When not on the road, Heinen loves to paint. She’s got talent, too; select works are for sale at bheinenart.com. In the future, she’d like to explore her artistic side more, possibly even making the leap into acting. Or perhaps she’ll become an interior designer, another of her passions. But for now, she’s happy right where she is — which, these days, seems to be just about everywhere.
By JUSTIN ROHRLICH
Photographed by GILLES BENSIMON
Styled by CAROLINE CHRISTIANSSON
For the full article grab the November 2017 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.