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MJ a.k.a. MELISSA JOHANNSEN: the interview

Posted on: 2011/11/28

 "From Alice Springs to Big Apple" 
Vogue Australia
Peter Pilotto ss12 - London
PONY RYDER: MJ or Melissa? 


PONY RYDER: OK MJ… before we start about modeling we want to mention your GUCCI Kelis Sandals! Where did you get them?

MJ:  Online

PONY RYDER: Are they comfortable? 

MJ: Well they definitely aren't my Doc Martins. 
They took me a while to get used to walking in but after a lot of practice they became quite easy and they look amazing!! 

PONY RYDER: Why did you pick green color? 

MJ: It is such a beautiful shade of green almost turquoise and that color works so well with the gold ankle strap.

PONY RYDER: Are Kelis your favorite pair? 

MJ: Out of all my heels my favorite are my GUCCIKelis Sandals, I also have a great pair of Rachel Comey day shoes that I love!!! I did her show this season which was great because her collection is definitely my kind of style.

PONY RYDER: Do you like Uggs?


PONY RYDER: Ha.Ha, We suppose this is not the first time someone tells us you that you resemble Uma Thurman a lot?

MJ: No definitely not the first time I was once told that I look like the love child of Uma Thurman and Elvis Presley.

PONY RYDER: Did you have any other comparisons?

MJ: I have also been compared to Scarlett Johansson and Sophia Loren.

PONY RYDER: What do you like about Wilhelmina? 

MJ: Wilhelmina is great, the whole team there works so hard and they are all very passionate. They would work as hard for a girl just starting out as they would for one of their top girls; they also want to get to know you as a person not just a model so they put in the extra effort!!

PONY RYDER: How do you like working as a professional model… you are still so young. Is this to much for you or you are taking the right pace?
MJ: I love modeling, I love the idea of never knowing what I could be doing the next day, when I was young I would want to be a whole heap of different things when I grew up and could never understand that you could only choose one so I guess this is the perfect job for me.  

I don't think this is too much for me at all, we make sure that I will always have someone (at this stage my mum) with me to travel with so that when it is all getting a bit hectic I will have someone to talk to or cook a meal with or remind me to brush my teeth morning & night…..

PONY RYDER: What is Alex Perry really like?

MJ: Alex Perry is very nice, I first met him at my fitting for the show, and he was very hands on making sure every part of the dress fit perfectly to my body.

PONY RYDER: How do you like his collections? 

MJ: I love Alex' collection he has such a wide range of dresses and evening wear. One of my favorites is the beautiful red over the shoulder dress that Megan Gale wore for the cover of Marie Claire Australia in the July issue.

PONY RYDER: Speaking of Megan Gale, Isola or We are Handsome for swimwear?

MJ: 'We are Handsome' they have sic prints!

PONY RYDER: How many pairs of Rag and Bone jeans do you own?

MJ: I have two pairs so far, I was given a pair for trade last season in New York and I've worn them out so much that they now have a huge whole in the knee! I also bought my sister a pair when I was last in NYC.

PONY RYDER: If you could only shop in one shop, what would that be? 

MJ: I love Pixie Market in NYC on the lower east side they have a huge range of brands and they also stock heaps of Aussie labels. 

PONY RYDER: Your day bag is…? 

MJ: Mulberry.

PONY RYDER: What pleasures do you enjoy most during photo shoots?

MJ: There's always amazing catering at photo shoots and it's different everywhere I go. I love all the different cultures and their cuisine. 

PONY RYDER: Do you also let yourself indulge in sweets?

MJ: Of course, if there's an amazing sweet at a shoot I can't let it pass me by haha. I have a little taste. It's all apart of the experience.

PONY RYDER: Is Australian food a lot different from American food? 

MJ: Australian food, especially what I grew up with, is a lot less processed and more meat and fresh produce we seem to focus more on traditional meals with most of our food coming straight from the land. 

New York does have the most amazing food because there are so many people and there is pretty much all the different foods from all around the world. 

PONY RYDER: Which is your favorite Aussie food place in the USA?

MJ: My favourite Aussie food place in the US is Sunburnt Cow in NY I went there on Australia day last year. They have great Steak burgers and they even had Lamingtons. 

PONY RYDER: Can you find a good „pavlova“ in NY?

MJ: I haven't come across any so far, but I'll let you know when I do.

 PONY RYDER: How is life in Alice Springs? 

MJ: I have loved growing up in Alice Springs - it is so beautiful, we live on a 5 acre property so we have had all sorts of pets such as horses, dog's, cat's, snakes, bird's, rabbits etc.. all my life and I love having that to go back to after being away. 

The people are so down to earth & the town is not that big & it takes 5/10 minutes to get anywhere within the town. 

We have the most beautiful scenic walking trails which my family & I enjoy walking on together whenever we are all home. It is so quiet at home compared to the cities & that takes a bit of getting used to after the hustle & bustle of the cities especially NYC.
PONY RYDER: Where is your family originally from? We mean, which roots do you have?

MJ: My father & his father are born & bred in Alice Springs as was I & my brothers & sisters, my mother was born in Adelaide SA.  But way back my fathers side descends from Denmark & England. My mother side descend is from Germany.

PONY RYDER: Do you apply sun screen on a daily basis? 

MJ: I am very careful with my skin care, if I'm out in the sun I try apply it every two hours. 
I use 'Banana Boat, Baby roll onsunscreen, SPF 30' for my face and body, because it's much more gentle than normal sunscreen and is non-greasy.

PONY RYDER: Do you ever get a bad skin day? You are a teenager after all! What do you do then? 

MJ: I am very lucky with my skin although every so often I do have bad skin days and when I do I try to leave it alone as much as I can and not cover it up with make-up and different creams that irritate it. I am also always drinking water so that helps when I do get break outs and I find they don't last as long probably because I am eating and drinking nutritiously.

PONY RYDER: Which products do you use for your skin? 

MJ: I use 'Clearasil daily clear face wash" and 'Clinique 7 day exfoliating scrub cream'.

PONY RYDER: How important are vitamins for your skin routine? Or you use them solely for energy purpose?

MJ: Vitamins are very important not only for my skin routine but for many different reasons.  I take calcium and magnesium which is for strong and healthy bones especially for women to prevent Osteoporosis, I also take fish oil & a multi vitamin.

PONY RYDER: If you had to apply a perfect make up now, which key products would use? 

  • Clinique Moisture surge face cream, 
  • MAC mineralise skinfinish Natural powder, 
  • MAC mineralise blush Dainty, 
  • Bourjois Paris illumine highlight powder, 
  • Maybelline One by One Volum'Express Mascara, 
  • Estee Lauder pure color 12 Beige lip color
  • and Paw Paw cream.

PONY RYDER: Are all of these products in your make up bag?

MJ: Yes.

PONY RYDER: Your favorite Fragrance? 

MJ: I use Jadore, Dior scented body milk.

PONY RYDER: You do a lot of water sports! Which one is your favorite?

MJ: I love water-skiing!!! and also over the week-end I had my first ever surfing lesson which was great I love the ocean.

PONY RYDER: Is that pure adrenaline? 

MJ: Yes!  Anything involving an adrenaline rush I'm there...

PONY RYDER: Sharks as well cause adrenalin rush!  Have you ever … seen one? 

MJ:  No, I think they are amazing although I wouldn't just jump in if they are around! But I do want to go shark diving...


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