She made headlines in December 2017 when she posed on the cover of RUSSH magazine while breastfeeding her baby daughter, River. As a long-time model, Helena Vestergaard is no stranger to showing skin for photoshoots. But the cover did more than that, smashing stereotypes about juggling motherhood with other pursuits, while fighting the stigma of breastfeeding — particularly in public.
It was River, in fact, who inspired Helena to start her own online store, Pour Le Bien, which sells handmade, vintage or ethically produced products; including her own natural beauty blends. Calling motherhood “multitasking at its finest”, the South African-Danish babe also writes music on the side when she has time off modelling.
But it was her beliefs that first drew her to us, namely her efforts to live a low impact, cruelty-free and plastic-free lifestyle. The 24-year-old’s authenticity shone through in her quiet but impactful ways to make a difference in her and her family’s lives (her fiancé is pro surfer, Nathan Webster), and her resolve to “never turn the other cheek to anything”. She’s not a household name — yet — but we were never one to follow the masses. As far as interviewees go, Helena embodies one who leads a conscious life, and what Après Avant is all about. If only more of us could be like her.
Tell us about Pour Le Bien, why you decided to launch it and what consumers can expect to shop.
I’ve always had a vintage online store where I sold beautiful pre-loved clothing but after having River (my daughter), I felt like having a fresh start with it, so I started this store ‘Pour Le Bien’, which means “for the good” in French. It’s based on things I love and believe in. Everything is either handmade, vintage or ethically produced. I believe in small quantities of quality over mass production so when you buy from the store you pay for beautiful, mindful products. I think if someone is going to spend their money and buy something, they should only purchase the best.
You’re a nature enthusiast and an advocate for conscious lifestyle practices like banning fur, doing away with plastics and being cruelty-free. How did you come to be so passionate about these things?
I guess I never turn the other cheek to anything. Most people this day and age know how horrible the fur industry is, know that plastic is killing our environment, but still just shrug it off. I’m very emotional and get really upset by these things and want to at least try and make a little difference.
You practice yoga and surf. How do you find these workouts complementing one another?
Haha I sound like such a hippy. Well, they definitely complement each other that’s for sure. Balance, strength and mindset are the main focuses in yoga, and surfing is that too but add in a little valiant-ness.
Tell us about your everyday beauty routine and the products you use.
Well I am a stickler for natural products. I use Aēsop face wash because it comes in glass packaging (not plastic), it’s natural and beautiful, and then I use my Pour Le Bien oil-based facial serum. That’s all I do for my skin. I think less is more when it comes to anything, especially beauty products. I don’t usually wear makeup but when I do, I love Crop Skincare Serum Foundation and Eye of Horus Mascara. Both are natural, local Australian brands that put love and care into their products.
“Vanity is not beauty.”
What are three beauty tips which have been incredibly valuable to you?
I’ve never been told any beauty tips but these are three that I live by:
- Vanity is not beauty.
- Don’t pick at or squeeze a blemish because it will only make it worse.
How did your beliefs change your lifestyle when you found out you were pregnant and throughout your pregnancy?
My beliefs have always been the same. Being pregnant and having a child only made them stronger.
What beauty and wellness tips will you pass on to your daughter, River?
I will try to teach her what I believe in: natural and low impact. I hope she will follow in my footsteps in many ways.
What does a day on a plate look like for you?
I try to be as healthy as I can but I do love food and sometimes I get lazy. I usually start with fresh plunged coffee, and natural oat muesli and yogurt. At mid-morning, I’ll have some eggs on toast. Lunch is usually a hearty salad with pumpkin, quinoa and sardines; followed by dinner with a glass of red, grass-fed free range steak with some veggies on the side. Usually I end the day with a little chocolate mousse — it’s our favourite!
What does conscious living mean to you, and how do you lead a conscious life?
The definition of the word conscious is “to be aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts and surroundings”. For me, this means I am very aware and responsible for my actions. Whether it is being kind to the people I interact with, what I choose to do for work, how I am as a mother… and then there are the materialistic things I buy and use, and come to contact with. I try to have as low an impact on the planet as I can by not using plastic, not supporting mass production, and trying not to leave too much of a trail of landfill behind me in the earth every week when garbage day comes!
I guess consciousness is to really be aware of your impact on things in this life. To me, I would like to leave a positive, and maybe even beneficial change on the planet.
Images courtesy of Daniella Rech