"I never aspired to be a model."

The lovely Syune Arakelyan interviewed me recently for the Armenian News.Am STYLE

"I never aspired to be a model." Kojii Helnwein On Her Career and Participation in Project Runway

CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL ARTICLE by Syune Arakelyan January 30, 13:02

The fans of fashion industry have discovered the beautiful model Kojii Helnwein mostly due to the famous TV shows Project Runway and Models Of The Runway.

Kojii was mostly paired with the designer Logan Neitzel. Although she didn’t win the project, she became the model who has admired and inspired a lot of young girls in front of TV.

NEWS.am STYLE has a big surprise for all the fans of Kojii. We did a very interesting interview with her the details of which are presented below:

-Kojii, you were born in the family of a musician. Music has occupied the most part of your childhood I guess… How did you take to modeling?

-My Dad is a musician/songwriter and toured the world with his band for much of my childhood while my Mum, a holistic healer cultivated our interest in the arts from home.

I was 10 years old when I started playing the guitar but I was writing songs with my Dad since I was 4. By the time I was 13, I had formed a band and we performed in venues around Ireland.

I started modeling later than most. I was 20 years old when a friend secretly sent my photos to the top modeling agency in Ireland. The day after I met that agent, I was on the runway for a top Irish Designer (John Rocha), where I met a lot of people in the fashion industry. After that show I was booked solid for the following year so I never really had time to decide if I wanted to become a model or not.

Kojii Helnwein by Brendan Morrissey

Kojii Helnwein by Brendan Morrissey

-You're singing, acting, modeling. Which of these activities is closer to you?

-I am a musician at heart. I feel it is what I was born to do but I love acting. I find it invigorating to step into another person's shoes and experience life as them.

I have never considered myself a model. I approached modeling as a day job, much like one might work in a cafe. It paid the bills and I got to meet and work with a lot of amazing people. I never aspired to be a model but I enjoyed every moment of it.

-Speak about your participation in Project Runway. How that happened?

-We shot that season of Project Runway 10 years ago when I was living in Los Angeles. I had never heard of the show at that time. When I was offered the job I turned it down as I was planning to return to Ireland to see family.

After a few days of talks I was finally convinced to take the job. I had no clue what I was getting myself into and the other girls had to explain each step of the show to me for the first week. I was so engrossed in music and uninterested in the modeling world. To be honest, I didn't even know who Heidi Klum was as I didn't watch TV or read fashion magazines.

Kojii Helnwein by Brendan Morrissey

Kojii Helnwein by Brendan Morrissey

-For TV viewers this project is fun. I wonder, what emotions do the participating models and designers experience during the show?

-I can’t speak for everyone else involved. 10 years have passed but I do recall people missing their families, feeling exhausted by VERY long days of filming. Some days we were woken at 6am with a cameraman standing over our bed and the same night you may still be awake filming at 1 or 2am. It was exhausting so people were very sensitive. I recall many of us falling ill with a terrible flu and working through it as best we could. I took everything lightly but some people took the entire situation very seriously.

-You were mostly paired with the designer Logan Neitzel. Have you worked together after the show?

-No. Unfortunately I haven’t seen Logan since the premiere of the show as we live 1000’s of miles apart.

-You're a Mom and a model. Is it easy to combine Motherhood with modeling?

-It is no easier or more difficult than being a Mom with any job. Every working Mom has a lot to juggle. The struggle between wanting to be home with your babies 24/7, managing a home and the need to work can be tough on everyone. Some days are easier than others but I am fortunate to have a very loving and supportive family who help when needed. It requires a huge amount of planning and patience.

Kojii Helnwein by Lily Flores

Kojii Helnwein by Lily Flores

-It is said that kids usually take after their parents. Do you imagine your daughters being models? As a model, would you advise them to take this profession?

-My kids have all done a small amount of modeling. They are often offered modeling work but I let them decide for themselves and usually they turn it down. It doesn't interest them unless it’s a fun shoot with the whole family or for an artist they know well.

In saying that, they are very talented and beautiful children and take to modeling naturally but I don’t wish for them to enter the world of fashion.

I prefer that they don’t have their attention on their physical looks; I teach them that their creativity and intelligence is more important. My eldest daughter is 10 years old and has started her first business. She sells plush toys that she makes from recycled materials to people all over the world via her website www.croitures.com. My youngest daughter loves to compose songs and dance and our son aspires to build things with wood, play drums and sports.

Kojii Helnwein by Reid Rolls

Kojii Helnwein by Reid Rolls

-It is known, that models usually have a lot of difficulties…

-I had a very positive experience when I modeled and I think this is because it wasn’t my dream job. If I did not book a modeling job, I was still happy as I had my art, my acting and my music. Modeling was just the day job that paid the bills. My world, my happiness and confidence were not invested in wanting to be a famous or successful model.

Any success I had with modeling was a fruitful bonus in my eyes.

-What do you work at in this moment?

Currently I am working as an actress in Europe. I have a couple of movies in film festivals around the world and recently had the happy surprise of winning a Best Actress Award at a film festival in Canada.

-Your advice to all the beginning models.

Be yourself, stay in school. Go to college and hone your other talents and interests. Your personality, intelligence, integrity and creativity will be far more distinguishing qualities than appearance alone. Also, be interestED in the people around you rather than trying to be “interestING”.

-Kojii, did you know anything about Armenia before we did this interview?

-Yes. I have met some lovely people from Armenia throughout my career.


Syune Arakelyan


Photographers: Brendan Morrissey, Reid Rolls and Lily Flores

Radha Review

A million "Thank You's" to Joseph Perry over at Gruesome Magazine for the very kind review of "Radha".


“Radha” (2016): Poetic Horror Short Offers Otherworldly Uneasiness

 ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE January 28, 2017Joseph Perry

Irish supernatural short Radha is a meditative piece dealing with grief, the search for identity, and the power of transformation through art. Its horror is not graphic or intense; rather, it comes off as a quiet eeriness that pervades the film, offering a chance of hope along with its sense of dread.

Saoirse (Sue Walsh) is a young woman trying to put some troubling incidents behind her as she moves to a new city, using a new name. The past isn’t so easy to escape, she finds, as someone she knows recognizes her at a party and tries to confront her. Saoirse wanders the town a bit, stumbling across a club with a decidedly unusual looking clientele. The audience watches a dancer (Kojii Helnwein as the titular character) in one of the film’s centerpieces, a tightly edited performance piece set to a hypnotic rhythm.

Saoirse (Sue Walsh) tries to escape painful memories in Nicolas Courdouan’s atmospheric horror short Radha.

Saoirse is mesmerized by Radha, though the dancer’s audience members put her off. Radha is a mysterious, alluring presence who invites Saoirse to go to bed with her after some awkward conversation. I will leave the rest of the night’s surprises to viewers to discover for themselves.

Writer/director Nicolas Courdouan has crafted an enigmatic but wholly accessible short that offers up unease and a sense of otherworldliness. He slowly unlocks the secrets of Saoirse’s past while not giving away too much about Radha, and that works well on both counts.

Kojii Helnwein plays the mysterious, seductive title character Radha.

Kojii Helnwein plays the mysterious, seductive title character Radha.

Sue Walsh gives an impactful turn as Saoirse, inhabiting her character with a sense that something is bubbling just under the surface that she refuses to let out. Kojii Helnwein is marvelous as Radha; she gives off a pitch-perfect air of the preternatural and inscrutable, with an underlying sense of menace. Helnwein brings to Radha a commanding presence, making the character as equally captivating in the unconventional dance scene as she is merely sitting and talking. Tess Masero Brioso’s cinematography is splendid, and Colin McKenna’s score works wonderfully with Simon Murphy’s sound design, as the sounds of nature gives way to driving beats and spooky music before returning again.

Radha is currently on the film festival circuit and has been picking up awards along the way. Nicolas Courdouan’s eerie, thought-provoking short is one to watch for when it heads your way.

Radha:  (3.5 stars / 5)



The Gloss Mag

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Sarah Breen, writer at The Gloss Magazine, about family, work, love, life and our nomadic ways alongside the wonderful Chloe Arnold who shared her a bit about her own wonderful life. 

The article featured some gorgeous images from our family shoot with Sandals & Greenhouse   a company who specialize in top quality family portraits that capture the unique magic between you and your loved ones. 



"The Helnwein's will see you now" in The New York Times

By NICHOLAS HARAMIS Photographs by Kenneth O'Halloran

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. Meet the Helnweins.

February rains flooded the gravel road to Gurteen Castle, a 40-room fortress built in 1866 for Pope Pius IX’s chamberlain. Throughout the Republic of Ireland, stories about power outages dominated the evening news, but the Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein and his wife, Renate, their four children and three of their grandchildren were oblivious to the storm. Gottfried, in a skull-print bandanna and black sunglasses, spoke about the spirit of a jealous woman who tormented the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese on her wedding day (she married Gottfried’s friend Marilyn Manson there in 2005 in a ceremony officiated by the surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky). Von Teese was nearly ready to walk down the aisle when the ceiling above her vanity came crashing down, narrowly missing her and her maid of honor.

The New York Times Magazine 2014, International Edition, Holiday

February rains flooded the gravel road to Gurteen Castle, a 40-room fortress built in 1866 for Pope Pius IX’s chamberlain. Throughout the Republic of Ireland, stories about power outages dominated the evening news, but the Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein and his wife, Renate, their four children and three of their grandchildren were oblivious to the storm. In the castle’s dining room, under the flickering glow of candlelight, they were singing along to a spirited rendition of “Nell Flaherty’s Drake,” a bouncy 19th-century Irish folk song that had them merrily rhyming “astray” and “gray.” Although most of the Helnweins were born in Germany or Austria, they’ve come to think of Kilsheelan, a town of roughly 500 people in County Tipperary, as home. Renate is a regular presence in town — as familiar as the local police officer, whose house doubles as the police station, and the weary gravedigger, who lives in a home without running water — while Gottfried, when he’s not singing about ducks, tends to roughly 30 of them in his backyard.

The animals are, for him, more than pets. As a young boy growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, one in particular gave him hope. “Donald Duck was a cultural atomic bomb for my generation,” he said. “In America, this complete loser had to compete with superheroes, but us Nazi kids could identify much better with Donald. He was very important to me. He actually saved my life.”

Gottfried, who was born in 1948, left Vienna nearly three decades ago, and yet the city’s battle-scarred history is still as much a character as the otherworldly children, Nazi officers and burn victims depicted in his photographs and paintings. Raised by severe Roman Catholic parents, he has described his upbringing as “oppressive,” “dark” and “colorless.” At 18, he moved away from home and into a rented attic where he began his lifelong investigation into “the idea of purity interrupted, destroyed, harmed, raped.” He studied at the city’s Academy of Fine Arts — the same school that turned away a young Adolf Hitler — where he once set off paint bombs on campus that he and his friends made by attaching paint shells to fireworks.

In his 20s, Gottfried immersed himself in coffeehouse culture, experimented with drugs (a particularly bad LSD trip “took years of absolute, never-ending fear to get over”) and watched as the death of Nazism gave way to Maoism and the revival of Trotskyism and Spartacism. Like the Viennese Actionists of the 1960s, he’d slice his arms with surgical knives in the name of performance. One of his first exhibitions, at the city’s Gallery of the House of the Press in 1972, caused such outrage among the journalists who worked in the building that the gallerist shut it down after just three days. His art has since been confiscated by police, labeled with “entartete Kunst” stickers (German for “degenerate art,” the term used by Nazis to describe most examples of modernism) and destroyed by protesters. “Everybody hated me, which I liked,” he said. “As an outcast, you have nothing to lose.”

From left: Gottfried in his studio; his "Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi)," 1996, reinterprets the nativity scene with Waffen-SS officers admiring Adolf Hitler as a baby

Renate first became aware of her husband while working as a nurse at a German asylum in the 1970s. A local paper had written about a show of his and published a photo of one of his bandaged-child paintings. She was reminded of the treatments, what she described as the “horrors,” she’d seen conducted in the hospital — “really bad, really invasive stuff. Finally, I thought, someone gets it.” She hitchhiked to Vienna, found Gottfried, and they’ve been together ever since. In 1985, they moved to Germany, and then, about a decade later, decamped to Ireland.

While Calvin, a family friend with a ponytail and a stutter, passed around plates of pasta and garlic bread, Renate shared stories about the castle’s many hauntings. Gottfried, in a skull-print bandanna and black sunglasses, spoke about the spirit of a jealous woman who tormented the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese on her wedding day (she married Gottfried’s friend Marilyn Manson there in 2005 in a ceremony officiated by the surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky). Von Teese was nearly ready to walk down the aisle when the ceiling above her vanity came crashing down, narrowly missing her and her maid of honor. “That should have been a sign,” Gottfried scoffed. Others gleefully recalled doors unexpectedly swinging open and phantom arms grasping at their legs.

The Helnweins know how similar they are to the fictional Addams Family, and they seem happy to indulge the comparison. ” ‘Weird’ is the best way to describe things that I like,” said Gottfried’s daughter, Mercedes. “Weird and desolate.” Her father, meanwhile, often smiled while saying things like, “The dark side of humanity is so dark that nobody can really confront it. That’s why Dante came up with nine circles of hell.” The walls of their home are covered with Gottfried’s photographs of Manson, watercolors he painted of his children with metal clamps in their mouths and “Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi),” an oil painting that reimagines the nativity scene with Adolf Hitler and SS agents. Errant skulls, decapitated dolls and snakes in jars of formaldehyde occupy dark corners.

From left: the neo-Gothic facade of Gurteen Castle, originally built for Count Edmond de la Poer; in front of a French 18th-century tapestry, a marble statue of Dante Alighieri presides over Gottfried’s collection of pharmaceutical and alchemical artifacts 2014, Kenneth O Halloran

All four Helnwein children share their parents’ gothic spirit. The eldest, 37-year-old Cyril, lives in the castle with his model-musician wife and their three children. He assists Gottfried six days a week and is also a photographer in his own right (he met his wife when she posed for his “Ethereal” series). His latest body of work includes crass visual puns such as “Feelin’ Horny,” which features a nude model with antlers mounted on the wall behind her head. Mercedes, a 35-year-old writer, painter and filmmaker with red hair and the palest skin, now lives in Los Angeles, where she makes darkly sexy oil pastels from photographs she buys online. Ali, 32, is a violinist and Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer who also lives in L.A., where he has founded a chamber orchestra and scores independent films. The youngest, 27-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus (who goes by his middle name), writes sparse prose inspired by Elizabeth Bishop, Raymond Chandler and Sylvia Plath.

“We’re not the Kardashians or the Hiltons,” said Cyril, who recalls being bandaged, his face smeared with fake blood, while modeling for his father. “But for me, it was an everyday thing. Kids play dress-up. This was just a different kind.” Mercedes added drily, “We’ve never been particularly cheerful.” Despite having spent time in the company of Gottfried’s famous friends and collaborators — including Muhammad Ali, Keith Haring, Michael Jackson, Sean Penn, Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski (who, after meeting the Helnwein clan, gave them one of his books signed with the words “Thanks for the strange evening”) — they said their lives have felt rather normal. “We just didn’t know any different,” Cyril said. “I think children have this innate artistic ability that’s kind of hammered out of them over time. We never had it hammered out of us.” Today, a new generation of Helnweins are posing for Gottfried and making their own paintings in his light-filled home studio.

Gottfried’s grandchildren aren’t the only ones who seem increasingly comfortable with his work. Last year, he opened his largest retrospective to date at Vienna’s Albertina Museum — a place normally “reserved for Rembrandts,” he said — and, to his surprise, it was among the most successful shows of a living artist ever staged there. He’s now thinking about renting a studio to make art in the city he vowed never to return to. It would be a big move for Gottfried, who has grown quite fond of pastoral Ireland. “It’s my home,” he said. “It’s where I belong.”

After the dinner table had been cleared, Renate suggested we go for a quick drink at Nagles, a roadside bed-and-breakfast about a mile down the road. But Gottfried was tired. “Maybe another night,” he said, before retiring to his room with Renate. Cyril, too, excused himself to put his kids to bed. But Ali, Amadeus and Mercedes had other plans. While Ali and Mercedes finished the song they’d been slowly playing at the piano, Amadeus pulled out three elaborate masks, handmade from cardboard and painted to look like nightmarish creatures with sharp teeth and beady eyes. It was time for a stroll.


The artist Gottfried Helnwein with his wife, Renate, and their four children, from left, Cyril, Wolfgang Amadeus, Ali (sitting) and Mercedes in the library of the 19th-century Gurteen Castle. In the background, a painting from Gottfried’s “The Disasters of War” series 2014, Kenneth O Halloran


Source: http://www.helnwein.com/press/internationa...