In the segment Signature muse; we get to meet inspirational professionals from around the world and get a rare glimpse at what made them, them. If we had a cover, this would most definitely be the cover story!
A conversation with Europe’s fastest woman takes us through a story of success, injures, mental health issues, never giving up and starting over to come back stronger. In this very warm and open interview we get to know a well known woman even more. Our Signature muse is Irene Ekelund, professional athlete, model and influencer.
Tell us a little about 10yr old Irene, who was she? What was the best thing she knew?
10 year old me was a bundle of joy, all I knew was running on the track and playing with my friends. And i had no worries at all! The best thing I knew back then was just playing with friends and hang out with all my older siblings.
When did you start running? And at what moment in time did you and the people around you understand that you were a one of a kind runner?
I started running when I was 8 years old and pretty much right away we knew that this was my calling. I won my very first competition and from there my track life started.
How was growing up mixed in Sweden, on & off the track? Did anything happen that you carry with you to this day, good or bad?
I grew up in a very “white” neighborhood. Sometimes I would look around and want to see someone like me and feel like I didn’t fit in.
But I have always been accepted and I’m very blessed for always having good people around me.
You often speak of your mental health on your platform. Silly question, but why is that important to you?
I was hiding my mental health issues for such a long time, to the point where I was about to go under. I did so until people around me started to notice that I wasn’t the Irene I used to be.
And then I got professional help and it was the best decision I made for me and my well-being. I think mental health issues is something many people feel embarrassed about.
That’s why I want to be outspoken about it and show the world (specially the youths) that you can have a great life but still be struggling with your mental health. And that no one is alone in it, because it can get very lonely.
Do you think your career as a athlete has helped or made your mental health worse? I mean the days when you weren’t on top on the track, did they effect your mental health?
My track career has absolutely at times made my mental health worse. I put so much into it and made track my whole life, everything I do I plan it around track. So track is the best and the worst thing I know.
Many might not know but you have always had a foot in fashion and beauty as you are a makeup artist and nail tech. Tell us more about this, what was the plan and goal? Where can we see some of your work?
I love the fashion and beauty world. I like creating and work with my hands so I really want to explore that world more. Track and just life in general takes up so much time though but I want to get into beauty more in the future.
Recently you picked up modeling, how is that different for you spiritually from running? And why modeling and not makeup?
I love modeling! I just like the whole process of it and to see the finish product.
Track is very focused on results, time and pushing your body everyday!
I guess I just feel more creative in front of the camera and feeling free.
What’s the most fun modeling job you had up to date and what would a dream booking be? I mean apart from working with us on Signature reports!
I was in Spain with Röhnisch for a week on a campaign shoot where I got to know the team and some other models. That was a week that was very inspiring to me. And my dream booking.. I would love to do a sports collection with a big brand and also model for it!
At this point you are walking your own way in all ways. You split up with your long time fiancé, made a comeback on the field and bagged a deal with athletic brand R. What’s next for this golden girl of ours?
I just want to keep on building, do better and go bigger. I know I have it in me, now I just have to work for it.
Give us your top three…
Dream location: Bora bora, Santorini & LA
Staycation: Downtown camper, Scandic park & Raddison blu
Food: All kinds of pasta
Artist: Summer Walker, Molly Sanden & Cherrie
Beauty products: Idun minerals foundation, skincare from Indy beauty & NYX cosmetic brow products
Moments in life: When me and the people around me is healthy and doing well in life
Inspirational people: Aysha Jones, she is one of the strongest most striving people I have ever met. People in general who fights for what they believe in and myself for never giving up on my dreams
Model & makeup: Irene Ekelund @irenemichelleekelund
Photography: Peter Baho @peterbaho
Styling: Aysha Jones @iamayshajones