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Swedish model Adina Fohlin made a surprise visit to our offices earlier this week, triggering an onslaught of questions.

A gorgeous lady with piercing blue eyes, Adina made a splash when she entered the fashion industry while she was a teenager in Stockholm. At the time, the often described as “edgy” Swede was studying dance and was scouted not once, but three times before giving this fashion thing a go, traveling to Paris on weekends for photo shoots.

With magazine covers and campaigns under her belt, the restless Sagittarian has also appeared on the covers of Italian Vogue and Swedish Elle and landed campaigns for J. Lindberg and David Yurman. She has walked runways for Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Prada and YSL and then decided to take a break from modeling to travel and to return to school, discovering along the way other talents, which include designing, writing lyrics and acting.

Adina’s acting skills were so sharp that her performance in a commercial in Sweden caused 100,000 people to take to Facebook in support/fear of her representation of the Apoliva Girl, a character fronting a line of skin care products. If Ingmar Bergman or Alfred Hitchcock were alive today, Adina would perform for them because she’s that good.

There’s a force within her that’s endearing as well as beautiful and it demands to be seen.

Here’s some of what we spoke about on the next few pages.

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GlobalGrind: You’re back in NY!

Adina Fohlin: Yeah, I’ve been traveling and I’ve been doing other things!

Like what?

I’ve been studying.

You said earlier that you were studying philosophy. Is there a particular philosopher or a school of philosophy you are interested in?

I like all different theories and perspectives of philosophy. I find it all very interesting.

What about psychology? 

I study that as well. It’s very interesting as well.

Are you for Jung or Freud?

I would say Jung.

What’s the appeal of Jung?

He’s helped me a great deal in understanding myself.

Where did you go to school in Sweden?

I go to an online school so I can have time to travel.

Where did you grow up in Sweden? In the city or the country?

I grew up in the city, in Stockholm in a really artistic area. My dad was an actor who knew these other artists and musicians. Today, our neighborhood has totally changed. It used to be like how SoHo was. Now it’s totally changed. When I go back to Sweden there are all these stores and pubs and bars and they call it SoFo. So, the neighborhood I grew up in doesn’t really exist anymore.  

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Were you scouted in Stockholm?

I was scouted three times! The first time I was 11 years old, the second time I was 12 and they thought I was older. Back then, there were two major agencies in Sweden and I was studying dance at The Royal Swedish Ballet school. I studied dance since I was 9 years old. It was a very serious and competitive school, we were even in school on Saturdays. I thought I was going to be a professional dancer so I thought I would focus on that. 

So, I was approached twice the same week by two different agencies in Stockholm. I didn’t have much time for modeling but I thought it was very exciting. I would down to Paris on the weekends. I got a really good response right away and when I finished school I got a contract and started traveling full time.

How old were you?

I was 18 at the time. I did a lot of TV, runway and campaigns. I was so blessed to work with creative people but I was very young.

Would you agree that you were not prepared for the success that came your way?

Yes.

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Describe where you are now as you re-enter the industry.

I’m humbled and very excited to be back! The fashion industry has changed a lot since I’ve been away but I am very grateful for the agent I have. He understands me and is open to finding me new opportunities. My dad is an actor back in Sweden and that was a big issue for me. I didn’t want to be an actor like my dad.  But I believe that you should use the gifts you have been given and you should give back so I am just listening to my talents, whether it’s acting, modeling or designing. I would like to evolve, to move on.  

When you’re working in high fashion you work with so many amazing people, it makes you part of a big picture. You work harder. I am very excited to be back and see what the future holds. 

Can you talk about some of the places you’ve traveled to? 

I feel like I go to the same places: London, Paris, Milan, you know, that circle. I’ve been to Africa and had an amazing trip to Namibia. Have you ever been to Namibia?

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No. We’ve only seen two African countries: Morocco and Zimbabwe. 

I’ve been to Morocco, too. It’s beautiful but it also has that Rock & Roll myth, you know, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix? And the fashion industry is there. I went to Namibia and it was amazing! The sand is red and the air is really dry and hot so when you perspire,  you can’t tell because it evaporates, it lifts off your skin. It was a hard shoot. I remember I was wearing a white bikini and the photographer wanted me to lay in the sand while she photographed me from an airplane. The sand was so hot during the day, you can really fry an egg on it. It was challenging! I’ve been on great trips, to places I normally wouldn’t visit as a tourist.

We take it that you’ve reconciled with the fact you’re an actor like your father. How did that come about? Was there a conflict that had to be resolved?

Maybe there was a conflict in me. As I said, I didn’t want to be like my dad. I believe I am an artist. I do design, I’m working on a collaboration with BLK Denim, I’m designing bags, I write music, I’m doing lots of different things. I believe that acting is a form of art also. It’s also something that everyone expected me to do, to become an actress. But it’s a step from modeling. You’re already in front of the camera. My childhood friends kind of expect that from me. They’d say things like, ‘So when are we gonna see you in a movie?’

I had performances in school. I love to entertain people. Not wanting to be like my dad, it had nothing to do with my dad. At this point it’s about me and what I want to do.

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What did your mother do?

She worked at the public radio.

You have siblings?

I have two brothers, one older and one younger.

What do they do?

My older brother is in sales. It’s hard to describe what he does. My younger brother is into acting.

It seems like you’re about to be in a family dynasty of actors.

I know! I’m just taking it one day at a time.

Why did you leave the industry?

I need to do other things, to try new things. I left it at the top of my career, though.

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Were you unhappy? 

My leaving fashion to study and travel had nothing to do with the industry, it was all me.

Were you unhappy with yourself?

No, I wasn’t unhappy. I just needed to move on, to try other things.

When do you have the time to study?

Well, I study online and I use the iPad for my courses. It’s a great tool for that. I am on my own when I study but I have tasks to do for my courses.

What is a typical day like?

I don’t know how I do it, to tell you the truth. I just make it work.

What would you like to see happen by re-entering the industry?

I’m not trying to create expectations. I’m just taking it day by day, step by step. I am just trying to be of service and to work.

What changes have you noticed since you’ve been back?

The economy has changed and there are new girls all the time.

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Can you talk about the BLK Denim project you’re working on?

I can’t get into details, but I have known Johan Lindberg for a long time. I did the campaign for J Lindberg earlier in my career and he’s a friend from way back. He started this new label called BLK Denim and I’ve been helping him from scratch. Awhile back, I was back in Stockholm waiting for my visa. Winters are dark and cold in Sweden. I was bored so I started knitting and after a while I started to wear what I made. I wore it all winter and people were commenting on it and were interested. After all the positive feedback, I thought I should do something about it so people can buy it. I was working with Johan again and I mentioned it and he was really into it. It’s amazing how it happened by accident. 

When did you learn how to knit? Was it in childhood?

I love knitting, it’s so meditative! I guess it’s from childhood. My grandmother used to knit.

What else do you make by hand? Jewelry?

No, I like jewelry; but no. It’s something I’d like to do. There’s so many things I’d like to do! There are so many ideas in my head! 

Whenver we encounter Swedish people we always imagine they’re from the countryside running around with reindeer!

My brother is actually a reindeer! [Laughs]

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