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Porter
Cover story

Cover-Up Girl

With

Miranda Kerr

Supermodel MIRANDA KERR is taking a step back from the career that made her famous. SANJIV BHATTACHARYA finds out why

Photography Raf StahelinStyling Tracy Taylor
Cover Stories
Poncho Rosetta Getty; dress Ganni; bodysuit Wolford; boots The Row 

Do I believe in magic? Supermodel Miranda Kerr wants to know. “Well, not magic but, you know, energy and intention,” she says. “That’s what life’s all about.”

It’s 10 in the morning at the Hotel Bel-Air and we’re at a cozy corner table looking at breakfast menus. Kerr is wearing a flower-print Prada dress and heels, and her eyes are animated. She loves talking about magic and energy, and it seems especially fitting today, what with the solar eclipse just beginning above us. “I believe that everything that happens in life is for our own growth and learning. And when we learn those lessons, new ones come along. Which is good. Who doesn’t want to expand and grow?”

It sounds like a lot of effort to me, Miranda. Can’t we just coast?

“Haha!” She laughs in her poised, ladylike way. Then, keeping an eye out for waiters, she says, “Here, this will sort you out,” and produces a homemade protein shake from her personalized Louis Vuitton handbag. “Almond milk, prunes, papaya and some other stuff.”

Kerr was like this the last time we met, almost two years ago – she sat me down and gave me soup, juice and tea. I assumed it was because we were in her house in Malibu and she was just being a warm host, but this time we’re in a hotel and she’s at it again. The shake is just the start; now she’s pouring sachets of a brown cocoa-looking powder into water and presenting me with the muddy, silty mixture that tastes of blueberries. Quite nice, actually.

“That’s noni, a skinfood supplement. It’s a superfood,” explains Kerr. “It’s got 100 vitamins and minerals. I’ve been drinking it since I was 13. You can make noninis, too.”

What, like little ones?

“No, silly! With champagne.”

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In some ways, then, she hasn’t changed – still giving journalists healthy drinks. But in others, Kerr’s life has changed radically. She’s now married to Evan Spiegel – aged 27, he’s seven years her junior – the billionaire wunderkind behind Snapchat. She flashes her rock with pride: “He picked it himself.” And, thanks in part to Spiegel, she’s pivoting from supermodel to business figure, as CEO of her skincare company Kora Organics. It’s not just noni sachets; she’s brought a pile of products to show me, like an episode of QVC.

“Evan inspired me,” she says. “He said, ‘Why are you spending your energy working for other companies when you should be focusing on your own? You need to take a risk. If you believe in this, put everything into it.’”

It’s true; Kerr was spread rather thin, designing jeans for Mother, jewelry for Swarovski and teapots for Royal Albert, all on top of Kora and modeling. So she stopped working with Swarovski and Mother; she designs bags for Japanese label Samantha Thavasa, but models much less.

“I’ve modeled for 20 years, it’s just not a priority anymore,” she says. “Now, if an opportunity comes up, I think, ‘Is this in the best interest of my family?’ and ‘Will this interrupt Kora?’ If it passes through those two gates, and if the shoot’s in LA, then…” Exceptions, however, are made – she was recently in New York with photographer Steven Meisel because “he’s a creative genius”.

Dress Goen J; top Bottega Veneta; earrings Simon Miller
Dress Acne Studios; bodysuit Wolford; earrings Simon Miller
Dress Acne Studios; bodysuit Wolford; boots Jil Sander; earrings Simon Miller

Kerr started Kora, “her baby”, in 2006. After three years of research and development with an organic chemist and an aromatherapist, the brand launched in Australia, where it’s now in over 400 stores. And, since May this year, just before she and Spiegel married, it’s been on American high streets, too, in Sephora. The reason it took so long to open in the US was simple, says Kerr: “It costs a lot and I’m doing all the funding.”

Kora isn’t just a business, claims Kerr, but a mission to spread health and positivity in the world. A devout Christian with a New Age twist, she’s at home with the kind of non-denominational spirituality for which her adopted home of California is known. She is fluent in the language of “cleansing” and “vibration”, and uses a lot of words I’ve never heard before, like noni and ylang-ylang. There’s no stopping her. Every chance she gets, she brings our conversation back to Kora.

Here’s what she wants you to know: every Kora product is organic and made with noni, then it’s filtered through rose quartz crystals, “which gives it a vibration of love”. The quartz is then rinsed in salt water and “re-energized” in sunlight before re-use. Words like “bliss” and “shine” emblazon the packaging, and it all comes with the promise that it is “created with love by Miranda Kerr”.

“I believe in the power of words to uplift,” explains Kerr. “The world can be so negative, so if you take a little moment to be conscious about your thoughts, you can uplift yourself – choose your thoughts and choose your reality.”

Kerr was always a positive thinker, brought up in a loving home in rural Australia, poor but happy. Her ascent to the top of the modeling world has a fairy-tale aspect – discovered in a modeling competition at 13; offered a Victoria’s Secret contract at 23; married to a Hollywood star at 27 – but it wasn’t all roses. Her first boyfriend, Christopher Middlebrook, died when they were both in their teens, and her divorce from said star, actor Orlando Bloom, when their son Flynn was two, sank her into a depression. “It was the right thing to do; we weren’t bringing out the best in each other,” Kerr says of the split. “There’s no hostility there, we’ll always be friends.”

Dress Protagonist; bodysuit Wolford; boots The Row
Jacket and dress Loewe

The upshot is a committed effort to stay in the sunshine. Hence the books she’s written for young women – Empower Yourself and Treasure Yourself – and the affirmations on her products. And she is happy now, with Spiegel. She describes him as a young fogey of sorts (“A 50-year-old man in a young body”); someone with strict, unwavering schedules. “I’m a bit more spontaneous,” she says. “I’m like, let’s just go and do this, and he says, woah, we’ve got to plan it.”

But Kerr is a homebody, too. Upon waking, after a cleansing hot water with apple cider vinegar, she’ll do pilates or yoga, always at home, either with an app or a trainer. She takes Flynn to school in Santa Monica, then goes to Kora HQ where she heads up a team of 10, and then she’s back home to cook dinner for her boys. “My grandma taught me that men are visual and you need to make a little effort,” she says with a wink. “So when Evan comes home, I make sure to have a nice dress on and the candles lit. We make time to have a nice dinner together.”

It’s all about balance, she explains. “At work, I’m like, ‘We need to do this!’ and, ‘This needs to happen!’ But at home, I slip into my feminine and empower Evan to be in his masculine.”

Sorry, what does “slip into your feminine” mean?

“Just be more in my feelings. More gentle, leaning back. It’s a nice balance.”

Whatever you make of that definition of male/female characteristics, it’s a setup that works for them. On weekends, Spiegel barbecues and they have friends over. Their 4th of July was quite a party this year, with pool inflatables and a Slip ’N Slide. They both have old friends who go back decades; it’s not a celebrity crowd, by any stretch. Even their wedding was low key as billionaire weddings go. There were about 40 people in all; the highlight was country singer Colbie Caillat performing Never Gonna Let You Down, which Kerr sings for me at the table. “We love to dance, but only at home. I need to control the music.”

When is she happiest? “When I’m with my boys,” she says, not missing a beat. “Like two days ago, when we were driving home from the airport and I was in-between Flynn and Evan, holding both of their hands. We were singing silly.”

And when her boys aren’t around, there’s always her spa indulgences, like her massage and infrared sauna yesterday. “I never feel bad about spending money on health,” she says. This explains how she once wound up with a leech under each ear, nibbling at her face. She brought up the leech facial at a Goop panel with Gwyneth Paltrow as they were discussing weird treatments (though she’s yet to try Paltrow’s famous vaginal eggs). “You can feel their little teeth,” she says, with a grin. “Yeah, it’s a little out there. But I’m seeing that same lady after breakfast actually. She also does magnet treatment.” Apparently, this involves placing powerful magnets on the body for about 15 minutes – a much tamer treatment.

“Oh, it’s great, I basically have a power nap,” says Kerr. “It’s a deep meditative state. You feel really energized after. You know what? It’s like a glass of noni.” She gives me one of her winks. “It’s magic!”

Dress Gabriela Hearst; bodysuit Wolford; boots Jil Sander

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