INTERVIEW WITH REFINERY 29 - 0 4 . 2 0 1 6
We're all pretty familiar with the model slashie whether it's a model/DJ, model/actress or a model/artist but Danielle Copperman isn't your typical multi-tasking clothes horse. The Burberry and Chanel face, who is signed to IMG, launched her own food blog Model Mange Tout in 2014 which now receives over 50,000 hits a month and not long after cooked up a line of quinoa-based breakfast pots, Qnola, made from the gluten-free, protein-rich superfood, which is currently stocked in over 30 stores across the UK, including Whole Foods and Selfridges.
When she's not busy rustling up delicious recipes for her blog, at castings and shoots, or liaising with potential new international stockists, Danielle even finds the time to cater for events and create bespoke, tailor-made blends of Qnola for any occasion. We asked the foodie and fashion face to share two of her favourite recipes for spring and tell us more about building her healthy-eating empire.
When you launched Qnola in 2014, did you anticipate it would grow so quickly and that the response would be so great?
Not at all! It started as something I was making for my own breakfast and I never even intended it to last that long in my morning regime, let alone people's all over the world! It took a while for me to realise Qnola was something I should make on a bigger scale in response to the lack of genuinely healthy products in the breakfast market, and even then, I never anticipated people other than those asking for it would ever buy it, or even hear about it.
How would you like to see it continue to grow over the next few years?
I'd like to start exporting to other countries across Europe, and eventually in the USA and Australia as they are so on top of the health game and I think it would fit really well in these markets. I'm developing bars, breakfast drinking powders and some other exciting morning products, and want to grow Qnola into an all encompassing wellbeing brand, not just a single product range.
Although juice bars and healthier eating establishments have really boomed in the past few years do you think we have a long way to go educating the general public on how to eat well?
Certainly. And since there will always be varied views and opinions within the industry, I feel we will always be teaching and learning new things. I think people need to start tuning into their own bodies and connecting with the earth and things that come naturally from it, rather than following trends like juicing and raw food, which at the end of the day, although they claim not to be faddy, are quickly becoming that way - just in slightly more innocent forms.
As a young model did you think you could have/should have had more guidance on how to look after yourself?
Yes, absolutely. I moved away from home at the age of 18 and all I knew about healthy food was that vegetables and salads were pretty much your only options. That, and cutting down on cakes and junk food. However, I started wanting to feel healthier and keep in shape, and the lack of advice and guidance I received meant it took a lot of research, trial and error and eventually study. But I learnt a lot, and now that I know the basics, I'm on a mission to provide useful information, guides and snacks for other models my age.
What's your favourite, quick and easy weeknight dinner?
If I can be bothered to cook I'll have baked salmon, baked sweet potato wedges and boiled or sautéed broccoli and kale. If I have leftover quinoa in the fridge, I'll have that with some salad and vegetables, olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and nutritional yeast, and any cooked fish like mackerel or tuna. If I'm running low, I'll chuck together a broth with leftover vegetables from my fridge, or a raw salad with a tahini dressing. If I'm really busy, I regret to admit I'll just have a bowl of Qnola, sorry not sorry.
How do you balance running Model Mange Tout, Qnola and modelling? What have been your biggest challenges and achievements setting up your own business?
It's hard to run everything at once and the biggest struggle day to day is knowing where to start and what to focus on, and how to prioritise. Qnola is taking up most of my time these days, and I don't have as much time to write and keep Model Mange Tout up to date as much as I'd like to, but I'm always testing recipes in any spare time I have, so new content is always being created. It's just a matter of needing time to write it all up and post it.
With modelling, I have castings, jobs or fittings every week, and I just run Qnola around this. If I have a job, I'll do any Qnola admin early in the morning, on the bus, in a taxi, on my lunch break, or after the shoot. I kind of like that I can't always plan things, because things develop more naturally and I'm less likely to get stressed out trying to do too many things at once!
Where are your favourite places to eat in London and why?
I love Kurobuta for their sweet potato fries and sashimi. I love The Shed for its authentic, traditional, home cooked vibes and incredible flavours. I love Good Life Eatery, Juice Baby, The Detox Kitchen, Juice Tonic, The Juice Well and Redemption for healthy food. I love The Good Egg, Newington Table, Primeur and Jidori as they're close to where I live and have incredibly unique menus and atmospheres. Ahh, I love everything edible pretty much!