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Maven in Training

Cover model Louise Pederson likes staying in so much, she’s bought two (and a half) houses.

Five years ago, Louise Pedersen was an ordinary Danish teenager (albeit a very pretty one), taking the train from her hometown of Skjern to Gol, a tiny town in southern Norway, for a summer waitressing job. A model scout from the agency 2PM saw her on the train and had his boss intercept her at Copenhagen’s Central station. Not long after that, Pedersen was being shot by Mario Testino for one of Gucci’s most notorious campaigns (that was her pubic hair shaved into a logo “G” by superstar hairdresser Orlando Pita). “I was okay with it,” she says. “And I don’t think my parents have ever seen it. ”

She now lives in New York, and, last June, married photographer Arthur Meehan. At the ripe old age of 25, Pedersen’s been snapped by half a dozen major photographers (Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Mert and Marcus), and she was chosen as Prada’s first model out for its spring 2003 runway show. Though jet-setting has become her way of life (no more slow trains to Gol), when her time is her own, she spends it at home.

This issue is about fashion and money. What do you spend your money on?
Real estate. I’ve bought two and a half houses: a vacation place in Store Sjorup, on the ocean between Denmark and Sweden, with a thatched roof; an old Victorian with a garden in Hammersmith; and half of my sister’s house in Denmark. Our apartment in New York is rent-controlled, so obviously we can’t leave, even though we have two tiny closets and my clothes have been in a suitcase for a year.

You don’t spend your cash on clothes?
When I’m not working, I’m usually dressed in jeans and T-shirts. The jeans are Yanuk, my tank top is from Express, and my sweatshirt is a brand called Emily the Strange, from a store on Bowery. But there are one or two things I’d love for spring: a sheer double-layer tank top from Ann Demeulemeester in black and this Etro hippie dress that’s gray with a purple print. Oh, and a Dior Gaucho bag in something neutral, like brown or black.

What are the most recent stamps in your passport?
Let’s see, in the last month I’ve been to Denmark, both Copenhagen and Skjern, Stockholm, Paris, London, New York, Cuba, Jamaica, and Rio. I actually love airports. I find a little corner, have my routine. At JFK, I stay outside as long as I can, check in, then walk back outside so I can smoke.

We imagine your Saturday nights are more exciting than ours. Can you give us a typical plan?
I’d be ordering in food from Rice ’n’ Beans, a place near our apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, and watching South Park, Futurama, or Lost. Or maybe I’d be painting. Egon Schiele and Chuck Close are two of my favorites. I used to work in oil, but a friend just introduced me to gouache, which is great because oil takes a long time to dry and I’m usually in a hurry.

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