Danielle Copperman was discovered by a model scout just before her 16th birthday. Six years later, she has a contract with IMG and does campaigns for high fashion brands like Burberry and Chanel. You might think, that the 22-year-old is quite busy – but besides her successful modelling career, she also writes the food blog Model Mange Tout and runs her very own successful business, Qnola, which sees her produce vegan quinoa based breakfast and savoury cereals, that are now listed in over 30 stores within the UK and craved by foodies from all over the world. But wait – a model, that writes a food blog AND produces cereals? Indeed, Danielle is the best proof, that you don’t have to starve to be a model. She just loves to eat a healthy diet and wants to share her passion for good products with all of us. We grabbed a (virtual) coffee with Danielle to talk food, hectic schedules and entrepreneurship.
When did you launch Qnola? Were you afraid of founding your own company?
I launched the brand officially in June 2014, but had been making it for my own breakfast since the beginning of the year. I wasn’t afraid of launching the business, because I didn’t really think about it. Also, I didn’t think of it as a business, it was just something I was doing in my spare time. I didn’t make a business plan and therefore didn’t think about risks, competition or what obstacles and challenges I might face. If I had planned things properly, though, I think I would have been too scared to launch something like this.
And your success speaks for itself. What makes Qnola so special?
M products are free from gluten, grains, dairy and refined sugar. They are vegan and paleo and contain only a small amount of natural sugars. Qnola doesn’t contain any artificial additives, flavourings or preservatives, as it is handmade with 100% natural ingredients. As well as taking out many bad ingredients, we add many powerful ones: Our products are nutritionally charged with pure superfoods, such as chia seeds, beetroot, ginger, cacao and reishi , to name a few. We are the only quinoa granola company and prefer to use quinoa instead of oats, because it is higher in protein, easier to digest, high in fibre and bursting with antioxidants, healthy fats and amino acids.
Modeling, testing recipes, running a business – How can you manage all these jobs?
It’s difficult! I spend most of my time running my business, but I can make it work whilst on a shoot, travelling to a shoot and in between recipe testing. I am answering these questions on my lunch break at a shoot, for example. Mostly, I recipe test in the evenings or in my spare time, I run the business day to day and I cast and model every week -– but my schedule changes a lot. I just have to be very flexible, but with modelling, I am used to having to organise things very last minute. I just try to take it as it comes!
Do you ever relax? What do you do in your spare time?
Yes, although it is sometimes hard, and even when I’m relaxing, I tend to be thinking about Qnola or eager to test recipes. Cooking is therapeutic for me though, so I find it more relaxing than hard work – most of the time. To relax in my spare time, I do yoga every day, go on a run, do boxing, go skateboarding (or try!), learn Spanish, go for walks with my friends, watch documentaries or movies, meditate, attend gong baths and sound healing ceremonies and travelling. Travelling is the most relaxing and liberating thing and I do it as often as I can. It sounds like I do a lot – it doesn’t sound very relaxing – but for me the only way I can relax fully, is to do something that requires a certain extent of concentration in order for me to fully shut down work mode.
What, in your opinion, is the ultimate beauty food?
Avocado is amazing for skin, both eaten and also applied externally. Golden linseeds are a great beauty food, too. I also love ginseng, acai, maca and wheatgrass for skin benefits as they contain a combination of hormone and pigment balancing properties.
What would you never eat?
I never eat refined sugar or shop bought snacks, like supermarket made cakes or ready meals. I also never drink fizzy drinks and I don’t miss them at all.
What are your favorite recipes?
How do you stay in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle?
I wake up as naturally as possible, quite early in order to feel the sunrise and the day open. I start each day with 10 minutes of yoga or just stretching in my bedroom, including 2 minutes of headstand to boost my circulation. I have hot drinks in the morning before eating anything and give my body at least 1 hour to wake up fully before eating any breakfast. I make sure to move every day, even if it is just 10 minutes of yoga or a walk. To maintain a healthy lifestyle though, it is all in the mind. You can’t try to enforce new habits, that don’t fit into your lifestyle. You just need to think mindfully, be mindful about the power of foods, both positively and negatively, and then think about what your body needs, and whether the foods you are eating are helping or preventing providing these things.
Nicely said! Thank you, Danielle!