by Donna Sealy
We could easily call this story the rebirth of Lene Hall.
The statuesque Barbadian Supermodel with the high cheekbones, legs for days and almond shaped eyes, is ready to step out of the wings into the full glare of the fashion world in a big way.
We could also call it a chat with one a Bajan super star who although she left these shores 19 years ago after being “discovered” is still that down to earth, friendly woman who has not lost her accent.
That was the feeling I got after chatting with her in candid interview from her New York home for LOVING ME earlier this week. We could have been friends during our teenaged years given our likes and experiences, the things we both found funny.
What I mean is that she was as down to earth as you could get, the only difference was she was miles away in her home close to Central Park and I was in Warrens at Barbados TODAY’s offices instead of at her house or an eatery somewhere in Bridgetown.
In the hour long interview, Lene shared plans for what she called her re-birth, what motherhood and being a wife means to her and the fact that she hates exercising.
And now that we’re at this point, you must know that she loves pork, can eat pudding and souse every day (she gets from a Mrs. Blackman in Brooklyn), keeps brown mints in her cupboard, gets her mum to send her seasoning from Margo Watts from St. Joseph, drinks mauby, eats Sodabix, [Anchor] cheese, hot dogs.
Oh and she and her husband Ronald eat Tea Times as well and she shops at a store she calls “Bajan Depot”.
“I have not done an interview in a very long time,” she said before bursting into laughter. “… For me, a few years ago things went a little quiet. … I’m back out there really pushing it plus my agency started a new divisional called Mangement for more seasoned women. It’s a more diverse board in terms of age groups and I’m now working with them.
“It was big transition into wife and mommy, that was a hard one, a slap, ’cause it’s not about you anymore. It’s not about me anymore that was a big deal when I got married in 2009 and then my daughter was born two years later in 2011. It was definitely a lot going on in a short space of time so modelling did take a big back seat but now I’m trying to put it back in the forefront.
“I did model when I was pregnant, I did some maternity stuff, then when my baby was born she did an ad campaign for a company in London, Motherhood. I only did it for the fun of it when she was a little baby but now I took her out of it,” she said.
The former The Lodge School girl who was “discovered” while working in a jewellery store, told LOVING ME that the industry had not changed for black girls.
“It’s always been hard. I wish it would change but I don’t know if it’s going to ever really completely change. If it’s ever going to be going fair for black girls. It’s definitely a business that is predominately Caucasian so when we do have the black girls they tend to always just target one or two. If they have six top Caucasian girls they might have two black girls, the India/Indonesian and that settles it…
“The business has changed drastically it’s nowhere near what it used to be, The economy has changed and rates have changed and you don’t make near what you made back in the 1990s but we’re not alone and a lot of people are not making what they used to make back in the day. It’s definitely challenging when it comes to certain things,” she said.
Enough of the modelling for now. Let’s talk being her being a mother and a wife.
After the baby her body changed and she said with much laughter, that she has wrinkles in places she didn’t before.
“I’m a married woman , I’ve got a husband. … My husband goes to the gym four days a week religiously. He runs, he had washboard abs, his waist is smaller than mine,” she said before we cracked up again. “I hate the gym, I do not like to workout, I don’t like to sweat. I really, really have too. As soon as it warms up I promise I will go walking in the park. We live in midtown, right by Central Park so we go walking in the park. I’ll do that. I joined the gym I just don’t go. My size is genetics, I’m bigger than I used to be back then I was beyond skinny,” she said.
Her exercise comes from walking around and taking her daughter Kylie to her activities.
Marriage is also changing her as she’s learning to “step back” and not be so “bossy”. She described her husband as “a great guy” who is loving and calm.
As for being Kylie’s mom, she said it gave her a whole new purpose, a new drive to get back in the business but now she has the flexibility to spend time with her family.
“Motherhood is the best thing ever for me. I’ve always wanted children. I said I only wanted one, now I want another one but I love being a mom that by far the best accomplishment in my life. She’s so much fun, a little show girl like me. She loves entertaining, singing all day long,” she shared.
Lene said that her good friend Brian Green is the person who pushed to get her “back out there” and created her Facebook page, which is growing daily.
By the way, the fact that she left Barbados 19 years ago, has not changed her Bajan accent.
She and her friends – hair stylist Craig Carter, Adrian Carew, and Green-are getting ready for something amazing for 2014 but that’s a story for a another day. firstname.lastname@example.org