Karen Mulder's New
Life in Monaco
by A. Souliers-Lerale for SAOLA
Karen Mulder was born in Vlaardingen, Holland, on June 1,
1970. She spent her childhood in a village called
Voorburg. Karen's younger sister, Saskia, lives in Paris
where she is taking acting classes and she has even just
got part in a motion picture. Saskia also models from
time to time, but does not wish to be a model, what she
loves most is acting. Karen's father works as a tax
inspector and her mother raised their two daughters. What
Karen remembers about her childhood? Loving parents and
values such as respect and tolerance that prevailed at
What Karen loves most about Holland.
"People are more down to earth here than any other
place, maybe the fact that Holland is a flat country with
almost no relief might be an explanation for this. I am
just kidding of course! What I like the most about
Holland is the safety and the quietness of life. The
level of poverty in Holland is one of the lowest in
Europe. The tax system here is one of the strongest in
Europe, but in exchange the government provides its
population with free education for everyone, free health
care system, mortgage at very low interest rates, etc...
The good side is that people feel secure and the bad side
is that there is less free enterprise. It is always the
same trade-off between security and freedom."
"Monaco reminds me a little bit of Holland, the way
you feel safe when you walk in the streets. On the other
hand, Monaco is at the same time the city that shines and
sparkles at night and for events such prestigious such as
The Rose Ball, the World Music Awards, The Red Cross
Ball, the Tennis Open, etc... When I am in Monaco, the
thing I like to do most is to go for shopping for my
apartment. I recently just did some renovations, it was a
3 bedrooms apartment that I turned into a loft. At the
moment, I am onto carpets... Also one of my favorite
thing is to go to restaurants. There is an Italian one
called Rampoldi. It is very chic and very cozy at the
same time and the food is amazing. After a good lunch at
Rampoldi, I usually feel so guilty that I go burning all
these calories to the gym with my best friend, Carla
Bruni, who also lives in Monaco."
About her career...
"I was always very attracted to the fashion world,
when I was a teenager I loved looking at the fashion
magazines and I knew everything about designers, beauty
tips, etc...My career in the modeling business started
with a beauty contest organized by Elite "The Look
of the Year". The story is rather funny. I was in
the South of France with my parents on holidays and I saw
in a magazine an advertisement for the contest; meanwhile
back in Holland, a good friend of mine sent some pictures
of me and I had the good surprise when I came back from
my vacations to find a letter from Elite... So here I go
with my pair of jeans, my sneakers and my braces to
Amsterdam full of ambitions. When I arrived in Amsterdam,
there were something like 50 other contestants with long
beautiful hair, in mini skirts and all made up. In the
evening they announced the winner. As I was walking on
the catwalk, I still could not believe that I was the big
winner. They offered me a car that I sold right away
because I didn't have my driving licence at that time. I
then went to the big contest "The Look of the
Year" and was second. Two weeks later, I was in
Paris and started working for "VOGUE",
"ELLE" and "MARIE-CLAIRE". My worst
memory was one of my first job for "ELLE": the
model they had booked did not show up, so at the last
minute they call my agency and chose me. When I arrived
on the shoot, I found out that I had to pose in lingerie,
there was nothing see through or vulgar but I was just
paralyzed and could not move. After four hours of make-up
and hair preparation and half an hour of shoot, they sent
me home. Once I was finally able to fight my shyness,
everything started to work for me. I think I mainly
succeeded in the business because I had the luck to be at
the right place at the right time. I think of myself as
someone very lucky, I have had the chance to work with
the best designers and photographers."
"I was very honored when my own country decided to
name a tulip after my name. It is funny to think of my
father watching me growing-up in his garden!"
"I like travelling, singing, painting, reading. I
also love watching movies. My favorite movie is
"Roman Holidays" with Audrey Hephburn."
Where will she spend her vacations?
"I will spend my vacations this year in Bretagne,
France with my sister for one week. Then I will go to
Monaco and Saint-Tropez to spend some time with my
boyfriend, Jean-Yves Le Fur. He is producing with
Jean-Louis Remilleux, a French production company,
portraits of top-models for television and home videos.
He will be finishing at that time the portraits of Carla
Bruni and Naomi Campbell and we will take a cruise for 15
days. I have also planned to go back to Holland with
Jean-Yves to see my family for a few days."
What Karen most admires...
"I admire people who have a real generosity and who
help those who are in difficulties. I admire the strength
and the dedication they have like those who went to
Rwanda to bury the dead and take care of the needy
population. I also admire people who fight for their
ideas, even if sometimes I do not agree with what they
think, I will always admire someone who can stand up for
what he thinks is right."