“I have a leather jacket Jimi Hendrix used to wear,” says one of our favorite models-turned-stylists, Djuna Bel, who in our opinion is a rockstar in her own right. Oh, if that didn’t make her sound like the ultimate cool girl, this six-foot tall blonde stunner has serious brains too, “I graduated high school when I was sixteen and ran off to Holland to get my MBA, realized I could bartend, and dropped out of school—I was lucky to get scouted pretty soon after.”
Before you tag her as a kale-obsessed California girl, Djuna admits, “I was eating Guiness and toast for breakfast in Holland, so I had to get it together before I headed to New York to model.”
I was eating Guiness and toast for breakfast.
Between listening to Led Zeppelin and Al Green vinyls, we chatted about Djuna’s career and how she made the transition from model to stylist. “Modeling was a quick run. I was scouted in Holland and moved to NYC when that Belgian androgynous look was really in, but it very quickly became Gemma Ward and that whole world of doll face girls,” she says nonchalantly. “That ended up working out fine because I was able to meet stylists. I never even knew styling was a job before that, which was kind of funny!”
Djuna is quick to admit styling is a serious hustle, “I would take any odd jobs and work for next to nothing. People would be like, ‘I’ll give you $50 if you do returns today,’ and I would take anything because I was just so broke!” She’s moved far past her $50 return days and has styled everyone from MIA to Ryan Gosling—oh, she’s also worked with Vogue, W Magazine, and Harpers Bazaar to name a few (you should look at her client list, it’s kind of insane).
The moment Djuna realized “this is it,” was when she shot a cover with Lauren Dukoff, an insanely talented photog who has shot for Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and everyone in between. When they were shooting Charlotte Gainsbourg, Djuna saw a polaroid of Gainsbourg in an epic Rodarte number and realized, “this is what I want to do from now on. It’s what I want to do forever.”
This is what I want to do from now on. It’s what I want to do forever.
When I asked her what her favorite piece of clothing was growing up, she surprised me and said, “a Dutch folkloric dress, because fashion is all about the fantasy for me. One time when I was a kid, I was running through an airport in Jordan and I wrapped toilet paper around my arms and screamed ‘they’re my jewels!’ because all of these beautiful Middle Eastern women were walking around the airport in amazing jewelry!”
The fantasy doesn’t stop there. The second you meet Djuna Bell, her whole life seems like a dream world, from getting directions to her place, “turn right past the beat up VW Van and my house is the one covered in cacti,” to her infectious personality, this is one girl you most definitely want to be buds with. In the short time we hung out, she invited me over for game night, wanted to go to the Moonlight Rollerway, and planned a clothing swap—she’s the ultimate dream babe with an air of warmness and kindness around her, not something you find too often.
Turn right past the beat up VW Van and my house is the one covered in cacti.
Fashion is just the beginning for this blonde bombshell—she’s the pseudo-queen of the roller disco, ok maybe that’s a stretch, but one of her favorite places to go is Moonlight Rollerway and she’s got pseudo-skills, “I’m kind of okay. I can skate, but I can’t go backwards…yet.” She also loves hosting parties, “I love having people over for game nights and also really love going to karaoke—I always go to Brass Monkey, but Sophia was telling me about an awesome karaoke place across from the Soho House I need to check out!”
For most of us, a go-to outfit is a pair of Levi’s and a tattered white shirt, or maybe a little slip dress, but for Djuna Bell, it’s a snap front suede skirt paired with a perfectly imperfect vintage tee or a little silk blouse. She’s also quick to say that she won’t sacrifice comfort for style, and is an avid Converse wearer—yea, she pretty much couldn’t she get any cooler.
Maybe her sweetness is in her Santa Cruz, CA roots or maybe it was her globetrotter upbringing, “I was raised in Holland, and moved around a little bit—my family lived in Bali, Thailand, and Jordan before we landed back in Santa Cruz when my brother was born,” she says as she curls up on her couch with a Moroccan pillow. “I lived in Ubud, Bali when I was four and it was the most magical place—my memory of it is rice fields and now it’s clubs—but I think that was one of the most magical places.”
I love clothes, but I don’t live for fashion. I really love it & I think it’s really beautiful, but most of all, it’s a creative outlet.
At the end of the day, Djuna has some serious perspective, “I didn’t really think styling was something I wanted to do, because I’m not so much into the whole drama of the fashion industry. I love clothes, but I don’t live for fashion. I really love it and I think it’s really beautiful, but most of all, it’s a creative outlet.”
Things we learned today: Djuna Bel might just be the nicest (and most stylin’) girl on the block.
Photos by Magdalena Wosinska
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