The Real Erika Linder: The Woman Behind the Supermodel in a Suit (Part One)

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For her every day, Erika is the kind of girl that prefers a white T-shirt and a pair of light jeans to a skirt, but she has no problem wearing as much (or as little) as the job calls for. And it’s not hard to see why she’s been called upon by brands like YSL, Louis Vuitton and Tom Ford: She’s stunningly good looking with her pale Swedish skin and chiseled cheekbones. Her most feminine of looks show she’s just as gorgeous with a colored lip and carefully constructed up-do as she is fresh-faced and donning a half-shaved head. 

Erika credits modeling for helping her to come out, although she’s never really had to make a statement about it publicly. Her social media is very personal, and so photos with her girlfriend are included along videos of Erika playing her guitar or behind-the-scenes looks at her latest shoot. 

“When I first started modeling, I wasn’t even out yet. Like I didn’t even know where my head was at,” Erika said. “The only thing I told my agency was ‘OK, if I’m going to do modeling, I’m going to do it my way and I’m going to be myself throughout the whole thing.’ And modeling actually, this industry, helped me come out because, I mean, everyone’s gay. And it was just kind of like—I just felt really comfortable. I just got so much—this is going to sound bad—but I got so much attention from girls so I was like ‘This is fucking nice!'” She laughed. “I was like, ‘This is great!’ So it just happened.”

Erika said she’s not as interested in engaging with gay rights activism as much as people want her to, though. She acknowledges that she’s a face for gay women in the modeling industry and it makes her a public figure, but she feels like she’d believe in equality just as much as if she were straight.

“I’m just here living, like if I love a guy or a girl, whatever,” she said. “Because I’ve been with guys before and so yeah it’s a weird question. People should be celebrating their lives, whatever way they choose to live it. That’s what I do. I don’t like walk around thinking like, ‘Oh I’m gay!’ or whatever. ‘Gay rights!’ I think it’s fucked up when people—when you hear stories in America like ‘this person doesn’t want to serve this person at a restaurant because he’s gay.’ That’s fucked up—but I would think that if I was straight, too. So I don’t really know—I’m just here living, loving girls.” 

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Erika has known she was not straight since she was a teenager and desperately wanted to watch The L Word, but was too worried her family and friends would know she was gay.

“I remember when that came out and I was like 14 and I was like, I can’t watch this because my parents are going to know that I’m gay and all my friends are gonna know so I’m like ‘I can’t watch this!’ I felt so weirded out about it because I wanted to watch it so bad but it was like ‘I can’t, they’re going to judge me!'” she said. “I was 14 and I was like ‘Oh fuck I love girls!’ but I felt weirded out about it. Like ‘Everyone’s not going to want to hang out with me’ sort of thing.'”

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