The Model Organic Life

Angela Lindvall is making her family breakfast. Her two sons,…
Portrait Photographs by Chris Chandler // Environmental Photographs by Gina Sabatella // Prop Styling by Peter Dolkas

Angela Lindvall is making her family breakfast. Her two sons, Dakota, 13, and Sebastian, 10, are anxious to start their day of play in the bucolic woods that surround their house tucked high in the mountains above Malibu. Like most homes, the kitchen is the hub, and Angela’s has a sweeping view of the rolling Santa Monica Mountains. She sautés some fresh greens in sesame oil with salt and a little garlic, fries up some eggs and puts it all on toasted tortillas, creating a healthy morning breakfast taco. Her boyfriend, photographer Chris Chandler, saunters in and opts for a bowl of granola topped with plain yogurt.

angela-lindvall-3“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” she explains. “We’ve been fasting all night long; it’s a break-fast, so it gives us the energy and nutrients we need for the day. It helps keep our blood sugar balanced, and when you start healthy in the morning, you won’t find yourself at lunch starving and making poor diet choices.”

Supermodels aren’t exactly known for healthy eating habits, but Angela, 36, grew up just outside Kansas City, Missouri, with a health-conscious mom who cooked family meals and didn’t keep soda in the house. When Angela had her own kids, her role as a nurturer of the environment and her children became more meaningful. She formalized her interest in the healing arts, meditation and nutrition by getting certified as a Kundalini yoga teacher and studying to become a health coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Now she’s transformed her property in the heart of Topanga Canyon into a wellness retreat called Greenleaf Oasis, where she can share her knowledge with other seekers.

“I really believe community and who you surround yourself with is a big part of health and well- being.”

“I love the idea of holding a sacred space to allow people to go inward and experience different modalities of healing,” she explains. Greenleaf Oasis retreats focus on food as medicine, detox, hiking, yoga in a sari-draped yurt, meditation, massage, facials and acupuncture, too. Angela, whose career takes her all over the world and landed her on the covers of magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, still models, but this wellness journey feels more authentic. “The fashion world focuses on the external and people grasp onto the way they look or the stuff they own to feel better, but I’ve learned that I feel and look my best when I stop focusing on what’s wrong with the external and surround myself with nature and people I love.”

Angela has accomplished just that at her home in Topanga Canyon, a small community with no chain stores, lots of windy mountain roads and a reputation as a destination for those who want a country life just outside the city. In fact, her place is a veritable homestead. While she admits that she and Chris are novice farmers, they’ve dived right in and now raise chickens (for the eggs) and rabbits, and have planted a biodynamic garden, which includes ornamental flowers, citrus trees and veggies. Then there are the dogs, the cats and stretches of oak tree-lined walking paths for hiking or contemplating.

For Angela, living sustainably is not just about supporting organic farms and the humane treatment of the animals we eat, it’s also about sustaining communities. “I really believe community and who you surround yourself with is a big part of health and well-being,” she says. “There have been studies that show people who thrive into their 100s eat well and move their bodies, but they also have a lot of support from the people around them so they’re not isolated or lonely.”

Greenleaf Oasis retreats are a manifestation of that holistic approach to well-being, a means for Angela to transition from her modeling career into something closer to her personal passion—helping other women “de-stress and reconnect with themselves,” which is something she learned the hard way in the fashion world. “I remember feeling so old at 28, and while I have a naturally tall and thin frame, I felt so much pressure to deny my curves and stay super thin, and that’s not healthy,” she says, adding that sadly that mentality trickles down to lots of women. “Every woman I’ve ever spoken to feels like she needs to fit some ideal mold, and we have to learn as women, and teach our daughters, that we don’t have to pick ourselves apart, that we can accept the aging process and embrace ourselves the way we are.”

“I find growing food to be a metaphor for life. You take a little seed, nourish it and eventually you get the fruits of your labor.”

Since Angela is still very much in demand as a model, she admits she’s guilty of slipping into those negative thought patterns. But when those self-limiting judgments surface, she’ll sit down and meditate—“as a way to take out the garbage in my mind”—and turn her focus toward things that make her feel good, like farming. “I find growing food to be a fascinating metaphor for life. You prepare the soil, take a little seed that’s the size of a freckle, nourish it, sprout it and eventually you get the fruits of your labor.”


A Supermodel’s Super Healthy Must List:

Morning Smoothie: Spinach, pineapple and coconut water with a teaspoon of spirulina + ice

Skin-Care Musts:

• A cold shower to stimulate the endocrine system and open up the capillaries

• Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk

• Aztec Secret Healing Clay mixed with apple cider vinegar for a mask

• Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil

• “We hold so many emotions, expressions and tension in our face. I like to get in there and break those up by giving myself a facial massage.”

Five Books to Pick Up Today:

Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World by Lama Surya Das

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz

The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard

Products She can’t Live Without:

• Murchison-Hume cleaning products

• Her local CSA box

• Healthy Trinity probiotic capsules by Natren

• Curcumin C3 Complex by Viva Labs

• Serrapeptase Serra Enzyme

Yoga and Meditation on the Go:

“I travel with a jump rope and a pair of trainers, as well as my yoga gear. Then I can do my routine from anywhere.”

“A quick jog around the neighborhood is a nice way to get a glimpse of a new place. Plus, I can jump rope anywhere, preferably on the roof of a hotel, if that’s an option.”

“Even a 20-minute session in my hotel room can be enough to center myself. I try to do a few sets of yoga, some deep breathing and a 5–7 minute meditation.”