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Whether she's walking the runway for Alexander Wang or appearing in a recent ad for Tiffany & Co.—blouse unbuttoned just so, her expression both a dare and an invitation — Freja Beha Erichsen telegraphs edgy, uncontrived glamour. Unlike many of her peers, the Danish model and face of Hugo Boss's new fragrance, Hugo Woman, is the opposite of a blank slate: Her androgynous features and Jane Birkin-level covetable hair (which she cuts herself, naturally) are more often celebrated than transformed. Erichsen's beauty credo is "Less is more," and her no-fuss off-duty look, which she describes as "my own little uniform of dark pants and a tee," has made her a street- style icon. The 27-year- old's attitude toward fame is equally nonchalant. When asked what it's like to have been an It Girl since her discovery on a Copenhagen street in 2005, Erichsen seems genuinely surprised: "I feel very flattered!"
Did you always want to be a model?
I never spent a lot of time playing dress up or anything. I was more of a tomboy who was running around in the forest and building forts. I just fell into it.
You took two years off from the runway between 2012 and 2014. Why the break?
It wasn't a stunt to get any big campaigns or anything. It's the point where I am in my life, maybe, trying to head toward doing other things as well.
What do you want to do after modelling?
I'm in the midst of finishing high school, which I never got around to because I started working full-time when I was 17. That will probably lead to me going to university, or something along those lines. But exactly what I'd like to study, I'm not quite sure yet.
What have you learned about ageing and beauty?
It's important to invest in our health. I never used to exercise and started about six months ago. I'd like to be able to tie my shoelaces when I'm 75.
What's the trick to cutting your own hair?
I haven't cut my hair in a while; it's quite long. I would just chop into it, so it would never be even, but maybe that was the trick.
Have you learned any good tips from the pros backstage?
Curling your eyelashes is the best trick in the book. It can take you from looking still asleep to being fresh and awake.
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of US ELLE