Valerie Norman, Annandale, NSW
We visited Valerie Norman, Men’s Image Director for Kult Models (and also one of our favourite local DJ’s) at her beautiful home in Sydney’s Inner West on a crisp Saturday morning. The light and airy space was designed by the founders of award-winning architects Studio Internationale who resided in it when it was first restored. Valerie lives with her husband Ben and their Borzoi dog Odessa, who, although shy managed to make her way into nearly all of the photos on this shoot. We spoke to Valerie about her collection of art and objects, her career in the fashion industry and the music she’s been listening to lately.
”Ben and I bought our home just over two years ago, we found it three days before it went to auction and knew right away this was the place for us. The home used to be a corner store in 1898 and still has the original facade, the renovation was done in 1996 and despite being over twenty years ago, it still feels very contemporary. It’s not for everyone but we love it. The central part of our home is the living room, which is super comfy with a big couch and lots of natural light. It’s my fave spot to be when listening to music or hanging out with Odessa.”
“We got Odessa at around the same time we moved into our house. She's a real character and we love her quirks! She’s always making us laugh. Odessa is the queen of the house for sure. You’ll often find her perched on the couch or on top of the pillows on any of the beds. She’s very polite and charming so she’s given a lot of freedom.”
We got Odessa at around the same time we moved into our house. She's a real character and we love her quirks! She’s always making us laugh
On the wall behind Odessa is an artwork by Natalie Robertson.
“The bedrooms in our home are quite minimal. I like them to have just the necessities: the bed with fresh linen, an artwork we love, a chair, mirror, chest of drawers - minimal clutter. Each bedroom overlooks internal zen gardens and our master bedroom looks onto a Japanese maple tree which gives off a nice tranquil vibe and allows lots of light into the room.”
“Ben and I have collected art over the course of our nine years together. Most works have been made by our talented friends like Thomas Jeppe, Emile Zile, Anna Pogasova, Misha Hollenbach, Catherine Flora Murray, Bobby Virgona and Komfy.”
“These works are special to us because they are all so different and are all by people we really love. We also have a couple striking Rosemary Laing works and a Helmut Newton work which we adore from Ben’s mother. It’s a great area for viewing art and entertaining friends due to the high ceilings and generous amounts of light and space.”
“Our garden and veggie patch are also particularly special to us. A friend of ours, Yoshimi, recently landscaped it in a minimal oriental style which works so well with our home. Having the veggie patch during isolation has been really handy and inspired me to cook much more! I haven’t always been super confident with cooking, although having access to fresh produce has helped encourage me. Very grateful to have a home and a space where we can grow vegetables.”
Our garden and veggie patch are also particularly special to us. A friend of ours, Yoshimi, recently landscaped it in a minimal oriental style which works so well with our home.
“I take Odessa to the Glebe foreshore park almost daily, as it’s huge with really nice big trees, water views and dog beach. We are lucky to have some amazing cafes in the area like Cherry Moon and Cornersmith. Some Saturdays we enjoy going to the Orange Grove farmers markets which has excellent produce.
“I’ve been a men’s model agent for almost ten years, at Kult Models since the agency launched in Australia. I enjoy the interaction with our team, the people and being part of a talents journey, seeing the talent develop in all aspects of their life makes me really happy. I’ve enjoyed watching the industry change over this time and representing people from a range of identity backgrounds has been a strong focus for me personally."
“I’ve also been a DJ during some of the time I’ve worked as a model agent and really enjoyed it as a way to relax and a creative outlet. Some of my best memories have definitely been made DJ’ing with friends at their parties, at bars, clubs, and fashion events, being able to research music and learn from the people around me.”
Some of my best memories have definitely been made DJ’ing with friends at their parties, at bars, clubs, and fashion events
A selection of Valerie’s favourite records; see more of what she’s been listening to at the end of this article.
“I still play loads of music, just at home. I have particularly enjoyed playing records while in isolation and working from home or listening to music on my laptop while I work. It’s always a mix of stuff depending on my mood.”
“[Looking into the future] I feel confident and hopeful that with the slowing down of the world brought on by COVID-19 that society will pursue a green recovery from Coronavirus. It feels like this time for reflection has really allowed people to appreciate how important a sustainable agenda is and how quickly the force of nature can change the way we live.
I'm currently listening to:
My Garden - John Carroll Kirby
What Kinda Music - Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes
PIPE - Ten Brains
Untitled - YL Hooi
A message from Q - Cousin
Junior Mix - Belltowers
Snoopy - CS + Kreme
All Rivers lead - Air Space Ark
Hard/Soft - Jennifer Loveless
I always come back to:
A Seat at the Table - Solange
Journey in Satchidananda - Alice Coltrane
Ultimate - Pet Shop Boys
Apollo XXI - Steve lacy
Genesis Owusu - WUTD, Good times.
Dreams of Coke - Steven Julien
Cupid Deluxe - Blood Orange
Anything Roy Ayers, N.E.R.D, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Kate Bush… the list goes on!