Miranda Kerr begins diagnosing me within moments of us sitting down, after her Lucky cover shoot in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood. She’d heard my cough on set earlier in the day, and the certified health coach in her couldn’t let me suffer any longer. “Have you tried colloidal silver? It’s a natural immune booster,” she says. “What about olive-leaf extract? Or manuka honey?” The sweet stuff from New Zealand has healing properties, she swears, and is great with hot water, lemon and garlic. I take notes. In the 17 years that Kerr has been a professional model, there’s a reason she’s never once taken a sick day.
Kerr’s impressive attendance record, though, is arguably more indicative of her unwillingness to “let down the team,” as she puts it, than of her impenetrable immune system. And these days, the 31-year-old has quite a team. “I don’t have a backup plan—I have plenty,” she says, laughing. In addition to modeling, Kerr launched Kora Organics in 2009, a line of natural skincare products sold through its website and via Net-a-Porter. The following year, she released her first self-help book, Treasure Yourself. (It was a hit with the young-adult audience and sold briskly enough to warrant 2013’s follow-up, Empower Yourself.) “The books are really trying to encourage young women to be the best versions of themselves and to celebrate their individuality and authenticity,” she says. “I want them to expand on whatever they enjoy instead of feeling like they have to fit into a certain mold.”
In 2011, she gave birth to a baby boy, Flynn, with actor Orlando Bloom, and also somehow found time to study nutrition at New York’s Institute for Integrative Nutrition (hence the authority to prescribe remedies to this ailing reporter). Not bad for a girl from New South Wales, Australia, who, as she says, “grew up on a farm, climbing trees.”
Kerr never expected her flirtation with modeling to mature into a full-blown career: “I was not worried about how I looked at all.” Once she was “discovered” in 1997 through a search held by Dolly (an Aussie teen fashion magazine) and was signed to a modeling agency, she vowed to work only during holidays. “When I started modeling, I assumed it wouldn’t last very long,” she says. “So I made sure it didn’t interfere with my schooling.” She graduated from high school, then celebrated her 18th birthday on her first big job, in Tokyo. That booking led to others, and, Kerr remembers, she quickly realized the on-the-go lifestyle suited her. “I love traveling and experiencing cultures and seeing the way people in different places dress,” she says. “I love Paris because the architecture is so beautiful. New York has a special energy to it. And the culture in Tokyo is fascinating to me.” After relocating to New York in 2004, she landed a string of great deals, starting with an appearance on Project Runway, then a contract with Maybelline and, eventually, a coveted pair of “wings” when she was cast as Victoria’s Secret’s first Australian Angel in 2008. Her trademark dimples—a cute, every-girl counterpoint to her curves—helped take her from working model to supermodel. (Forbes just ranked her second on its list of highest-paid models, behind Gisele Bündchen.)
In her early years in the spotlight, maxi dresses or cutoffs were her wardrobe staples (still in her closet: a well-worn black Dior Homme blazer she got 10 years ago). But all that travel, and exposure to the fashion industry, eventually rubbed off on her. Where once there were boxy dresses and boy-shorts, now there are sexy risks—cutouts and plunging necklines for red carpets and shredded jeans with leopard-print flats and a structured bag on the street.
“I grew into my femininity over the last 10 years,” she admits. “I’m influenced by my grandmother. She’s always chic. Even if she’s just at home and cooking in the kitchen, she looks effortlessly put together.” Right now, relaxing in a mod lounge chair, Kerr is just the right mix of high and low: YSL booties, a peekaboo 3.1 Phillip Lim sweater and 7 for All Mankind skinny jeans.
“I’m a very tactile person—I like clothing that feels good against my skin,” she continues. Her current list of favorites: high-waisted jeans, silky shirts, leather ankle boots and sunglasses in every size and shape. “Célines are my favorites right now, but I wear my gold Miu Mius a lot too,” she says. Though she’s tempted to start a collection, she ends up giving some of her best pairs to friends when they stop by her apartment: “I have a philosophy. I give a couple of pieces away for every one that I get. I live in New York City and I have a small closet, and it’s also a good way to keep the flow, so my closet is constantly being turned over.”
Kerr’s innate ability to pair tailored button-downs with Lanvin ballet flats has earned her a faithful online following—3.8 million strong and counting on Instagram. The fact that she makes it look so easy is part of the draw. But it turns out that’s just how Kerr operates. “It’s much more appealing to me to feel good in something than to wear a piece just because it’s considered cool,” she says.
And, she reveals, she’s as hooked on the thrill of fashion voyeurism as her followers are. “Instagram got me interested in exploring social media,” she tells me. “I’m a visual person, and it’s a way that you can see life through other people’s eyes. It’s quite fascinating to see a different perspective.” Multinational companies understand what an asset a digital influencer like Kerr can be: Swarovski recently made her the “face” of the brand, Reebok shows her post-workout shower in its recent Skyscape sneaker ads and Royal Albert gave her “complete creative freedom” to design its newest line of tea sets.
The executives at the classic china company are surely patting themselves on the back: When Kerr posted a photo announcing the partnership in April, 192,000 followers commented, enthusiastically, in Arabic, Greek, Korean and other languages.
Kerr’s multitude of deals, though, aren’t just about expanding the Miranda Kerr empire—they’re an expression of her philosophy. “I’ve made an effort to be, like, what products do I really believe in and what is it that I’m passionate about?” says Kerr. “And so I diversified my brand.”
Read More: Lucky Magazine