Model, founder of Qnola and author of the Well Being book, is there nothing that Danielle Copperman can’t do? To kick start our inspiring women series, we caught up with the beautiful Danielle for a coffee to discuss how she juggles such a busy lifestyle and left ready to take on the world and with a slight girl crush.
How did your journey into health and nutrition first come about?
It all started when I first moved away from home and began modelling full time. It was quite new to me to be buying and cooking all of my own food, and not only did I need to keep from going hungry, I also needed to keep in shape for the job. At the time, there wasn’t as much available or any truly reliable advice around. I began eating salad without dressing on and granola multiple times a day, as I thought it was super healthy. I soon decided to research things myself and eventually started studying an A level in biology and then a diet and nutrition diploma in my spare time, alongside modelling. It was this research that lead me to discover the many lies that are fed to us from huge corporations. I started asking loads of questions and eventually, having tried paleo and other diets, decided the easiest way was to cut out any processed manufactured packaged products and eat whole ingredients in their intended form. This was where I first got into nutrition, and as a subsequent, after starting my business, Qnola, and experiencing severe stress and burnout, I got into yoga, mindfulness, meditation and other holistic rituals that make up my current wellbeing ethos and methods.
Tell us about your Qnola business and how the idea of it came about?
Qnola is my brand of quinoa granola products and other all-natural, vegan and gluten-free breakfast goods. I was inspired to create the brand when, after making it for myself, I began making it for my friends to take to them during fashion week, since we could never got truly healthy food backstage at shows. From there, the concept just spread by word of mouth. I began to get orders from other models, and then as Instagram became big and people began using it more, people would post photos of their Qnola and tag me in it. Eventually a cafe approached me to supply them, so I decided to really dedicate all my spare time to it. I did a lot of research, registered my kitchen with the health & safety authorities, trademarked the name, got my insurance and then began developing a full range of flavours and eventually packaging. It snowballed from there, and my second stockist was Selfridges Food Hall. Madness.
We love your book! Why a book and did you love the writing process?
Thanks! Well, it all started with my blog. It received so much interest and press that I was approached by publishers to turn it into a book. After a few years of focussing on my Qnola business, it was the right time to focus on a book. In terms of the writing process, it was intense. I was writing all day and often cooking well into the night, testing things a few times and getting so frustrated when things went wrong. I put a lot of pressure on myself during the 6-8 months of writing and literally poured my heart into it. You battle with self-doubt and worry for how the book will be received and what people might think. You over analyse every single word!
The book is about well being in the modern world, and contains natural recipes and ancient rituals intended to ease the side effects of modern life. It focuses particularly on recipes and rituals to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, poor digestion and lethargy, and increase positivity, calmness and relaxation, energy levels, focus, concentration and general wellbeing, both inside and out. The book contains over 200 recipes for food and natural beauty remedies, as well as over 50 rituals. Each section is broken down into familiar times of the day; Morntime, Daytime, In Between Time, Evening Time and Night time. From a nutritious breakfast as you run out of the door in the morning and a quick meditation practice to take a breather from a stressful day to a functional pick me up snack for long, lagging afternoons at work or even a restorative bedtime drink to help slow down a busy mind and encourage sounder sleep, it’s in there!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration all over the place. In the past I took inspiration from traditional recipes that I loved and replaced some ingredients with more natural, healthful ones. More recently, I find inspiration in the places I travel, the people I meet, the experiences I have, art, film, music, books, all sorts. Having my own brand and business, I never really switch off and so I could be having dinner with friends or just watching a crappy series and somehow find something that sparks a lightbulb moment. I think the key is to be constantly open and aware, and present, and then these kinds of coincidences or messages present themselves anytime, anyplace.
You are one busy lady! Is it hard to balance work life balance?
So, so hard. I really need help! I am in a kind of transitional period right now, and so the idea of hiring and delegating intimidates me. It is so hard to balance work and life simply because work is my life, and my life is my work. My daily life is how I communicate a lot of my ideas, and whilst I am truly passionate about what I do, it is really hard to switch off. I would say that yoga, reading, painting and also sewing have been great for helping me separate work from actual real-time life. It can be easy to always live in planning mode; preparing for new collections, next blog posts, new events etc so these kinds of activities help to divert my attention when I need to most.
What’s a typical day in the life of Danielle Copperman?
There really isn’t one, however I try to ensure I have some kind of structure to my morning and evening routines, especially when I’m at home in London. I try to exercise once, sometimes twice, everyday. These are my non negotiables and the times in the day I try to really keep consistent, no matter what else I’m doing or how much I’m running around! Generally though, I’ll wake about 8, do some form of exercise or just 10 minutes of yoga or meditation in my room. I check emails and get onto anything urgent first, then I’ll get ready to work from home, a cafe or friends house. I usually have a few meetings, either with my modelling agents, prospective stockists, advisors, brands or press for collaborations. Everyday is unpredictable and whilst it can make me short of breath with anxiety and stress, it keeps me on my toes and I love it! I get bored easily and could never do exactly the same thing day in day out. I feel incredibly grateful I get to, most of the time, do what I love and set my own schedule.
What are your favourite healthy eating spots in London?
I can usually find a healthy option in most places, but if I’m going out specifically for a health feast, I love Farm Girl, The Good Life Eatery, Redemption, Detox Kitchen, Wild Food Kitchen, Farmacy, Hemsley Hemsley Cafe, Malibu Kitchen at The Ned – there’s so much choice these days!
How do you like to relax?
I meditate, do yoga, go on a run, chill with my boyfriend and have sleepovers with my childhood friends (it warms the soul so much), watch a movie, go on an evening walk with a mug of herbal tea, have a bath…the list goes on. I also love to go home to Bath regularly where I grew up and where my parents still live in the countryside. It’s such a nice peaceful escape from the big city life.
What does jewellery mean to you and what’s your favourite Daisy jewellery piece?
Jewellery has always been a major part of my life. From growing up and wearing heirlooms from my grandma’s and great aunts, I always felt jewellery held this meaningful value. As a teenager, I used to scour antique shops, car boot sales, charity and vintage stores to find pendants. I had all sorts and loved how each one told a different story, coming from different eras. As I’ve grown up and defined my own style a little more, jewellery for me is like perfume or lip balm – I can’t leave the house without it. If i forget to put earrings in I feel bare. I personally prefer gold plated things, and these days keep things quite minimal. I love that stacking is in style, and so wear multiple necklaces at once and too many earrings (i’ve got now 9 ear piercings), daily. I wear quite plain outfits most of the time, so I love to let jewellery bring things to life. I’m a sucker for statement earrings and love textured details too, like the Estée Lalonde ring and bracelet I have. My favourite Daisy piece at the moment I think is the Aphrodite Gold Necklace. I love the femininity of it, and love it even more knowing it is a helping raise awareness and support for those affected with cervical cancer.