In this edition of 'COSSIE DIVES IN' we talk with Danielle Copperman, the model turned businesswoman. She shares with us how she balances life with a fast paced career, how her interest in wellness developed, the launch of Qnola and the importance of rituals.COSSIE+CO: Hi Danielle, we are super excited to have you on our new series, COSSIE DIVES IN. We are big fans and were thrilled to have you as the face of our summer campaign. It was so fun being away in Portugal shooting! Why don’t you tell everyone about yourself?
Thank you so much! I am a model, writer and wellness entrepreneur from the UK, but recently relocated to the countryside in France (due to the pandemic). I’ve been modelling for almost 14 years, and since developed an interest in wellbeing. I began studying nutrition and now work across many topics in holistic wellbeing and slow living. I write and consult for many brands, and run my own gluten free, vegan cereal brand, called Qnola (quinoa-based granola).
I find balance by not putting too much pressure on myself. It’s the moments when I let things come and go in their own time that I enjoy most. Another way I find balance is by doing what I love – writing, podcasting, creating; either as a model with a whole team, or for social media where I curate and direct stories for brands. My work interweaves with my life but not in a way that drains me. Some days I feel I’m hardly working at all because I’m having so much fun writing on a new topic or learning something new!
At times I feel disorganised as I juggle so many things, but I balance this with having a positive mindset. Not thinking that everything must be or look a certain way. I also reframe what success means to me and it becomes not only about work and achievements but ultimately how I feel.
COSSIE+CO: You started out on this path to ‘wellness’ with diet and nutrition, how has your career evolved?
So much! I started out as a model - working out intensely and trying so many restrictive diets. At times I felt great, although I also quickly learnt how diets that work for someone else, might not work for me and the most important thing was to listen to our bodies. We are all so unique, our bodies, our guts, our brains, our stress levels, our moods, our mindsets, our lifestyles, schedules and genetics. Learning this propelled me into a world of holistic wellbeing, taking a 360-approach, beyond just food and exercise.
I was super healthy and fit but miserable, all the stress was causing digestive issues (whilst the doctors dismissed it as IBS). I learnt quickly that it was my mindset that was the most important player in a healthy life, feeling good, and being able to maintain a healthy physique - beyond just green juices and spin classes. I trained in yoga and meditation, as well as holistic massage, and continue to learn and share about alternative therapies and natural methodologies for general, overall, long-term wellbeing. I want to help people to feel better in more effortless, sustainable ways, whiles enjoying life!
COSSIE+CO: You talk a lot about the power of rituals, what are the important rituals that our readers can look to incorporate into their daily lives?
Yes, rituals are really important to me. I love to have morning rituals (to give structure), in the evening (to wind down and relax), on weekends (to take time to really slow down and not just work through it) and in beauty (for everyday but also winter and summer as my skin changes with the seasons). I think it’s important to try different things, find what you enjoy, what works for you and most importantly what fits into your schedule. They should be things that make you feel good or make life seem easier, they shouldn’t add stress or feel like another chore, you certainly shouldn’t feel disheartened or guilty if you don’t do things perfectly. It’s about having the right tools whiles being adaptable and developing deep personal knowledge of yourself - we are all ever-changing and it’s important to know what helps support you in different phases of your day and life.
COSSIE+CO: Tell us about Qnola, how did that come about?
When I first really got into nutrition and fitness, I dabbled in a paleo diet for a while and felt pretty good. I wanted something healthy for breakfast that was quick to prepare but also didn’t make me feel too full or sluggish before a day of shooting. Granola was so high in sugar and it was really hard to find any that was gluten free. Porridge was only seasonal and always made me feel heavy. Eggs and other hot breakfasts took time to prepare, so I started making my own granola with quinoa instead of oats, and no sugars. I added additional adaptogens and superfoods, like cocoa (which is a mood-booster and energiser). I didn’t just want food to fill a gap, I wanted something more functional as I learned about the power of nature and plants. I was also eager to find something that would benefit my mood, energy, skin, digestion and more, Qnola was the answer!
Soon after I was making it at home for my flatmates, catering backstage at shows and shoots, and soon in cafes across London. My first stockist was Selfridges - I remember I was only 21 years old and took my dad to the meeting! I was really fumbling in the dark and that’s how the entire process felt but I loved it. Learning on the job, but with creative control and I could bring all my nutrition and holistic learning into each new product.
COSSIE+CO: What made you decide to start your podcast? How do you find the world of podcasting?
After writing my book and becoming a freelance writer for several publications, I found myself predominantly working on social media, but I felt a severe lack of meaning and depth. Although I found it fun and creative I also felt that more thoughtful wellness content was not received quite as well or consistently as it could be. It started to feel a bit empty to me, I wanted to find a more authentic and in-depth way to share my learnings and knowledge, as well as those of other experts.
I love learning about new things and inspiring people, I find it really fascinating and encouraging, so I started the podcast. It takes up a lot of my time as I edit it all myself, but again, I took away the pressure of making it really regular (as it was an unrealistic workload) and instead I am keeping it as a really authentic project which I do as and when I can. I really enjoy it and I love connecting with listeners. It’s probably my favourite social media platform, I get completely lost in a good podcast and I always take something away from them.
COSSIE+CO: You obviously have to travel a lot for work, how do you keep on track when you’re away from home?
Again I think rituals help, but more than anything, having flexibility and the ability to adapt. It’s all about mindset, keeping moving whilst abroad and exercising if you can, getting out in nature, keeping your diet balanced. Always lots of water, especially when flying.
Work-wise, I can do most of my projects on my laptop from just about anywhere. I love the quote “design a life you don’t need a holiday from”. I take my work everywhere with me and I love being able to do that. When I’m modelling abroad I have slightly less control over my days, but I try to do any urgent work in the evenings and try to just be present during the day.
Anywhere I go, I am intrigued and inquisitive to learn new things or discover the way the locals live and eat. I take wellness and mental health advice from new communities. which in turn broadens my depth of knowledge.
COSSIE+CO: A few last questions!
Your favourite COSSIE? A black classic one-piece like The POPPY or The ASHLEY or a high waist bikini like the LUCINDA.
On holiday I’m never without…. Books, camera, notebook, bikini’s.
My perfect escape is….. Home, right now in the countryside in France! But also pretty much anywhere in Europe, like Italy. I love road trips, and I’m also a total island girl. I love pretty much any island and the pace of life there; Kos last year was amazing, Caye Caulker is definitely one of my favourite trips, and I adore the Caribbean, although I haven’t been in ages.
Top beauty pick…. A light tinted serum or mineral foundation powder; something light for days in the sun but with good coverage. And a good lipstick always helps whilst abroad to dress up any occasion or take you straight from beach to dinner.