Hawaii: My island home

Hawaiian native Keke Lindgard returns home to her beloved islands for our latest editorial ‘Odyssey’, and reveals what it was like to grow up on its idyllic shores as well as the best places to explore, eat, stay and indulge. 

After being discovered at age 14, Keke Lindgard left her small hometown in Oahu, Hawaii and headed to New York where she took the fashion world by storm.

During the course of her whirlwind rise to the top of the modelling world she has walked for some of the most recognized names in fashion including Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Alberta Ferretti, Celine and Pucci; starred in ad campaigns for Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, PINK and DKNY; and graced the pages of Glamour, Allure, Elle France and Vogue Germany.

But right now the 21 year old is blissfuly soaking up the infinite beauty of the sun-drenched shoreline and rugged terrain of the place she calls home, for our latest honeymoon inspired editorial ‘Odyssey’, photographed by Teneil Kable.

Skimming through the alluring turquoise waters off the eastern side of Oahu in the Vanessa, a luxury 62 foot yacht, a dreamy landscape unfolds in the distance. Rolling clouds dust over the jagged volcanic skyline, creating an otherworldly beauty and sense of serenity.

It is a breathtaking view Keke knows all too well having grown up in Ka’a’awa, a little town where the mountains and ocean meet on the east side of Oahu and one that she visits as often as she can.

“I come home to Hawaii every chance I get!” she says. “People call me crazy because the flight is so long but it’s worth it.”

Growing up with a 1’000 foot waterfall behind her house and venturing off to the beach or mountains every weekend with her family and friends made for an adventurous childhood, and one that has cemented her special bond with the islands.

“Hawaii has a spirit like no where else, that lives very deep in my heart,” she says. “I feel so fortunate to be able to grow up in a place so seeded with spiritual experiences and cultural values. I think it has influenced the person I have become and will always keep me grounded.”

Navigating around the myriad of crystalline lagoons that hug the shore, a strikingly beautiful landscape emerges. A backdrop of dramatic black volcanic rock, juxtaposed against the still, aquamarine waters appears as if surreal. Captured on film, the flecks of volcanic crystal infused in the porous rock shimmer as they catch the sun, like little pieces of gold.

Further north along the picturesque coastline which is dotted with swaying palm trees, it is impossible not to stop for a few moments to breathe in the salty air and take in the wondrous seascape before heading to the valley where Keke grew up.

It is here in the hinterland, surrounded by imposing mountains and an almost pre-historic vegetation, where the raw energy of the island peaks, and it is clear Keke is enjoying every minute of being home.

A little later in the afternoon a surprise visit from Keke’s mum and sister at her local beach on the North Shore adds a sentimental touch. However with sunset fast approaching it is time to head to Sunset Beach to relish the last golden moments of the day at one of Hawaii’s most iconic beaches – a fitting end for our epic shoot and travel explorations of Keke’s hometown.

When she is back working in the hustle and bustle of New York Keke says she looks forward to seeing her family and immersing herself once again in the clear blue expanse of the Pacific.

“I love laying on the ocean floor and feeling the waves roll over me,” she says. “It’s a sensation you can’t get anywhere else in the world.”

As for the future, Keke is working towards becoming a pilot in amongst her modelling career but will always find time to come back to the islands she loves.

View Keke’s guide to Hawaii below the gallery…

Photo Gallery Ç

Keke’s Guide to Hawaii

Favourite places to dine: There are so many great locations to eat and be merry in Hawaii. My favorite spots are local places like the Wailua Bakery, The Elephant Truck which serves amazing Thai dishes, and Lei Lei’s in Turtle Bay on the North Shore which has an unbeatable dinner and delicious drinks.

Best coffee: Island Vintage Coffee is a pretty yummy place to get a Kona coffee latte.

Must see or do experience: Try surfing for sure. I also love parasailing – it’s such a unique experience. I suggest taking a hike as well. All of the hikes on Oahu are beautiful.

Where to stay: I say rent a house and avoid Waikiki.

Essential to pack: Bikinis, slippers, and a good sundress.

Best spa experience: The spa at the Moana Surfrider is pretty amazing.

Favourite place to surf: Sunset on the north shore, when its small!

Where to shop: Ala Moana – it’s the biggest outdoor mall in America!

My favourite view: The ocean from my kitchen haha but the sunsets on the North Shore are pretty magnificent.

I am happiest: Under the water.

View our latest editorial ‘Odyssey‘ for more inspiration.

Credits

Photography: Teneil Kable | Model: Keke Lindgard from Wilhelmina | Hair + Makeup: Mia Moriguchi | Assistant: Rowland Murray | Luxury Yacht Charter: Hawaii Preferred Charters |  Location: Hawaii

Special Thanks

Hawaii Preferred Charters @hawaiiyacht  | Film scanned & developed The Find Lab