LA model and social media favourite, Helen Owen speaks to Villa Getaways from the aqua-blue vistas of Mykonos about travel, being social and keeping it real along the way.
Its been an exciting time for Helen. She’s recently graduated design school and taken to life as a digital nomad. She’s been touring the Greek islands with US heartthrob, Zack Kalter, famously known for his appearances in The Bachelorette and The Bachelor in Paradise, and is now preparing to jet-set to beautiful Bali, thanks to Villa Getaways.
Together they are a sophisticated couple with enough style and smarts to impress your grandma, yet plenty of pop to be cool with the kids. They’re at the forefront of digital brilliance adopting social media influence to create freedom in business and adventure along the way.
Images; from Zack and Helen’s recent trip to Myknos, Greece.
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1. Where do you currently call home?
I’m in this awesome homeless-limbo where I just graduated college and now I am finally free!!! The past few months have consisted of traveling and not thinking too far ahead beyond my next adventure. After living in Los Angeles for the past 4 years under all the stress that comes with being in school, finally being able to float around and see the world seems to be my calling. But to actually answer the question, I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where my family lives, so that will always be home, and I have a feeling I will be living back in LA in the near future.
2. Describe your perfect day.
These days I never wake up in the same place, so I don’t exactly have a consistent routine. My perfect day will always start with a big breakfast and coffee, followed by a different adventure than the day before. Lunch and dinner are important too. 😉
3. What’s the best country you have ever visited? Why?
As of now, I would have to say the Greek islands are my favorite place. I’ve been back two years in a row now so clearly I must like it there. There’s something about all the little white buildings against the blue of the sky and the ocean. If you’ve been, you know what I mean. I’m sure I will have a new favourite place soon, but the Cyclades will always be up there.
4. How did you get into being a professional social-ite?
It all began on Tumblr for me when I was a naive little high schooler. I started posting photos I had taken with my cousin during our travels one summer, and after a few of those photos went “tumblr viral” I started to get sucked into that world! I eventually switched my focus to instagram when that became popular, and the rest is history.
5. We’re dying to know… Are you and Mr Zack Kalter an Item? How long have you been dating?
Zack and I met in March of this year – we were both filming a TV commercial in Cabo, Mexico. Almost instantly we had a really close friendship and had about 40 inside jokes from that week alone. 4 months later we have experienced a lot more exciting moments together than a lot of people could probably pack into a year: from Coachella and Stagecoach, a handful of unforgettable moments in Santa Monica and Los Angeles where we were both living, a spontaneous weekend in Miami and then most recently (and most spontaneously) Santorini and Mykonos. I think we both share this wild love of adventure, travel and capturing those moments, so meeting in Cabo kind of lit that spark between us.
6. What 5 things would you not leave home without?
1. CHAPSTICK, 2. Phone (shocker), 3. Camera, 4. Gum (unless I’m with Zack because he ALWAYS has gum on him), 5. Portable backup battery for my phone 😉
8. How do you manage to take such beautiful images? Do you use your phone or do you travel with a professional photographer?
While I don’t use my phone as much for photos these days, I am still constantly snapping an unnecessary amount of images on it, mainly snapchats and the like. I take the majority of my photos with my camera – not quite to the point where I am being followed around everywhere by a professional photographer though 😉 Although I do have a few photographers I work with, I like to create my own content (with the help of whoever I am adventuring with). Having studied design and photography doesn’t hurt either.
9. You’re a beach girl. What are your 3 best beach essentials?
I am! This is tricky for me to answer because I typically tote around a Mary Poppins caliber bag containing endless supplies… but if I have to narrow it down, my top three would be 1. Chapstick (noticing a trend here??) 2. a snack, usually fruit or something refreshing and 3. headphones if solo, or portable speaker if with friends
10. What inspires you to do what you do?
I am inspired by being inspired. I know that sounds weird, but I love the feeling (not envy, but inspiration) when you see an image of a person or a place and it makes you take strides in your life to be better, experience more, or live a little fuller.
11. If you were to go to any place in the world, where would you go and why?
Hardest question of all! WhileI love the more tropical, bikini-appropriate destinations, I would love to visit Machu Picchu in Peru. My younger sister was recently there and had an incredible experience. It seems like a magical, sacred place and I’d be honored to see it while I can.
7. What’s the first thing you do when you get to a new location or country?
12. What 3 things are you most passionate about?
First and foremost I have a passion for art and design, it’s what I went to school for. I’ve been creating ever since I was a crazy little kid, and although I am not exactly working a 9 to 5 at the moment (knock on wood?) I love doing something every day that is visually-oriented.
Secondly, I am passionate about food. All kinds, but recently (inspired by my Mom) I have a new passion for taking care of myself by eating foods that are clean and that your body thanks you for.
And lastly and most recently, I am acquiring a passion for travel, and with that comes an overall appreciation for life. Seeing how life is lived differently all over the world is such a privilege, and I don’t take that for granted.
13. If you could give or show the world one thing, what would it be and why?
I think it’s easy to get caught up in the highlight reel of everyone’s lives. These days images are carefully selected, edited and showcased to the world via social media, cutting out anything deemed unworthy or less than perfect. This is obviously an amazing tool, but there is absolutely a dark side to comparing your life to everyone else’s highlight reels and by no means do you know who someone is by scrolling through their feed. I am not saying I am a perfect example of a candid feed, but as I come out of school and embark into more experience-based travel and get to adventure the world I think it would be pretty revolutionary to try and show a more real, uncut side to the highlight reel I put out there, i.e. my behind the scenes… Maybe this is why everyone secretly loves reality TV?? I must be on to something.
14. What’s your technology go to?
My phone is probably my most used tech-weapon, followed by my camera and then my laptop. Phone is #1 though, seeing as it’s basically a camera and laptop combined and it’s how I reach the world.
15. What do you look for in the ultimate getaway?
I look for a balance between relaxing and adventuring. I love a good expedition, but lets be real. Sleeping and kicking back is pretty important too.
16. What are you reading at present?
17. We know from experience it’s hard to keep in shape while traveling. What’s your secret to looking and feeling great while on the road?
One of the hardest things about traveling is probably trying to keep some aspect of routine going in terms of diet and fitness while also dealing with different time zones, limited meal options and time spent sitting on a plane for hours upon hours. Zack is better about this than I am and in Greece we found a few minutes each day do knock out some squats / quick workouts. So I guess my secret would have to be traveling with someone who reminds you to squat?? Also making sure you are finding fresh, nutritious food AS WELL as splurging on a crepe or two.. or six. A few extra cheat days are allowed when traveling.
18. What are you listening to?
At the moment I have been really into tropical remixes… think Kygo, Thomas Jack, Lucian remixes, etc. etc. Soundcloud and Hypemachine are my most used music apps these days.
19. Where do you see the future of social media?
I don’t think anyone knows or is ready for where social media is heading, but I know it’s going to continue to evolve exponentially. I think people are going to begin to shift to more candid platforms as a reaction to the staged and highly edited nature of Instagram. Snapchat is probably a launching pad for this, and I think it’s going to get even more real from there. What people really want to see is a little peek into everyone else’s (real) lives. So there you have it – my prediction. You heard it here first 😉
19. An inspiring quote to live by? ……………
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” — Albert Camus