Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 3

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 3

 I felt slightly confused and my future was unsure…

This is the 3rd post in a series from model and friend, Eddie Mitsou Pettersson.

I was living in Istanbul when I turned 19. It was modeling that brought me there…not because the Turkish market is the best for a blonde Swede but, at that time I had few options. During Christmas holiday, most fashion capitals slow down for obvious reasons. My dream was to move to New York but I was so ready to get out of my hometown that I told my agency to send me anywhere, even as a pit stop. So Istanbul it was…

And what a magical city! The Turkish food culture quickly sucked me in — its bounty of fresh local produce inspired me to eat healthy and clean: tahini, dried figs, amazing hummus and grilled vegetables, so much better than I would have expected. It was the first time I had to take care of myself, i.e. making breakfast, lunch and dinner. Luckily, I really liked it — experimenting in the kitchen was new to me and quickly became a hobby. It was a good way to relax after a long day of meeting client after client after client…

My weekdays consisted of shooting editorials and hitting up endless castings. When the weekends rolled in, there were always big dinner parties and shredding at clubs. And so, there were many pre-game drinking competitions being held in our little model flat.

I enjoyed it at the time, but realized it wasn’t propelling me in a good direction. My destructive weekend behavior forced me to press the restart button every Sunday night. I was eating clean, going to the gym on my working days, but my free time was filled with liquor and chocolate bars and Turkish cheese pastries. Oh, the suffering of the morning afters. (Or let me say afternoon, because I rarely woke up before 1pm).

The hard work I was putting in at the gym was really for nothing. I missed out on much of Istanbul’s historical and cultural beauty, too, because most time off was spent in a rusty bunk bed, ice pack on my sweaty forehead. 

One sunny December day, as I was walking around Hagia Sophia, I made the decision. I was going to stay sober, be healthy and 100% vegan (no space for cheese pastries here!) until I made it to New York. What was it worth, to be so good 5 days a week and then ruining it on the last 2. Funnily enough, my walk was in the early morning because I had skipped a promoter’s dinner the night before. How good it felt to walk around in the sun with a clean head!

To be honest, I felt slightly confused — my thoughts were spinning and I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but I felt that a sober, ultra-clean detox was what I needed. With Jim Morrison’s sexy smoky voice in my ears I sat down with a salted sesame tahini cookie and created a list. A list of what I needed to do in order to make it to NYC and what strategy would look like. His words echoed in my head:

 You’re lost little girl 

You’re lost little girl 

You’re lost 

Tell me who 

Are you? 

 I think that you know what to do 

Impossible? Yes, but it’s true 

I think that you know what to do, yeah 

I’m sure that you know what to do

I saw even more of the city then ever before. I moved out of the model apartment (the norm) and discovered the streets and bars and restaurants and people of Istanbul (the freedom) by myself. I wasn’t a lost little girl any more — I was a focused young woman, now with a goal in sight. My local fruit store salesman taught me more about the importance of a joyful life than any Russian model friend ever had. 


+ Check back next week for part four from Eddie, and be sure to read the start of her journey here!  

Photos by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

FP ME Summer of Love Playlist

FP ME Summer of Love Playlist

A Spotify playlist inspired by the Summer of 1967… 

The iconic summer of 1967 and the photographer who captured it all, Baron Wolman. What better inspiration to fuel our newest Summer of Love collection — shot in San Francisco to commemorate and celebrate 50 years with a little help from our FP Me favorites. To get you in the mood for those endless summer nights (not to mention some killer vintage shopping), we asked our FP Me guests to create a playlist that they would be dancing to all summer long.

+ Check out the full Summer of Love collection here

Photo by Britt Crow, be sure to check out her website.

Free People Blog

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Maybe you’ve been considering it… Sobriety may not be for everyone, but it might be right for you?

Let me be the first to say… I love partying! Dancing, hanging out with friends, flirting, coming home at 3am exhausted with my lipstick half gone, LOLing at my Instagram story while peeing and brushing my teeth.

What may separate me from man others is what happens next — I wake up with my makeup perfectly removed, IG stories still intact, with no fear of finding that dreaded embarrassing video. I make myself a green smoothie and I’m on my way to a Pilates class before 9.30 am.

So, why is that?

Because I don’t drink.

The thought of it might scare you.

But…maybe this is something you’ve been considering yourself. Sober partying may not be for everyone – but it might be right for you?

I have many girlfriends who have gone out with me and follow suit – and most of them really like it, usually quite surprised at how easy it can be. AND! how much fun they can actually have without booze flowing through their bodies. Some, as a result, have decided to quit drinking – or at least consume very little – while some continue to go out and get wasted.

And I don’t blame them for that. Everything is a choice — you do what feels best or right in that moment.  However, there is also a fear of simply breaking the norm. You simply stick to what you know and how you’ve been raised to live, courtesy of family, culture (television, movies, magazines) and society.

Several years ago, the idea of sobriety seemed impossible. I struggled with it during my last semester in school. I had just started dating someone in the deep house underground party scene. The only thing my heart wanted was to be tequila-tipsy, kissing him in the darkness of a grungy garage, every night of the week.

But, I had to focus — good grades on my final exams and beyond. There was also the potential to do modeling in Milan,  and my agency asked me to be in perfect shape, which demanded both more hours at the gym and a healthy diet. Despite my new love, my mission had always been to move abroad as soon as I graduated.

But I couldn’t. I really couldn’t give up being boozy. It was so important to me. Drinking was the only way of partying in Stockholm, so maybe that rubbed off on me?  My point is that there wasn’t a time when I could picture a life without alcohol. I was young, but my mom nervously made jokes about me becoming an alcoholic. I had a great opportunity right in front of me, but I wasn’t ready to make the sacrifices to achieve it.

I’m a very strong believer in refraining from judgment or telling people how to live their lives. I would never tell anyone that it’s bad to drink, or that they shouldn’t. No, no, that’s not my vibe. It’s an individual — and personal — choice, and whatever you choose is hopefully right for you. What I do is right for me.

So all I intend by this post is to inspire you. To maybe introduce you to a new or scary path and know there are different ways to go. Follow your own gut, and try to push away the fear of being different.

I didn’t make it to Milan that summer, after all. It took me over eight months to finally leave Stockholm. I wasn’t ready to stop drinking and didn’t fight for my dreams. I ended up in Istanbul, but even there I realized that other paths existed…

Free People Blog

Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

The first post in a new series about staying sober and focused…from our always-busy friend, Eddie Mitsou Pettersson. Read on to learn more about this Swede-heart…


Stockholm, Sweden
Spirit animal…
I’ve never actually known my spirit animal until now — I did a Facebook quiz to find out! It turned out that I was the Lion. “Represents courage, strength and overcoming difficulties in life,” which seems pretty accurate of myself. Other than that I feel very drawn to birds of prey. I don’t like other birds… actually have a phobia of dirty street pigeons, but the raptors I’ve somewhat always been amazed by. I think it has to do that I’m amazed by their power but also how they have the freedom to fly, and in that way escape and survive anything bad that would happen on earth.
What makes you happy?
Waking up early, having an overpriced but extremely tasty cold brew with a dash of raw almond milk at my local coffee shop, and then continue to a Pilates class.
What makes you sad?
Sleeping past 11am and realizing I’ve missed my favorite Pilates teachers classes for the day. And when my coffee shop runs out of almond milk and have only the tetra pack soy as a non-dairy milk option for my morning coffee.
Tell us in 5 sentences what your path to wellness and a better Eddie looked like…
It happened pretty naturally. I was fed up with my rollercoaster lifestyle (high healthy hills to deep destructive curves) and decided to become a hardcore gluten- and sugar-free sober vegan for one month. Thirty-one days floated by fast, and when I passed 6 months without so much as blinking, I understood that this was a way I wanted to live my life, not just as a detox fad diet.
You realized 4 1/2 years ago that you no longer wanted to drink. How has that changed your life? 
I can honestly say that I would never be where I am today if I hadn’t stopped drinking.
I need to clarify that I never had a problem with drinking. I was never an alcoholic. I decided to cut the liquor for many other reasons (which I will tell you more about in my next post/s). As a young adult, it’s common to get a little too drunk a little too often, and that’s ok! You’re having fun and enjoying your youth. What I chose to do instead was to win and not waste those years by cutting outs alcohol and staying more focused. Thanks to that, I’ve accomplished a few of my goals way faster than if I would’ve been nursing frequent hangovers, being too drunk to take that important number at the party. But oh boy — have I not had fun? I had exactly as much fun as everyone around me who had been drinking. The only difference is that I’ve also been able to make it to the one thing that makes me happiest: the 9am Pilates class!
Top 3 life goals…
* Being independent and not having to rely on anyone. I want to be able to fully live my life exactly the way I want to live it.
* Own a 70s Missoni jumpsuit!
* Empower young girls t0 understand that they’re beautiful and good enough the way they are. Help them not to suffer too much in the teenage years and hold their hand through the process of achieving their goals to then finally come out on the other side as strong, independent young women.
Favorite city to walk (as you’re a self-proclaimed lover of walking)…
Well, this was the toughest question of them all! I love walking on the secret narrow streets in Istanbul as much as I adore walking on Sunset Strip at 8am Sunday when it’s completely empty. Nostalgic moments around my childhood home in calm Stockholm is also something special. But if I were forced to choose, I’d have to say New York City. It’s incredible by day and night! Although my favorite walk is east of Lexington Ave around 25th St. late in the evening (I won’t reveal exact blocks — it’s still my hidden secret). Maybe one day I’ll hold a NYC Night Walk Tour and I’ll show you…
Tell us about your greatest reward/challenge as a successful model.
My greatest reward is, without a doubt, the traveling. The opportunities to travel the world is something I’m beyond grateful for. I’ve shot editorials on the beach in South Africa, on the colorful streets of Havana, in the jungles of Costa Rica, in a fancy penthouse in New York. I’ve collaborated on an art project in a set of weird and isolated snow-covered cottages in the north of Sweden and much, much more. My job has taken me places I wouldn’t have necessarily gone otherwise.
The most challenging aspect is staying true to yourself and keeping positive throughout all the craziness. There are downsides to every career, and I will admit that the mental strength you need as a model is difficult to maintain. There are days when you find yourself going to casting after casting, and don’t book one job, get turned down by every casting director. You just have to shake it off and move on to the next day! When you wake up bloated because of munching on too much raw cheesecake the night before and show up to set and it turns out you’re going to shoot in a tiny bikini… You just have to embrace the moment and don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m pretty good at tackling this since I’ve been a model for almost 10 years, but it was for sure challenging in the beginning.
What does free mean to you? 
I like what Jim Morrison once said:
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
+ Be sure to keep up with all things Eddie — follow her on Instagram
Photos by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

FP Me To You: Natural Beauty

FP Me To You: Natural Beauty

Leore lets us in on her favorite five products for a best self…

Last week we asked the California girl-at-heart to give us insight into what makes Leore, Leore. This week, we’re diving into her beauty regimen. Read below to see what our 5 Minute Me star can’t live without when it comes to her skin, body and hair.

Manuka Honey Face Mask (1-2 times a week)

If I have at least an hour to chill, I like to apply a honey mask and leave it on for as long as I can (2 hours, if possible) — it doesn’t dry and harden like most masks. It leaves my skin moisturized and its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties works miracles, helping any problem areas and preventing future breakouts by way of its antioxidants. Also, despite the stickiness, honey is really easy to wash off. (Egyptian Honey Rose Masque, $52) 

Sea Buckthorn Oil

I use this to brighten my skin and address any red spot/hyper-pigmentation from a recent zit or sun damage. My olive complexion tends to show every little imperfection. Sometimes it’s the only thing I wear (on my face), or I use it as a moisturizer before applying primer. (Antioxidant Facial Oil, $24.99)

Dead Sea Salt

I like to bring the Dead Sea to my shower. Whenever I visit Israel (from where my family came), a trip to the Sea is in order — not only does the water provide you with instant float, it boasts a great deal of healing properties. I combine Dead Sea salt with body wash and exfoliate a few times a week. The salt crystals are rough on the skin, so combining them with a body wash is key. (Lime & Coconut Body Scrub, $32) 

Coconut Oil

This is the only moisturizer I use. It strengthens skin, protects against sunburns prevents razor burn, and removes dead skin cells. I also use it as an eye makeup remover (if I am wearing mascara and if my lips are cracked and in need of major relief). (Organic Coconut Oil, $38) 

Argan Oil

Argan oil does wonders for protecting my hair and scalp. My hair requires a lot of conditioning to maintain its natural curl, so my scalp gets dry. I like to massage argan oil in my scalp and leave it overnight. Using just a small amount on my ends and throughout hair helps prevent excess frizz and hair damage. It can also simply add shine to my mane, which I’m all about. (Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Oil, $38)

+ Ready to start a beauty regimen yourself? Be sure to check out our full beauty line here!  

Photos by Kacie Tomita.

Free People Blog

From an FP Me Mom to You

From an FP Me Mom to You

Because there’s never enough time to say thank you to all the moms in our lives….

This post comes from fellow FP Assistant Flats Stylist, Christen.

My son has green eyes and a head full of blonde curls. He is two. Always running and loves anything with wheels. Strong-willed and sweet. Falls asleep with the same stuffed animal each night. Loves making messes and drumming to the beat of any music.

After I had Ma,x my mom said, “Now do you understand how much I love you?” Yes, Mom, I sure do. I now understand why the lyrics to Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” would lull me to sleep night after night. Because I now sing the same song to Max. I understand why you never let go of a hug before me. Because I hold on to Max for as long as he will let me. I now understand this unconditional love a mother has for her child.

Once when Max was throwing a tantrum, my mom laughed in the midst of it and told me what her mom used to tell her: “You can either spend their childhood stressed the whole time or you can enjoy it. Either way it will pass in the blink of an eye.” So now, in the middle of a tantrum, I remind myself of my grandmother’s words, just like my mom did with me. I know she listened to her mom’s advice, because every time she visits she tells me, “I had so much fun raising you three.”

My favorite family photo was taken when my twin sister and I were two and my brother was three. All three of us were dressed up for a proper family photo. My Mom remembered that day clearly. She said that none of us would cooperate; we were screaming and trying to run away and probably needed a nap at that very moment. The final photo is of my Mom laughing while we’re caught squirming off her lap in protest. A moment of pure joy and love for her uncooperative, wild children.

So with these words of wisdom resonating in my mind, I try to enjoy every beautiful, fleeting moment. I know that this could be the last time Max wants me to sing him to sleep or fix his toys or help him put his shoes on. Like my grandmother said, these moments will pass in the blink of an eye. I’m thankful for the women in my family who have done this before, their words of wisdom carrying on to help me in my journey of motherhood.

+ Curious about FP Me? Click here to learn more. 

Free People Blog

FP Me To You: Introducing Leore

FP Me To You: Introducing Leore

Do yourself a favor — spend a few minutes here and bask in the beautiful glow of this month’s FP Me muse…

What can we say about Leore? She’s of Moroccan, Israeli and Italian descent, but definitely a California girl at heart. Laid back (she’ll say so herself), though actively pursuing acting/modeling in LA (you may recognize her from our 5 Minute FP Me video), and loves making eggs. (She did not tell me this, but I heard she is very proud of this skill, as she should be.)

Without further ado, Leore:

5 words to describe your personality…

Loyal, optimistic, easygoing, diplomatic, adventurous.


Los Angeles.

Spirit animal is…

A ladybug.

What makes you happy?

Anything from getting a new outfit to seeing my family and friends happy.

What makes you sad?


Fave city in the world/why?

Tel Aviv, Israel. It’s a beautiful city that sits right on the Mediterranean. The culture is rich, the people are beautiful, the food is amazing, the night life is insanely fun, and did I mention it’s all next to the water!

Last dream you had…

I’m constantly dreaming… I dreamed of shooting for Free People and here I am!

What does free mean to you?

The minute my mind is free of any negative self-talk.

+ Check back next Thursday to learn more about this FPMe muse…

Follow Leore on Instagram!

Free People Blog

FP Me To You: For the Love of Music

FP Me To You: For the Love of Music

The final post in our April music-themed series, featuring Azure

You could be standing in a sea of people and you can feel it. Sitting alone on a rainy day, peering through a window of water droplets, you can feel it. That spirited current flowing through your body, finding its way so effortlessly around your heart. You feel it.

I remember the first time I heard my own music. I was 5 years old and began singing away in the bathroom, mesmerized by the echo of this newfound voice bouncing around the room. My parents overheard me and led me into my Primary School’s Church choir. The first time I performed filled my entire little soul with this thrilling high, an overwhelming love that I had never before experienced. I promised myself I would never lose this feeling, that I would live it and music would be my forever passion, my forever dream.

Music is a beautiful, powerful frequency…

That has the ability to evoke a sense of connection in a somewhat disconnected world. This heartbeat is my home and the rhythm that flows through the streets is an invisible force holding us all together. Jazz to hip hop, classical to rock and roll, each song contains a poem, words fluently strung together that tell a story of life. It’s a place where, no matter who we are, we become relatable to one another. The way a luminous melody and a simple beat can affect the human experience is nothing short of magic, able to arouse a kaleidoscope of sensibility within us.

I want my music to bring bodies closer, show people love, show them vulnerability, show them strength, and show them my release, a place for self expression, a place for them to feel, everything, anything, something. I’ll invite you into my world to expose you to this raw high, awaken your fire, and enliven your heart with just you, me and the music.

Below is a recent cover I put together with a couple of my wonderfully talented friends in a beautiful old church that I have grown up singing in. I would love for you to have a listen, breathe, and enjoy, may it take you wherever your heart desires. Creating is so important in this world, so please… no matter if you sing, play, paint, write or just feel, open up your heart, let go, be free, express your story, I promise you, sparks will fly and you will feel it.

Love Forever, Azure x

+ Check Azure’s Bon Iver cover here and be sure to follow her on Instagram and FP Me!

Free People Blog

FP Me To You: An Earth Day Playlist

FP Me To You: An Earth Day Playlist

A road-trip playlist inspired by Mother Earth herself…

This post comes from the FP Me muse-ically gifted Azure

This past week I ventured via road trip from Sydney to Byron Bay for the 5 day Music Festival Bluesfest. As soon as we hit the highway, I knew the call of emerald green fields and gold delight with hit us soon enough. This week has floated by with mornings spent in a lucid breeze, gently awakened by the song birds and sun-kissed trees.

I know the US is currently celebrating Earth Day and the beauty of the National Parks, but please remember the importance of remaining grateful every day for this incredible land we have been blessed to walk upon. With that, please share my road trip playlist, inspired by Mother Earth herself. Now take it and go explore, smile, dance, sing, walk barefoot along the Earth. Feel the energy, run, leap, fly and LIVE!!

Thank you Mumma Nature. <3

Follow Azure on Instagram and check out her out on FP Me.

+ Check out all of our playlists on Spotify and read more from Azure here

Follow April on Instagram.

Free People Blog

FP Me To You: Escape Within Your City

This week, Azure shares a few of Sydney’s hidden gems…

This post comes from the FP Me muse-ically gifted Azure

When people visit Sydney, Australia, they often leave only having scraped the surface of what this equally chilled-out/bustling city has to offer. I want to take you on a journey to my hidden gems, in my Sydney.

Orchard St Bondi/Paddington

The people and places you surround yourself with, the thoughts you create and the food that you put into your body all contribute to what you radiate outwards. Which leads me to an enchanting place of pure magic I stumbled upon a few years ago. Orchard St is a home of wellness, where nourishment is present in many ways, through the beautifully vibrant creations that fill your body, the friendly smiles that fill your heart and the positive vibes that fill your mind. The space is painted in passion and a gentle calmness that always leaves me with a feeling of content love. Sending love to yourself is just as important as offering love to others, learning to love ourselves from the inside out is an empowering message presented on a plate at Orchard St.

My usual order consists of two pieces of Toasted Life Force Loaf — one with turmeric macadamia butter and coconut nectar; the other, with tahini, avocado, sauerkraut and lemon. Topped off with a Magical Hot Elixir filled with salted caramel and purification herbs on almond/coconut mylk.

Such a dream… and makes for a very happy Azure and an even happier tummy, ehe. Also can’t forget to take away their Raw Blue Velvet Cake, best described as a creamy cloud of Blue Majik sandwiched between a rich cacao biscuit. <3

Lovett Bay 

When I first ventured over to Lovett Bay with my mum on the way to her work, I fell in love with it. Across the water lay a tranquil island only accessible by ferry — on gloomy days the boat dances with the rocky seas, and on sunny days the blue traveler glides freely upon the smooth waves, each day equally as thrilling, each adventure leading you to a fairy land of euphoria. When I reach the shore, a busy mind seems far away as I climb the wildwood trees, my inner child whispers in my ear, howling in the breeze. I like to come here and sit in silence kissed by the afternoon light, filling my body only with the pure scent of forest vines. There I remain, a steady heartbeat, and a sweet song  in the shelter of the trees.

Irrawong Waterfall 

Amongst the back streets of a suburban neighbourhood lies a secret rainforest hidden away in plain sight. Take a short walk winding around the sandy path, the vibrancy of evergreen leaves and the sound of falling waters will lead you out to a serene oasis. The air tastes of lingering rain, a calming rush beneath your feet and a pure breath to fill your lungs.

Wendy’s Secret Garden 

Disguised beneath the mask of Sydney City high-rises and concrete pavements rests an ode to a lost love, a visual romance reborn at the foot of artist Brett Whiteley’s home in Lavender Bay. After Brett’s passing in 1992, his widow Wendy carried the deep emotions of her loss and took the paintbrush in her own hands to create a magical escape, a secret garden open to the public, filled with fig trees that touch the sky, natives and herbs that trace the extraordinary gully below and, as kookaburras sing, the sun dances between the trees and blooming wildflowers.

Bungan Beach 

Growing up on the northern beaches of Sydney, I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a coastline of blissfully breathtaking beaches. Walking just a few steps, every day can be filled with crystal waters and oceans breeze to cleanse the mind, body and soul. Each morning I begin the day sat above the ocean’s edge, thanking God, the Universe and Mother Nature for everything and naming all that I am grateful for at that present moment. The stillness of my body and the vision of rolling waves bring me back to the centre of my heart. I find a particularly special place in Bungan Beach — accessible only via a steep driveway, this shoreline is hidden beside passing cars in a suburban neighbourhood and below whistling trees that lead you down to a secluded paradise. What I love most about it — there is rarely  another soul around when I reach the sand. It’s the perfect place to read to the sound of breaking tides, write your inner conversations down in your journal, or simply just close your eyes, breathe and be present.

+ Check back next Thursday to read more from Azure!

Follow Azure on Instagram and check out her out on FP Me.