To evolve is to be open to new ways of living, to overcome obstacles and to explore what’s around you as well as what’s within yourself. We talked to Helin Honung, the multifaceted and energetic casting director who exists in a continuous stream of motion.
Helin Honung enters the room like a vigorous yet gentle whirlwind. A casting director in the fashion and film business and a sincere soul, she is full of life and dressed in chunky military boots, loose-fit jeans and a tailored shirt. She never seems to pause, yet always has a serene expression. With an intense lifestyle that encompasses managing her own agency, having homes in two cities and a relentless exercise regime, she’s constantly on the move, exploring the world as well as her inner essence and ceaselessly evolving in all areas of her life.
From a young age, Honung has been into sport – anything from yoga to kick boxing – and it has added an invaluable dimension to how she’s evolved as person. It’s clear that, for her, the importance of exercise in her life lies within how it helps her mentally as well as physically. “It’s not rocket science, really,” she says. It’s commonly known that exercise makes you more focused and productive, and Honung is the personification of this principle. “Exercise eases my mind and makes me feel strong, mentally and physically. It takes me to a place where I can think more clearly and in a more nuanced way. That’s why it’s essential for me.”
Honung fell into her profession by accident. A friend of hers was producing a music video and asked her to help with the casting. Honung had recently dropped out of the design school Tillskärarakademin in Stockholm after realising that fashion design wasn’t for her. “I was a total wreck and under-stimulated, so when my friend asked me, I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s do this.’” It’s been four years since that first job and, today, Honung has her own agency; she has found her true purpose within the fashion world. Leading an active lifestyle seems to be crucially complementary to what she achieves in the professional sphere, so we ask whether she feels these fields energise each other. “If I compare the periods in my life when I haven’t worked out to the times I have, I notice a huge difference,” she says. “It’s a feeling of being in control and understanding the process and how to deal with it. It’s the only place and space where I’ve been able to handle external stress. I believe that goes hand in hand with how the two fields stimulate one another.”
Unsurprisingly, Honung is not one to get comfortable and settle down immediately. Growing up in a small city, she has always had an urge to explore and be independent. “It has affected everything I do in life,” she says. When travelling she’s open to whatever presents itself. Instead of seeking something specific, she prefers to explore unknown streets and enjoy the atmosphere of the cultural scene. “For me, city life has always held the idea of being free and being whoever I want to be. That’s something I’ve been aiming for.” As a consequence, and also because her boyfriend lives in Berlin, she divides her time between Stockholm and the bohemian and artistic German capital. “Stockholm is a bit idyllic, at least for me, but still restricted, while Berlin is dirty and liberal,” Honung says. “Different cities teach you different things and I’m in it for the experience.”
Living part-time in Berlin has developed Honung in multiple ways. She used to be scared of failure, but life in Berlin has been an era of personal misadventure that has evolved her perspectives. “I’ve learnt a lot about other people’s behaviour as well as my own. I learnt about being in an unsafe environment and about my own loneliness.” Honung feels that Berlin’s citizens are very different from her friends in Sweden. “I really like that. People around the world travel there or settle down for a while because of its openness and liberalness. Berlin is like its own state, it’s fascinating.”
Honung combines urban life in Berlin with her desire to be close to nature and revitalise her body. When the weekends come round you’ll find her with her boyfriend at the Vabali Spa, “walking around naked, switching from one sauna to another and enjoying an aufguss [a ritual involving pouring cold water enriched with essential oils on hot coals] or a cold dip in the pool”. Some days, she can be found strolling around the large inner-city Tiergarten park or at her favourite gym, Chimosa, devotedly strengthening her body and mind while simultaneously feeling the spirit of city life.
The combination of an active lifestyle in the city is reflected in Honung’s clothes and her ability to put together a comfortable yet stylish look. “I just want to be comfortable all the time,” she says. By combining quality fabrics and elegant, tailored garments with streetwear influences, she’s found the perfect wardrobe for her multifaceted lifestyle.
Being relaxed in her clothes may also reveal how comfortable she is within herself. Honung says that she feels most like this “by myself, wherever”. This could also be a result of her determination to be in control of her body and mind, as well as that ceaseless drive within her to explore. By pursuing an active lifestyle and remaining steadfast in her desire to challenge herself and be open to new fields, cities and perspectives, Honung characterises the ability to be in a state of sustained evolvement while simultaneously staying true to her pure spirit and nature.
Words by Hedvig Holgersson
Photography by Daniel Roché
Styling by Mine Uludag
Hair by Jennifer Galle
Make up by Helena Narra using Lancôme
Digital operator Moritz Thau
Retouching Nitty Gritty, Berlin
Location Wolkn Space
Special thanks to Peak Performance
Fashion and beauty credits
#1 OMG Shirt and OMG trousers
#2 Rain coat 2-Layer
#3 #4 Bounce hoodie and My trousers, shoes by Balenciaga
#5 My trousers, shoes by Balenciaga
#6 Twist shirt jacket and Alpha trousers
#7 Code crew-neck sweater
#8 #9 M logo top and M tech club shorts
All clothes Peak Performance
Make up Lancôme