I must admit it's a bit weird to walk around in Oslo minding my own business, in tennis clothes, a thick coat and a trolly (like a bag lady), with unruly hair, no make-up, with integrated spikes in my shoe soles, and suddenly I'm face to face with this magazine cover!
I realize I'm in a shop full of people. But the only thing that can 'give me away' this time of year, is the shades of yellow and orange in my hair. So I try to shove the huge knot of colors into the hood of my coat, and I avoid looking anyone in the eye. You see, I've experienced this sort of thing before.
I was young and on my very first visit to Bergen, to promote my debut single, 'Won't go near you again' (1996).
Bergen was rainy as it often is, and the record company people from Oslo and I was soaking wet. People from Bergen dress accordingly, or carry umbrellas, but not us! I remember wearing a huge sweather (also wet), and my red hair was stuck to my face when we entered the music store where I was going to sign CD's the next day. Of course the staff was young, handsome boys and men with credible music taste. The first thing I saw inside the door (apart from the staff), was a bunch of my singles sitting on the main counter, seriously on display. We had been in Miami taking the photos for the single and the album, and I did look great on the cover. I had never looked like that before, and I certainly did not look like that in this moment of truth in Bergen. When the record company people had said their hellos and was about to introduce me, a sigh of disappointment swooshed from the black T-shirted guys, and one of them couldn't hide what they were all thinking:
Is THAT her?!? They looked from me, to the cover photo, and back. The next day they had moved my singles from the counter to the shelves...
Once again photographers, stylists and journalists have done a great job presenting me. Not that I don't know how to make myself look good, I'm probably the best in the world making Unni look like Unni. After all I'm 44 years old. And I dress according to my mood and creativity, not based on Jan Thomas' taste. I find clothes around Norway when I travel, and around the world, but almost never excpencive stuff. And I'm not afraid of mixing and doing my thing, even if that means strolling around in a one-piece, in public and on TV.
I'd like to thank Tara and editor in chief Torunn Pettersen for doing me the honor of 'dominating' your February issue. Thanks to journalist Kathrine Johns (and her cool assistant) for a fine evening and great conversations. Thanks to stylist Linda Wickmann (and Cammila Grønlie) for all your help, and to Irene Rinde who knows her way around braids! And of course thanks to phopgrapher Johs. Bøe (+ Io Alexa Sivertsen) for a fun day in your studio, - I'm very pleased with the results, and I hope it's ok to present this picture here.
My guitar is designed and developed by Øivin Fjeld, and I bring it everywhere I go! A big thank you to, Øivin!
In this issue of Tara, you can read a portrait intervju with me, and see some more of the fabolous pictures we took. Enjoy!
Photo: Johs. Bøe. From Tara Magazine, February issue, 2016. Covergirl: Unni Wilhelmsen. Additional photos: private.