My Life In Books By Eden Bristowe

Wellbeing Feb 28

To celebrate World Book Day, we sat down with Eden Bristowe to talk about her off-duty model reading list. Eden competed at the Elite Model Look World Final in 2013, representing New Zealand. With Maori heritage, Eden’s striking looks and positive energy have seen her shoot for Elle, G Star and fashion photographer Ellen Von Unsworth. Between appointments, and on long flights, having something to do is top model advice. And reading, rather than spending time in front of a screen, has been shown to boost mood and lead to a more positive, balanced life. Eden talks us through some of her favourites.

When I was little…

My favourite book was called Tashi (by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg). It’s about a little kid called Tashi who becomes friends with a monster who everyone’s scared of. Everyone is scared of the monster, but Tashi becomes friends with him, and lets everyone know that it’s fine and there’s nothing to be scared of! I read that when I was in Year 1 so I would have been about 6. I won it as a prize from my first assembly at school. I was also really into Captain Underpants (by Dav Pilkey) when I was little, I loved those books. As a teenager, I read all of the Goosebumps series (by R. L. Stine) – I was so into them! I can’t remember which was my favourite, but there was one about tentacles I loved. Then there was the Diary of A Wimpy Kid (by Jeff Kinney) books, I was really into them. I liked that he was the same age as me when I read it, about 12, and it was really easy to read. 

One of the first serious books I remember reading...

I did an English assignment on A Child Called It (by David Pelzer). It’s one of the scariest, most terrifying books I have ever read. It’s about his childhood and how he was neglected from when he was 4 to 12. His mom was really evil and violent – it was terrifying. It was my mom’s book, I started reading it by myself, and then I took it to school, but the teachers didn’t know what it was. Then when I read it at home, my mom was a bit surprised that I wanted to read it, but she didn’t stop me. She has always encouraged us to read, so for her, it’s all about education. If we’re reading and not watching TV, she is into it.

The first classic book I read was…

Pride and Prejudice (by Jane Austen). I saw the movie first - even though I think that the book is always better! So I read it after I saw it, and I loved it so much I read it a second time. When you read a book for the second time, you notice more, you’re not just reading to find out what happens in the plot. The second time, I was making notes of the bits I like – if I’m on the train, I take a highlighter with me, and I’ll be able to come back to it later and know how I felt about it. It’s a great book.

The book that helped me grow as a woman was…

Not That Kind of Girl (by Lena Dunham).  I was reading it as I was going through puberty and I thought yeah, these things have definitely happened to me. She says it from her perspective, and you’re reading and you’re thinking about how she is now, and it’s really interesting. I don’t know if I’ll ever be famous as her! (laughs) but it’s really interesting to see where she comes from. She does it from a feminist perspective, and I think that’s really awesome. She talks about what men will do to manipulate you, what you will do as a woman around other people, and that book definitely changed my thoughts about women and men, and how we grow and what we do. It helped put it in a better perspective. She’s funny. And I love Girls, her TV show! I remember when I first watched Girls, it’s not your typical sitcom, it’s really authentic, and she talks about feeling beautiful and comfortable in your skin. It’s cool.

The book that surprised me was…

Simon Cowell’s autobiography, My Wild Life: The Story of a Most Unlikely Animal Rescuer, which was actually really good. He had a really interesting life. He grew up with a lot of brothers and sisters, and going from stuck within the family to being on a yacht partying with stars, it was incredible. I also come from a big family, but I don’t think it was similar – he had a really different upbringing. He’s actually really interesting. I don’t know why I picked that one up in the first place! But I liked it.

The book that reminds me of home is…

The Harry Potter series (by J.K. Rowling). They were huge in our house when I was growing up. I have a big family and we loved them. My older sister read all of them, and I would read half of the book and then watch the movie! I love seeing how they make it into the film, but it aggravates me because they miss so much from the books! They change things, and you think you’re gonna see something, but they cut it out!

A book that I read while travelling was…

Great Expectations (by Charles Dickens), which I started reading in LA. I got bored of sitting in coffee shops, and it was raining when I was there, so there wasn’t much to do. I was walking down the street and saw a bookstore, and I went in. I saw Charles Dickens and decided to give Great Expectations a go. I loved it, it was good book, but I didn’t get through the whole thing. I nearly finished it, but I got home and got distracted – I want to finish it. It’s about society and what people expect of you.

The book is always better than the movie…

Another book I read and I thought could have been done better on screen was The Fault in Our Stars (by John Green). Don’t get me wrong, they’re both good, but when I saw the movie, I thought there would be a lot more from the original book, that they could have done better! I love the book, it’s easy to read, it’s for teenagers, it’s a rom com. 

A book I would like to read in future is…

Emma (by Jane Austen). I just found out that the movie Clueless is based on Emma – and now I have to read it! I really like that film. I like books that have a bit of mystery, I like ones that are easy to read and have a nice flow, and I like books that are a bit longer. It has to last me a couple of weeks, because I have to travel a lot or wait at castings, and there’s nothing worse than finishing a book when you’re on the way somewhere or still have hours to wait! 

If there was one book I’d recommend, it would be…

Pride and Prejudice. Even though it’s a classic, it’s so good. Mr D’Arcy and Elizabeth aren’t a typical couple. It’s known to be a love story, but in actuality, it’s not love at first sight. She thinks he’s ignorant – and as it progresses, she begins to realise he has good intentions. There’s one part that says something like because he’s not as boastful as other men, doesn’t mean he is ignorant” – because people think that when someone’s quiet, they’re ignorant, but it’s not that, he just doesn’t feel the need to blurt everything out. I think it’s a book that’ll stay with me for life. I can imagine giving it to someone and sharing those bits with me.

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