Heidi by the Beach
Miss Denmark’s unlikely journey to Fairfield
Photographs by Ryan Lavine
She speaks four languages, earned a master’s in engineering, has appeared in beer commercials, modeled on three continents, and wore the crown of Miss Denmark. She currently lives in the Fairfield beach area with her husband and two young children. Meet Heidi Zadeh. Born in Iran, where her family fled to Europe, Zadeh was educated in Belgium and eventually settled in Copenhagen, where in 2005 she was crowned Miss Denmark—which raised her visibility, expanded her modeling career, and provided entry into Miss Europe and Miss Earth competitions. “I had exams during Miss Universe, so I had to miss that,” says Zadeh, in accented English on the beachfront deck of her Fairfield beach home where we met.
How did you end up in Fairfield?
My husband works for a pharmaceutical company in New Haven. We looked at everything from Madison to Westport. In Madison, the only living thing I saw was a duck. We loved Fairfield.
What’s being Miss Denmark like?
It’s very nice to be Miss Denmark. Denmark is very tiny, so you have power to use it in a good way. You go to an organization like Red Cross and help them to help other countries. There are good sponsors who always make sure you look good—I could always get my hair and nails done.
Were you a celebrity?
I did some commercials, and lots saw me in that. And I was on magazine covers. It’s amazing. The pageant is not just your looks, but your personality, your interests, your education, what languages you speak. And mainly how you are as a person.
What languages do you speak?
I speak Persian, which we call Farsi. I studied in Denmark, so I speak Danish. I speak English—you can decide how well I do that! We lived in Belgium five years, so I speak French. I love to speak that beautiful language.
Do you get to Iran often?
Not since 2006. Iran is such a beautiful country, full of history, but people don’t travel there because of the regime. It’s changing in a bad way. And I don’t feel that I can go there, because if I leave America, I’m not sure I can get back in.
How do you like the Fairfield beach area?
The sunrise is beautiful. I love it in the evening too. When the kids are in to sleep, it’s very relaxed. I can look at the stars on the beach. I stand outside and have a shower. In the summer, my neighbors are always making cocktails and inviting me over. Summer in Fairfield is real summer. It’s nice.
Where do you like to dine out?
I like Centro for the salads. Lucky Thai. And Toto I really like. It’s great place. I love the grilled octopus. I like the Whelk in Westport. The Delamar. They have a nice restaurant. It’s called The Artisan—good for summer drinks. Colony Grill has the best pizzas. I like healthy eating, nutrition.
Tell me more about that.
I eat real food, not supplements. Very passionate about it. I would go back to school and learn nutrition. Good food is what you need for your body to stay healthy. I cook my own recipes. I always shop at Whole Foods. Every three or four days, I do a menu for the rest of the week. I have an app in my phone, My Shoppe.
Do you like music?
I like French music. I like to learn my children how to dance to Persian music. You move a lot. In New York City, I hear electro, like DJs. Making breakfast for the kids, I put on French jazz. I listen to Persian music in the afternoon when I’m cooking.
I saw the new 50 Shades because the guy was so hot. I like dramas, comedies, and thrillers. I saw Bad Moms when my husband was not home. It’s good to see real moms with the real problems we can relate to.
What do you do to stay fit?
I go to gym, to the Edge, right here. I do it with my friends. Biking, Pilates, getting ready for the summer. And when the kids are in bed, I like to take a bath. It’s my own little spa. I do mask, exfoliation, all in the tub, with tea. Rishi tea is my favorite.
Where do you go with the kids?
We go to My Gym. They love it. Sportsplex, they have a playscape. I can sit there and do all the emails I haven’t done. Sauga-tuck Sweets opened on Reef Road, so we go there for an ice cream.
What do you think of Melania Trump?
Melania Trump is beautiful and has a wonderful sense of fashion. I think she is a strong woman. If I were her, I would do some charity, just to express that women can be leaders, can be good business people. She has the power, and I hope she does something about it.
Should she model?
I think she should still model, but I don’t think people think that is correct. She might go a little against her husband, but people would respect her very much for that.
How about modeling for you?
Yes, it depends on the job. If something interesting comes up, I would like to do some modeling.
Do you want to get back to a career?
I have an IT background and want to start an app for kids fashion. There is a big market, and kids need clothes all the time because they are growing. I am looking for people who want to help me do this. I’m also starting a blog. You want to see it? Heidi-zadeh.com.