For Ole Henriksen, flipping out is all in a day’s work. As is flying through the air, twisting, twirling, doing splits and executing a flawless Iron Cross on the rings. Henriksen, the skin-care entrepreneur and celebrity facialist who sold his namesake brand to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2011, is an avid gymnast. “Part of keeping a youthful and vibrant appearance is about good posture, a strong body and a flexible body,” says the preternaturally youthful Henriksen, who has outfitted his backyard high in the hills of Los Angeles with uneven parallel bars and rings to facilitate his lifelong passion.
This story first appeared in the April 12, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“As a little boy, I dreamt of becoming a trapeze artist,” says Henriksen. “I wanted to join the circus and travel the world.” Growing up in the Danish countryside, gymnastics was very much encouraged in school. Henriksen excelled at the sport. “I turn 62 this year,” says Henriksen, “and I can tell you, even at this stage of the game, I feel no difference in my body and physical strength from when I was a young kid.”
In addition to his hour-long, five-days-a-week backyard workout, Henriksen completes 300 push-ups a day to maintain his upper body strength. “I’m very focused on coordination and balance,” says Henriksen. “[Gymnastics] is great for your skin, too. When you think about it, the oxygenation goes to every part of your body.”
In fact, some of his best ideas have come while hanging upside down. “So much of fitness is antigravity,” explains Henriksen. “That creates synergy in products for me. What I aim to do is create formulations with antigravity properties to lift and define the facial contours,” he continues. “The beauty of textured skin is that it’s mature and has beautiful expression lines. That reminds me of the beautiful fluidity and flexibility of a gymnast’s body. So I take my products to the max, just as I take my fitness to the max.”
While Henriksen has traveled the world establishing his brand and continues to be heavily involved in the business post-acquisition, he hasn’t given up on that circus dream yet. “Watching professional gymnasts, their bodily strength and elegance, I’m awestruck,” he says. “I know I cannot go out and emulate them, but it does inspire me to go on and on,” he continues, adding with a laugh, “When I do I retire, I’ll apply to join Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.” No doubt they’d snap him up.