Christensen grew up in Denmark. Her father is Danish, and her mother is Peruvian.
Christensen won the Miss Denmark crown in 1987 at the age of 18, and represented Denmark in the Miss Universe pageant in 1988 at the age of 19. She left her home soon afterwards to pursue modeling in Paris.
Christensen appeared on many magazine covers and in fashion campaigns during the 1990s. She was in the Victoria’s Secret catalog and in their television commercials as one of the signature Angels, along with Tyra Banks, Karen Mulder, Daniela Pestova, Rebecca Romijn, and Stephanie Seymour. She also became a spokesmodel for Revlon cosmetics.
In 1991, she starred in the music video for Chris Isaak’s song “Wicked Game”. The video was later featured on MTV’s “Sexiest Video of All-Time”, voted #4 on VH1′s “50 Sexiest Video Moments” and voted #13 on VH1′s “100 Greatest Videos”.
Christensen is signed to Independent Models in London and 1/One Management in New York City, 2pm Model Management in Copenhagen.
Christensen has an antiques shop in Manhattan and sells some of her clothes in her mother’s Yo-Yo Second Hand Shop in Christianshavn.
Christensen was a Co-Founder of Nylon magazine as the original creative director with American entrepreneur Michael “Mic” Neumann. She also launched her own clothing line Christensen & Sigersen, with long-term friend Leif Sigersen. The pair also previously ran Butik, a shop in New York.
Christensen is also a photographer, and her photos appeared in magazines such as Marie Claire and ELLE. Her exhibition A Quiet Story, curated by Jim Cook, premiered in Rotterdam in 2006. Chanel Tokyo’s NEXUS Gallery is scheduled to mount the exhibition in 2010.
Christensen also famously once said, when asked if normal girls would feel comfortable in her new clothing line, “I don’t care. I have no clue. I don’t think about anyone but me.” The quote is printed on the back of Denis Leary’s 2008 book, ‘Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid.’
Christensen was in Ireland to launch the second Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign which involves the sale of exclusive designer t-shirts to raise millions for Action Breast Cancer (a project of the Irish Cancer Society) and Europa Donna Ireland to help younger women with breast cancer.
Christensen has one child, a son named Mingus Lucien Reedus (born October 13, 1999) with actor Norman Reedus. While maintaining careers in photography and clothing design, Christensen still remains a hands-on mother to Mingus. “He’s all that matters,” she says. “He’s my best friend.”
Reedus and Christensen split in 2003. She previously lived with INXS frontman Michael Hutchence on and off for a period of four years in the early 1990s, and, from 2004 to 2006, Christensen dated Danish rock band Grand Avenue frontman Rasmus Walter-Hansen.
Christensen friends include R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe, and U2 frontman Bono. Christensen was a good friend of actor Heath Ledger. She was heading to his New York apartment on the day that he died, calling Ledger, only to get his voicemail message.
Christensen lives in Manhattan, and also has apartments in Copenhagen and Monaco, where her car is a Morris Minor.
Christensen has claimed on several occasions to be a cheese addict, admitting that: “There’ve been times when I’ve bought a whole pound of cheese and walked down the street and eaten it in one go. I think it’s incredibly sensual.” Christensen declares that: “Whenever my head is like a maze, I turn to the easy things in life, the things that mean the most to me: Sex and cheese. These things are connected. Truth be told, I love all cheese: French cheese, Italian cheese, even British cheese, but Danish cheese is the greatest. I get my best nightmares after I eat Danish cheese. Actually I’ve seriously thought about getting a cheese tattoo. A nice Edam on my shoulder, maybe.”