Snakes, Tattoos and Reality TV: 6 Things to Know About Sweden's Princess-to-Be
She was a reality TV star in her native Sweden, and in just two weeks, Sofia Hellqvist is poised to become a real-life princess.
She may just be the most daring royal yet.
Before meeting her future husband, the James Bond-esque Prince Carl Philip, and gaining fame as the nation’s next princess, Hellqvist was best known for her turn on the reality show Paradise Hotel.
Hellqvist, 30, has been linked to Prince Carl Philip, who is third-in-line to the Swedish throne, since 2010. The pair announced their engagement last June and are set to wed on June 13.
But before she began the royal path, she taught fitness classes, worked as model, and even spent some time in a tattoo artist’s chair.
Here are six things to know about your next royal obsession:
1. She has posed with a live snake.
During her days as a glamour model, a side job she pursued while studying in Stockholm, Hellqvist posed for Slitz, a Swedish men’s magazine, wearing just a bikini bottom with a (live!) boa constrictor wrapped around her top half.
The reptile-filled photo shoot led to her winning Slitz‘s annual Miss Slitz competition in 2004 when she was 20 years old.
Earlier this year, Hellqvist, spoke of her past life as a model. “For me, it’s 10 years ago,” she said in SVT’s special, Year of the Royal Family. “I have moved on in life. I do not regret anything, it has built me as a person.”
2. She was a Swedish reality star.
The notoriety that came along with her Slitz win earned her a spot on the Swedish version of the reality show Paradise Hotel, a Real World and Survivor hybrid. The show follows a group of singles living in a luxury resort and pits them against each other to see who will remain at the hotel the longest.
Hellqvist proved to be quite the competitor – she lasted until the final round on the show.
3. She’s a yogi.
After completing her studies at Stockholm University and her run on Paradise Hotel, Hellqvist spent a few years in New York City (just like her groom-to-be!). While she was stateside, the future Duchess of Värmland picked up on a New Yorker fitness favorite: yoga.
After studying the practice at Yoga To The People, she eventually became a yoga instructor at the same studio. Later on, she opened her own yoga center in Manhattan and also debuted Drop of Mindfulness, a collection of yoga gear she designed with a fellow instructor.
4. She spent her bachelorette party in a country mansion outside of Stockholm.
With her wedding quickly approaching, a bachelorette party fit for a (future) princess was in order. Hellqvist spent hers with her fiancé’s sister, Crown Princess Victoria (who also planned her brother’s stag night), along with her own two sisters, Lina and Sara, and a number of other close friends.
The festivities were held at Hatuna Stenus, a lakeside 12-bedroom manor house just outside Stockholm, Swedish news outlet Expressen reports, and the guests drank champagne and relaxed in the outdoor hot tub.
5. She’s got ink.
During beach vacations with her fiancé, the princess-to-be has shown off a couple of tattoos: One of a butterfly on her ribs, and another of a sun between her shoulder blades.
6. She’s a life-long performer.
As a child, Hellqvist loved to act and sing, according to Royalista. She decided to channel these passions into a career at an early age. During her teen years, she took singing lessons, and even starred in a number of Swedish commercials, including one for BOB’s Jam.