Tuesday, September 8, 2009

'Dutch New Yorker,' Frédérique van der Wal

Welcome back home, Frédérique. Photo courtesy of Frederique.com

A tall, blonde woman passed my row of chairs as Yours Truly sat waiting somewhat impatiently for Hizzoner Bloomberg, Madame Secretary Hillary and the Dutch royals to show for the NY400 Week welcoming ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Where do I know her from? After wracking my brain for a few minutes – ding, ding, ding: she’s a former Victoria’s Secret model. But what of her name? Alexandra? Francesca? I couldn’t bring it up. The p.r. person was no help either …

After the welcome ceremony, I discreetly made in pursuit of my target: Her name (of course! of course!) is Frédérique (van der Wal). She’s Dutch – from The Hague, so that explained her appearance on the Intrepid.(See post above, "400 Years of Friendship Call for a Big To-Do.")

Incidentally, she's only recently returned to the city where she made a big name for herself. “I’m back,” she almost gushed. “I spent for the first time in 18 years a year in Holland, so I feel very Dutch; very connected.” But she also feels very connected to Gotham: “I love New York; once you’re a New Yorker, you’re a New Yorker ... I’m a Dutch New Yorker!”

The Dutch New Yorker returned to her first home for a very important cause. “I wanted to show my daughter what it was like to be really Dutch – to ride a bicycle,” for instance, she explained, referring to 9-year-old Scyler.

Now that she’s back in New York, Frédérique has a number of projects on her plate. Of course, she'll celebrate NY400. In fact, tomorrow she will join the Dutch royals for lunch. And while she won’t be walking down the catwalk during Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week, which starts Thursday (10 Sept.), she will see shows by a couple of Dutch designers.

The model-turned-businesswoman will also be working on behalf of her show, “Cover Shot, ” (formerly on TLC) for which she is home-shopping. “We are actually entertaining different offers. We’ve been talking to Bravo but I don’t think we want to go as obnoxious as some of their shows,” she said laughing and no doubt alluding to housewives. But, “there’s something in the process.”

Visit www.frederique.com to learn more about what Frédérique is up to; for more on NY400 Week, stop by www.nycgo.com and www.ny400.org. New Yorkers can also call 311.

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