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Peer Portraits: Clarke Picklyk

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HNDSM Clarke Picklyk

We believe that human connection is a fundamental component of having a meaningful life. Over time, with busy lives getting busier and technology changing how we interact with one another, we at HNDSM crave connection, collaboration and community. This desire has led us to create a new photography and interview series called Peer Portraits. This initiative allows us to engage with our peers as a way to bridge the distance we have felt of late. Our questions are simple but thoughtful and bring in a little fun. We hope this idea serves as inspiration to reach out to your neighbor; familiar or unknown.

Clarke Picklyk is a Toronto-based model and horticulturist. We spent an unusually warm day together in late September, shooting HNDSM’s latest lookbook. After the shoot wrapped, we caught a glimpse into the world of this wanderlust, tea-loving girl. 

Clarke had recently returned from a Summer of travel in Europe and North Africa in the hopes of relocating to a new city. We asked her to describe her ideal place to live in. “I want to live somewhere where I feel like people are doing less of the same thing. I have lived in Toronto my whole life and maybe it’s because I go between the same areas, but I’m meeting all the same type of people. People with crispy sneakers and the same 2019 flex. I just want to go somewhere where people are doing different things and everyone is doing something different than the next person. Even in Berlin, every girl had the same bangs and a lot of the guys had shaved heads. I loved Paris. It felt like people were doing their own thing. I guess what I am craving is somewhere that is warm and has lots of greenery and water spaces. I would even like to live on a farm or in cottage country. I like the feeling of going to cottage country and leaving the city behind you.”

Earlier in the day, when a stranger had asked her name, Clarke explained it as “Clarke, like Clark Kent” and we wondered if the legendary superhero served as the inspiration for her name.

“My mom says that my uncle named me. The name had been around our family for some time. My mother lived in Saskatoon on a street called Clarke St and when she moved to Toronto, she worked at a company called Clarke, too. After I was born, I didn’t have a name right away. My family saw me and then they gave me my name. My brother’s name is Drew and we both have these androgynous names. I hated my name growing up. All my friends had femimine and soft sounding names. Mine sounded aggressive and harsh and I didnt know it was a boy’s name. When I was young, I wanted to change my name to Lemon or Star. Now I love my name. I love throwing people off because no one really believes it’s my name. A few years ago, I met a girl at a party with the same name. I was so excited because she was the only other girl I knew called Clarke. She was not as excited.”


We were touched by Clarke’s response to our question on what she believes everyone should experience. “In this city, allow people to be kind to you. It is easier than being aggressive. People’s first instinct is to be nice; let them be nice to you.” She also shared her favourite part of the day. “I enjoy my mornings. I can’t sleep in. It’s actually genetic and my mom can’t sleep in either. She’s up at 5am. I’ll have a tea and sit on the porch and look at the plants or I’ll do some gardening. I read somewhere that you should take sixty seconds every day to plant your feet onto the earth. That sets me up for a great day, every day.”

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