Check out our interview with gorgeous Canadian model and entrepreneur Danielle Knudson, who has captivated the fashion world with her dynamic presence.
Best known for her work with Sports Illustrated and appearances in campaigns for top brands like Guess Jeans, Beach Bunny, and Acacia, Danielle’s career spans over 17 years, including a significant chapter in New York and now life in Nashville, Tennessee. More than a model, Danielle is a fervent advocate for fitness, health, and wellness, transforming her passion into a career as a certified trainer and wellness coach for her company, Level Up By DK. Embracing a lifestyle that enriches mind, body, and soul, she embodies positivity, gratitude, and a commitment to fostering a community of like-minded, goal-oriented individuals.
Follow Danielle @danielleknudson1
Hi Danielle, please tell us a little about you?
My name is Danielle Knudson. I am 36 years old. I am an international model, certified personal trainer, and pre and post-natal specialist. I am originally from Canada but now call Nashville, TN, home with my husband, son, and our two pups!
Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate, driven, and kind.
Who has made the most significant impact on your life so far, and why?
I have never felt a love like I have for my son, and I have never been more proud of my body and what the female body can do growing in life.
How and when did you start modeling?
I was scouted when I was eight years old and only really got into modeling when I was 15 and have been doing it ever since.
What is fun and rewarding about modeling? And what is not?
The most rewarding and fun part of modeling is all the incredible people I’ve met and worked with and getting to travel, work, and see all over the world.
The one negative thing I have always said about modeling is that it can be so lonely. We travel and do all of these amazing jobs, and we are always alone in all these beautiful countries; you go to set, do your job, and then go back to the hotel or straight to the airport.
Can you name a few brands you are working with or have worked with?
Guess jeans, I’ve done seven campaigns.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
To never give up, when I first moved to NY, I didn’t work at all back in the day. The modeling standards for height and size were very strict, and I was considered short and was ready to give up and quit modeling. NYC was a harsh market, and then I switched agencies and booked all of my biggest jobs and magazines and then started working so much.
The most important thing when you are shooting is?
Be kind to EVERYONE, professional, and confident.
My biggest pet peeve is seeing people and other models on set being rude to the crew or other models. Just be kind and professional always. It’s your reputation.
What’s your advice for young models and influencers?
Work hard, be kind, and stay true to yourself. Don’t let negativity get to you.
When you started your social media accounts, did you expect such a success?
I didn’t know what to expect or how powerful social media would be. It has definitely helped me with my career and business ventures.
As a popular model and influencer, you are followed by so many people, including young girls. How do you feel about the pressure of always doing the right thing and encouraging people to follow their dreams?
I have always stayed true to myself and promoted what I believe in: hard work and taking care of yourself. I love inspiring young women and my followers to care for themselves and not be afraid to share what they are going through.
I bet you get millions of them, but what are the best and worst Instagram DM pickup lines you have received so far?
The best DM I ever received was three video messages… because the guy who sent them is now my husband and baby daddy.
Now, let’s talk about your fitness brand and workouts. LevelUp by DK? What inspired you to create this?
I have always been passionate about health and wellness, and during COVID, I was bored, so I got all my certifications in personal training, pre and post-natal, and nutrition. Which then led me to build an app called Level Up By DK.
How often do you create new routines or plans?
Every month, I shoot new programs!
What are the challenges you face as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge is bringing your idea to life and working with people who can help you do that. Trial and error, too. I worked with three app developers before I was happy with putting an app out that was true to what I wanted to create and share with people.
What is different from LevelUp by DK and other brands and companies in a very competitive market?
My motto is: workouts that fit your lifestyle and are quick and effective!
All of my programs are 3-30 mins max! We all live hectic, busy lives, so quick and effective is key!
Now, on the travel side, we know you love traveling. Tell us your top 3 countries to travel to.
Japan. I love Tokyo.
Italy. I love Florence and Venice.
And which countries or cities are still on your bucket list?
Alaska and South Africa.
Which place that you have visited do you think changed you in a particular way, maybe for motivation or to see a different reality, etc?
Europe! Their way of life is beautiful, and their food and beauty products are much cleaner. It impacted the way I eat and take care of myself.
Which project is still on your bucket list?
A homestead. I want a beautiful homestead where we can build our dream home and grow our own food!
Now, about being a mom. Can you share some of the joys and challenges you’ve faced since having a baby?
The love you feel for this beautiful little human you grew inside of you is a love I have never felt before.
The challenges are navigating life with no sleep, haha, and watching them grow up is incredible but also so sad how quickly they grow. It goes by so fast.
How do you balance the demands of parenthood with the responsibilities of your modeling and now entrepreneurial career?
My husband and I are self-employed, so we can help out if one of us needs to fly out for work, and we have two amazing mothers that we fly in or bring with us on work trips.
What advice would you give working parents trying to manage their careers and family life?
My advice is to make sure you and your partner are on the same page and have good communication.
The one thing I had to learn was being okay with days when I won’t get anything done except being a mother, which is ok!
What has been the most surprising aspect of parenthood for you?
The feeling of not knowing what life was like before your child. He is my whole life and world, and I don’t even know the old me, if that makes sense, haha.
What message do you want to share with other new parents who might be looking up to you?
The days can feel so long, but the months and years are so short. Take it all in and love on that baby. Get all the snuggles and cuddles because they become so independent so quickly.
What’s next for Danielle Knudson in the last months of 2023 and in 2024?
I am focusing on my family and my app and getting ready to have our first Christmas with our son and then celebrate his first birthday this January.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
The advice I would give to my younger self would be to stay strong and know those dark times don’t last because it all works out exactly how it’s supposed to!
If you were a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Don’t give up. Because tinning is everything and you can achieve anything at any time, my modeling career only took off at 26, and becoming a mom was a struggle and didn’t happen till I was 35.
What is your definition of happiness?
My definition of happiness is: a clear mind, a healthy body, and my family.
Name one of your strengths.
My drive and determination!
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
I find the time to work out, so I always do what I can for walks or squats while cooking, and I constantly engage my core when carrying my 20+ pound baby all day.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
- Coffee, lots of coffee
- Feed and play with my son
- His naps are my busy times
- I clean, cook, do my school, work on my app, and try and work out.
What’s your favorite form of Cardio? And how often do you work out?
I work out 1-3 times a week, and I am not a fan of cardio. I like going on walks with my two pups for cardio.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Name three things you can’t live without.
My family—if I have my family, I have everything.
Best advice ever given?
Time is the best gift you can give anyone. It’s the one thing you will never get back.
So give and use your time wisely.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
Chilling at home, ordering food, and watching TV.
What do you think of Social Media?
It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s incredible for work and have access to everyone in the real world, but it is and can be very addicting.
Where can we follow you?
– I believe in living each day with positivity and gratitude.
– I believe in community and surrounding yourself with like-minded, goal-oriented people.
– I believe in leading with kindness, loving fearlessly, and always giving 110%.
Travel Destination: The mountains ( Banff, where I’m from)