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Helena Christensen

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About Helena

Helena Christensen, photographer and international model, was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2019 after four years of dedicated support.  

Renowned for her career as a supermodel, Helena is also a distinguished internationally renowned photographer. As a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Helena uses her creativity to support UNHCR in telling the stories of the forcibly displaced and building empathy for refugees.


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Field visit to Colombia

In April 2023, Helena travelled to Colombia with UNHCR, where she met with indigenous Wounaan people in Chocó and Venezuelan refugees in Quibdo. Helena was reunited with Maribeth Palacios Lopez, a refugee and single mother whom she had first met eight years prior. The reunion was incredibly emotional; Helena listened to Maribeth recount her suffering as the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change hit her community hard.  

Helena also met with trans activist María Victoria, who risks her life daily in Colombia to teach local communities about the lives of transgender people and how they are affected by displacement. The pair formed an instant connection. 

On her return home, Helena appealed to the public: "I hope you join me in showing solidarity for Maribeth, and all the forcibly displaced people worldwide who are looking for safety and hope away from home."

Helena also spoke with several internationally renowned outlets about her time in Colombia, including Harper’s Bazaar and People Magazine. Channelling her creativity to share the experiences she heard, Helena authored a feature piece on her reunion with Maribeth, published in British Vogue, Vogue Scandinavia, and Vogue Latin America.


Helena's engagement over the years

Helena Christensen photographs Maria Victoria Palacios in a white corridor
In April 2023, Helena travelled to Colombia with UNHCR where she visited the indigenous Wounaan people in Choco and met with Venezuelan refugees in Quibdo.
Azraq Refugee Camp
In January 2020, Helena Christensen visited Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan to meet with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Somalia. Here she met with a Syrian refugee tailor for whom she tried on a beautiful dress made entirely of recycled materials and hand-painted with symbolic images telling the story of Amman.
Harper’s Bazaar’s Abu Dhabi Dream Ball
Earlier that year, Helena attended Harper’s Bazaar’s Abu Dhabi Dream Ball in support of UNHCR. The Ball chose to honor UNHCR as their 2020 cause, raising over $380,000 to provide refugee women and children with essential healthcare facilities in Lebanon.
Mahama Refugee Camp
In 2018, Helena travelled to Rwanda with UNHCR where she visited Mahama Refugee Camp to meet with people displaced by violence in Burundi. In the camp, Helena met four young refugees, Letitia, Elvira, Innocent, and Giselle who introduced her to Top Family Models, a modeling agency they founded from within Mahama Refugee Camp. On her return home, Helena used photography and writing to amplify UNHCR’s call for vital funds to deliver shelter, food, and basic necessities for one of the world's most overlooked and underfunded refugee crises.
Helena attended a UNHCR field visit to Ukraine to capture the stories of the near one million people who had been internally displaced by the 2014 conflict in the east of the country. During her visit, Helena met Oleg, a “true Ukrainian superhero”, who set up a safe space for elderly people forced to flee. Oleg personally evacuated many from the conflict zone, carrying some of them to safety on his back. Helena took to social media to share her reflections and appeal for continued assistance to people like Oleg, and those he seeks to help.
World Refugee Day
Helena’s first visit to Colombia took place ahead of World Refugee Day in 2015. It was here that Helena realized she could support through her powerful photography and advocate for the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable. After meeting with internally displaced women living in rural environments, including slums on the outskirts of Bogota, Helena said, “I wanted to use my skills to create a platform for these women’s stories which are both shocking and inspiring".

News and highlights

Find the latest news and key highlights about Helena's work as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.


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