Return of the Living Dead Girl: Ivonne Koerner aka Miss Ivi

Published: 15 March, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 191, October, 2010

It’s always a good feeling to come across somebody who walks it like they talk it. Ivonne Koerner – better known to the world at large as Miss Ivi – is one of those people. Stationed in Switzerland, close to the Italian border with her husband, together they man the good ship that is The Flying Dutchman – and when Miss Ivi says she has a new photoshoot on the horizon, what she really means is that she has a full scale epic on her hands and everybody needs to sit up and pay attention...

Let’s dispense with the niceties – this is one hell of a photo shoot. Día de los Muertos - The Day of the Dead - is a festival celebrated by Mexicans in remembrance of those friends and relatives who are no longer with us. It’s not an uncommon one for those of us who aren’t of Mexican descent either, with the concept being used for as many horror movies as you can shake a stick at- 

So, what’s the backstory behind the cover picture?

"I love the meaning of Día de los Muertos – it’s the few days in the year when we remember and honour our ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. The idea for the picture came from a meeting of minds when I was talking to my fantastic make-up artist Christa Durante – we had heard that Jamari Lior, a young photographer from Germany who does crazy pictures wanted to do a shoot in our shop, so right away we decided we wanted to do it with her.

I love doing different types of photo shoots. At first, we couldn’t find a good background to make it work and then we found the painting of the madonna - which my husband painted. Once we put this in as the backdrop, the picture turned out just the way we wanted. The make-up only took one hour and after that, the whole shoot was a wrap in no- time! Professional you see! "

No kidding. We see a lot of very professional model shoots but not many really take it to the extreme and have the capacity to reinvent themselves over and over. Is this the tip of the iceberg with more insanity to come?

"Pin up photography is and will always be my first love, but I love trying out all kinds of different styles. From trash all the way to high fashion and special theme shoots like this one are always a lot of fun. Getting into another role is like slipping into another person’s skin or playing a part in a theatre for a few hours. It’s fun to see how different I look in a lot of the pictures I’ve done so far. Photographers tell me that I have so many personas, that they are always happy to work with me. So if anybody has any crazy ideas – I’m up for it!"

If I said you were an old school model, would that sit comfortably? You certainly don't fit in with the standard - dare I say - current 'American' trend of how the public thinks a model should look and behave.

"In the fifties, women were encouraged to show off their curves and dress in a feminine way instead of the skinny models you see today. I love showing off my curves and being all woman without showing everything. Being sexy and mysterious - like the Gil Elvgren models. Ooh - talking about Elvgren, on many occasions, I’m just as clumsy as many of the models in his paintings! That’s why my new calendar for 2011 is meant as a tribute to the master of pin-up painting! 

Being a pin up model is more than just dressing up. It’s a lifestyle and that’s how I look almost every day. My hubbie is an old rocker, we drive a big American car, ride old school motorbikes that have been customised and based on models from the 50s and 60s. Our house doesn’t look much like an American diner though - that would be too much for my husband! but it is stuffed with old things and we have an original jukebox in our living room.

We both love old things and pirates were the rebels and rock n rollers of the old days. They travelled the world and did whatever they liked. He is my pirate captain! He’s been all over the world and now we travel together all over the world . I love it – who could ask for anything more! About three years ago, we opened our own shop. My husband is Dutch and because he travelled so much and was hardly ever home or stayed for any long period of time in one place, he got his nickname the Flying Dutchman.

That’s where the idea of opening his own shop in a pirate style came into being many years ago. He studied interior design and together with some friends we planned and built this dream with our own hands and made it reality. So for the last three years, we’ve had this wonderful crazy shop, filled with memorabilia from his travels, where we feel very much at home. He does mainly custom work - Japanese, black and grey and new school. Meantime, I am a piercer, the shop manager, book-keeper, housewife, model - everything else! We are a good team together and both love our jobs.  

Also, we have some great artists here. The Leu Family, Mick from Zürich, Rob Koss and Valentin Steinmann. Switzerland is fantastic - we were looking for a place where we could combine more time together along with art, freedom, nature, good food, and nice people. Luckily, that’s exactly what we found. We live where other people take their holidays – what could be better. This country has a lot to offer - mountains, snow, lakes, cheese fondues! I love it so much – how could you not with the chocolate and all these exellent artists. You should come and live here – or at least stay a while!"

Sounds dreamlike! Do you see your future in modelling or are there other things you'd like to do as well?

"I will model for as long as I feel like it. For me, it’s an excellent chance to get away from my busy day job and do something fun at the weekend. Having fun and enjoying it is for me almost important as the work itself. That’s what keeps the stress away and stress can kill a shoot. It’s wonderful modelling and seeing pictures of yourself selling a t-shirt or a skateboard deck."


The Flying Dutchman Tattoo & Piercing Co.

Furkastrasse 22

3904 Naters 


0041 27-923 9994


Text: Sion Smith; Photography: Michael Zargarinejad, Jamari Lior, Artstyle Photos, & Carmen Hernandez