How did you transform from modeling to the health and wellness industry?
It actually all happened quite seamlessly and felt like a natural progression. I moved to London at the age of 18 from a small town and felt overwhelmed by having to buy and cook more for myself, but with the added pressures of keeping in shape for my career as a model too. I experienced some pressure which is natural in this industry to keep fit and stay slim at a time when my body was going through the most changes. I began by trying lots of diets and workouts, but found that I only began to understand my body and the way we can fuel it or harm it with the things we choose to eat. I studied diet and nutrition as well as taking an A-level in Biology whilst modeling, and i became so passionate about exposing the issues with our modern food supplies and commercial products, as well as the myths of the 'diet culture' which just make it harder to live a balanced life. I started a blog whilst modeling and began experimenting with recipes at home for my flatmates and friends, then I developed the recipe for my brand Qnola - quinoa granola which is vegan and gluten free - and I used to take it backstage for shows and to shoots with me. It was just something so many of my friends in the industry - not just models - found it hard to navigate. Eating well whilst working, and having real food that made you feel good.
We are obsessed with your book "Well Being" in which you share recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind. How came this project along and where did you find the inspiration for it?
This book was pretty much 5 years of my personal development and experiences in the world of wellness concentrated and compacted into one book. I actually wrote double my allowed word count and had to cut it down so much. I am so grateful to have had a journey of discovery - of myself but also of the industry and the world in general - which guided the book. I share everything I learned in food, fitness, movement, mindfulness and alternative therapies and teachings to provide a really varied and holistic manual of recipes and rituals that can fit into almost anyone's life. I wanted it to be flexible and adaptable, nothing strict or unrealistic. I feel everyone is different and everyone's lives are different, and we are always going to be changing as we go through life, so it was important for me to offer a few things that can support different people at different times of their lives. I break the book into times of the day, based on feelings and needs. The morning contains recipes and rituals to energise and ground; In between time helps enhance focus and concentration; Daytime is focused on nourishing food and energy again, as well as mood boosting; Evening time is all about nourishing food and slowing down; and Night time is for winding down and relaxing.
Which food/ ritual has transformed your health most radically?
I think for me it has been allowance. It took me a while to figure out that even being 100% healthy all the time was not healthy. It was unhealthy on a mental level and it gave me a really weird relationship with food for a while. I have now come to a place of allowance with food and i find so much more balance like that. I actually eat less but i have less attachment to food in some way, whereas before I would constantly deprive myself of things and then binge anytime I had something I usually restricted. For me, this intuition, allowance and acceptance has been life changing because I feel so much freer. Also, simplifying. With food, I love nothing more than simple, whole ingredients which are seasonal and local. It's not always possible but it feels better and tastes better, to me. There is one more thing; mindset. How our mind and body are so connected, you need to have a really positive mindset with food in order to find balance. It is easy to say but difficult to practice all the time.
What does beauty & wellness mean to you?
The more I go through life, the more I understand it is about allowing yourself to be the real you. It is authenticity; wild, free, unapologetic and unafraid. It is something I struggle with still now, but I know i glow the most, in terms of physical beauty but also my energy, when I am aligned and being authentic. I know that the people I meet who have the most impact on me are those who shine and have some underlying energy you can't quite describe, and it is so beautiful and inspiring. So beauty and wellness to me is authenticity. It's the only way you can really step into yourself and own the way you look in a unique way, and it's the most powerful way you can reach wellness on a mental, emotional and energetic level. I believe you can't be truly "well" unless you really have a good relationship with yourself. Everything else, food, fitness etc, it's all important for daily wellbeing but it comes after self-worth, compassion and being mentally and emotionally "well" in terms of importance.
Can you tell us about your own beauty and wellness rituals?
I keep it very simple and I think I have the modeling industry to thank for this. From a young age I was going to work, and castings, with no make up on, completely fresh faced, and I think this gave me the power and comfort to embrace my natural look. I think similarly to the health industry where we often hide or cover a problem (with medication) instead of healing the root cause, with beauty too, we try so hard to cover flaws and hide our natural look in order to follow trends or to fit in, but we end up all looking the same. I think make up should enhance, not cover the real you. So in terms of make up, I keep it natural, usually using just a light mineral foundation powder, some bronzer in the winter, and some mascara. All the products I use are naturally made and / or ethical. In terms of rituals, I cleanse daily, exfoliate once or twice a week, and use moisturiser everyday as well as sometimes serum and natural oils. Oils are my favourite and most people are worried to use them as they want to avoid greasy skin, but using natural oils actually helps balance the skin's natural oils - so I love them. They also work naturally with the skins cells and using natural products is so fascinating to me; how everything just knows how to work in synergy. I also love dry body brushing, facial massage and lymphatic drainage massage which I do on my legs sometimes.
Wellness rituals, I guess it includes really natural foods, lots of time in nature as much as possible, movement daily, and keeping educated and inspired by some great leaders of the world. I believe life is an ongoing process and we always need constant reminders.
How does a typical morning look like for you?
At the moment, it is quite dreamy. We are living in the countryside in France and so I wake up, have coffee with my boyfriend, do some emails and my to do list, workout or run or walk with our dog, enjoy a smoothie or some fresh fruit, then get to work for the rest of the day. Movement at the moment includes pilates or a short workout with some small weights.
What are you up to and working on at the moment?
Right now I am focusing on my brand Qnola
as we are launching some new items soon. I am also working a lot with brands on content creation during this time, since I can't travel much for shoots and normal work. I have enjoyed working from home but I miss working with teams all over the world! I also launched my podcast The Process and I am so inspired by this project. I've interviewed some incredible people and I am really enjoying the development. Other than that, I am figuring out where I want things to go. I want to create some more interactive content for people which can support people on their own self development journey. I would like to develop some live workshops alongside the content I share on social media, etc.
You moved from London to the french countryside. What’s the best thing about this big change? And is there anything you miss about living in a city?
I feel so at home here. I grew up in the countryside so I adjusted quite easily. I think the best thing is nature, but also the warmer weather. It's not too hot, but its so much better than the UK so I am so grateful for that. I also love the lifestyle of France. I feel like even in the cities there is an underlying sense of slowness. There is less urgency than London and the UK. Everyone kind of goes at their own pace. I also have loved learning a new language, finally. I do miss my friends and family of course. I've missed SO much the connection of other women and people my age, the feminine energy is inexplicable but even a few minutes on Facetime is transformational for me so i really miss seeing my people in person. I also miss the ease of the city. Everything is available on demand. Deliveroo would be nice. But I think I prefer not having everything on-demand. I don't mind that the boulangerie closes at midday and most shops don't open on Monday or Tuesday at all. It's annoying at first but I think its a much better way to live. You plan and prepare more, and you don't consume so much, for sure. It adds to the slowness of living which I think is so key; it's what modern life has really disrupted and I wish there was a way we could start going backwards, sometimes.
Last but not least...Can you share your favourite recipe with us?
Such a difficult one but a recent recipe I made and love is this one.