Monday, February 29, 2016

Find a role model!


I've found that it's really important to have different role models for different areas of my life. I find that this helps me a lot to be more specific about my goals and how I’m going to get there.  Having a role model gives you more specific guidelines and a bit of a clearer path to follow, since you can use someone else's path as an example.

This industry has given me so many amazing women to look up to. I get to meet CEOs and women who have been trailblazers in fashion. Whether they’ve started their own companies, run other companies, or started movements surrounding topics like body positivity and racial diversity – it’s not hard to find someone you want to emulate. And that’s exactly what I do. 

I figured it would be helpful for me to share some of my role models with you all! Here they are: 

KIM KATRIN MILAN 
Kim is probably my biggest role model. I went to a women's conference in university and Kim was one of the speakers on the panel. After the first 5 minutes of hearing her speak, I was hooked. Kim is my activist/educator role model. She's magnetic. When I heard her speak I literally thought, "this is the smartest woman I have ever met - I wanna be like her!" Kim and her husband Tiq (yeah... I'm a total fangirl of them) do such incredible activism work surrounding human rights issues and a plethora of race/gender/body issues all over the United States and Canada. They pretty much cover it all. Kim does the kind of work that actually makes a difference, makes people think outside of their comfort zone and makes tangible changes in communities. That's what I want to do - and Kim inspires me to do it.

ADRIANNE HO
Adrianne is a my business woman role model. She's also a model, but she used her passion for an athletic lifestyle to inspire her own activewear line called Sweat Crew. It's been picked up by Pacsun (how amazing is that?!) and has expanded into a TV Show launching in a couple months called "Sweat the City". I've had the opportunity to film a couple episodes with her, checking out some different places to workout in NYC. So, not only does she have her own clothing line, she has her own TV SHOW! If that's not impressive I'm not sure what is. And on top of all of this, she's still maintaining a strong modeling career by consistently shooting with great bands.

GRACE MAHARY
Grace has had an incredible modeling career. When I think of the modeling career I'd like to have, I often think of Grace, so she's my career role model. She also comes from Canada and has had one of the most well-rounded careers I've ever seen. She does everything from high-fashion, to commercial, beauty campaigns and edgy editorials. It's rare that a model will have the opportunity to experience all sides of the industry like she has (especially as a model of colour). If I could work with even half of the brands she's worked with - I think I'd be pretty satisfied. She's also a model that recognizes that we have a diversity problem in this industry and it's reassuring to see that other models have the same concerns as I do, and are willing to speak on them.

CAMERON RUSSEL
If you've been following me for a while, you know that I love politics. It's pretty rare to find a woman involved politics, who used to be be a model. She's my role model of...how do I put this...someone in my industry who realizes there are more important things than the industry. It's also refreshing to see someone in my industry talk about feminist issues, race issues and environmental issues like climate change. She demonstrates that being a model doesn't mean we're only interested in shoes, clothing trends and makeup - but that we realized that this industry is full of privilege in many forms and that needs to change. She's also one of the few people that isn't afraid to project the idea that we're not saving lives here, we'd be naive to think that our job is making a difference in people's lives. What it's about is using your platform to make changes in the world, fashion is just the starting point. 

Those are just some of the women I look up to, I have a bunch more role models too! If you'd like to see a post on some more role models I have, feel free to leave a comment down below! Who do you look up to? Why do you look up to them? What are they inspiring you to do? 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fitness: Aerospace

I always wondered why so many models took up boxing, until I actually tried it myself. It’s so freaking amazing! It gives models the results they want – lean, toned bodies. Boxing is all about your core and cardio. By twisting your core and punching a bag (or the air), whilst in the light squat of a boxing stance, you’re really using your every muscle in one movement.

A lot of boxers also use jump rope as their main form of cardio. It seems simple, but jump rope is a highly underrated exercise. What I love about it is that I’m using my whole body the entire time. Because there are so many different tricks and skills to learn, I became so motivated to learn more and become better and better.

Boxing is very mental. I found the combos very similar to dancing, step by step. The concentration involved is paramount. That’s another thing that made me addicted to it – the mindset you get in is so powerful, you always want to feel it.

Where do I go?
I box at Aerospace High Performance Centre in New York City. In one word Aero is: intense. Whether it’s jumping rope for 30 minutes straight, punching a bag for an hour straight or doing advanced boxing combinations over and over and over… Aero offers a crazy variety of classes guaranteed to increase your stamina and whip you into shape. I especially love that their sculpting classes involve resistance bands, body bars and hand weights, making sure your muscles get a dynamic and all-around workout. Whether you want to lose weight, tone or gain specific skills, Aero will get you there.

Here are some videos of the amazing Michael training some supermodels with the techniques he teaches at Aerospace!


The skills you learn at Aerospace are also easy to do on your own. I now take my jump rope and resistance band with me everywhere! It’s so versatile – once you learn the skills it’s easy to do them anywhere. Plus, you’ll want to practice because you’ll always want to become faster, stronger and do more advanced tricks.

What don't you like?
The only downside to boxing/jump rope is that there is a huge learning curve. It’s really about your body learning to move a certain way. It can be discouraging at first. I was definitely overwhelmed in my first class…and for a couple classes after that too. If you stick to it, believe me – you will crave it because you’ll want to learn more, and you’ll love the results you get.

Results

I’ve struggled with my stamina my whole life. I have shortness of breath, which always made it hard for me to run/swim/exercise for long periods of time. Doing Aero every day has helped me improved my stamina tenfold. I can now exercise for long periods of time without having to catch my breath or take a long break. That was something I never thought I’d be able to do. Subsequently it’s improved my overall fitness in every aspect of my life, not just boxing. I’m now better at any exercise I try, because Aero has built up my strength and endurance. I’m getting better results from every type of workout I do, because Aero has given me the foundation I need to succeed at an active lifestyle!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sweat Crew x Pacsun










Photography by: Alexandra Gavillet
Apparel: Sweat Crew for Pacsun
Shoes: Nike
Models: Me and Siovan Hope-Ross 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cover!

Hey everyone! I was so excited to post this, because this is my first cover of a Quebecois magazine! I've done other Canadian-Indian magazine covers, and one Australian magazine in the past, but this was especially important to me.

Without getting really into this issue (which I will in a post soon, don't worry), Indian women are highly underrepresented in all forms of media. This isn't new information. I know that magazines with white women on the covers always sell more than covers with women of colour. I've even heard people talk about this on set.

I completely understand that me being on the cover of this magazine, isn't a large step in the representation of coloured women in media. It doesn't change anything significantly. But for many, Quebec has a reputation of being much less inclusive than other areas of Canada. So it means a lot for me, a West Indian dark-skinned woman, to be chosen to be on this cover.

It reminds me of all of the work we have left to do in the society we live in. This is one magazine. We need  all media outlets to want to represent us equally. It can't be a big deal when one finally chooses to highlight a woman of colour. Do you know what I mean?

It's time. It's high time. I remember growing up and never seeing anyone that looked like me on TV or in magazines. I remember getting excited when I got an Indian barbie, because I could relate to her sari, her long black hair, her brown skin. One barbie, that's what I got when I wasn't watching a bollywood movie.

Let's make that reality different for our brown girls. Let's make them realize that they are enough. They're a valued part of society. They're worth something.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Shoot: Jordan James

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Aerie vlogs!


Did you guys get to check out my last vlog? I'm taking you behind the scenes of my Aerie campaign shoot! This is Part 2, click HERE to see Part 1! Remember to check out my facebook page and instagram to find out first about new posts, videos and more! Hope you enjoy these, let me know if you want to see more! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Feel Light = Eat Light

Before I start this post I want to say that not at all promoting a lifestyle that encourages being thin or restricting yourself from food. I promote a healthy lifestyle and I like to share my experiences. However, if you're happy with your body, whatever it looks like - then I'm more than happy for you. I'm not trying to push anything on anyone. I've just started doing this and I feel a lot better so I thought I'd share :)

I recently had a session with my trainer, and had an epiphany. I came up with this concept, which is now what I constantly tell myself when I'm eating. "Shivani, if you wanna feel light, you gotta eat light".

I want to thoroughly explain this so it's meaning doesn't get misconstrued. I'm not saying, eat "light" as in eat "a hell of a lot less". Think about it, it's common logic. How do you want to feel? Light? Agile? Fit? Strong? Or heavy? Weak? Tired? I noticed that it wasn't just about WHAT I was eating, but HOW MUCH. For example, I'd eat tonnes of healthy stuff. I'd eat a huge salad, with tonnes of veggies and feel super full afterwards. But, I wasn't losing any weight or getting any fitter.

After a couple months of increasing the amount of workouts per day and still not seeing results, I started to get really frustrated. Then I had a conversation with my trainer about what he eats. He's a really tall, lean guy. (Keep in mind, everyone's body types are different so what works for him or for me, might not necessarily work for you - but I think this tip is still important for everyone). It seemed like his portion sizes were a lot smaller than mine.

So I started changing my portions, splitting them up between two meals and eating more frequently throughout the day. I felt so much lighter, not at all tired and I found that the effects of my workouts lasted a lot longer. Which is what we all want right?

It wasn't easy at first because my stomach was used to eating much larger portions to get full. But after a day or two, my body adapted pretty quickly and I was feeling fine after a small bowl of soup, then a bowl of fruits an hour or two later. And I also felt the difference immediately.

Here's an example of what I'd eat in a day:
Meal 1: small bowl of fruit (berries mostly)
Snack: green juice/smoothie
Meal 2: small bowl of soup (lentils or black eyed peas)
Snack: carrots and hummus
Meal 3: half a veggie wrap (kale, tomato, avocado, bell peppers, cucumber, cilantro, lime yogurt dressing, lemon juice wrapped in a whole-wheat thin tortilla) *save the other half for the next day
Snack: small amount of almonds
Meal 4: small bowl of quinoa with chopped veggies (bell peppers, lettuce, broccoli, beets, kidney beans, sweet potato, a little balsamic vinaigrette)
*water with all meals, sometimes an herbal tea (no milk or sugar)

And this would all be eaten before 7:30PM. The great thing about eating small portions is that you always have leftovers. So stick 'em in the fridge and eat 'em the next day! I like to change this up with lots of salad options, but I'm trying my best to stay as raw as possible and stay away from lots of dairy. I feel so much healthier and happier this way. And now my body is actually maintaining toned muscles!

Of course, I have my cheat days - I'll go out for sushi or dessert, but those days are few and far between (like, once a week). I'm not a nutritionist so I don't know if this is a perfect diet nor am I trying to say that it is. (And I'm open to any suggestions anyone has!) However, I do feel so much better eating this way. A really easy way to start doing this is to cut your portions in half and save them for later in the day, or the next day. But when eating smaller portions it's really important to be eating every couple of hours.

Next time you're preparing a meal or going out to eat, think to yourself: how do I want to feel after this? I ask myself this every time I see something unhealthy or I feel like eating a huge portion of food. And it's helped me keep myself in check because I'm thinking about how I'll be feeling afterwards instead of thinking about the immediate satisfaction. 

This "method" [if you will], has really helped me cut my calories and cut a lot of the crap I was eating before that I thought was healthy, i.e. CLIF bars. This is the "cleanest" I've ever eaten and the best I've ever felt.

Has this type of eating ever worked for you before? What healthy eating methods do you recommend? I hope you found this post helpful, and please don't hesitate to leave any questions or tips in the comment section!