Interview By Sebastian Thomas
Afiya Bennett has gained global recognition as one of the world’s top models, appearing in countless advertising campaigns, runways and even on billboards in Times Square, New York. With all this attention focused on her beauty, Afiya recently become the runner-up on iconic model Naomi Campbell’s reality television series, The Face, and shortly after became the global ambassador for Fiji Water.
No stranger to having all eyes on her, Afiya gives credit to her healthy diet and work-out routines that include yoga, SLT and Pilates for looking and feeling the way she does… simply amazing! Asana Journal sat down with Afiya out of her hometown of Brooklyn, NY to find learn more…
How were you first introduced to yoga and what were your original thoughts?
The first time I was introduced to yoga was through my modeling agency. They suggested that I get into some form of yoga or Pilates to length out my body and stay lean. My original thoughts were why is this is so slow, and when I tried hot yoga I thought “omg can it get any hotter in here?” I guess one can say it took me a while to get adjusted.
What is the biggest misperception about yoga (and hot yoga) you find, now that you are an active participant?
I think that the biggest misconception about yoga and hot yoga is that it is easy. The more classes I took, the more I realized that intense yoga is on the same scale as running a treadmill or doing push ups.
How important is an active, healthy lifestyle to you?
An active, healthy lifestyle is extremely important to me. As a model, Your Hair Care, skin care and Body are your number one priority. Maintaining that overall glow starts from the inside out. It is so important to keep your body in shape. Finding a healthy way to stay in tip top shape is the key to feeling happy about how you look on the outside and feeling the best on the inside.
We hear you are into SLT… what got you into this type of fast-paced routine/fitness?
I absolutely love SLT. Another model introduced this class to me, and although it is intense, it is highly effective. A lot of times as models we desire to be toned but still very feminine looking. SLT is able to give you that balance in being toned but in the right areas.
You are also the brand ambassador for Fiji Water…. How has it been promoting the brand?
I love being a global brand ambassador for Fiji Water. I believe that their brand ties directly into mine as a fashion model that values living a healthy fit lifestyle. I always love finding new creative ways to incorporate their brand into mine and showing that off via social media and on my blog.
What about staying hydrated is so important in your line of work?
Staying hydrated in my line of work is so important because it keeps my weight down, keeps my skin glowing, and is always a necessity when I’m running between jobs, castings or even working out. Staying hydrated is one the most important things in keeping me balanced.
Is it hard to find time to do yoga with your busy schedule as a model? How often do you get to get on a mat?
I wouldn’t say that it is very hard to find time to do yoga because if you value something you make time for it. It can be simple as incorporating thirty minutes of stretching after a workout, or in between shots while on set for Nike, or even first thing in the morning before getting my day started. Flights often make me very tense, so I definitely find the time to “grab a mat”, even when my time is limited.
How has hot yoga and other forms helped you as a model?
Hot yoga and other forms of yoga have helped me stay lean, less tense and more focused.
These three times are very important in my line of work, where flying, jobs and castings can make your life and body very tense and hectic.
What advice would you like to share with other practitioners based on your personal experience or others looking at getting into the same things you do?
My advice to other practitioners would be to “dive in”. You never know how any form of fitness or yoga can be beneficial to ones life unless you give it a go. Take that leap and pick up a mat.
Where is your favorite place to do yoga in New York?
My favorite place to go to yoga in New York would be at “Yoga to the people”. They have several locations across the city, they are affordable and they offer different types of classes. They always do a great job at making yoga fun and interactive.
Do you also follow a strict diet at all? Or what are some of your favorite health foods?
I definitely try and follow a healthy diet that includes no diary, limited carbs, at least a liter of water a day, and of course no candy or sweets. Personally, I try and not indulge in anything where if I got called for the biggest job of my career tomorrow, that I couldn’t bounce back from.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
If I could change one think in the world it would be sickness. I believe that as long as we are healthy, with a fully functioning body and mind, we are unstoppable. The only person in the way of our own heights are our own self.