Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristina Block & Alexandra Mathews.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
KB: I grew up in South East Siberia in Russia. Winters there are extremely cold and long. Summers are beautiful and short. I loved my town, my school and friends. I studied art from 8 to 11th grade in high school. At 17 years old I moved to Moscow to get a higher education in linguistics. Being able to speak English fluently, opened up many doors for me. I worked as a personal assistant, interpreter, fashion brand manager, and event coordinator. I got my organizational skills top notch, but the corporate world was not my thing in the end. I’ve always been creative, dancing, performing, painting, making clothes and modeling here and there.
At 27 I went on a trip to South East Asia and never went back to Moscow. I went on a journey to redefine my life and find my true purpose. Bali became my home for 2.5 years. There I rediscovered modeling and did dance performances. I was surrounded by beauty, creativity and amazing community. Leaving everything behind and stepping into the unknown was the best decision in my life and at the same time the most challenging one. Bali is a powerful place that embraced me so lovingly and taught me so much about myself.
I went through different stages from substance abuse and tons of parties to the most transformational healing experiences. I hit rock bottom to realize that neither an exotic island nor other people will bring me happiness, until I give that love to myself first.
In 2016 I decided to take a personal coach and dedicated 6 months to clarify my true life purpose. I finally recognized that when I dance, I feel the most alive and free. I discovered the healing aspect of dance and now I am developing and teaching Authentic Embodiment, a guided conscious dance practice that helps people to be connected with their bodies and be fully expressed through movement in their unique ways.
Another idea that came through that coaching program was Mindful Models. My intention with it is to bring mindfulness into the fashion, modeling, entertainment and beauty industries through a holistic approach to wellbeing.
In April 2017 I met my husband in Bali. In September I moved in NY and started Mindful Models.
AM: I was born in Santa Monica, CA, raised in Southwest Florida, and moved back to LA at the age of 16 to pursue my life long dream of being a film star. I had been acting ever since I was a little girl, appreciating the freedom to experience multiple different lifetimes within one lifetime. I remember just thinking, “I want to be an astronaut and a secret spy and a princess and a dancer and and!” I didn’t want to be limited by the standard career options of doctor, engineer, accountant, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with those professions, my father was a psychologist and professor and my mother an accountant. There was just always something inside of me that wanted more than what was being presented by mainstream society, a yearning for radical self-expression and a deep exploration of consciousness. While I was pursuing my career as an actor in Los Angeles, I began modeling at the age of 18. I had far greater success in modeling than I did with acting.
Looking back on my life I can see there was a always a theme of struggling “to be heard” and finding my voice, my own unique expression and having the confidence to fully embody it. There’s no coincidence that my first leading role in an indie feature film was playing a mute goth girl. I was the main character but I only say a couple lines towards the end of the film. I can see how I was just terribly insecure and didn’t have the confidence to fully pursue acting in the way that I really wanted to, instead I distracted myself with codependent relationships, substances and the festival community scene. I even produced transformational festivals for six years.
Cut to, I am now 28 and I thought I needed to leave behind my whole acting and modeling career behind when I moved back home with my parents two years ago. I went through a whole process of grieving that period in my life with all of my unfulfilled dreams and ambitions. As fate would have it, I was guided down a different path of self-healing through the modalities of self-inquiry, yoga, meditation and sound healing.
While living back at home in Florida with my parents, figuring out what my next steps were going to be, I completed my yoga teacher training and began teaching yoga full time. One of my favorite classes that I taught was a weekly volunteer service for teenagers living in a drug rehabilitation center.
On a trip back to LA earlier this year, January, I got the call from my friend Kristina about this new project she was creating called Mindful Models. I was intrigued as she explained her vision because all of a sudden my life’s journey was beginning to make a lot more sense. She share about the intention of this project to bring mindfulness into the entertainment industry and how she admired and respected who I was, my gifts, experience and what I could bring to the table. She asked me if I would be interested in helping her bring this vision to life. It was such a resounding, “YES!” This felt like the perfect platform to bring together all of my gifts and really make the kind of difference in people’s lives that I’ve always wanted to make. To transform being a model into being a “role model”.
Since that moment we have been working side by side to build this platform so that we can serve models as best as we possibly can.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
KB: It has been the most fascinating road trip so far:) Living this human experience is a blessing and a challenge. It’s everything. Love and hate, joy and sadness, inspiration and depression, creativity and boredom, abuse and freedom. I think the main struggle is getting in my own way and navigating this time space reality as a human being and relating to other human beings.
Recently I’ve been dealing with immigration and adapting to a new country and culture here in the US.
I’ve also experienced sexual abuse, objectification, substance abuse, financial strain, miscarriage, heartbreaking relationships, and the loss of family members. I believe we need those experiences and energies to balance the most happiest and joyful moments of ecstasy and love in order to fully appreciate life.
The very first thing I got to confront upon signing up to be a part of Mindful Models was cleaning up my integrity. I had struggled in the past with simply “showing up”. Because of my lack of self-worth and confidence I experienced myself in self-defeating behaviors only to reinforce the story that I wasn’t “good enough”. Now that I was stepping up to be a leader, all of my unconscious habits and areas in my life that I was out of integrity came to the surface to be examined, accepted and transmuted. Now I had a clear vision and purpose for something that I really believed in and all of my self-doubts were right there beside me. As they say, the greater the expansion, the greater the contraction right before. When you’re up to big things, the ways you just “got by” before don’t suffice and you’re forced to reevaluate and clean house of old limiting thoughts and habits.
Thankfully, there’s great benefit in working as part of team which is that you have someone to hold you accountable. Whenever either Kristina or myself are having a moment of questioning it all, we have the other to remind us of who we are. We empower each other by presencing why we’re doing what we’re doing and we help each other get back into alignment with our higher purpose and intention despite our momentary doubts, fears and anxieties. Because that’s all going to happen. Anyone who has ever had a big dream knows that’s just part of the journey. The lesson is that you can be afraid and STILL take action. It’s the ability to feel what you’re feeling, have compassion for yourself, use your mindfulness tools and keep moving forward regardless of your fears. Magic happens when you are truly committed. The question is, are you committed to your fears or to your dreams?
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Paulo Cohelo
Mindful Models – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
KB: Mindful Models is a social movement on a mission to bring mindfulness into the fashion, modeling, entertainment and beauty industries through a holistic approach to well-being. We believe that by celebrating diversity, cultivating mindfulness and catalyzing leadership, models can impact society in a truly meaningful way. The organization provides personal development programs, workshops and retreats to help models navigate the industry in a more healthy way and to find what inspires them outside that world. Everything starts within ourselves. By doing the inner work, we can transform our outer world.
We also organize transformational events where people can experience a deeper connection with one another by being their authentic selves, feeling loved, seen and cared for. On those occasions, we take a holistic approach by bringing in different elements such as embodiment and meditation practices, sound healing and education around self-love, beauty, nutrition, mindfulness, sustainability and activism.
In the industry that is based on competition and comparison, we are creating a new way to relate to one another based on collaboration and co-creation. We inspire models to be Role Models society desperately needs.
AM: We specialize in empowering models to be role models in their communities, whether that be local or through their online social media. These days, we have the ability to reach thousands of people through social media and the way that our culture is set up, it’s the beautiful ones, the models, the actors, the celebrities that are idolized and worshipped by the youth. If we wish to transform our planet, we see that by influencing the younger generations in a positive and uplifting way we can make the biggest difference for our planet and our future. Let’s just set them up to win! Let’s give young adults the tools we didn’t have. Let’s teach them about emotional intelligence, self-love, self care, and mindfulness about themselves, their environment and others.
It’s our intention to shift the idea of beauty being just physically based. We see authentic beauty as the light that shines forth from someone’s soul when they are living their truth in alignment with their higher values. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique and precious way and when we can learn to honor and celebrate what our own unique gifts are we can shine and one by one illuminate this planet to be heaven on earth for all beings.
One of my personal favorite projects we have ongoing right now is our Soul Talk series. It’s an online interview series where we feature all sorts of leaders, role models, artists, and visionaries sharing their personal story filled with it challenges, inspirations and successes. Actually, come to think of it, it’s like what you guys are doing with Voyage LA except that the platform we are using is Facebook Live video. We invite these community leaders to share tips, tools and advice for what they would want to say to a younger version of themselves just getting started. It’s been an incredible way to get to know people that I have admired for a long time and be able to create authentic content that is meaningful and provocative.
Another offering that I feel will really take off as the industry continues to evolve is our “Authentic Embodiment Photoshoot”. It’s redefining the photoshoot structure so that it’s intentional and communal. Instead of models just rolling out of bed, showing up to set, jumping into the makeup chair and shooting photos in between checking their instagram page we are creating a new template for shoots. This involves a group mindfulness meditation at the beginning of the shoot including everyone on set, the photographer, make up artist, stylist etc. Everyone will come together to set the intention for what the purpose of these images that being created will be used for. Film and photography are powerful mediums that capture and transmit energy. By taking the time to consciously choose which energy we want to be transmitting to the world we can use this powerful art form in an extremely profound way. Along with the group meditation, there will a movement practice that we call “authentic embodiment practice” allowing the models to get into their body and be fully grounded within themselves to show up even more powerfully for camera. We also address the importance of having healthy whole, alive foods on set and creating a set that is environmentally responsible and sustainable as much as possible.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
KB: Success to me is being in alignment with my mind, body and soul. Being fully expressed creatively through arts. Relating to people with love and compassion. Being humble and genuine. Having financial abundance to keep fueling my creativity and giving back to the community.
AM: Success for me is my ability to navigate life’s inevitable ups and downs with humor, ease and grace! I feel successful when I am unshakably rooted in who I am and have the confidence to show up fully in the game of life and play all out. It also looks creating next level soul inspired art with my dream soul tribe. It feels like the sun shining warmly upon my bare skin and sounds like the ocean waves crashing soothingly on the shore. It looks like eating the most delicious healthy vegan meal and having my feet rubbed. It looks like receiving a beautiful testimonial from a client about how our work has transformed their lives and allowed them to get in touch with their inner beauty. Success is the ability to recognize all that I have, all that I have already accomplished, how far I have come and all the ways in which I am infinitely supported by Source. Success is most definitely a feeling as the goals are endless and we can always continue expanding and evolving no matter what phase of life we are in!
- Reclaiming Authentic Beauty – $250 (4-week online program helps women get back in alignment with themselves and their true beauty that is inclusive of mind, body and soul. Each week we work with different aspects such as belief system, embodiment, sexuality, values and life’s purpose. The program includes daily meditation and embodiment practices, weekly coaching calls and supportive community.)
- Authentic Embodiment Photoshoot – $800 USD (Our photoshoots guide people on a journey through the full spectrum of human emotions with the intention of capturing their authentic expression. We love seeing people empowered, confident and fully expressed. We acknowledge their physical beauty and we create a safe space for their inner beauty to shine. We redefine the format of photoshoots by aligning everyone’s vision and intention into one high vibrational result. We incorporate Authentic Embodiment dance and breath practices into the process which helps people to feel comfortable and empowered in front of the camera.)
- Authentic Embodiment Dance Playshop – $20 (group classes), $100 (private class) Authentic Embodiment is a guided conscious dance practice that brings us to the present moment through a deep connection to one’s body and people around us. It is an open space for us to remember our childlike wonder, feel alive and playful, and to express ourselves freely and ecstatically in our own creative and unique ways. This practice is inspired by and includes teachings of myriad conscious movement modalities such as 5Rhythms, Soul Motion, Dancing Freedom, Azul and many others. It is open to everyone, regardless of physical ability, fitness or prior dance experience.
- Website: www.mindfulmodels.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Main Photo by David Block, Meditation Photo by David Block, Event Photos taken by Rush Varela