TEXT: Jennifer Bannon
“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty … and irresistible for the rest of your life”.
– Coco Chanel
In the world of all things fashion, there is always the craving for something more, something breathtaking. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary, is just that little ‘extra’. It takes an incredible amount of dedication and stamina for the Amazon-like stunners of today such as Adriana Lima, Gisele Bündchen and Candince Swanepoel to own that runway. Long before the hair and makeup, sweat is shed and muscles are worked in the active preparation behind-the-scenes. They are fierce. They are confident. They are strong. They are beautiful.
Gigi Hadid, named model of the year, jabs and punches her way to a fit figure at Gotham Gym in NYC. This model doesn’t just strike a mean pose, she also has a powerful uppercut. Behait Prinsloo lets us in on a secret that, “Every girl, after the fitting, is like, ‘OK, I can relax with the butt squats because it’s covered”. Yes they squat! No, it doesn’t come naturally (for most of them – some are just …. let’s just say blessed). Alessandra Ambrosio takes her yoga, Pilates and cardio barre practice seriously. Lima loves to box and you’ll always find a skipping rope by her side. Bündchen does a little bit of everything but her secret weapon is kung fu. For Swanepoel, it’s focusing on her swan-like legs using resistance while keeping it fresh between boxing and yoga. It’s all about balance and maintaining a lifestyle that will carry you into the next phase of your successful career, whatever that may be for you. Health is wealth.
Developing the endurance and nurturing the dedication it takes to attain supermodel status can be tough. The magic is in the progress to perfection. Being unhealthy to the point of developing eating disorders and sickly skeletal bodies is not as fashionably expected as it once was, thankfully. Top models and the high fashion world at large are realizing the long-lasting benefits of promoting health alongside beauty. The women (and men) of the fashion industry have a chance in the spotlight to make a huge difference guiding the next generation towards a new rubric of measuring up to top model status.
Personally, I love heavy lifting yet my dearly beloved genes force me to mix things up to stay lean instead of oh-so-easily giving into the curves. I’ve found that apart from focusing on single-leg exercises during my leg day routines, yoga and HIIT circuit routines keep me in line with a longer silhouetted physique and more consistent symmetrical rhythm. I’ve also enjoyed training briefly at Mississauga Elite Training Centre (Dundas St East/Dixie) that delivers top quality training in Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, strength and conditioning and boxing. The facility is headed by Kru DJ Dallaire of D1 and Claude Patrick. Fellow Toronto-based model Peter Lim regularly mixes weight training and compound movements with rowing, stair-master and cycling HIIT for cardio. He is currently turning towards circuit training to transform his strong physique into one more suitable for fashion modeling. Anastasia De Lyon, who also hails from the GTA, loves to get her Zumba and RMP classes on for her go-to cardio with a combination of yoga practice for strength and flexibility. She will occasionally turn to lifting light weight to tone desired areas.
Overall, the theme is balance. A model’s physique needs to be strong to endure all that is required at photo shoots and runway shows. All this takes its toll, mentally as well as physically, and the dedication that goes into consistent training is a powerful tool that aids in the development of a top model.
Now as Beyoncé says it “Do the scissor leg, touch ya heels touch ya toes … Do the Naomi Campbell walk, Naomi Campbell walk … Walk across the room like Naomi Campbell”.