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FINDING INSPIRATION FOR BODY AND MIND ROBERT PIPER: What inspires you in life? VALENTINA ZELYAEVA: Well, many things. First of all, nature; it always inspires me. Living in New York, it can get quite stressful sometimes, so on the weekends, I like to go hiking. Traveling inspires me. I also like to read different traveling blogs. Also, photographers, travel photographers.

RP: How do you find balance in life? VZ: Traveling around, it can get very stressful sometimes, and I found yoga, thank God, like a couple of years ago. I went to my first yoga class, and I got hooked on it, and I go almost every day when I’m in New York. I find that it really balances me. And also, morning meditation. I like to wake up at six o’clock in the morning so I have a very long morning, so I have time to meditate. I can really tell that it makes a difference—the days I don’t have meditation and the days when I do.

RP: How do you stay healthy? VZ: I start my day with a lot of water; I make sure I hydrate my body. I drink a lot of vegetable juices. I don’t usually do fruit juices, but I eat fruit because it’s better for the body. I stay active, I go to yoga, I work out with a personal trainer, I also make sure that I get out and get the pure oxygen that you only get in the forest when hiking. I just make sure that I eat local foods, what’s in season. I go to Union Square where there’s a farmers market like three times a week, so I go there and see what’s local, and that’s what I eat. If it’s December and people eat coconuts from Thailand, your body goes, like, “What is going on?” You need to eat what’s local. So that’s what I’m trying to do—just be as close to nature as possible.

RP: How has your career inspired you? VZ: I wanted to be a model and travel the world. I started in Japan. I was there for a couple of years, then I wanted to go to New York because I always wanted to go to New York. So I came here, and during Fashion Week, I went to different clients. I’m with Ralph Lauren, and I’ve been working with the brand ever since. You know, I’ve been doing modeling for over eleven years. I know my body now, and my travels have inspired me, and meeting new people, and discovering new cultures. Now I know what works for my body, and I can share with everyone using my blog, which I [started] a few years ago. Valentina Zelyaeva is a model, spokesmodel for Ralph Lauren, and yoga lover. VALZELYAEVA.COM 14 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM

PHOTOS: WOMEN MODEL MANAGEMENT

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