Welcome to our brand-new series Wonder Women. Throughout the month, we'll be profiling the women who inspire us and asking them to share the secrets to their success—how they keep motivated, think positive and strive towards their goals. No one's perfect, remember, so we'll be encouraging them to share the strategies they employ whenever anxiety kicks in or life's stresses have got them down. Life is a journey, we're all a work in progress, and these wonder women can help guide us. This week, British model and mental health advocate Jada Sezer wants to help set you up for your best year yet.
I met Jada Sezer last year at a yoga event with Lululemon. Not only is she friendly and intelligent, but she's also drop-dead gorgeous. She has a confidence I could only dream of, but she isn't one bit arrogant. When I was thinking of "wonder women" for this new franchise, I instantly thought of Sezer. She's making shit happen, she's empowering her followers with thought-provoking Instagram posts, as well as proving that the new normal isn't just one type of person. If you're in need of a pick-me-up, keep scrolling because Sezer's words of wisdom will inspire you to shine just that bit brighter today.
BYRDIE UK: When do you feel at your most strong and powerful?
JADA SEZER: When I've just walked out of a calming yoga class or when I'm exploring a new city alone, meeting new people or having mind-blowing conversations about life.
BYRDIE UK: You're now living in Sydney now. What inspired you and gave you the courage to make the move?
JS: I was approached by an Australian agent about six months ago who offered to represent me here, and I couldn't hack another blistering winter in London! So I planned to move over in October for a few months, which is when it's summertime in Australia. I remember booking the flight and feeling so nervous. My entire life as I knew it, the routines, my flatmates—everything would change. Naturally, we're creatures of habit, but I just knew it would be a positive step in the right direction. Thankfully everything's turned out to be even better than I'd expected.
BYRDIE UK: What advice would you give anyone who doesn't feel comfortable in their own skin or hasn't embraced their body yet?
JS: First, start looking at what you're doing that's stopping you from loving your body. Like negative self-narrative or comparing yourself to others. Recognise it, and then change it. Second, learn a new skill, travel to a different country, or discover a new author. Start to place value outside of your appearance.
BYRDIE UK: What does the first and last hour of your day look like?
JS: Checking emails in bed (a habit I need to stop), then shower, get dressed and usually head to a yoga class or jump in an Uber and head to a studio for a day on set shooting. The last hour would consist of laying in bed responding to social media comments I've missed (another habit I need to change) or editing a YouTube video. I love doing that at night. I find it weirdly relaxing.
BYRDIE UK: When are you most productive, and do you have any tricks or tips for boosting efficiency?
JS: Plan! I hang a vision board in my room that I constantly check in with, alongside a rough timeline of what I want to achieve that year. Then I break the big goals into smaller monthly ones. Time flies by so quickly, but having written objectives helps me stay on track.
BYRDIE UK: You're super busy and share your life on social media, which I'm guessing can be stressful at times. If you ever feel anxious or low, what do you do or tell yourself?
JS: I stop. Occasionally I don't post anything for a few days, and I use that time to reflect and understand why I'm not feeling on top form. Life is constantly changing, moving, evolving and essentially a juggling act. I'm always trying to understand the best way to be the best version of myself and manage this. I tell myself it's okay to take a break to come back stronger.
BYRDIE UK: On one Instagram post, you wrote "The older you get, you care a little less." And also "Not careless, I just care less." I love these! But what do you care less about now?
JS: I care less about things that perhaps stifled me previously. I think time and experience teaches you a lot about yourself, and with age has definitely come resilience and self-worth. As I've grown older, I've created new habits that serve me better and can recognise the ones that don't. Caring less is freedom.
BYRDIE UK: Modelling is your job, but what other passions do you have? I notice you talk a lot about mental health, and you worked on a project with Save the Children.
JS: I do adore modelling—not just taking pretty pictures but the effect they have. When people see a size 16, curvy girl on, say, a billboard in Piccadilly or the ASOS homepage and feel somewhat better about their own body.
The human psyche is something I've studied for years, and I tied in my love for exploring new cultures by travelling to Palestine, where I teamed up with Save the Children. I'm currently learning about the mental health initiatives they offer in various part of the world and help better deliver these in conflict zones.
I love yoga, I found a new love for running and I absolutely love taking on crazy challenges like running this year's London Marathon in April. I guess my passion is reminding people they are limitless.
BYRDIE UK: What has changed in you since taking up yoga?
JS: I was introduced to yoga by a friend who gave me a free pass because I was going through a stressful time. At first, I was like, this is lame—I don't want to work out or relax. I just want Ben & Jerry's, Netflix and bed. But it completely changed my mindset. Nothing has centred me as much as a yin class or fed my soul like the teachings of Jivamukti. I learnt the importance of breath, mindfulness and giving myself dedicated time to do it.
BYRDIE UK: If you could give our readers some tried and true advice to set them up for 2018, what would it be?
JS: Make plans, not New Year's resolutions. Begin the year by writing down what you want to achieve, set the intention and take small realistic steps to achieving this. Whether it's feeling more body positive, getting fit or simply caring less about things that don't matter. Immerse yourself in that world, follow likeminded social media feeds, join clubs, watch documentaries and declutter from the things that don't align with where you want to be.