In the 1970’s, we had the body building movement, with such luminaries as Jack Lalane, Joe Weider, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the 80’s, we were all “sweatin’ to the oldies” with Richard Simmons, and aerobics. The 90’s it was Billy Blank’s Tae Bo, and later, Zumba. The 2000’s saw the rise of the questionable practice of Pilates. Despite yoga’s existence for thousands of years, it has only recently attained mainstream status. It’s a trend that started a little over a decade ago, and shows no sign of slowing down.
The health conscious Freya Innana is what’s called a “yogi”, i.e. a practitioner of the yogic arts. More than that, she’s a writer, poet, model, publisher, and business woman. Freya is enthusiastic, and passionate about her work. During her visit to New York for a photoshoot, I was able to meet with her, and discuss a range of topics, from her business ventures, to her personal life. Though a confessed introvert, Freya was quite forthcoming in her responses to my questions.
Let me start with the yoga, because (I think) that’s the most prominent thing on your Instagram, and what I first saw when you followed this magazine’s account. How long have you been involved with yoga, and what have been the benefits for you?
In my younger years, soccer was my poison. Years were dedicated to the sport and competition of it all. Try-outs, travel, training and tournaments were my life from age 6-18. After the wear and tear, it was time to let it go. Let go of being “the best” or the energy devoted only to that one endeavor. After several years of living in France, playing with the “guys” for fun and running, my body needed a break. Yoga was something in my routine, but not a “passion”. Perhaps, my maturity or need for the spirit body connection hadn’t ripened yet. After my son was born, something or rather everything shifted. Yoga found me. And, not only did I find in the daily practice a reprieve from the “competition” of life, I found a connection to my body, my breath, my loves and passions and a new freedom. This freedom has coursed through the veins of my entire life. Practicing yoga helps me be physically connected to my spirit life. Yoga supports my most challenging dreams by reminding me that practice makes practice more practicable.
In addition to yoga, what kind of diet do you follow? Are you into trendy diets, or do you have your own regimen?
Clean healthy eating represents the center of staying healthy. You are what you eat as Aristotle so rightfully pontificated. Food nourishes. For some that means veganism. Many in the yoga world believe in the practice of ahimsha; as do I. For me, as an omnivore, that means my food must nourish my body, too. That means that my foods are as close to the source as possible: full fat dairy, eggs, unprocessed grass fed meats etc. The more foods I eat close to the source, the more energy to live my life to it’s fullest.
Yoga seems to be a “thing” now, but it’s not new. What do you think of it’s popularity? Is it a good thing?
The more people in the world practicing yoga, the more peaceful the world will become. Yoga will not solve people’s problems, teach them how to be kinder or less angry. Yoga will give them the peace in themselves to make new decisions each time they are faced with a challenge.
Now I’m not hating on your yoga, but I’ve been dying to ask you about your fashion, and your amazing photography. I’m really excited about it, because you look absolutely dynamite! Your pics look far too “bright” and pleasant to be work for hire, it looks like you’re modeling for yourself. Is it for work, or for play?
First, thank you for the beautiful words! They are all for me, my magazine, for fun and for the joy of pushing my own boundaries. Ever since my earliest memories, my style was all my own and dressing up always my favorite play. My network of photographers keeps growing, however, Amy and I have a special relationship. She took the first photos of me and my son when he was a baby and I was feeling particularly vulnerable and alone. Motherhood is lonely as well as wonderful. We take them to use in my magazine. We take them for fun. We take them to stretch ourselves.
Which brands stop you from window shopping, and pull you indoors?
Everything in my closet and on my person has a story. Each piece carefully selected and curated for attention to detail, fabric, composition, sensation and look. My clothes make me feel graceful, free, sexy and vibrant. Dressing is an expression. Dressing was something I also learned from my grandparents. My grandfather wore three piece, custom made suits, every day of his adult life. He expected me to uphold our family name by always be appropriately attired. Although we differ on the how, I still hold this belief as a part of how my navigation of the world. Brands that I am drawn to are therefore full of heart and talent. They can be small labels like Kostome custom clothing by special order only in NYC, Joynoelle Atelier in Minneapolis, eco-friendly Ekyog in Paris, Gordana Dimitirjevic in Paris, vintage or even a big label like Louboutin. My closets are filled with all the above. I like to be wrapped in silk, cotton, cashmere and fur. all day everyday.
You were publishing magazine called Nourrir, but after eight issues, you haven’t published anything since 2016. Did it end, and if so, do you have any plans to bring it back, or perhaps something similar in the future?
Nourrir is alive and well! After a change of direction, my publication has been distributed mostly over Facebook and Issuu. 2018 is going to be HUGE. Check out the last 2-3 editions on Issuu before we transfer everything to a new format. Nourrir is the heart and soul of my purpose on this earth: to love and be loved. My next editor’s letter speaks to this new found understanding of what motivates me as an #unconditionallover.
There’s far more than just pretty pictures at your Insta; you like (love?) poetry. Have you ever tried your hand at it?
Yes, I write my own, too. Very rarely have I ever shared any. Perhaps it’s the last frontier of my competitive fears or fear of being judged! As odd as it may seem, I am an introvert. Poetry feeds my heart every day. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t discover a new poem or re-read a favorite. So much joy. My favorites without selecting favorites: Bob Kicok, Freya Manfred (my namesake), Rumi, Anais Nin etc.
It must be difficult for an introvert to have the kind of attention you’ve garnered thus far. No?
As an introvert, attention isn’t hard per se. crowds and shallow conversation drive me to want to hide! Deep conversation, mutual appreciation and connection: these create the environment in which to thrive rather than survive.
What inspired you to become a publisher?
Someone else, my former partner, saw something in me...had faith in me. The magazine was her idea. We birthed it together and now it is me mothering it and nurturing it to be out on it’s own creating the community I envision
Have you any other ventures you’re involved in?
My other ventures: FGI - MSP Board member, Style Editor at Lakes Society Magazine, Freya Style consultancy, Partnership with Dress for Success, Beauty Counter rep (love the stuff), to continue to push my own boundaries, help and support women through all my endeavors. Thrive not survive, love unconditionally, be the best mama possible.