Social Icon Interviews: Valentina Zelyaeva
On wellness, the importance of starting with ourselves, and her favorite books
We’ve been following model and certified health coach Valentina Zelyaeva for over five years, and it’s been amazing to see her journey, and all the people she’s inspired along the way! She is truly an exemplary example of being a Social Icon for good — sharing what she learns, and embodying the idea that change must start with ourselves.
One of the things I personally love about our interviews, is that they give Social Icons like Valentina the chance to share more depth on the topics they’re passionate about. It’s a great reminder to pause, take the time to really listen, and look beyond the surface.
So grab your green juice or hot tea and get cozy, because you’re in for a treat! For more about Valentina and some great wellness tips, you can read her lifestyle blog at www.valentinazelyaeva.com.
Q: You’ve had an amazing career in modeling, what inspired you to study nutrition and become a certified health coach?
A: As a model I was always under pressure to be looking perfect. I was trying extreme diets to stay fit and skinny. I was starving and depriving myself, counting calories and eating only carrots. I was tired of this way of living, and I knew that there must be another way. One day I came across a book about raw food. I read it overnight. Everything made sense to me. The next day, I bought a juicer and a blender. I started making green smoothies, almond milk, drinking vegetable juices. I discovered raw chocolate, amazing spirulina and chlorella. I switched my skin and body care to all natural products. I cleansed and detoxed my body. I took my first yoga class and started to meditate daily, waking up at 5 am.
Living this way, I noticed a dramatic positive change in my skin, mood, energy level and overall health. I wanted to share this lifestyle with everyone. That’s when I decided to study nutrition, eventually becoming a certified health coach.
Q: What are a few of the biggest changes you’ve observed in the wellness industry over the past few years? Tell us about some positive changes you’ve seen and at least one thing you’d still like to see improved.
A: I’ve noticed that more and more people are waking up and becoming more aware of their body, of the food they eat, how it affects their health, and where it comes from. People are more aware of the impact they have on the environment. I love seeing those changes! As well as changes such as California banning the use of plastic straws and legalizing marijuana, which is a medicinal plant when used properly. I’d love to see supermarkets banning plastic bags all together. I’d love to see more people using stainless steel mugs when ordering their coffee and other drinks for take away.
I think the beauty industry makes a huge negative impact when it come to polluting our oceans. I’m talking about all those plastic bottles used for shampoo, conditioner, body lotions, plastic packages for eye shadows, powders, foundations, mascaras, lipsticks, etc.. all these plastic products end up in the ocean. When I shop for my beauty products/skin care I always refuse to take samples because I can’t stand the thought of this little tiny sample bottle floating in the ocean after I use that sample cream one time!
Q: What topics or causes are you most passionate about sharing right now - something that could really help the world if everyone did it/ got on board?
1. Shopping at your local farmers market.
2. Carrying your tote bags, stainless steel mugs and reusable containers for take out.
3. Before starting a family sit down and really ask yourself, “Am I ready?” I feel like parents should be spiritually evolved, consciously aware, physically healthy, mentally prepared people before bringing another human being into this reality.
If we want to see our planet thriving it’s up to us - right now at this moment - to start with ourselves by loving ourselves, taking care of our bodies, evolving and growing. So that when you do have children, you can pass on the knowledge and experience from a fearless, loving, understanding and compassionate place; which is who you truly are. Let’s create super humans and divine children!
Q: If you could speak to young girls everywhere today, what is the #1 lesson you’d like to share?
A: Be curious. Read books. Learn something new. Invest time in yourself by taking care of your body, soul and mind. Learn about nutrition, yoga, meditation, art. Go out in nature, spend time alone, and get to know yourself better.
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life to be happier and healthier?
A: Meditating and waking up at 5 am. Being open to all experiences that life throws at me because they all are my personal learning lessons. That’s how my soul, my spirit and my body evolves and expands.
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life to make the world better?
A: Switching the way I eat is the biggest change I’ve made in my life to become more conscious. When my body became clean, my mind became clear. I became more aware. I make better decisions which come from the place of peace, love and gratitude. If we want to make the world better we have to start with ourselves. We have to be that example, to inspire people to make changes in their lives.
Q: What is the one question you wish people would ask you more often?
A: What Books would I recommend?
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Gene Keys by Richard Rudd
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
(We agree! One of our personal favorites as well — A must read for all women)
Letting Go by David R. Hawkins
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
all books by Jed McKenna
Q: What does being a Social Icon mean to you?
A: I think it’s a responsibility first of all. When you are a public person you have a voice and it’s up to you to use it in a positive way or not. As a Social Icon I need to use that platform to uplift everyone, to inspire people, and to speak up for the causes that make a difference.