Tags: health tips

Model Interview: Aisha Howard

We welcome international model Aisha from New York to the Wilhemina Dubai family. Aisha travels  all over the world not just for her exciting modelling career but takes care of herself on the inside learning and teaching yoga and meditation . She shares with us some of her insight, beauty tips and overall advice on how to stay beautiful inside and out.




How did you get into yoga, and where are some of the best places you have practiced yoga in the world?

I began practicing yoga per chance after sustaining a career ending knee injury while playing basketball.  All my life, I had been an ardent basketball player with dreams of playing in the professional league.  However, due to a freak injury, I had to undergo three knee surgeries and became devastated as my basketball dreams came to an end. 

I went from being extremely active to basically having to learn to walk all over again and as an athlete, this was extremely difficult for me.    A doctor suggested that I incorporate yoga into my rehabilitation and workout regime.   To my surprise, I found that not only was I getting an intense workout physically but mentally things were beginning to shift as well.

After practicing yoga for about 5 years, my teacher encouraged me to become a certified instructor myself.  In doing this I have been able to train and teach in some of the most exotic locations around the world.  Last year, I traveled to Thailand, Vietnam and  Cambodia.  Earlier this year, I practiced yoga at base camps along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu and prior to arriving in Dubai, I spent some time in India where I practiced with some of the most amazing teachers.


What is your weekly exercise routine like?

As we are all unique, I found that when it comes to an exercise routine, the most important thing is that you have to listen to your body.  Everything is not for everyone and therefore, what works for me, may not work for you.   Nonetheless, I definitely think a good cardio routine or exercise is paramount, as it strengthens both the heart and lungs.  

Therefore, I always start my workout with some form of cardio which I always tend to alternate.  It can be 20 minutes of jump rope, or 30minutes on the bike a 45minute jog.  Being a former athlete I also have become quite a fan of the bootcamp workouts.  These short yet very intense workouts of 30 minutes to an hour gives you a full body workout, incorporating cardio-conditioning, strength, agility and a great core (abdominal) workout all in one.




What are some of your favorite beauty tips?

Our physically attractiveness is only one aspect of what makes a person “beautiful”  

When it comes to my beauty regime, I am a stern believer that beauty emanates from the inside out. It is our duty to ourselves to love and take care of ourselves.  Mentally, physically and spiritually.

I am quite fond Ayurvedic treatments and remedies.  Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help a person maintain health by keeping the individual’s body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.   

My mother used to always tell me, you are what you eat.  Thus I try my best to avoid processed foods, eating most of my foods as natural as possible.  I have also recently incorporated juicing in my diet and normally start my day with a green juice.. and of course water is a must, It helps to keep the body hydrated and it also helps to flush toxins from the body. 

And lastly, I try to stick to the rule, if I can not eat it, I will not put it on my hair or skin.  I am not always able to abide by this but I am very mindful of the fact that whatever I put on my skin is ultimately absorbed into my body and blood stream.  


How often do you practice meditation?

Meditation for me, is on of the most powerful tool for balancing the mind and body. I find that when I dedicate an hour a day to doing some sort of mediative exercise, I am much more productive and no matter what is going on around me, I am at peace and better equipped to deal with whatever lies ahead.

I also make a point to do at least on mediative lock in a year.  During a meditative lock in I normally go into silence for 10 days.  Last year, I did a 10 day mediative lock in in Cambodia and next month I will be traveling to a monastery in Nepal where will do another meditative lock in while there.




How much has yoga impacted your life?

When the majority of people think of yoga, images of extremely flexible people in even more extreme positions come to mind.  This however is only one aspect of yoga. or the asanas,the  physical practice.  Nonetheless, yoga entails so much more than this.  In actuality, Yoga is a way of life.   Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breathe/or spirit. I am definitely more grounded and I have found a sense of peace and security in being myself.  I have learned to love and accept myself just the way that I am. Yoga has allowed me to release negative attitudes I once harbored and I am learning to enjoy and appreciate every moment of my physical existence on earth.


Highlights of your modeling career so far?

I have been extremely blessed in my career. I have always dreamed of traversing  the physical planet and my career has afforded me that.  But there are two events thus far that I would have to say have been true highlights for me.

My first career highlight was the opportunity of working with the Lebanese designer Ellie Saab. It was one of my first jobs as a model and I  will never forget the day.  I arrived at the casting and was actually rudely turned away by the casting director.  As I was leaving the building, I bumped into Ellie Saab himself, he stopped me in my tracks, asked me who was I and how come he had never seen me before.  He then insisted that I turn around and go with him.  I walked back into the casting, he handed me two dresses to try on, turned to the same casting director who initially turned me away, and said “Do you see this girl,” she is amazing,  I want her to close my show. 

Another highlight for me was being invited to Ethiopia as a guest judge, host and model coach  for modeling competition for young girls.   I have been blessed abundantly, and one thing I promised myself is that I would do whatever it was in my power to do to help others to attain their dreams and to provide the same opportunities to others that were bestowed upon me.  Being a guest judge and model coach for those young girls allowed me to do just that.  And of all the places I have been and all of the things I have done as a model.  Nothing has been more rewarding than spending that time in Ethiopia with those girls. 

Superfoods That Can Boost Your Health

When I first heard about superfoods, I was intrigued. These are foods that are packed with loads of nutrients and anti-aging properties. They have been labelled as such because they contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants among other things. Who wouldn’t want to get healthier with every bite!




Berries have been found to reduce the risk of heart attacks. They also help lower blood pressure and improves blood vessel functions. You can eat anything from strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries to the more exotic acai berries. Also to try – noni berries and goji berries.




Consuming nuts decreases the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It also helps in controlling your weight. Nuts are one of the healthy snacks to have in between meals if you are feeling a peckish. Opt for your favourite unsalted nuts and eat only a handful at a time.




Seeds also make for a yummy snack. You can add them in salads, any meat or fish dishes. They also reduce the risk of heart disease. Seeds contain contains good fatty acids that are essential for the body. Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are easy to find. Opt for unsalted seeds.




Beans provide the much needed protein in a vegetarian diet. They are low in fat and sodium and contain high levels of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre. Dried beans are a staple in the diets of vegetarians, as it is their only source of protein. Try eating – chick peas, kidney beans and dried peas.




Lentils when combined with beans provide a good source of proteins. Lentils can be prepared in many ways. You can add it in a soup, smash it up for a dip, put it in curries or salads.


o-BARLEY-facebook Wheatgrass

Cereals and greens

Try adding barley to your diet, it has a low glycemic index, which is very good for people who are suffering from diabetes as it doesn’t cause the blood sugar to suddenly increase. It is also helps the body metabolise fats and lowers blood cholesterol levels.




Sprouts are when beans start growing. Sprouts are a good source of vitamin C and protein. Sprouts can be added to salads, soups and almost anything else. Sprouts to try – mung bean, alfalfa, onion sprouts.

Other superfoods are yoghurt, peppers and spices. They are nutrient rich and can be added to any dish needed.


- Neha Prasad


Eating According to Your Body Type

Eating healthy and avoiding processed food is the first step towards a better you. But there are other things to consider as well. Ayurveda stresses on how important it is to eat according to your body type.


Ayurveda is an ancient medical practice that originates from India. According to ayurveda, there are 3 body types or “doshas” namely, Vatta, Pitta, Kapha.



People with slender/small build are considered to be vatta. They are very thin, find it difficult to gain weight and they always feel cold.

Vatta body types should avoid dry food, carbonated drinks and raw vegetables. They should eat more warm, cooked food, drink lots of milk and introduce clarified butter (Ghee) to their diets, to help them gain weight.



These individuals have a medium build. They always feel warm and have a high level of energy.

Pitta body types should avoid spicy food, alcohol, vinegar, coffee and citrus/acidic foods. They should increase their intake of vegetables which have a high water content, like cucumbers and lettuce, and eat more fruits.



The largest of all the body types.Their physical stamina is high. They also have wide hips and shoulders.

A person with this body type should reduce their intake of salts, sweets and fats. They should eat food that are cooked with spices and eat lots of vegetables and legumes.


According to the specific body type, there is a simple lists of foods you can eat and have to avoid. You can feel difference not only in your body but in your mind and well being as well.


If you’re not sure what body type you are, here’s a quiz you can take to find out.

For more information, Check out Doctor Oz

- Neha Prasad

Practicing Yoga At Home

christy turlington yoga

After a long day at the office, sometimes by the time I get home  the last thing I want is to get back in the car and drive over anywhere for a yoga session. So recently I bought myself a nice yoga mat and decided to try yoga youtube workouts in the privacy of my own home, so I can still work out and stretch without having to leave the house and the results have been amazing. Here are some tips to consider in order to prevent injury and maximize the experience:

1) Create  your own space

Set aside a space in your room making sure  it is free from furniture and is clean and serene. I like to light a candle to create a peaceful atmosphere and I have a nice playlist of soothing music from Spirit Vogage and Shiva Rea has  compiled a collection of trance music suitable for Vinyasa flow. Keep the lighting low and relaxed.

2) Prevent Injury

Don’t force postures. Anything that is advanced is much better to do around a teacher who can watch you, but at home dont compete with your body -Be present, warm up, fully get into the poses you know…that is how an at home practice should be. Difficult poses should be in a class, where your teacher can make a safe environment for you.

3) Choose your youtube yoga style ( here are some of my favorite):

Hatha Yoga at Home http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAA-SZ05zSg

Weightloss Yoga with Tara Stiles

Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown1

4) Research!

The internet is a wealth of resources for an at home yoga practice.  Itunes has many yoga podcasts and  I Yoga Life has many videos  for a variety of levels.

7) Meditate

Sit with a straight spine, close your eyes and focus on your breath. The benefits of meditation include everything from lowering your blood pressure to improving your mood.

-Leila Antakly

yoga at home

SPF Protection


Even though its been “cold”  for Dubai standards, we still get a lot of sun here so our blog contributor Georgina Antakly decided to do a post on the importance of SPF. Little known facts you may or may not already know. Contrary to what many of you believe, wearing SPF does not translate into not getting a tan, plus do you really want to look like Snookie from the Jersey shore? Here are some secret pointers and the best options out there to keep your skin smooth, glowing and more importantly safe from the sun.
Did you know?

Research has found that the number one skin cancer spot on women is their calves, be sure to cover yourself from head to toe in SPF. Many people put SPF around the main spots on their face but forget important and sensitive areas such as the hairline and ears.

Sunscreens DO have an expiration date and the protecting ingredients can break down in the heat, so be sure to store them somewhere shady and check their expiration regularly.

Always be sure to reapply after taking a dip, sweating or in general after two hours just to be safe and not burn.

Some of my favorite products out there now-

For a good general SPF go with Supergoop a new brand that comes in all different styles, SPF for the face and body and after suncare. Cream not your thing ? go with an oil-based SPF such as L’oreal Sublime Sun 50+, For those of you that are more outdoorsy, try Neutrogena Ultimate Sport 100+. For those of you who spend a lot of time traveling, a good everyday one is Estee Lauder Daywear Spf 50. For those of you that want a good ole fashioned tropical smelling SPF, Hawaiian Tropic brings you a new line of ultra luxe products such as the Silk Hydration which starts at SPF 15 and up, you can also try their new Aloe Vera cream for a relaxing cooling sensation.

tan 4

Last but not least, you can always fake a sun-kissed body, Most brands are coming out with their own lines of self-tanners, my favorite ones are L’oreal Sublime Bronze that comes in an airbrush spray so you get a flawless, streakless look or you can get it in lotion form. For a pricier option, you can try the St. Tropez brand, which many of today’s celebrities swear by. Ladies at the end of the day, just remember that sexy glow does not always pay off at the end, be smart and SPF savvy and go enjoy those summer vacations you’ve worked so hard for.


Model Naza Jafarian On Going RAW

naza jafarian

Wilhelmina Dubai is excited to introduce the beautiful Naza Jafarian  to Dubai ( who happens to be a raw vegan). Originally from Iran, she moved to the UK when she was nine years old. She began modelling at 13 when she was scouted by a famous agent in London and continued her modelling career throughout University where she studied  Bioengineering and then Law.  She decided to focus on modelling in order to travel the world.

During her travels Naza began suffering from severe unexplained seizures and after seeing numerous neurologists and  trying different types of medications, she felt she was only getting worse.  She then went to see a neurologist in California who advised her on changing her diet to a completely raw vegan diet and so 6 months ago she went raw.
The changes you begin to see with your body, your health and skin occur frighteningly rapidly. I was no longer feeling bloated or too full, my complexion began to glow, I had a lot more energy, I felt happier and most importantly – my seizures stopped.

Favorite raw foods Naza?

Believe it or not there are tons of great recipes, but my favorite are raw falafels (they make the best ones at Cafe Gratitude in L.A. ) and Raw Almond Macaroons for dessert.

How challenging is it to maintain a raw diet when traveling?

It really is hard to eat raw whilst I am traveling as it is a time consuming process. But you can always find really good cafes and restaurants if you look for them. In Dubai, it has really been a challenge to stay raw and eat clean (as there is SOOOO much amazing food), but the easiest way that works for me – I buy raw protein powder and I make sure I juice everyday to make sure I am getting the nutrition that I need, alongside salads and heaps of green vegetables for other meals of the day.

For enquiries and bookings contact cynthia@wilhelminadubai.com


Stefanie Ost on Staying in Shape

Stefanie Ost fitness

Stefanie how often do you work out?

Fitness is extremely important to me and I usually work out 5 days a week before coming to the office.

How do you manage your workouts when you are on the go?

If I am on the go or travelling, I love using an app called “Sworkit”, which gives you a quick workout depending on how many minutes you have and you don’t need a gym or any equipment besides a mat. Otherwise, also Yoga or just a quick 20-30min Cardio are other options I sometimes go for if I don’t have a lot of time.

Any tips to staying fit with a quick workout?

The key for me is going in the morning before going to work as it also helps to get a clear mind and focus better at work. I fear I would be a hopeless case if I had to go after work as I usually just feel so tired by then.

What music do you listen to while working out?

House music puts me in the right work out mood and makes working out fun.
How many minutes do you usually spend on the treadmill? Do you like to switch to other cardio machines?

I have to confess I absolutely hate running on the treadmill these days I prefer the bike as I can answer emails, read a book or play games on my phone at the same time.  What my trainer usually does is incorporating then 2-5min high speed running with incline in between lifting weights to get my heart rate up. About once or twice a week I spend one hour of cardio only and during which I am switching from bike, to the treadmill to the cross trainer. Yet, overall, I prefer weight training as the muscles you build will be burning calories even if you are doing nothing at all (so that’s in my point of view the much smarter approach if you want to stay in shape than doing endless cardio).

Can you give us a weekly chart as to your workouts?

Overall, I like a bootcamp style of workout. Usually I start the week on Sunday with a good leg and butt workout which includes lots of squats (wide, close and split squats but also Bulgarian squats sometimes, launches, stiff leg dead as some other weight lifting for legs). As this is usually very exhausting, it is the best for me to wake up and start the week.

On Mondays I change then to some really heaving abs exercises including Burpees (which are really a killer). On Tuesdays I like to focus on my upper body including Shoulders, Chest and Arms.
On Wednesday I usually feel so sore that I am having a Cardio break or playing Tennis for a change, while Thursday I hit the gym again with some obliques and tie work out. Fridays I usually rest and Saturdays are usually Cardio or Yoga days.

Nike Fuel Band App

 Ever wondered if your daily activities were being recorded and you could actually sum up all the calorie count for the day? Look no further ’cause Nike’s all new and trendiest gadget has hit the market! Meet the Nike FuelBand!

Tied on the wrist, this little monster monitors all your daily activities including and not limited to your casual stroll at work, window shopping at your favourite mall, dancing the night away at a hip disco or walking back home on a moonlit night this gadget that actually works like a pedometer will have you on your toes if you haven’t achieved your daily goal of burning calories. The neon color flashes throughout the day and keeps you on track and what a motivation that it actually helps doubling the effort!

Built for precision through three axis accelerometer pedometer to detect motion and speed for counting every step you actually take. This smart devise comes with a wireless Bluetooth connectivity enabling you to connect with your Apple device by installing the free Apple app Nike+FuelBand.

You need not sit and calculate but glance over the wrist band or Nike’s all so-famous FuelBand to see your day’s hard-work paid off or you need to get on the treadmill for another thirty minutes to achieve your daily goal for a fit and healthier YOU.

Written by Sherri, Social Media Manager

The Glowing Green Smoothie

Kimberly Snyder's Glowing Green Smoothie

Stephanie got inspired by Kimberly Snyder’s ‘Glowing Green Smoothie’ so here is the recipe for her own slightly ” sweeter” version to achieving smooth vibrant skin.

The recipe makes 2-3 glass servings:

1/2 cup of water (add more if you prefer a thinner consistency)

3-4 ice cubes

1 cup lettuce chopped

1 cup fresh spinach chopped

1 stalk celery ends trimmed

1/2 apple core removed

1/2 pear core removed

1/2 cup pineapple (add more if desired for more sweetness)

1 banana

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup of squeezed lemon

Add the spinach, lettuce, and water in the blender and blend for two minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and start to blend.

If desired, papaya, kiwi, berries or half an avocado can be added but avoid watermelon as it should not be mixed with other fruits.

Blend well and enjoy :)

The Hottest Workouts in Dubai

             5 of the hottest, current and SO-favorite workouts! We keep you up to date. 

Okay! So we have all heard when the going gets tough, the tough gets going! Oh yes! Tough, toned and fit are the prerequisites for a revolutionized youth of today’s day and age! And how could Dubai be behind when such is the youthful trendiness? Think no further but come along for a bird-eye tour to the top 5 distinguished locations in the workout eminence.

  1. Flywheel:

If you’re into spin classes this is the place to be in Dubai. Integrated with state of the art equipment and instructors to help and push you with the beat of music propelling you to fly the workout through. Flywheel studio keeps you going to burn those extra calories and more by maintaining an account with them tracking down your calories burnt and various other statistics through their website. Not to mention that the staff are some of the nicest and coolest people in town, always willing to motivate and keep you in shape! We at SO love flywheel and specially those competitive friday and saturday morning sessions!

 2. Model Boot Camp:

Designed to get you in the best shape ever, John Gianino’s boot camp at Jumeira Beach Residence and Safa Park gives you a real feel of how a boot camp is like! From running on the beach to lifting sand bags, this boot camp works on stamina building for burning maximum calories in just an hour long workout!

3. Physique 57:

For muscle sculpting Physique 57′s focus is to use your own bodyweight for resistance and interval training. Best for eliminating fatigue and improving muscle flexibility and making the core stronger Physique 57′s classes are very effective but we hear there can be a long waiting list if not booked in advance.

 4.Gold’s Gym:

An international chain of very famous gyms that helped make celebs like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This gym is located in Al Barsha with a stunning view this place is equipped for a variety of group exercises.

 5. Beast Squad:

Boot camps and personalized workouts are offered by Jordan Branford. Workouts are mainly to push you to lift heavy weights and pumping the muscles for a toner and smarter you!

So what are we waiting for? Let us get up and visit the nearest to start unpacking those unwanted extra pounds or to kill the sedentary lifestyle once and for all! Have a great weekend!