Every woman, at one time or another, desperately wants to change her appearance, usually in the direction of being a supermodel.
Yet if we ordinary women feel a tremendous pressure to look like the images of perfect women that bombard us daily, curiously, the models feel the most pressure of all.
Tanell Pretorius of South Africa and Raquel Zimmerman of Brazil share how the Transcendental Meditation technique helped them to discover that true beauty and happiness lies within. TM gave them the balance they were looking for in life, and now they want to share this experience with others.
The Pressure of Constant Self-Scrutiny
Tanell Pretorius of South Africa postponed college to pursue a glamorous London modeling career that included TV commercials for Sony PlayStation, catalogue work for Marks and Spencer, and shoots with Rankin, the legendary British photographer.
“The TV work was really fun,” she says. “You’d arrive at five a.m. and see hundreds of lighting people, gaffers, and set designers running around, and often you’d be the hero of the whole thing.”
But the long hours (one shoot started at 3:00 in the afternoon and lasted until 9:00 a.m. the next day) and the pressure of constant self-scrutiny started to take their toll.
“In modeling your body is your product,” Tanell says. “Like most models, I started to develop weird habits with food. I was working out too much and injured myself. That’s when I found Transcendental Meditation.”
Tanell says that all her life, she had been looking for something more, even after becoming a top model. Then she found the Transcendental Meditation technique, which helped her find the inner balance she was looking for.
“When I started the TM technique, I immediately felt that this is the missing part of life, this is the thing that makes life complete, that makes it full and amazing,” she says. “I started to feel so deeply in touch with myself, a lot more connected to my body and my needs. It even healed my sports injuries.”
At that point Tanell decided to leave full-time modeling and explore her love of learning at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. A recent graduate with a B.A. in media and communications, she simultaneously earned certification as a wellness consultant. She plans to use her skills in writing to share what she’s learned about health, yoga, and fitness with other women.
“I love helping women to get more in touch with themselves, to work out and choose what to eat from an intuitive level rather than from what a magazine or an article is telling them to do,” she says.
A Wake-up Call in My Brain
Supermodel Raquel Zimmerman, who is currently one of the biggest names in the fashion industry, also sensed that there was something missing from her life.
“It’s a silly thing,” she said. “Models are valued for what they look like. I started to feel that every human being should be valued for what they have inside. Then you start seeing a lot of girls, they want to be skinny like models, they start getting eating disorders. It’s like an obsession to look a certain way. You start to realize—that doesn’t matter. What matters is what you have inside.”
Raquel noticed a significant change in her thinking patterns in the first week of practicing the TM technique. “I remember when I first started meditating, it was like a wake-up call in my brain. All of a sudden, within the first week of meditating I wanted to organize, my life, my personal belongings, everything. It was almost like my brain was turned on.”
After four months, she was able to quit smoking. “Transcendental Meditation changed my whole lifestyle in one year,” she says. “I had been smoking my whole modeling career because I thought it would keep me thin. It made me very proud, to be a nonsmoker and take care of myself.”
Raquel describes her own experience of no longer feeling overwhelmed by the long hours she spends in airports between shoots. “The frustration is gone,” she says. “You get to the hotel room and you meditate and when you’re there in the moment, in total peace with yourself, you’re in paradise no matter where you are.”
Raquel believes that the TM technique can help women today, because most women suffer from stress, with hectic lives and multiple responsibilities to raise their families and work in a career.
”I think TM could help them release that stress,” she says. “It’s like you have your quiet time and all that stress and worries is dissolved and you move on to your day, and all the challenges and problems don’t become problems anymore. You find solutions to everything. I think it’s a stress-killer, and would be good for women everywhere to learn.”
Tanell also recommends TM to other young people. “It’s helped me to not be so confused by the little things, moment to moment,” she says. “The great thing about the TM technique, you’re not just talking about the bigger picture, you’re experiencing it. And it’s so freeing, so liberating, to feel the largeness of life, how big you really are as a person, within yourself. Then you don’t get lost in the small things.”
Linda Egenes writes about green and healthy living and is the author of six books, including Super Healthy Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, M.D.