Nane Feist

MODEL, NEW YORK CITY

"You ease into yourself at the right moment when you tune in with yourself. Listening and being honest to yourself - it’s such an important thing and I’m a big believer in that so many things are right around the corner. There are things already living within you and when you’re ready, you make the change in your life."

TALKS SELF LOVE, EATING & LIVING INTUITIVELY

I first came across a photograph of Nane in an article and even though at the time I had never met her personally, something in me was instantly drawn to her beauty, a sense of self and love that was so effortlessly bared through the photograph. If I had to deconstruct that photograph the same way I would a painting, there was a silent strength and a kind softness existing in harmony that I found so beautifully endearing.

Having being back in Australia and conducting the interview with Nane over a FaceTime call, two hours of lots of laughter and conversation later, my intuition served me correct once again as I got to talk to Nane on an intimate 1:1 level. For those two hours I was graced in the presence of a woman who was humble, real, vulnerable, open and so kind. Sometimes it’s so much easier to build up walls when you are asked to open up to a complete stranger and only show yourself in the ways you would like to be seen, but Nane treated me like a friend she’d known for years and did nothing but open herself up to me and invited me in, into her mind and into her home. It was hard to put a title to our interview as I feel like our conversation delved into so many different topics and areas of health - both nutritional and mental. To be able to talk about things where again, we find women don’t talk enough about like the pitfalls in our own self love and listening to our own intuitions, I hope you enjoy reading our conversation as much I did having it.

I want to say thank you to Nane because for me, it’s not often you get to sit with a woman who inspires you even with their silence. Much love x

 

I FIND MORNING RITUALS AND HOW PEOPLE START THEIR DAY SO INTERESTING. CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR MORNINGS?

There is a really big difference for me between my mornings during the week and my mornings on the weekend and I love my weekend mornings because during the weekdays I feel really rushed and usually have one foot out the door. I really treasure my routine on the Saturday and Sunday so I like to take my time and always wake up a little earlier than I have too.

When the weekend comes around I start the day by opening up all the windows in my apartment because I love to get fresh air. I then make some breakfast and water all my plants and most of the time I make my own coffee. Right now it’s this Dominican coffee and I drink it with oat milk and some coconut oil because it takes away the acidity and makes me feel better. I go to the market every week and I like to cook with whatever I find and whatever is in season. I get my eggs there because the quality and even the color of the eggs are different and it actually tastes like an egg. It’s really important for me to source the right foods. And that’s my routine - I get my eggs and vegetables at the market and make breakfast. Also, I make time to meditate and practice yoga in the morning.

 

WHAT WOULD BREAKFAST USUALLY ENTAIL FOR YOU?

Usually an egg and avocado - I like to boil an egg and cut an avocado and season it with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil. I love herbs and right now it’s the winter so it’s a little difficult but I normally like to cut up some chives or parsley and just keep it very simple. Oh and my latest obsession is coconut yogurt! It’s so fatty and heavy but it’s so good. I guess whether I feel like sweet or savory for breakfast all depends on what I had for dinner the night before. For savory I will do my eggs and avocado but if I preferred something sweet then I’ll get some coconut yoghurt and cut a mango and sprinkle seeds and grains on it. I love that! I’ll roast my seeds and will always have a bowl ready at home to put on salads or with my morning yoghurt. 

WITH YOUR MORNING MEDITATION, COULD YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED?

I'm a newbie to meditation but I decided to do it because I felt really inspired by a friend of mine who got really into it. She’s a very “all or nothing” person so when she decided to meditate she really went for it and I happened to be around and watched the transformations. I saw her energy level and everything in her life transform and I felt really inspired and so the first time I meditated was in her apartment. She walked me through everything and it was a 20 min breathing meditation which she guided me through and I felt so amazing.

I'm very grateful that she was so open and giving and shared that with me and since then I have been doing it for myself. I like to do it in the morning and sometimes I do it during the day. It’s stabilizing and it gives me energy and focus. The reason why I like to mediate is that I feel like I'm a pretty wobbly person and I have a lot of energy and a lot of things on my mind. It’s like this constant explosion in my head of thinking and thinking and over thinking and I feel like meditation really helps me to focus and be in the moment. For me it’s not only an energy booster but a way to take 20 steps back and deal with one thing only. It’s very grounding and balancing like yin and yang.

YOU MENTIONED YOU ALSO LIKE TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD?

I do and now that I can at my place, I want to take full advantage and benefit as much as I can from it. I like to cook and I love going to the market. I always get fresh produce and I'm conscious about what I buy because I remember when I moved to New York and went to Whole Foods for the first time, I was in awe like “oh my god, this is a supermarket?!” But now it doesn't really cross my mind because when I started to buy their strawberries and apples I realized they didn't really taste like anything. All the organic and natural produce available in Europe is so flavorful and they don’t have shiny coats or hold these perfect shapes - instead they look nothing alike and have character and taste amazing. Coming from that I had quite a difficult time in New York and it took me awhile to figure it out so now I grow some of my own produce. I live on my own and am always traveling so I was cooking a lot but then ended up having to throw away a lot of it. It was really upsetting because it was just so wasteful and you spend a lot of money making sure to source it right and then you have to throw it out. That led me to growing my own food.

I started with ingredients I cook the most with like simple salad greens and herbs like parsley, chive, rosemary, thyme and then different peppers, tomatoes, kale, zucchinis and I also have a fig and lemon tree. I went upstate and got some mountain strawberries, you know those tiny ones and I was in Colorado for a shoot and we were on this huge beautiful mountain and it was covered in sage so I picked a little bit and now I have that sage growing in my garden! This was my first season and I'm really excited about the spring and summer because I'm still learning and looking forward to experimenting and swapping things around. I really love cooking with what I’ve grown - the freshness when you first pick a tomato or pepper or you cut some kale and you just carry it inside and cook with it immediately - it just tastes so much better. I also started making bouquets with herbs for my friends and I think it’s a beautiful gesture, bringing them a little bit of you and what you’ve grown. It really makes me happy, just that little something.

IS YOUR ATTITUDE AND PHILOSOPHY TOWARDS FOOD SOMETHING YOU HAD ALWAYS BEEN QUITE CONSCIOUS OF OR SOMETHING LEARNT?

No, it was definitely my mother. I was raised in a really conscious way, organically and naturally and was never exposed to a lot of sugar or snacks. My mother was really aware and now I'm so grateful and feel really lucky to have been raised by someone who was extremely conscious and made sure I was getting the right nutrition from the right sources when I was young. Now it’s important for me to have the same awareness of what I eat and put into my body.

I love food and I don't have any allergies or intolerances so I don't deny myself of anything and think that having that attitude towards eating is really important for me. I like to eat and I have cravings - sometimes for foods that are healthy and sometimes for things that are maybe not so healthy but I am a pretty balanced eater. I like to have smaller portions throughout the day instead of one big meal and I'm quite a nibbler. If I want to have an ice cream or chocolate then I just eat it. I don't do it everyday but for me I think it’s important to allow myself the things I want or am craving for. I'm really lucky because I have some girlfriends who can be quite temperamental eaters. If they have a little bit of chocolate from a bar suddenly they have to eat the whole thing and I don't know I just never had that relationship with food and I think it’s important in establishing a good relationship with eating. It’s okay to eat, I think it’s fine. I think as long as you're aware and conscious about it and you don't over do it it’s okay. It’s joy, I like people who like food and who like to eat. Like sharing things, it’s all pleasure.

I FEEL “TEMPERAMENTAL EATING” IS MAYBE SO MUCH MORE PSYCHOLOGICAL THAN WE GIVE IT CREDIT FOR. MAYBE IT NARROWS DOWN TO THE VERY OWN PRESSURES WOMEN PLACE ON THEMSELVES WITH CERTAIN FOOD GROUPS. WE SOMETIMES ESTABLISH SUCH RIGID PARAMETERS AND SO WHEN WE COME TO EAT THOSE THINGS WE’VE “FORBIDDEN”, IT RESULTS IN A SENSE OF FAILURE OR LETTING OURSELVES DOWN. THEN IT CAN SO EASILY BE FOLLOWED BY BINGE EATING OR AN EXTENT OF FOOD DEPRIVATION AS A FORM OF SELF PUNISHMENT?
IT COULD BE ABOUT REPROGRAMMING OURSELVES TO EAT INTUITIVELY. TAKING A CONSCIOUS MOMENT TO SILENCE OUR ERRATIC MIND AND THE EMOTIONALLY FUELED IMPULSES AND TRY AND HEAR WHAT OUR BODY REALLY NEEDS FROM US BEFORE PUTTING SOMETHING INTO OUR BODY? YOU HAVE A CRAVING FOR CHOCOLATE - YOU CAN JUST HAVE A FEW SQUARES AND BE HAPPY BECAUSE YOU’VE REMOVED ALL THE LABELS AND STORIES ASSOCIATED WITH GUILT AND SHAME THAT TRIGGERED THE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS AND SUDDENLY IT BECOMES INNOCENT AND YOUR BODY AND MIND IS PUT AT REST BECAUSE IT’S GOTTEN WHAT IT’S ASKED FOR. AGAIN SO MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE BUT EATING INTUITIVELY, INTUITIVE EATING - IT’S A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO TRY AND BE BECAUSE IT MEANS YOU'RE CONNECTED TO YOUR BODY RATHER THAN DISCONNECTED. I FEEL MAYBE THIS IS SOMETHING A LOT OF WOMEN CAN RELATE TOO...

Intuitive eating - wow that’s exactly the right word. I see it with some foods - people feel terrible about themselves afterwards and beat themselves up. What you said with intuitive eating, you blew my mind with that. It comes back to again, maybe just checking in with yourself. Be okay with all of it. I think about it like of course I'm not eating burgers everyday paired with a bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate afterwards and that’s when moderation and balance becomes so important. It’s okay to eat like that and it’s just about what choices you make the next day. Going through the waves and even with myself, I try and then sometimes fail. I wish I could be really disciplined but I'm not so I’m also just trying to do the best I can do. I think moderation is important with almost everything in life. If you do it everyday and all the time it will harm you. If you do it once in awhile then it’s okay, it’s safe and it’s probably not going to kill you.

SPEAKING OF, ARE THERE CERTAIN FOOD GROUPS YOU LIKE TO AVOID?

Processed food. Definitely. I mean when I go to the supermarket I always read the back of the label. I just don't really trust or never know what’s actually in everything because in the US the word organic has a different meaning than Europe or anywhere else in the world. I mean the regulations are so much looser. It’s not like I avoid food groups - generally I just love fresh foods like fruit and vegetables and cook with those the most at home with a lot of herbs. Processed foods I have a problem with. I think it’s important to read the packaging and the ingredients and see what’s actually in your food and that nothing bad is hidden like fructose corn syrup etc.

 

In New York we’re so social and we all eat out and of course when you go to a restaurant it’s so nice and you enjoy yourself but we really don’t have any idea what’s in our meals. I mean even if you got a salad, there’s most probably a lot of added sugar and again you just wouldn't know. The least I can do for myself is pay attention when I’m buying my own food. I like clean foods and even though I don't cook a lot of meat, when I do I make sure I buy it from a really good place. For me again, it’s just about being a little conscious about it all.

YOU GREW UP IN GERMANY AND NOW YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK, ON TOP OF THAT YOU ARE CONSTANTLY TRAVELING. WE SPOKE BEFORE ABOUT GROWING UP IN NATURE AND THEN MOVING TO A CITY LIKE NEW YORK AND HOW THAT CAN GIVE SOME OF US A LITTLE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE IN THE CITY. WHAT ARE SOME OBSERVATIONS YOU HAVE MADE FROM LIVING HERE AS OPPOSED TO WHERE YOU GREW UP AROUND NATURE?

For me I moved to New York because I felt inspired and stimulated by its energy. I was living in Paris before for 5 years. I was ready to be challenged again and sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and throw yourself in when there’s an opportunity and for me at the time that was New York. So I moved here and I definitely toughened up a little bit and had to adapt to a new environment but I’ve always believed that we are habit people and nature is what I’m used too and will always be really important to me. I think what I’ve realized is with age we all want to return to our comfort zones. To me nature is my comfort zone and where I live right now in Brooklyn, I live here because I see the tips of the trees and when I look out my window I see the blue sky and can feel the sunlight and those things are really important to me. I feel like I’m able to adapt to New York to a certain point but at the moment I'm trying to find the old me and how she can fit in here and find that balance of adapting but also returning home. If I didn’t I wouldn’t last.

I LEFT NEW YORK LAST YEAR AFTER NEARLY FIVE YEARS IN THE CITY FOR THAT SIMILAR REASON. I HAD MOVED THERE IN MY EARLY 20’S AND AS I STEERED CLOSER TO MY 30’S I SAW MY DESIRES START TO SHIFT. SLOWLY MORE AND MORE I STARTED TO REALLY FIND MY VALUES BACK IN NATURE AND BEING CLOSER TO HOME. LEAVING THE CITY AND RETURNING HOME TO AUSTRALIA WAS SUCH A SCARY DECISION FOR ME AND I WAS BATTLING WITH IT FOR SO LONG! WHAT’S FUNNY IS WHEN I LOOK BACK ALL THE CLUES WERE THERE - I JUST HAD TO LISTEN. I WAS SLOWLY EVOLVING AND SO WERE MY DESIRES, AND IT’S OKAY TO LET GO OF WHAT NO LONGER SERVES YOU - WHICH NOW I REALIZE IS SO NATURAL AS YOU GROW AS A PERSON. 

Yes! You're so right, I always think about that and for me it happens so many times. Everyday there are so many little tests and things coming up where on paper, it looks so clear and so right. For instance - this job pays so much I should really do it but then this inner voice tells you something different and most of the time I think that’s your gut feeling. That’s what I'm trying to listen too more of instead of catering towards pure logic or maybe other peoples expectations. I feel like if you're purely making decisions based on those things and that is your driving force, then you're not catering for yourself and in the end it will catch up to you and result in some sort of a wake up call. I'm always trying to check in with myself and discover how I really feel about these decisions and maybe it means I take more time but I think that’s okay too because I don't want to be rushed. 

I’m also a big believer in the natural. You ease into yourself at the right moment when you tune in with yourself. Listening and being honest to yourself - it’s such an important thing and I'm a big believer in that so many things are right around the corner. There are things already living within you and when you’re ready, you make the change in your life. I think it’s so beautiful to have these different approaches towards yourself and it’s something I'm learning to have more in my time. You know most of the things are there already but maybe it’s not the time for you to go out for them and you know they’ll show their real presence when it’s time. Everything has a time and it’s so fascinating.

WHAT YOU MENTIONED ABOUT CHECKING IN WITH YOURSELF IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL POINT AND SOMETHING I THINK IS SO IMPORTANT. ESPECIALLY SOMEWHERE LIKE NEW YORK, WHERE EVERYTHING MOVES SO QUICKLY AND IT CAN BE SO OVERWHELMING. IT’S VERY EASY TO FORGET ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOU. SOMETIMES I FOUND MYSELF LIVING SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEA OF AN IDEAL LIFE WHICH DIDN’T BELONG TO ME.

It’s really easy to forget that and feel the pressures and just go go go and go. I think checking in with yourself is really key, key to a lot of things. Key to finding happiness in yourself, being a good person towards yourself and also being a good person to people you care about like your friends. Check in with yourself first, it’s okay to say no. It’s fine.

WHEN YOU FEEL LOW OR HAVE FEELINGS OF ANXIETY OR STRESS - HOW DO YOU PROCESS SOME OF THESE EMOTIONAL TIDES?

Well I’m going through something right now actually and it’s really interesting because I’ve just realized I’m so hard on myself and am always my own biggest critic. We can all be so critical towards ourselves and be so hard and demanding. I realized I put so much pressure on myself and it wasn’t healthy or serving me so I recently made a decision to relax a little and be a bit more loving and forgiving. To consciously choose to not beat myself up all the time. To have compassion that if I did something wrong or made a mistake that it’s okay and completely normal and I might even make the same mistake twice and learn my lesson.

I'm slowly learning these things and I want to continue learning my whole life. I had a conversation with a girlfriend of mine and it felt really amazing to say it out loud for the very first time and now it’s about the little things I do for myself. I'm very social and work and travel a lot which I am so grateful for but I need breaks in between and I realized I can’t really be turned on all the time. I like to spend time on my own and it could be just putting my phone away and reading a book or meditating. I’m going to yoga right now and all of these things are for myself and for no one else. If I go to yoga, most of the time I go on my own and I love just being able to be in that moment. And only in those quiet moments I realize I’m the only one putting all the pressure on myself and that can be a challenging habit to drop in New York because you're surrounded by a lot of successful people and it’s very easy to create a complex about yourself. There’s always someone who is going to make more money, is more beautiful, has more this or has a bigger place. You feel like the pressures on all the time but then when you stop you realize you're the only one making yourself crazy.

WE DO SO MUCH FOR OTHER PEOPLE, PURELY FOR THEM TO SPECTATE AND VALIDATE US OR PERHAPS FOR THEIR APPROVAL, ENJOYMENT OR COMFORT. SO OFTEN WE FORGET TO DIRECT THAT ENERGY AND CARE TOWARDS OURSELVES, AND I’M ALWAYS WONDERING, BUT WHY?

See that’s the funny thing. Like I live alone and I bought a little Christmas tree for my apartment and it makes me so happy. No one else is going to enjoy it and it’s those little things you do for yourself and you're right, it’s so easy to lose yourself for others. I'm definitely a giver and I love to give and make people happy - the people I care about deserve 100% of me and it’s really important to have those friendships and relationships but I'm learning it’s also really important to do those things for you. Why are you giving away so much to all the people you love and not giving that love towards yourself?

I ALWAYS THINK, IF SOMEONE I LOVED CAME UP TO ME FOR ADVICE OR CONSOLATION, I WOULD NEVER SPEAK TO THEM THE WAY I SPEAK TO MYSELF. THOSE THINGS WE SAY TO OURSELVES LIKE “GET OVER IT” OR “YOU’RE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH” (WHICH EVEN SO MIGHT BE THE MUCH NICER VERSION OF THE THINGS THAT WE DO SAY). SO IF YOU WOULD NEVER SPEAK TO YOUR MOTHER OR A LOVED ONE THAT WAY - WHY DO WE SPEAK TO OURSELVES OVER THE SAME SITUATION? WHAT WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO DO TO OURSELVES THAT WE WOULDN'T DO TO OTHER PEOPLE. IT’S CRAZY AND IT’S LIKE WE ARE THE ONLY EXCEPTION FOR THAT KIND OF LANGUAGE AND BEHAVIOR.

We are wild! So wild! And I wouldn't dare! It’s a practice and I think it’s really important to be conscious of it and you know we don’t have these reminders everyday so we have to set the tone right and remind ourselves to be a good person with ourselves too because no one will tell you that.

I think it’s also hard because it’s human nature to apply these really strong filters to certain situations or people and I feel like opening up yourself is something you have to learn and learn how to do and it’s a process. For me I'm a little different - I'm a really open person especially with my friends and I don’t apply filters to what’s reserved for family and friends - I'm pretty open book. I'm a very emotionally open book for sure. 

AND I FEEL ENERGY AND VIBRATIONAL YOU WILL ALWAYS ATTRACT PEOPLE ON A SIMILAR FREQUENCY. I ALWAYS THINK IF YOU WANT TO KNOW SOMEONE INTIMATELY, YOU LOOK AT THEIR MOST INTIMATE COMMUNITY, WHETHER IT’S THEIR FAMILY OR FRIENDS AND THAT WILL GIVE YOU A REALLY GOOD REFLECTION AND INDICATION AS TO WHERE THEY ARE AT IN THEIR LIVES AND VIBRATIONALLY WHERE THEY SIT AS A PERSON.

And the really beautiful thing for me are the females here in New York. I have made that discovery that the way you carry yourself as a woman will have you attract similar women as friends and I find that really inspiring. Because then you start to learn and grow as one with them and you really get to learn from the women around you even if it’s maybe from their mistakes or their own vulnerabilities. To have similar women around you who also allow you that room to be vulnerable and feel safe. Who inspire you to grow in your own direction.

And that’s something that my mother also passed onto me when I was in my first relationship. And you know mothers they always know best. My mother said she treasures that idea quite a lot actually, the one where the people you surround yourself with say a lot about you and in a way that’s who you are. It’s all in your power - that’s your filter. Family is really important and when I start to date someone it’s really important for me see how this man treats their mother. It shows how he approaches femininity, shows respect, age, and shows how they love. Family is key and the way you are with your siblings and with your parents. My family is everything to me, I can count on them 100% and that means the world to me. 

Words by Angel
Photos by Brooke Gardiner
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