INTERVIEW FOR L'OFFICIEL
Our cover girl Nina Verkoeyen is an international spiritual teacher who looks like a model yet conveys the wisdom of a 100 year old monk and breaks the stereotype of what a spiritual guru should appear to be.
Nina is also the founder of Meta Spirituality, a growing spiritual tradition that is gathering thousands of women around the world on a mission to help them know their true, powerful self.
Today we're talking with Nina about self expression through fashion, how to develop inner beauty, and about her upcoming spiritual-wear brand Sincera.
L’Officiel: You’ve lived all over the world — Europe, Asia and now in the US, with a villa in the Bahamas and now moving from upstate New York to California — so you’re a perfect representation of a “citizen of the world”. But where is home for you?
Nina Verkoeyen: As cliche as it sounds, home is where I am. I have built the most beautiful abode within me and I teach women to do the same. Regardless of where they are, who they are with, what happens in their life - they can feel at peace, they can feel safe, they can feel at home with themselves.
L’Officiel: You are a beautiful woman. How has that affected your career as a spiritual teacher?
Nina Verkoeyen: For many years this was my biggest frustration: to not be taken seriously because of the common prejudice that young, good-looking women can’t be true spiritual teachers. I couldn’t wait to get older. I was fantasizing about how free and happy I would be in my 50’s when I would no longer be perceived as unfit for the role of a spiritual guru. I still remember a comment I overheard from a woman before my talk at a spiritual conference when I was 30. She said to her friend : “let’s see what this 25 year old model can teach us about spirituality”. She became one of my most devoted students after.
But for many years I wanted to become older as soon as possible so that I could do what I wanted to do the most: teach and talk about spirituality. I was more concerned about my external reality than about the passion of my internal reality. That changed in 2016 when I went through the biggest spiritual transformation of my life that gave birth to Meta Spirituality. It was through this transformation that I realized that my external reality is my internal reality, that they are one and the same. And this is part of what I teach women now. This is why Meta Spirituality - a practical approach to spiritual growth that replaces the old, no longer applicable spiritual traditions of the past, is so popular, especially among women - it creates a radical change in their self-perception and self-worth.
L’Officiel: What is the main lesson you as a spiritual teacher would teach women in regards to fashion and beauty?
Nina Verkoeyen: Nowadays many women get so defined by their outer beauty that they forget to see who they truly are - they wear what is trendy instead of what represents their personality, they follow external fashion trends but they don’t follow their inner guidance. They sacrifice their inner self for their outer image.
I remind women to focus just as much on their inner beauty as they often do on their outer beauty.
There is nothing more beautiful in this world than a woman who is not afraid to live and express the truth of who she is inside. That is what makes any woman irresistible, deeply sexual, magnetic.
L’Officiel: How do you keep this balance of inner and outer beauty?
Nina Verkoeyen: It’s about placing an equal amount of attention on developing both.
Often before a woman goes out, she spends so much time choosing an outfit, doing makeup, doing her hair, picking jewelry. She prepares herself externally. But she doesn’t prepare herself internally.
If she is irritated, self-conscious, tense, or closed up, then the clothes and makeup will work like a barrier that she’s hiding herself behind, rather than as something that accentuates and strengthens the beauty of who she is, making her absolutely stunning.
What I suggest to women is that they take some time for “inner makeup” and inner preparation. Even just ten minutes setting up your inner state makes a huge difference.
Think about the energy you are in right now. Center yourself, be clear on who you want to be today, what your purpose is, how you want to feel, what emotion you want to infect people around you with, and acknowledge it within. Know what you want to express outwards today and bring that to wherever you are going.
The inner state of being that you are wearing is just as important, if not more, than the external outfit you put on.
L’Officiel: What is fashion to you?
Nina Verkoeyen: Clothes are part of how we express what we believe to be. What we put on our bodies tells the story about who we are to other people and to the world. We should wear what represents our true self.
If we don’t feel comfortable in what we are wearing, we won’t feel confident, we will feel stressed from the dissonance between what is inside of us and what we put on ourselves. This will cause a negative effect on everything.
But when we wear what represents who we are, it strengthens us and the message we are carrying into the world.
Clothes are the cover of the book of who we are, and what’s exciting is that we are the designers of this book - both of the cover and of the content.
L’Officiel: What style of clothes better represents who you are?
Nina Verkoeyen: I’m bored by mainstream fashion, by common trends. I’m a revolutionary at heart, and I like all things unique, different, ahead of their time. That feeling correlates with my mission in work and with the clothes I look for. This is why I prefer to buy independent, emerging designers, rather than established and well-known brands. But it is difficult to find designers who fully reflect my taste in clothes.
L’Officiel: Where do you look for inspiration?
Nina Verkoeyen: I don’t need to look for inspiration, I am permanently intrinsically inspired. We’re all inspired, unless our mind is clouded by layers of fears and insecurities that block the true expression of our self. But what I am most inspired by is potential - of my own, of others, of everything around me.
L’Officiel: What is your advice to our readers?
Nina Verkoeyen: Fall in love with the Truth.
The Truth of the present moment could be ugly, could be weird, could be perverse, could be unbearable or it could be mesmerizing. But it is the rawness and realness of it that I teach people to fall in love with. When you do - magic happens.
Do not hide anything that emerges, meet the truth face to face, eye to eye, and in turn transform it and be transformed by this encounter.
This is the most beautiful thing in the world, and it will make you beautiful both inside and out if you fully understand it.