On the runway
and in magazines, Saara Sihvonen — who was runner-up in Finland's Next Top Model (cycle three) and has walked for fashion's biggest names including Givenchy
, Zimmerman and Saint Laurent
— looks every bit put together. However, the picture isn't all rosy.
The fashion industry
is infamous for its brutal and, at times, dysfunctional working environments, which can hit hard on one's mental well-being
. At 19 years old, Saara was unprepared for the curveballs thrown at her when she first stepped into the modelling field. In spite of the loneliness, rejection, and criticism, she took all the lessons and went on to steadily carve a successful modelling career and, now, a new wellness platform to empower those who are new and struggling in the industry.
In the sixth episode of Buro's Brave Living
, Saara shares with our host Simone Heng the grit behind all the glamour and glitz of modelling, how her personal struggles led to her being an ardent advocate for positive psychology, and the impact of social media on the mental health of budding models.
14:42 The City of Dreams
Fresh off her successful run in Finland’s Next Top Model, she was promptly booked by one of the biggest modelling agencies in New York. However, her rise to stardom didn’t last long as she was soon dropped from the agency six weeks in. She recounts how that rejection made her realise the harsh and unpredictable nature of the fashion industry.
25:57 Moments of self-doubt
Saara talks about her parents’ unexpected divorce and how badly it affected her mental health. With the guidance of a life coach, Saara took some time off modelling to explore what she wanted out of life. Withsaara soon followed when she discovered there wasn’t any support system in place for young models navigating the fashion world.
36:27 The impact of social media
Saara shares her thoughts on social media’s omnipresence and learning how to balance the real world and the virtual world. A firm believer in human connection, she emphasises the need for interaction with people around us to lead a more fulfilling life in general.
39:39 Bringing about a positive change
Withsaara is all about starting a dialogue, implementing daily interventions and developing a sense of togetherness, all in the hopes to initiate a favourable change in the current culture of the fashion industry.
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