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Holly Becker / IZAIO

shot in Berlin, Sept. 20th, 2015 / published: Nov. 16th, 2015

Models in the Raw is a journey. And it is much about the people we meet on the way… So here we are. Back to Berlin, birthplace and home of choice of our project. We love to come back here again and again and again. And we love all those Berlin girls. Their strong and very different personalities, their style, energy and interests are such a beautiful manifesto of this city. This week we are glad to introduce Holly Becker. For a youth that is craving for love, freedom and acceptance deserves more attention. Now even a little more. Enjoy this exclusive feature!

Holly, we met in Kreuzberg, Berlin, your hood. What is it like to be a Berlin kid? Could you imagine living anywhere else?

It’s awesome! I love Berlin! It is such an open and creative city with so many different areas and neighbourhoods… When I was a kid my mum and I always used to go and get lost… We just went outside, without a destination in mind or anything we wanted to do and just walked around to see what would happen. Berlin is one of those cities that just accepts you no matter how crazy you might be. I feel free here! I like to think about Berlin as a patchwork blanket, and every little area or corner is one patch on the blanket… I’m sure there is a patch for everybody! Today still, I like to take time out for myself and just go to a different station with the subway and then just walk around and discover. Berlin is home for me, but I want to see so much of this planet. I mean, we live on a gigantic ball that is flying around– I don’t want to spend this lifetime just in one spot. I want to travel everywhere I possibly can. I want to leave my comfort zone, because I think that’s what gives you a chance to grow and discover who you are… and maybe I will find another place where I feel at home… I can imagine myself living in so many places!

As we met, you have been reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer-winner novel “Middlesex”. How did you like it? Are gender and identity issues you are particularly interested in at the moment?

Haha, I have to confess I am one of those people who read 100 books at the same time… So right now I switched to Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Sharon Salzberg’s Lovingkindness which is a book about Buddhism. I am really interested in Buddhism, because religion was always something I struggled with. I just can’t understand why most religions have (at least in some aspects) such a suppressing aftertaste. I just can’t identify with anything that makes me put rules on myself. I am here in this body with this mind on this earth and I want to experience so much! I want to give myself the complete freedom of living up to my full potential. I think it’s sad that this culture wants you to always put every aspect of yourself in a box. I want to discover every feeling without judging it. If I wake up tomorrow and feel like I love a woman, I want to allow myself to feel that.If I wake up and feel like I love more than one person, I want to allow myself to feel that. What I can say about gender and identity issues is that gender for me is just another box you put yourself in. If you are female inside but you have a male body and you allow yourself to recognize and feel that without judging yourself, then you are somebody I am inspired by and someone I deeply admire! Gender should just be seen as a radius.You don’t have to be one thing or the other. I want to feel, experience and achieve so much in this time I have in this body with this mind. I want to take chances and risks and accept every part of myself. I think people need to stop putting themselves and others in mental boxes!

A quick look through your Instagram tells you love fruits out of bowls for breakfast. Would you say you are particularly self- and body-conscious? And if so, where did you get that from?

Hahahaha! Yes, Instagram is so tragically addictive! But first I would like to clarify that under those fruits there is always oatmeal… I have a really weird obsession with oats! Health is a very big passion of mine! I am so grateful for this body and I think it is so incredible how you can almost use food as a superpower for health, energy and positivity. I want to study nutrition! I eat really clean and plant-based. A lot of living, raw foods and superfood that provide you with so many nutrients it’s almost doping, haha. Like for example chia seeds, goji berries, quinoa, millet, lentils, lemons… I start every morning with warm water and lemon, followed by a a green super smoothie with spinach, romaine lettuce, fresh ginger, celery, apple or pear and a superfood powder mix (wheat and barley grass, chlorella, spirulina, curcuma, ginger)… I have been a vegetarian since I was four. My parents were kind of shocked when I presented my decision! I come up with new recipes almost every weekend and I feel like a grandma. Because my favorite way to spend a Sunday is to just cook healthy, delicious meals for me and my family or friends. Lately, I have also gotten into baking… it’s mostly about swapping out foods that don’t make you feel good. For example,coconut oil for butter, almond milk for dairy, buckwheat flour for wheat flour and so on… I probably should just shut up and start a blog, it’s just… it’s my passion, so I can’t stop rambling about it! I am so sorry for you!

Your family has always been a big inspiration to you. Do you actually inspire each other? And what are the best bits you got from your next?

I could not be more grateful for my family! They are the most important thing in my life! My parents are my heroes and role models, as cheesy as it sounds. They are so special in so many different ways. The thing I am probably most grateful for is that they always made me feel like every word I say, every dream I have, everything I feel is by no means less important because I am a kid. My dad …where do I start, he is my hero! He is a therapist, and works with disabled teenagers…He works extremely hard, and still never ever made a big thing out of that. The most important thing I learned from him is… hard to pick just one! But I have this one memory of when I was 11 and told him I wanted to start acting. And he was like: ok honey, let’s google acting schools, you need to start practicing and we need to look for agencies and you need to think about how you will deal with the fame. The thing I am most grateful for is that my dad always made sure I knew that he believed I will achieve anything I want. My mum is my spiritual teacher. No kidding! She is the woman I want to be like… when she is at home she walks around in this kimono, and makes herself this beautiful cup of tea and takes time to read and I watch her… and I am just like completely inspired by this not feeling sorry for taking time for myself. She is so amazing! She is a writer but never makes a fuss about that either. And yet when I read a poem from her, I am blown away. It’s delicate and strong and deep and she just is so creative. She does yoga every day, she actually got me into yoga, too! But the thing I am most grateful for is that from the beginning she taught me to always listen to my feelings. She used to say: when you don’t want to you don’t have to do anything. She never made me meet friends or go outside or do stupid classes for kids, she always made sure I do exactly what I feel like doing. Even now when I have a job or a date or anything and I am tired or just happy alone, she tells me that it is ok to be alone and it is important to take that time and I am not allowed to feel bad about it! Lately, I started meditating with her… She is my role model! And my little sister is just this amazing bundle of energy… it’s crazy! The thing I learn daily from her is to just be in the moment and do what I want. She has this amazing ability to just say what she wants and then, oh dear, she goes for it! And most of the time she gets it! Spending time with her is so important for me. She is one of my best friends. Haha, I just realized how cheesy all that sounds, but anyway, there are far too many stories about teenagers who don’t get along with their families!

Talking about inspiration, art and creativity is everywhere in Berlin. What is art to you? Are you artistic in any way?

Art to me is this deep, human need to express yourself. It starts with language and it has no limits in any direction! I can only hope for everyone to find creative outlets of some kind. I like to write and sing. Cooking and baking to me are just as artistic. And I like photography and want to get more into that. I want to buy myself an analog camera… I have some projects in mind! I like painting as well, though mine looks like those of a 4 year old and yet I just go with it. Haha, don’t take anything too seriously, right?

If you could make a wish: what would you like to achieve as a model?

Oh well, I have no freaking idea where this craziness might take me! We will both see… right?

Any further life goals?

Thousands! But the most important one is to keep exploring myself and the world and to keep learning and changing and to love… a crazy amount of love please!

Besides healthy food, yoga, serious readings, art and fashion talk, one may well forget you are only 16. Just to get the picture straight, what was your most goofy moment? And what is the latest shit for the coolest kid?

The truly goofiest moment I can’t really tell here, let’s say it was really, really not quite legit. And yet there are so many to choose from! I think one of my favorites was my trip to San Francisco with friends… because the latest thing for the cool kids is to get up and have adventures and fun and do crazy, awesome stuff that they will never forget about!


©modelsintheraw.com / photos: Thomas Sing / text: Chiara Padovan