photography by Fabian Zelinsky
“I try to live my life more slowly and to enjoy the real moments more often.”
“As I was using Instagram ‘wrong’ for many years, I started to have a bad relationship with food and my body. It wasn’t easy to get out of this Swamp but my friends helped me and when I unfollowed those fitness creators I slowly came “back to live”. I would say, that this was the turning point.” concludes Lea Hermann when we speak to her about the moment when she decided to use instagram in a more authentic way rather than a “place” where we have to perform and that ultimately weakens our vital energy for all the reason most of us know already.
We also swaped ideas with the likable and pretty South Austrian model about doing your own thing and not comparing yourself to others, about reminding ourselves that we are just humans and life being too short to always keep that hustle up and she gave us some great tips on how to finally start with sports. (one resolution of us that we always let slide…)
Dear Lea, I’m super happy to do an interview with you. We worked together for the last C-Heads print issue and it’s time to get to know you better. What I like about you is that you are super honest and authentic. On your instagram account for example you are just a “normal” person. With good days, bad days, and it reminds me a bit of the pre-social media days where we were just ourselves. Now instagram has become a business, and people have become products. It would be – in my opinion – naive to believe that anything will change here. Money simply has too much power. And no ideology will be able to change human nature. But you can make some changes for yourself. What was the turning point for you to say, I want to use Instagram more authentically?
First of all, thank you for having me. This means so much to me. I create content to show people, that we are all humans and I appreciate every single person who’s following and giving so much back to me. So again, thank you!
I can completely agree with you on that topic. Money has too much power (over us humans) and unfortunately it will never change. We all need money and in the last few years, many things changed in the social media world.
Since I was a kid, I always loved to be on stages and to be in the spotlight. I am a dancer and I love to express myself. Since I had to quit dancing, I started working out at the gym and also to be more active on Instagram. First, I followed many fitness influencers because I always wanted to look like them. But this changed completely in the last 2 years. As I was using Instagram ‘wrong’ for many years, I started to have a bad relationship with food and my body. It wasn’t easy to get out of this Swamp but my friends helped me and when I unfollowed those fitness creators I slowly came “back to live”. I would say, that this was the turning point. I know how it feels like to have body dysmorphia and an eating disorder and just a bad feeling while consuming social media content. For me, my mission on social sedia is to show, that we can all have a balanced lifestyle and that everyone can build up his “dreamlife”. I don’t want to say that I’m authentic (even though I am) but I would describe myself as “just being myself” and everyone can join my wild (rollercoaster) ride into life on Instagram.
“You always have to have fun when moving your body. If you don’t like the way of movement, change it!””
You also model occasionally, and I love your pictures – especially the ones with Fabian Zelinsky. How did you two meet? And what connects you with each other?
Actually, Fabian recognised me in 2019 on Instagram and he texted me. We wrote for quite a while and he asked me if I was interested in shooting with him. To be honest, I was pretty unsure if I really want to shoot with a “random guy from Instagram” – you know, all the feelings that came up when a guy who you don’t know in real life is asking that. But then I was thinking, that I actually really want to try out modelling. He offered me to do our first shooting in my apartment, so that I have my safe space around me. I asked my mom if that’s ok because I was living together with her and she agreed (sceptical, but she agreed). We talked a lot when we first met and it felt really good and the vibe between us was insane. So, we kept doing our thing together since 2019 until today and we’re a powerful team now which I really appreciate.
What connects us? So much. We are both overthinker and we have a lot of same views about life. We’re both creative and open minded for new things and this makes our work so special. When Fabian and I meet up we also talk a lot. And I really mean a lot. Sometimes it feels like a free therapy session with him because I can tell him all my problems but also all my happy moments that’s why Fabian is not just my photographer. He became a very good friend actually and we will always support each other.
You once wrote: “I often have the feeling that I unconsciously totally pretend for photos and I always want or need to show the very best side of me.” I think we pretty much all feel that (smiles). How could we start here, that we go back a bit more to the easiness of being, and turn off too much thinking?
Just do your own thing and never compare yourself to others! That’s the first thing that comes to my mind. Social Media is a big part of our life now and it looks like it will always be. The right handling of social media content is therefore so much more important now. Of course, when I feel very bad or when I’m sad, my first thought will never be ”oh ,let me take a selfie to show everyone how bad I feel at the moment” No, my first thought would be how to get this bad situation fixed. Sharing happy moments is so much easier because everyone has a beautiful life on social media, am I right? (laughs)
What I want to say is, that we always have to keep in mind, that the real life is happening outside social media and that we can choose which content we want so see. Choose wisely.
Coming back to the easiness of being: We live in a society where we always have to hustle and optimize ourselves. But why? We are all enough just the way we happen to be. I try to live my life more slowly and to enjoy the real moments more often. It’s ok, almost a must, to take a break and to step back if everything seems to be too much. Maybe we need more people to remind us, that we’re just humans and that life is too short to always keep that hustle up and get stressed about things.
“We live in a society where we always have to hustle and optimize ourselves. But why? It’s ok, almost a must, to take a break and to step back if everything seems to be too much.”
You also work out regularly. I would also like to, but can’t motivate myself. What could you give me as a tip? (smiles)
Know your why! What motivates me is, that I always set myself a goal. And if that’s not enough, write down your why. Ask yourself what movement you really like and what’s fun for you. I like dancing? Then go to a dance class. You want to build muscles and love the gym vibe? Then go to the gym. There’re so many possibilities to work out. Dancing, running, gym, swimming, Yoga, Pilates, …
I think you have to find yourself a sport that’s fun cause fun makes movement easier. What I also love is to work out with a friend. Working out together is more fun and that way you can motivate each other. Or get yourself a personal coach. A coach can also motivate you and create a perfect workout plan that fits your exact needs.
And a very important tip: Don’t force yourself too much. You always have to have fun when moving your body. If you don’t like the way of movement, change it! Try something else!
You also openly show that you have been in a relationship for a long time. Are there limits to what you don’t share with the public?
No, I don’t think so. As he is an artist, we’re both on social media and we support each other in our projects. My relationship is a big big part of my life, of course, but it’s not a big part of my account. I don’t create couple content or stuff like that. That’s not the purpose of my account and that’s ok. But if I want to share content with my boyfriend, I of course would share it.
“What motivates me is, that I always set myself a goal. And if that’s not enough, write down your why.”
You released your first e-book about balance. Life-work balance is no longer an unknown buzzword and is currently changing the entire working world. Sometimes I have the ambivalent feeling that we all want to take a vacation, but no one wants to be the one making the beds in the hotel or serve the cocktail at 2 o’clock. Maybe we have reached a point where you don’t have to work much anymore. Keyword: generation of heirs. But the others, who don’t have anything, have to work even more. What are your thoughts on that? And isn’t it all a luxury of the “we have everything generation“?
Oh, wow that’s a hard question. Of course, we live in an abundant society, especially in western countries like Austria in my opinion. As I live in Carinthia, I can say that I always had a kind of luxury life. I think the main change that happened in the last two years was, many new jobs appeared especially on social media. Everyone wants to just hang around and vlog their life and get paid for it or get famous on TikTok or Instagram. The new job “Content Creator” is widespread. I have the feeling that everyone wants to be a Creator. I mean, that’s fine! I’m a creator too but it’s so much more than just filming your random life and go on vacations and get paid for it.
What I want to say is, that nowadays we all have to work but we have the possibility to decide how we want to work. I think the coming generations will never want to get a full-time job in an office or in manual trades anymore. Working part time will be a way bigger and more common thing for many people in the future. I mean, I already do the same. I have a part time job, I’m a fulltime student and I’m self-employed. I also want to be my own boss and be creative and of course work as much as I want and when I want to.
You lived in Vienna for a while, but you moved back home. I also come from Carinthia. What do you appreciate here and why did you move away from the city?
To be honest I didn’t want to leave Vienna so soon. When I was moving to Vienna, I met my current boyfriend. Well. That wasn’t the best timing as he was living in Carinthia. But I fell in love with him and we were in a long-distance relationship for 1 year. The time in the city was nice but 2020, as we all know, was a hard year. Vienna wasn’t Vienna at that time. In the second semester I realised that it’s not the right thing for me so I was looking for a different study, but nothing seemed right. Even though I had my new friends in Vienna I was feeling incomplete, as I was commuting between Vienna and Carinthia for 1 year due to my relationship. I spontaneously quit my studies and moved back to Carinthia to begin a new chapter. And now I am here and couldn’t be happier.
What I love most about living in Carinthia is, that all my beloved ones are around me. My lovely cat is living at my mom’s house now and I love to visit my mom and my cat and of course I appreciate the nature!
“What I love most about living in Carinthia is, that all my beloved ones are around me. My lovely cat is living at my mom’s house now and I love to visit my mom and my cat.”
Your 3 favourite places in Carinthia?
That’s a hard question. I love Carinthia and there are so many beautiful places. The Mountains, the lakes, the landscape in general, I love the nature here, especially lake Weißensee in summer. But there is a small space in nature where I always want to go.
My mom’s place. Because my cat is living there (as I mentioned before) and she lives in a beautiful old house surrounded by fields and mountains. That’s my safe space especially in the summertime.
On hotter days I also love to be at the “Schütt”. It’s kind of a wild river and the water is super cold even in summer because it comes directly from the mountains. The water has this clear blue color and there are small spots between the trees and big white rocks where you can chill and have barbecues.
The most beautiful moments are truly those that happen in the „here and now“. When was such a moment for you in the last week?
The last weeks were insane. A big moment was the release of my ebook. I got so many feedback many people supported me. I also had my first online live session where I was teaching a relaxation technique. That felt incredible. I am so happy how life is going right now that I actually have so many beautiful moments.
Where do you see yourself in about 10 years?
Hopefully as a yoga teacher, freelancer, model and a happy mom. Yes, I want to have kids one day. I think it would be possible in 10 years (smile). But first I want to see the world, travel around and create everything that comes to my mind. I really want to make my living by doing my projects, teaching yoga, coaching, modelling and so on. But the most important thing: I want to be healthy and happy. Everything else will come as it will come.
Thanks so much for your time!
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