You know how we are nowadays. We're on our phones, scrolling through our Instagram and Twitter pages, clicking on one link, leading to another and eventually we find ourselves going through the personal lives of some stranger in another state (if that doesn't happen to you I'm going to feel like a total creeper).
So loooong ago, I stumbled upon @fitalicious_me on Instagram and instantly started following her.
I'm fortunate, yes fortunate, enough to say that I've been following her long enough to have seen her growth and her journey over the course of time.
Today (July 19), something I had dreamed of happening since I first recognized her, I met her! I want to start off by saying that she is a breath of fresh air! If you think she is beautiful on Instagram, she is twice in person (inside and out)! My "interview" with Vevian was one that I've enjoyed the most because I could feel her simplicity and her genuineness (and I put interview in quotations because it felt more like a relaxed conversation).
Now off to the recognition.
Vevian Vozmediano and I met at a cafe in Manhattan Beach, CA, one of her favorite getaways. Can't say it isn't a nice area! Very posh, we agreed. It'd be a dream to live in the area! The only thing is that, she has yet to spot a good grocery store and if you follow Vevian, you know she is smart savvy when it comes to creating recipes and it not being pricey! One of the many reasons why people enjoy following her.
Another reason, is that Vevian shares her life with her Instagram followers! She is open and real. As her Instagram started to reach a large following, which is something she never expected to happen, she was having quite a journey (and very much still is).
Vevian pursued being a massage therapist for six years. Which caused her family to tell her that she should open up a salon with her sisters since one of her sisters was a hair dresser and the other was a nail tech! What a salon that would be! I know I would visit. Lol.
She then became a household maid/nanny for a family for seven years! This is where the cooking all started. The family has asked her if she knew how to cook, and she did because she grew up cooking Middle Eastern foods with her mother, it just wasn't something she did everyday. Her job description included having to cook them dinner, snacks and all of the above! As she began to cook everyday, it's safe to say she became obsessed with it!
Having moved to Chicago, she came out with her first e-book (which came from a blog that she used to have) on December 24, 2012 titled "Bake Shop." Following that she created a project that allowed her to live with 23 families all over the country last year (2013), "Project Fit Nation." With these families she helped cook, grocery shop, and work out with, only asking that they pay for her flight. Being the fearless woman she is, upon her return to Chicago she decided to move again to her now current home in Huntington Beach, CA.
All the while, she was sharing her life with us via Instagram. Everything from her past negative experiences, her self image, her family, her ex-husband to whom she referred to as her "gray cloud," her road trip from Chicago to California, her new found love and husband, and, of course, her healthy recipes.
Now, she inspires thousands of people daily! People reach out to her for all kinds of advice from fitness and health to personal. "It's crazy," she says.
Vevian displays her e-mail to the public purposefully because she loves reading e-mails and she gets them everyday! She not only gets e-mails from people who desire to lose weight or need help with workout routines, "I get e-mails from women that have lost hope in their love life, I've gotten e-mails from women that are in second marriages that are miserable, relationships that are miserable, girls with eating disorders, they are at a dead end job and ask me how I changed my life," she continued, "young girls to women who are old enough to be my mother, it's all over the place. It's all over the place, it's not just like this one generic person out there that reaches out to me.
"I mean, it's almost daily I get these really, really long e-mails people are telling me literally their whole life story and it's overwhelming sometimes to be honest, 'cause I'm just a normal person like you."
Could you imagine? Getting e-mails from thousands of strangers that you've never met who spill all these personal details to you asking for help.
"At the end of the day I tell people I'm not a therapist, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a dietitian, or a nutritionist or not even a personal trainer," she adds.
"I can only tell you so much but what I tell you, it might work for me, might not work for you. And I always tell people to just try, try everything. If they even have a 'oh I think I might want to do this' why haven't you done it yet? What's stopping you from actually doing it? Whether it's like moving, changing jobs, dumping your boyfriend, like what is stopping you? And I feel like at the end of the day so many people are stuck in a rut that they just don't do it. Like I said, I know I would probably be somewhere here in California even if I didn't have an Instagram account but all I'm doing is just sharing my life, just constantly sharing, sharing, sharing and it's brought me here."
Vevian would still have made changes in her life even if her Instagram didn't become what it's become. She made it a point to say that. "It changed because I wanted it to change. It wasn't 'cause Instagram or money or anything. I moved just like anybody else [would have] wanted to move. Even if I didn't have an Instagram I feel like I would still be here in California," (got rudely interrupted by the Starbucks blender, lol), "I don't feel social media has brought me to California," she repeated.
That's another reason why people enjoy following Vevian. If she wants it, she goes and gets it. She makes things happen and it shows!
"I never expected my Instagram to have a large following, I just feel like I got it at the right time," said Vevian. The only true opportunity she feels like she has gotten from her now large fan based Instagram profile is the ability to share her life. People misconstrue the popularity she has gained from social media to where people make many false assumptions. "People think that we have all these special opportunites but no, unless you're sponsored, unless something happens to you, no. But yeah, I make a living off my e-books," she said. Now she's coming out with her seventh recipe e-book which was originally going to be called "Five Ingredient Dishes" but now... she's aiming more towards "Almost Five Ingredients."
Most of her recipes will consist of only five ingredients but "I'd be cheating myself if I just called it five ingredients," she mentioned, "'cause I want everything I do to be awesome so I'm like how about we call it "Almost Five Ingredients." She wants people to have options to add more things to each dish. Which, to me, sounds ideal!
Vevian never shares food to the public that she doesn't think is delicious, recipes that aren't perfect, or company brands that she believes aren't worth your money. She stays true to herself and genuine to you.
When it comes to her future aspirations, one of her long time goals was (and still is) to publish her very own cook book by the time she's 35 (she's currently 34). And although that might not happen as soon as she had wished, it's still on her To Do list.
Vevian said she needs "a publishing company to see me or recommend me or something like that. That would be ideal." Even though she feels like people don't really even buy cookbooks anymore, she just wants to be able to have all her recipes in one book, a book she can hold! "It's not even for the intention of becoming famous, a famous author, or be like Rachel Ray, being all over the world, it would just be this tangible thing that's something that I'm so passionate about and now it's all together in a book, " she said. The cookbook would also include her story on how Instagram has allowed her and inspired her to come up with all her recipes, all her collaborations. Everything from what she's posted on Instagram, to her e-books and even along with families that she visited all last year. I'll tell you what... I'd definitely go purchase that.
Aside from publishing a cook book, a show of some sort has her interest too. It wouldn't be like any other cooking show though, it would be interactive! "Cooking with people," said Vevian, "to teach them how to cook healthy yet affordable. Reaching out to people on different levels." She adds, "Mine would be like I'm over... a lady I just met at the grocery store and she's having girlfriends over and they're all dealing with different weight loss, they're trying to go on diets... families that have busy schedules, I'll go in there and show them how to do a real simple dinner, maybe do like things for their kids."
As of her short future, she's doing a photo shoot for Lululemon in Newport this week and she's very excited for it. It'll be on the beach! So be on the lookout for Lululemon's Facebook page to see Vevian sporting some awesome athletic ware.
Her biggest piece of advice:
"I think [we're] being sabotaged [by ourselves] when we want to do so much and whether it's just putting yourself out there, going for a job that you think you're not qualified for or whether it's that guy across the hallway that you think is too good looking for you to talk to or vice-versa or, I mean seriously, whether it's that dress that you're looking at and you think it wouldn't look good on you. I feel like there's so many things that we're just so afraid of doing, that if we just stepped out of our comfort zone and actually take that step to actually do it, there's so much more to," she paused for a brief moment, "It's just around the corner, if you just take that one step and actually do it. We're just so... we sabotage ourselves so much just by overthinking, over and over and overthinking that like... I just put myself out there and just [being] like 'you know what, I'm just going to do it.'
"If it's bad, if it turns out wrong, then at least I can say that I tried but I feel like there's some people that... just put yourself out there! What's the worst that can happen? Rejection? Not being able to deal with it, you know, at least, I'd rather have something not work out for me, that I tried than for me to be like 'I wonder if' like five years from now. I'm only going to get older. Things are not going to change if I don't take that step."
When it comes to happiness and staying positive:
"I have very negative people in my life and it's all about actually just having a wall and just not even allowing those people to get to you and at the end of the day, we all make our own decisions and all you can do is show love towards those people but if they refuse your love then you can't... you know you just have to move on. Even if it's your friends that you grew up with, your family, your parents."
"Dessert. I don't even care about real food I'll just eat dessert all day."
Back in the day:
"I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was younger, no idea. I actually wanted to go to art school. I liked art. I still love art... paintings, sculptures. But I knew my parents wouldn't allow me to do such things."
"I like the ocean but I don't like going in the ocean. I like the way it looks, I love the beach but I don't like going in the ocean. Especially here in California because you can't see the floor. Like if you were in Florida you can actually see the floor a little bit more, a little bit better there."
"I'm afraid of fish. I'll never go snorkling or scubadiving."
"Life and people that reach out to me on a daily basis on Instagram."
All in all, at the end of the day Vevian is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary passion. She found her talent, her purpose and is sharing it with the world. I like to call her "a breath of fresh air."