Supermodel and mental health advocate Naomi Lievens is a curious soul and a woman of many interests. Once she believes the process of learning has slowed down, she moves on to something else. That’s probably the reason why she has explored many avenues. As far as her professional life is concerned, she opened her own bar in Belgium, worked as an architect for a couple of years, helped create a dating application in Greece, and worked as a yacht broker as well as a creative director for a fashion magazine in Paris. And the list goes on and on.
Rather than a conversationalist, Naomi is more of an observant. This trait has helped her understand people even when they have difficulty actually communicating. This gift has worked wonders for her as a mental health advocate, providing support to people in their times of need. Naomi Lievens had a turbulent childhood. At the age of 4, she lost her parents and moved to Malta to live with her uncle.
Six years down the lane, her uncle also passed away, and she moved to live with her aunt. Because of the unsettled early years, adjusting was hard, and she ended up in an institute. While most people would have ended up in worse circumstances, the institute was a great support for Naomi. She learned her major life lessons there and attained some balance. However, she struggled with depression during her teenage years. In fact, her mental health was affected so much that she even attempted to take her life, not once but twice.
To earn a living and survive in the world, she started modeling when she was 15 years old. It was not something she wanted, but she had great potential to become a supermodel and, most importantly, needed the money to make ends meet. From there, it was no looking back for Naomi Lievens, and she ended up working with some of the industry giants like Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Guess, Dolce & Gabbana, Philipp Plein, Dior Beauty, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle, etc.
As she rose to fame and became an inspiration for young girls, she realized she should put her influence to good use by helping people understand the importance of mental health. “I noticed that you can create a lot of awareness for the right causes when you have a bigger audience to communicate with. I know from experience that I could help people in a different way than others because I developed a deeper understanding of pain and loss,” revealed Naomi.
She further went on to explain, “People can go through the same trauma and react totally differently to it. Hence, everyone has a different way of understanding and healing from their experience. You learn so much from listening to other people and observing how they talk and act. I see the blockages and the distractions people have put in their heads and guide them to see the deeper issue and work with them on how they can resolve these issues.”
It won’t be an understatement if we say that she has come a long way from her depression and has embraced life to its fullest. While she was on top of her career and supporting people with mental health, she got pregnant. It was an unexpected pregnancy for her as she was infertile for ten years because of a tumor in her brain that was overproducing hormones. In the beginning, it was hard for her, but with a supportive partner and great work opportunities, she found a work-life balance.
“Initially, I was so upset as my whole life had to be put on hold. It took me some time to accept it, but I am very happy with my choice as I see this baby as a miracle, and I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Besides that, I haven’t felt this excited about anything in a long time, and the love I feel for my son is beyond anything I have ever felt before. It is my first true love,” shared Naomi enthusiastically.
Her secret to success, which she even instills in others, is to stop asking for permission or validation from others. Growing up, she lacked self-confidence and constantly needed others to push her for things she wanted in life. Due to this, she missed a few opportunities, which she now regrets. Even today, she encounters many young kids with the greatest talents. But due to the people around them as well as the societal pressures, they hold themselves back and suppress their abilities to shine through.
She believes everyone should find a passion they can completely lose themselves in and flourish. That is one thing that makes them unique. However, there should be a balance; in terms of what we do, what we think, eat and feel, these all require awareness and a sense of equilibrium to grow and prosper in life.
Naomi Lievens is a real-life inspiration for everyone. From battling mental health to becoming a mental health advocate, from a self-conscious young girl to a successful supermodel, and from struggling with health issues to embracing motherhood, Naomi teaches us how to fight tough situations and emerge victorious in challenging times. Indeed, she is a supermodel in the truest essence of the word.