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NYFW: Behind the scenes

Without models there would be no fashion, let alone fashion week. However, the well-being and state of mind of models are often overlooked. From the outside looking in, modeling and fashion are depicted as a glamorous business; yet, very few know of the struggles behind the scenes. As a result, former model, Asia Janina Dyrkacz, founded an organization Models Against Addictions(MAA) to bring awareness to the difficulties in the modeling industry and create a platform for models healing from eating disorders, hard drug use and unhealthy lifestyles. After moving from Poland to the United States, Asia picked up modeling, as a career, at age 40 with Elite Model Management. In addition to runway shows in Paris, her modeling resume includes brands such as BMW, Target, and Marie Claire and Oprah Magazines—to name a few. Fortunately, due to the age Asia began modeling it was easy for her to say “no” and stand her ground in sticky situations. However, her modeling peers weren’t as fortunate in their decision making. When Asia witnessed substance abuse in the fashion industry it triggered memories from her home country—living in a communist state, surrounded by men whom abused alcohol frequently. She knew that if she had the strength to persevere, she could help her fellow models to do the same. Asia became a certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor which gave her further understanding for the causes of addictions and treatment alternatives for sobriety. As an alternative, Asia discovered yoga and meditation and earned her license as a Meditation Coach. During New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018, Asia and other team members from MAA provided meditation services for models hours before the fashion show began. Asia believes meditation is an alternative to other substances models are pressured to use to calm their anxiety and nerves during fashion week. Watch the video below to see how models prepared before the CAAFD fashion show last week.

Campaigns and Projects Catwalk Challenge The #CatwalkChallenge is a social media call-to-action to raise awareness of the struggles faced in the modeling industry. The challenge is also about inclusiveness and recognizing that anyone can be a model no matter their shape, color or size. Individuals video record their best catwalk and vow to changing the stigma. The founder, Asia Janina Dyrkacz, hopes to engage super models for the challenge to go viral and for any money collected to be donated to proper treatment and rehabilitation for models. Un-dependent Dependent is a replacement word for addict or user. Most people affected by substance use strike offense to “addict” or "user” and often times will not seek help because of the title itself. Therefore the term dependent has stirred a more positive approach to steps of recovery. “Un-dependent” is one day (the 11th) of each month dedicated to refraining from any addictions one may suffer from not excluded to only drug or alcohol use, but for all addictions such as caffeine, sugar/candy, social media, etc. The 11th date is represented in the spiritual world as the most powerful unity of the spirit, mind and body. The motive is to heal the soul and inner body for longer sobriety and to stop something from controlling you for one day so that you may eventually live a balanced life for eternity. Whats next for MAA? The last week of February is National Eating Disorder Week. MMA is hosting a workshop inviting models to inform them of healthy eating and proper nutrition. (Details TBA) MAA is working on a collaboration with the United Nations to join government and other non profit organizations who support addictions and meditation. In March MAA team members were invited to the Alkermes Corporation Convention in Boston to speak about substance abuse in modeling, changing the stigma and curing the opioid problem. To find out more about upcoming workshops or events visit


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