I had the absolute pleasure of meeting one of the Founders in a quintessential boutique hotel in New York City. Meet Asia Janina Dyrkacz, Co-Founder with Meret Hulliger, of the Models Against Addictions (501)(C)(3) Foundation. We had the chance to interview Asia Janina Dyrkacz, known as many titles following that of a Model, an Alcoholism & Substance abuse Counselor, a Meditation Coach. Below is her exclusive interview –
What made you start the organization Models Against Addictions?
Addictions have run in my family, ruined my childhood and ultimately destroyed the closest people in my life, Addictions took away the lives of my father and my brother, affected my own life, destroyed the trust and love of my soul mate, as well as the childhood of my children. Because of this I felt the need to DO SOMETHING. That is why I started my non-profit Models Against Addictions.
Tell us about the ethos behind #CatWalkChallenge
We wanted to create an interactive fun activity that could appeal to our audience as well as reaching a new demographic. Our foundation is associated with the fashion industry and we wanted to create a simple challenge that anyone could do that had style and creativity and at the same time draw attention to the elimination of Stigma. We saw the huge impact the ALS Icebucket challenge had on society and we are trying to do something comparable.
How has your organization benefited those affected by addiction thus far?
We are in the middle of a well known Opioid crisis in this country, we feel we have created a way for people to recognize their dependencies and feel able to talk about them. This is our un-dependent project. In essence we use the great potential of social media to promote being undependent on the 11th day of each month. 12 times a year we ask our followers to refrain from their dependencies for 24 hours thus acknowledging them and recognizing where we need to improve. Our outreach to individuals and companies have been very well received as we are actively trying to change the stigma associated with addictions. If more people talked about them and asked for help, we could help reduce the deaths and shame associated with dependency. We are creating partnerships and gaining new followers everyday!
Meditation is an extremely healing concept, however nobody had thought to implement it within Fashion Week. Tell us what that experience was like last NYFW ’17?
It was fantastic, the models who participated all told us what a healthful benefit meditation afforded them. We worked backstage at Pier 57.
The stress of having to perform, combined with little sleep and poor nutrition takes a toll on the models physical and mental health, by simply allowing themselves to be guided in a short focused meditation program helps them work smarter and feel better about themselves. Every agency and venue we reached out to responded positively and we hope to grow this program in the coming years.
What makes the 11th of each month for the un-dependant so unique?
The number 11 is a recognized symbol of global consciousness and the unity of spiritual and physical experience in life. In Numerology the number 11 is considered to be a powerful master number that has the power and influence to affect change.
When will be the next project & how will it help those in need?
We plan on growing our presence during fashion week, we are partnering with similiar organizations and are raising funds to create the worlds first undependent social network where people can come to together, share their challenges and stories and provide a resource for those in need. We have created a 40 day holistic recovery program that we are implementing in rehab recovery programs beginning with models and fashion industry professionals.
Where do you see Models Against Addictions + #CatWalkChallenge in the future?
Our goal is to create a global movement that will touch people’s lives and change the way society and employers recognize and treat people with addictions. We hope to fund research policy and gain a global following by promoting the #catwalkchallenge as well as make an impact to help those struggling with addiction to find a way to feel better about themselves and seek help from family friends and professionals so that treating the mental aspects of addiction will become accepted the same as going to a doctor to seek care for being sick.