Absolutely nothing inspires us more than successful, independent, businesswomen. Women with passion and drive, women who have started with nothing and worked their butts off to make it something. Women that are willing to take risks and overcome obstacles to achieve goals and get to where they want to be, ignoring any negative comments and scepticism along the way. Now add a cracking body and gorgeous face to all of that and that right there is what we call ‘inspo.’ Beauty is one thing, brains to back it up, is a whole different ball game.
Ladies, Meet Pia Muehlenbeck, the woman who is exactly all of the above; qualified lawyer, model, founder of the luxe sportswear label, SLINKII Athletic and owner of some insanely good looks, stunning long brunette locks, a sickeningly UNREAL body and an army of 1.1mfollowers on Instagram. Pia literally ticks every single box going. Talking to ALT/ Pia tells us how she became a model, how she turned a blog into a successful brand, how it was taking a risk and leaving behind her lawyer background to start her own business, the concept behind SLINKII Athletic, her love for Nutella and of course, just how she gets THAT bod.
See the full interview below
The UK has gone absolutely crazy for you – how does it feel?
I actually didn’t realise! I’ve seen a fair few comments on my instagram from people saying hi from London and a place called Leeds too. It’s really amazing to think how the internet is changing the way we all interact… I suppose to the people of the UK… HELLO! 🙂
Have you ever been to London? If so, what was your favourite part about London?
Yes I have, I’m from Germany so on one of my recent trips to visit the family I made a nice little pitstop in London. Unfortunately, though, it rained really heavily the entire time I was there so I spent the majority of my days shopping at Harrods! 🙂 Although I absolutely must go again and explore London properly as I now have a couple of UK stockists for SLINKII. So there’s one great reason to come back!
Can you tell us how you first became a model?
Funny story, I sort of fell into it to be honest. A few years back I did a couple of shoots with friends of friends and landed a feature in TRACKS magazine, which is an Aussie surf magazine. It had minor success but I didn’t really think too much of it. Every now and then, while I was at uni, I would do the occasional shoot to help pay for Uni bills but it wasn’t until I was trying to start my sportswear label, SLINKII, and I couldn’t actually afford to pay models big bucks to do a full on photoshoot. So I just decided to throw the clothes on and have my partner take photos of me. Randomly, as a result my social media started getting some attention and I started to get booked for shoots more regularly. Weird how the world works!
I know that you were a lawyer, was it scary taking the plunge and leaving?
Yes! I’d spent the previous 5 years learning how to do one thing, and after just a few months, I was making the choice to quit. In my heart I knew law was a ‘smart’ career choice, but every time I met a lawyer, they basically told me to steer clear of law if I ever wanted a chance of seeing the sun again! (Long hours are a prerequisite of the career you see). After much consideration, I decided that my degree would always be there if I needed to fall back on it, but I would kick myself forever if I didn’t at least give this a try. I quit, and immediately started on my line and booking modelling jobs at the same time to supplement my income. Now my days are filled with variety because SLINKII is growing steadily, and I get to model a few days a week as well. It’s the perfect balance. It’s what I like to call my MAC vs SUN balance!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I would have to say seeing random people in the street wearing my clothes. There’s something incredibly heartwarming and encouraging to know that someone actually parted with their hard-earned money because they like what I’m doing. It’s so rewarding, and humbling.
Your body is to absolutely die for – What is your secret?!
Ha ha!! Well, for me diet is key. I have one of these annoying bodies that can literally change overnight if I eat the wrong food, so I make sure I eat healthy full meals regularly. I don’t skip meals or succumb to fads. I do have a “cheat day” once a week where I can eat what I like (within reason) and it works for me.
What does your workout regime look like?
For me, variety is essential to keep it fun and interesting. I’ve really gotten into weight training recently. I love how my body reacts almost instantly to a targeted weights session. I tend to accompany that with an hour of cardio a day, whether it be running, stairs, rpm, or uphill walking. I mix them around so I don’t get bored and weather permitting, I do my cardio outdoors.
Then I’m also a huge fan of yoga and pilates so I do a few sessions a week. I find that I really need the stretch – especially after doing weights!
Do you have any food intolerances or cut out any particular food such as gluten or dairy?
I generally have a low-ish carb diet. I never really drink any fizzy drinks, they taste like nothing natural, so I can’t imagine what is actually in them. I don’t have any food intolerances but I do try my best to eat fresh, unprocessed food and stay away from the canned, bottled and bagged.
What does an average day of food look like for you? Do you have any tips/tricks that help you achieve that body?
I try to eat a low carb, high protein diet and stay away from processed foods. I go for carbs, fruits and fats in the morning and then try to have a leaner lunch and dinner.
So a ‘big’ breakfast for me might look like avocado on rye bread, with a side of scrambled eggs or some yoghurt with berries, a protein shake with coconut water, and a few almonds.For lunch and dinner I stick to fresh, organic vegetables and a source of protein.
What does the word ‘healthy’ mean to you?
Feeling great on the inside. Anyone can look good on the outside, but feeling great on the inside and knowing your body is working optimally is far more rewarding.
Do you have any ‘alternative methods’ of health/fitness that you swear by?
No, I’m a firm believer in keeping it simple. A firm butt comes from squats, abs come from the kitchen, and good skin and health comes from a well balanced diet. I don’t subscribe to fads, I just truly think we need to source the freshest produce we can find and fuel our body with nutrients to help us thrive.
What is your favourite…
Meal:Protein pancakes with banana and almond butter. Haha only on cheat days!!
Cuisine:I current LOVE Vietnamese food.
Clothing brand: SLINKII, can I say that haha?!
Bikini brand: I literally have so many bikinis, how can you make me choose! hahah!!
Holiday destination: Well… I’ve been day dreaming about the Maldives for a while now. I have a sneaky suspicion it’s there, despite not actually having visited yet!
Can you tell us a little bit more about Slinkii Athletic and where the concept came from?
SLINKII was originally a blog focussed around health and wellness, it was running for a few years during Uni, but when I decided to step it up a gear I realised I need to turn my hobby in to a monetized business. After looking at the market and considering what I actually wear most of the day, I noticed there was space for a cool, luxe fitness label that people would love to wear, not only to the gym or studio, but even just out and about. I started by researching yoga mats and discovered that most mats are made from some of the most harmful substances to our environment. I found it completely counter-intuitive that yogis, who are inherently, earth loving, peaceful, reverent people, are practicing on mats that never biodegrade. So I teamed up with some manufacturers and started developing the One With Nature yoga mats from natural fibres that are sustainable, eco-friendly and biodegradable. I basically launched SLINKII with just these mats. To be honest, that’s all I could afford!! I bought 200 mats and was terrified that I’d have a living room full of yoga mats and never be able to sell them! Haha! But then the first sale came through for 100 mats and we were suddenly up and running!
Do you have a favourite item from the brand?
I live in my Namaste Tights.
What does your average day look like?
5.45am alarm 1
5.46am alarm 2
5.47am alarm 3 (you get the point!)
8.30am home and quick shower
9.00am sitting at the mac with my puppy on my lap ready for work!
If I’m shooting, then my day is completely different!
I spend a fair bit of my day checking stock, and doing the usual business-ey stuff, but I try to get out and about and shoot some fun snaps most afternoons!
You are such an inspiration and role model to many women- do you have any role models?
Ah that’s really kind of you to say. To be honest, I’d say one of my friends Jane Lu from Showpo has shown me that anything is possible, I really admire what she’s achieved in such a short time with her own e-business whilst having a lot of fun along the way.
What does the future hold for Pia and Slinkii Athletic? Any exciting plans in the pipeline and what is your ultimate goal?
For me, this year is all about expansion. I’ve got a nice user base now, so hopefully that will allow me to share new products quickly whilst being able to expand internationally, whilst trying to get a normal amount of sleep!!!
The fitness industry has blown up in the last year – where do you see it going?
I think we are only at the beginning of the fit fashion explosion. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly futuristic in appearance. We are seeing the emergence of trends such as 3D printed designs, the use of neoprene in high fashion, asymmetrical cuts, and mesh paneling. I think this is a pivotal point of change towards apparel that is highly contemporary and minimal whilst having a strong focus on function. People now value the need to move, stretch, run, and be flexible on a daily basis. It is no longer uncommon to run errands in sportswear as it is more conducive to speed, efficiency and comfort. I can see a global ‘active living’ movement that is gaining extreme momentum as more and more women embrace healthy, strong and fit lifestyles rather than aspiring to be skinny. Strong is healthy and healthy is happy. So I don’t see this fitness boom going anywhere!
For more on Pia:
Facebook: Pia Muehlenbeck
For more on SLINKII Athletic