Back in 2010, I experienced what became the most spiritual and fun experience of my life thus far, which culminated in my winning Project Runway Season 8. It's hard for many people to believe, but I knew I would end up winning before I even auditioned.
Picture this: I'm standing in the middle of a busy downtown street, fresh off a two-week post graduation vacay in Houston full of drinking, eating and celebrating, and now I'm back in NYC when I get the call from my agent. "Millana, I just got a request for you to go to the last day of castings for Project Runway up at Parsons. Go now. You have 30 minutes before they close. Run, don't walk. And bring heels!"
For any young model working in television, this is certainly a call you hope to get; however, I was in a bit of shock because in my mind, I wasn't prepared for this sort of big audition! All I could think about was the fact that I had a big pimple on my forehead, no heels, and was surely a few pounds heavier than my comp card said due to the past two weeks of revelry.
All of a sudden I heard a very still and sure voice from within say, "You are going to win Project Runway." Immediately, in the most natural way, I laughed out loud and said, "God, can't I go to the casting first?" Quickly after, I was on my way to Parsons, getting there just in time.
The next day, to my surprise, I got a call from my agent saying I'd booked the show, and I was now in the running with 16 other models for a chance to win $25,000 and a spread in Marie Claire. It was at that moment I decided to believe that the message I received the day before was in fact true, and I would become the model winner.
Now, four years later, I'm grateful to share the extremely PRACTICAL tools that helped me align with my belief and manifest my dream. Now I know anyone can do this at any time, with any dream!
1. Focus on your vision and have unwavering faith in the final outcome.
I knew it was also important to simultaneously enjoy the opportunity to have what would become one of the most spiritual and rewarding experiences of my life. I chose to believe — rather, know — the end result. And I threw my whole self into that choice.
2. Keep yourself in the vibration of winning.
During the hectic shooting schedule, I often found myself in close quarters with 16 other models in small rooms for up to eight hours. Since this was how we spent most of our time, I knew I had to find unique ways to keep my focus and energy high. When you're cramped up in the office for hours on end with less than happy people, that's when keeping your energy high is most important!
In order to do this, I imposed a tight regimen and routine on myself. Regardless of the filming schedule, I would wake up early to make sure I had enough time to set my energy. I also worked out daily, and while on set I only listened to positive and inspiring music, ate light, healthy and energizing foods, drank loads of water and limited liquor. When I walked into work and throughout the whole day, my vibration was set and flying high.
3. Tune into and protect your energy.
I knew that keeping my energy high was key, so to maintain it, I had to be conscious of how I was feeling and what I was allowing into my field.
One night, right after filming a cliffhanger episode, my designer was on the chopping block to be eliminated. I had the whole night to wait to see how things would pan out. When I got home, I had a bad run-in with my roommate and quickly realized that my energy had sunk down to the lowest levels. I felt horrible, in a place of doubt, and scared about the next day of filming.
Tight with tension and in tears, I knew I had to shake it all off and feel good again. With determination, I did the one thing that always makes me feel good: I started dancing. Yes, I literally danced off my body pains and fears. I then ran to my notebook and wrote affirmations as I spoke them out loud, "I am the winner of Project Runway!" "I believe!" "I am!" I must have written on 50 pages before I finally got to a place where I felt good again. Exhausted, I realized I had brought myself back into alignment and was now even more adamant to keep myself there.
The next day, a surprise model and designer switch had been proposed. I was separated from my designer, who was then eliminated. Then, just like that, designers were randomly picked from a bag for a chance to choose the model that they wanted. After about six pairings, there was one designer left to choose between myself and another model. The last designer chose me.
4. Make visualization your thing.
I'm a very visual person and learned the power of visualizing from books like The Secret. I even had a vision board that I would look at from time to time. Nevertheless, when a castmate told me about the Vision Board app by Happy Tapper, I finally had a way to access and add to a vision board all day everyday. I looked at images that included beautiful models on the runway, stacks of cash, and phrases that said, "I am the winner of Project Runway." After months of looking at this app a few times a day, I saw almost every single piece of my vision board become my reality.
Even today, from my work to my boyfriend and traveling for business, I still see glimpses of my vision board. Trust me, they work!
5. Don't engage in negative self-talk or gossip.
I learned that it's always great to make friends, but it's totally fine to go it alone. With so much competition and in tight spaces, I made sure to keep conversations short and only for the purpose of sharing positive energy. If the exchange went anywhere else, I would politely change the subject or end it all together.
That meant no talk like: "Don't you think her dress is ugly? She's definitely getting eliminated," or "Do you think I did good today? I think I did a horrible job." Sound somewhat familiar?
Maybe you've heard, "Wow what a bad presentation John made this morning." Perhaps you asked your girlfriends what they think about your new boyfriend? I know it can feel like this kind of small talk helps you relate with what people are going through, but from personal experience and many spiritual teachers' advice, don't go there, because you will get more of whatever you give your attention.
6. Know that what you want in life is already done.
Science is starting to confirm what religions and spiritual teachers have taught for centuries — Everything is happening now and it's all happening and is all already done. In my spare time, I wrote lists of and notes to myself of how I would spend my cash prize, as if I had already had the money in my account. I would pretend (quietly to myself) that I could go shopping, by walking into stores and "buying" things in my mind. I was constantly confirming and acting as if it were done. Not only did it strengthen my faith and energy, it was also fun and became a great use of my time.
Whether you tell your friends in Paris that you're coming to see them before you have the money set aside, or are planning on how you will spend and save when your company gets that big investment, acting as if it has occurred is crucial to building up your confidence in the final outcome.
7. Let synchronicity be your guide.
Synchronicity was one of the most powerful tools that I discovered while filming Project Runway. "Coincidences" almost always have a meaning, message or correlation to a question, need, desire or hope that you send out to God and the Universe.
Be aware of the beautiful interweaving of connections, people, ideas and signs, and they will show themselves and guide you. While on the show, and still to this day, I constantly experience it. I'm sure you've felt this as well; the more you raise your vibration and tune into this magic, the more magical assistance will come to help achieve your dreams!
8. Practice constant gratitude.
When shooting PR, I had no idea that gratitude also had its own inherent power! At the time, as a young model and recent college grad in NYC, I was just so thankful that I was given the opportunity. Every moment was full of joy, not just to fulfill my own personal and career goals, but to get to know God, the Universe and my highest self better. Looking back, I can see now that it was the feeling of love, humility and gratitude that truly lit my path to winning.
Here's the last point that I want to hit home: While I was thankful for the journey, I was thankful for winning before I won. What are you working on, praying for, or trying to manifest that gratitude can take to the next level? I am a big believer in the power of gratitude, and have found this is the thread that brings our vision together. Authentic gratitude is the ultimate sign of faith, and all you need is a little faith to make your dreams come true.
After a roller coaster of a ride, I won Project Runway, and it was one of the best days of my life because I was a co-creator in living out a dream. Perhaps having enough courage to believe, and using the tools within us to align with them, bridges our dreams and reality.
From manifesting more modeling jobs, my company and conscious women's community SERENE Social, to getting into alignment for my loving relationship, I've used these tools time and time again without fail! Don't be scared to mix it up, and more than anything, don't be afraid to believe in your big dreams again — you have the tools; use them and believe! It's that simple.
Photo courtesy of the author