Carré Otis is one of the most recognizable faces in modeling, headlining in campaigns for Guess, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and appearing on the covers of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She’s worked with many of the world’s greatest fashion photographers, including Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, and Peter Lindbergh.
But there was a flip side to Carré's success as she struggled with addiction, an eating disorder, and an abusive relationship.
In her book, Beauty Disrupted: A Memoir, Carré shares her unique insight into the business of beauty and the high price it demands by giving an honest account of her struggles with love, identity and spirituality.
Now a wife and busy mother of two, she’s found a new voice as a passionate advocate for young women in and out of the modeling industry.
MBG: Can you tell our readers a bit about your struggles with eating and addiction?
CO: Looking back, I see that at the heart of all of my disorders (eating disorders as well as a kind of disordered living -- being in a constant state of imbalance and/or living in a state of excess) was an unaddressed sorrow and suffering. There were serious issues beneath the surface, and I had not previously had the tools, resources or courage to examine them. By engaging in many healing and treatment modalities and disciplines I began to recognize some deep-seated patterns. By shining a bright light on that which had been in darkness, that which had previously existed only in the recesses of my mind and heart, I was able to see what I needed to work through. Therapy, yoga and meditation became much needed friends.
How did yoga, meditation, and therapy help you in the healing process?
It has been so beneficial to have had the privilege of precise instruction and guided practice. I found it necessary to engage in dialogue, in talk-therapy, so as to process the information and energy that felt stuck in my body. Being able to find language to work through this pain -- pain that was stored physically -- was a life-saver. I understand that dysfunction can get 'stuck' in certain places. Through dedicated practice --yoga, meditation and talk-therapy -- I was able to embark on a journey of authentic healing.
What do you love about yoga? Can you talk about your yoga/meditation practice today?
My yoga and meditation practice has fluctuated through the years. I've gone through periods where my practice has been quite intense. And other times it is less regular, less focused. For me it's a constant adjustment, and somewhat of a balancing act, given all the other areas of my life that I choose to give attention to. Sometimes my practice needs to be very disciplined. For years, I would wake up at 4am, do my meditation practices, and then do yoga for several hours. At the time, I needed that dedication then. Now, it's all about softening my expectations.
How has your practice helped you as a wife and as a mom?
When children are involved everything changes! Sometimes I experience this change as week by week, day by day, and even minute by minute. I begin my day thinking it will go one way, thinking that I'll have time for a formal 'sit' or yoga practice... only to discover that my real practice and yoga is to abandon previously established agenda and go pick up my daughter from school because she has a fever! This IS yoga. To me, softening my expectations reflects the true flexibility of a practitioner.