Keeping It Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 4

Keeping It Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 4

In the final post of her series on finding sobriety, Eddie shares her biggest triumph…

It was only 26 days after I quit drinking that I realized my first significant goal: going to NYC. That, in comparison to the 246 days it took me to travel from Stockholm to Istanbul, was an amazing achievement. Putting my mind to something and actually focusing on its end was what truly brought me there. “If it was easy, then everyone would do it” was a saying that, after hearing it a first time, began to really make sense.

I remember sitting on the plane listening to “People Are Strange” with a big smile on my face. I had made it. I was finally on my way, thanks to hard work, sobriety and refusing to listen to others’ negative comments about dreaming too big.

While drifting in and out of the clouds, I thought about finally living the life once I arrived in New York. And that I would probably start drinking again. I pictured my winter-NYC life: tight (p)leather pants, Rag and Bone boots, Alexander Wang tee, vintage bomber jacket and Balenciaga purse with a Blackberry in my left hand and a martini in the right*. I had reached my goal and it was time for a big celebration!

*Hey hip fashion gals! Remember this is was the beginning of 2013 — this was a pretty hot look!

Well, my arrival into New York January 29th didn’t bring with it the light cinematic snow I had pictured, but rather a full-on storm. Wearing double layers of stockings and a huge vintage double-breasted wool coat, I struggled with the snow mountains down in the Lower East Side.

My first dinner as a sober woman was held a new hip restaurant on Lafayette and Prince. 12 people in total…. all very trendy, all very important. Trendy editor. Trendy blogger. Trendy jeans designer. Trendy art director. Trendy model. And then me, a struggling vegan model with fat thighs (thanks to the double layers of knitted stockings). Even the carrot I nervously chewed was trendy tricolor cool.

Jokes aside, the night ended up being one of my favorites and, despite not wearing the pleather pants, I was happy and the night went exactly how I pictured it to.

About half of the group continued onward to a very exclusive pop-up nightclub to dance off our food. One of the guys, an art director/blonde version of a skater boy who broke my heart one year earlier, started dropping me hints. And winks. And touches.

We ended up kissing at the dance floor. Made out in a yellow cab heading east. The rest is secretly written in my diary (but if you send me an email I could tell you the rest).

The storm was over when we woke up, and with clumsy small talk he helped me lock my rusty door on Henry St. We walked a few blocks to a coffee shop. He bought me my almond milk cappuccino (I was so excited for this cos’ back in 2013 almond milk was pretty rare!) and we sat by a window seat.

“Gaaah, I’m so hung over,” he said with half a scallion cream cheese bagel stuffed in his mouth.

“Me too.” I lied, and smiled the biggest smile ever.

I had done it. My euphoria was indescribable. I had partied, I had danced, I had been trendy and I had a one night stand — SOBER!

It was truly then that I realized  alcohol was not necessary in making my life exciting. It was all within myself. I didn’t need to celebrate with a drink – I could celebrate with a green juice and be just as happy!

+ Be sure to read more from Eddies’ series here!

Photos by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 3

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou, Part 3

 I felt slightly confused and my future was unsure…

This is the 3rd post in a series from model and friend, Eddie Mitsou Pettersson.

I was living in Istanbul when I turned 19. It was modeling that brought me there…not because the Turkish market is the best for a blonde Swede but, at that time I had few options. During Christmas holiday, most fashion capitals slow down for obvious reasons. My dream was to move to New York but I was so ready to get out of my hometown that I told my agency to send me anywhere, even as a pit stop. So Istanbul it was…

And what a magical city! The Turkish food culture quickly sucked me in — its bounty of fresh local produce inspired me to eat healthy and clean: tahini, dried figs, amazing hummus and grilled vegetables, so much better than I would have expected. It was the first time I had to take care of myself, i.e. making breakfast, lunch and dinner. Luckily, I really liked it — experimenting in the kitchen was new to me and quickly became a hobby. It was a good way to relax after a long day of meeting client after client after client…

My weekdays consisted of shooting editorials and hitting up endless castings. When the weekends rolled in, there were always big dinner parties and shredding at clubs. And so, there were many pre-game drinking competitions being held in our little model flat.

I enjoyed it at the time, but realized it wasn’t propelling me in a good direction. My destructive weekend behavior forced me to press the restart button every Sunday night. I was eating clean, going to the gym on my working days, but my free time was filled with liquor and chocolate bars and Turkish cheese pastries. Oh, the suffering of the morning afters. (Or let me say afternoon, because I rarely woke up before 1pm).

The hard work I was putting in at the gym was really for nothing. I missed out on much of Istanbul’s historical and cultural beauty, too, because most time off was spent in a rusty bunk bed, ice pack on my sweaty forehead. 

One sunny December day, as I was walking around Hagia Sophia, I made the decision. I was going to stay sober, be healthy and 100% vegan (no space for cheese pastries here!) until I made it to New York. What was it worth, to be so good 5 days a week and then ruining it on the last 2. Funnily enough, my walk was in the early morning because I had skipped a promoter’s dinner the night before. How good it felt to walk around in the sun with a clean head!

To be honest, I felt slightly confused — my thoughts were spinning and I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but I felt that a sober, ultra-clean detox was what I needed. With Jim Morrison’s sexy smoky voice in my ears I sat down with a salted sesame tahini cookie and created a list. A list of what I needed to do in order to make it to NYC and what strategy would look like. His words echoed in my head:

 You’re lost little girl 

You’re lost little girl 

You’re lost 

Tell me who 

Are you? 

 I think that you know what to do 

Impossible? Yes, but it’s true 

I think that you know what to do, yeah 

I’m sure that you know what to do

I saw even more of the city then ever before. I moved out of the model apartment (the norm) and discovered the streets and bars and restaurants and people of Istanbul (the freedom) by myself. I wasn’t a lost little girl any more — I was a focused young woman, now with a goal in sight. My local fruit store salesman taught me more about the importance of a joyful life than any Russian model friend ever had. 

 

+ Check back next week for part four from Eddie, and be sure to read the start of her journey here!  

Photos by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Keeping it Clean with Eddie Mitsou

Maybe you’ve been considering it… Sobriety may not be for everyone, but it might be right for you?

Let me be the first to say… I love partying! Dancing, hanging out with friends, flirting, coming home at 3am exhausted with my lipstick half gone, LOLing at my Instagram story while peeing and brushing my teeth.

What may separate me from man others is what happens next — I wake up with my makeup perfectly removed, IG stories still intact, with no fear of finding that dreaded embarrassing video. I make myself a green smoothie and I’m on my way to a Pilates class before 9.30 am.

So, why is that?

Because I don’t drink.

The thought of it might scare you.

But…maybe this is something you’ve been considering yourself. Sober partying may not be for everyone – but it might be right for you?

I have many girlfriends who have gone out with me and follow suit – and most of them really like it, usually quite surprised at how easy it can be. AND! how much fun they can actually have without booze flowing through their bodies. Some, as a result, have decided to quit drinking – or at least consume very little – while some continue to go out and get wasted.

And I don’t blame them for that. Everything is a choice — you do what feels best or right in that moment.  However, there is also a fear of simply breaking the norm. You simply stick to what you know and how you’ve been raised to live, courtesy of family, culture (television, movies, magazines) and society.

Several years ago, the idea of sobriety seemed impossible. I struggled with it during my last semester in school. I had just started dating someone in the deep house underground party scene. The only thing my heart wanted was to be tequila-tipsy, kissing him in the darkness of a grungy garage, every night of the week.

But, I had to focus — good grades on my final exams and beyond. There was also the potential to do modeling in Milan,  and my agency asked me to be in perfect shape, which demanded both more hours at the gym and a healthy diet. Despite my new love, my mission had always been to move abroad as soon as I graduated.

But I couldn’t. I really couldn’t give up being boozy. It was so important to me. Drinking was the only way of partying in Stockholm, so maybe that rubbed off on me?  My point is that there wasn’t a time when I could picture a life without alcohol. I was young, but my mom nervously made jokes about me becoming an alcoholic. I had a great opportunity right in front of me, but I wasn’t ready to make the sacrifices to achieve it.

I’m a very strong believer in refraining from judgment or telling people how to live their lives. I would never tell anyone that it’s bad to drink, or that they shouldn’t. No, no, that’s not my vibe. It’s an individual — and personal — choice, and whatever you choose is hopefully right for you. What I do is right for me.

So all I intend by this post is to inspire you. To maybe introduce you to a new or scary path and know there are different ways to go. Follow your own gut, and try to push away the fear of being different.

I didn’t make it to Milan that summer, after all. It took me over eight months to finally leave Stockholm. I wasn’t ready to stop drinking and didn’t fight for my dreams. I ended up in Istanbul, but even there I realized that other paths existed…

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Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

Eddie Mitsou: A Better Self, One Step at a Time

The first post in a new series about staying sober and focused…from our always-busy friend, Eddie Mitsou Pettersson. Read on to learn more about this Swede-heart…

Birthplace…

Stockholm, Sweden
Spirit animal…
I’ve never actually known my spirit animal until now — I did a Facebook quiz to find out! It turned out that I was the Lion. “Represents courage, strength and overcoming difficulties in life,” which seems pretty accurate of myself. Other than that I feel very drawn to birds of prey. I don’t like other birds… actually have a phobia of dirty street pigeons, but the raptors I’ve somewhat always been amazed by. I think it has to do that I’m amazed by their power but also how they have the freedom to fly, and in that way escape and survive anything bad that would happen on earth.
What makes you happy?
Waking up early, having an overpriced but extremely tasty cold brew with a dash of raw almond milk at my local coffee shop, and then continue to a Pilates class.
What makes you sad?
Sleeping past 11am and realizing I’ve missed my favorite Pilates teachers classes for the day. And when my coffee shop runs out of almond milk and have only the tetra pack soy as a non-dairy milk option for my morning coffee.
Tell us in 5 sentences what your path to wellness and a better Eddie looked like…
It happened pretty naturally. I was fed up with my rollercoaster lifestyle (high healthy hills to deep destructive curves) and decided to become a hardcore gluten- and sugar-free sober vegan for one month. Thirty-one days floated by fast, and when I passed 6 months without so much as blinking, I understood that this was a way I wanted to live my life, not just as a detox fad diet.
You realized 4 1/2 years ago that you no longer wanted to drink. How has that changed your life? 
I can honestly say that I would never be where I am today if I hadn’t stopped drinking.
I need to clarify that I never had a problem with drinking. I was never an alcoholic. I decided to cut the liquor for many other reasons (which I will tell you more about in my next post/s). As a young adult, it’s common to get a little too drunk a little too often, and that’s ok! You’re having fun and enjoying your youth. What I chose to do instead was to win and not waste those years by cutting outs alcohol and staying more focused. Thanks to that, I’ve accomplished a few of my goals way faster than if I would’ve been nursing frequent hangovers, being too drunk to take that important number at the party. But oh boy — have I not had fun? I had exactly as much fun as everyone around me who had been drinking. The only difference is that I’ve also been able to make it to the one thing that makes me happiest: the 9am Pilates class!
Top 3 life goals…
* Being independent and not having to rely on anyone. I want to be able to fully live my life exactly the way I want to live it.
* Own a 70s Missoni jumpsuit!
* Empower young girls t0 understand that they’re beautiful and good enough the way they are. Help them not to suffer too much in the teenage years and hold their hand through the process of achieving their goals to then finally come out on the other side as strong, independent young women.
Favorite city to walk (as you’re a self-proclaimed lover of walking)…
Well, this was the toughest question of them all! I love walking on the secret narrow streets in Istanbul as much as I adore walking on Sunset Strip at 8am Sunday when it’s completely empty. Nostalgic moments around my childhood home in calm Stockholm is also something special. But if I were forced to choose, I’d have to say New York City. It’s incredible by day and night! Although my favorite walk is east of Lexington Ave around 25th St. late in the evening (I won’t reveal exact blocks — it’s still my hidden secret). Maybe one day I’ll hold a NYC Night Walk Tour and I’ll show you…
Tell us about your greatest reward/challenge as a successful model.
My greatest reward is, without a doubt, the traveling. The opportunities to travel the world is something I’m beyond grateful for. I’ve shot editorials on the beach in South Africa, on the colorful streets of Havana, in the jungles of Costa Rica, in a fancy penthouse in New York. I’ve collaborated on an art project in a set of weird and isolated snow-covered cottages in the north of Sweden and much, much more. My job has taken me places I wouldn’t have necessarily gone otherwise.
The most challenging aspect is staying true to yourself and keeping positive throughout all the craziness. There are downsides to every career, and I will admit that the mental strength you need as a model is difficult to maintain. There are days when you find yourself going to casting after casting, and don’t book one job, get turned down by every casting director. You just have to shake it off and move on to the next day! When you wake up bloated because of munching on too much raw cheesecake the night before and show up to set and it turns out you’re going to shoot in a tiny bikini… You just have to embrace the moment and don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m pretty good at tackling this since I’ve been a model for almost 10 years, but it was for sure challenging in the beginning.
What does free mean to you? 
I like what Jim Morrison once said:
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
+ Be sure to keep up with all things Eddie — follow her on Instagram
 
Photos by Jana Kirn.
 

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