Born in Marbella, Spain, Tasha Franken is a Spanish model, fitness enthusiast, certified health coach, and most importantly, a harbinger of change in the health and wellness space.
Tasha has spent years in the modeling industry, appearing on the cover of Vogue and Glamour Magazine, as well as walking in fashion shows for major household names including Tom Ford, La Perla & Vivienne Westwood.
What many people don’t know are the years of trauma that lay beneath her beautiful face.
Today, Tasha candidly opens up about her eating disorder, her personal road to recovery, and how the modeling industry severely damaged her mental and physical health.
After dedicating many years to recovery, Tasha’s focus became helping others fulfill their health and fitness goals, in the most uplifting and body-positive way possible.
Consequently, she found her true passion for Pilates-based workouts and began paving her own path in the health and wellness space.
Shortly after, Tasha launched her own online Pilates subscription platform, T— F STUDIO, which encourages a balanced and healthy lifestyle for all.
She continues to serve as an inspiration and fitness leader to those around her and isn’t slowing down anytime soon! With both beauty and brains as a business-savvy entrepreneur, her platform provides a safe space for anyone.
Drawing on her own experiences, Tasha’s goal is to help those around her feel like the best version of themselves — confident, healthy, strong, and beautiful.
Keep reading for how Tasha’s personal journey—the good, the bad, and the ugly—fueled a wellness revolution worldwide.
In what ways did the modeling industry contribute to your eating disorder? How have nature and nurture contributed to your experiences?
I first developed an eating disorder after suffering from severe bloating due to being stressed and unhappy during a difficult time of my life. I decided to embark on my first juice cleanse, which temporarily improved my bloating but wreaked havoc on my mental wellbeing. During this period of my life, I got scouted and started my career as a model, and began traveling alone and living in apartments with other young models where we were all constantly being judged on our weight and appearance. Consequently, I endured major body image issues and insecurities.
Agents would measure me regularly and praise me if I was the right size, all the while expecting me to quickly lose weight if I wasn’t. There was this permanent fear of not booking jobs for not being “skinny enough”. It wasn’t until I went home a few months later that my parents sat me down and told me I had an eating disorder.
It didn’t click that I actually had an issue until I was out of the modeling bubble and surrounded by my parents who cared about me. The industry was not conducive to girls with physical or mental disorders. People assume that because you’re a model you’re able to handle it, however, this caused years of trauma and body image issues that took a lot of mental and physical strength to overcome.
What reforms need to be made in the modeling industry to foster a more healthy, uplifting, and inclusive environment?
I think changes are already happening and I’m really happy about that, but of course, there’s a long way to go and a ton of room for improvement. When I first started modeling it was all about measurements and appearance, whereas nowadays personality and social media presence play a big role too. Overall, it’s a more open and inclusive environment than it was in the past. Models can voice their opinions and share their experiences more than ever before.
That being said, I think it would be really helpful for the industry to have stricter rules in place for healthier and more inclusive standards. I know there are a few organizations like The Model Alliance working to create a safer industry, but regular group sessions, coaching, talks, etc. would be really helpful, especially for younger models starting out in the industry.
You talk about recovering from the harmful effects of the modeling industry. What did your healing process look like? How can this be extended to individuals not in the modeling space, but who are struggling with eating disorders?
Recovering from an eating disorder is not an overnight fix. It took me years of hard work and determination to completely overcome it. That being said, there were a lot of ups and downs. What helped me heal was the consistent reminder of the desire to feel mental freedom again. I needed to be patient and kind to myself as well as surround myself with people who cared and that I knew I could ask for help from.
The problem with a long-term eating disorder isn’t just the present concerns, like losing your period, but the long-term issues that come with it. It can affect your fertility, metabolism, hormones, gut, bone health, etc. On account of that, I focused on my “why”.
WHY I wanted to overcome the eating disorder and prioritize things that made me feel good. I studied nutrition to understand food and its benefits, which gave me a better understanding of how food was nourishing and how to use it as a healing tool.
How does your new fitness wellness platform, T – F Studio, help women embark on a self-love journey?
T – F Studio is all about “feel good” movement. It’s a simple, affordable, and effective workout for everybody to do at home using minimal time, space, and equipment. There’s never any pressure or triggering language like fat burning or weight loss. I simply create videos categorized by body part, duration, and equipment to choose what works for you in that moment. Every day and every body is different, and my platform caters to that.
I always emphasize that it’s your workout, and your choice, so I offer ways to modify moves to suit everyone at different stages. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym to feel like you “worked out” and I always incorporate mindfulness and breath to feel physically and mentally more empowered after each workout.
How have your experiences in the modeling industry played a role in the formation of T – F Studio? In what ways do you ensure an app centered around fitness is sending a positive message to women?
I developed T – F Studio after trying every method, fitness class, and trainer around the world in the hope to stay in shape, but found that I really struggled to find something that actually made me feel good.
I would overtrain, undereat and struggle to achieve results then maintain them, which was not sustainable at all. There’s an overwhelming amount of misinformation when it comes to fitness, especially for women. So, I really wanted to create a style of movement that feels good, strengthens your mind and body, creates positive mental and physical results, and is absent of any negative pressure or stress. I wanted to create a safe and comfortable space to move and feel your best.
If you hadn’t undergone your traumatic experiences in the modeling industry, you may not be a leader in the health and wellness space today. In what ways are you using your negative experiences to fuel positive change in society?
Absolutely! I believe that everything happens for a reason and I was meant to go through the struggles to come out stronger and help others. I remember how proud I was of overcoming my own eating disorder, and because of that, I am even more motivated to help others struggling with the same issues. Whether it’s those closest to me or friends I have made through T – F Studio, I work to create a safe and positive environment – different from other fitness apps.
On a broader scale, how is your work pushing the boundaries in the fitness and health space?
I focus on creating a sustainable workout with long-term benefits as well as a safe and positive space for people to work out and feel good. It’s not complicated and it doesn’t involve expensive equipment or a lot of time. Sometimes less is more. T – F Studio is a unique and dynamic style of Pilates to strengthen your mind and body. The app is just the beginning, I’m planning on expanding in other ways to cut out the noise and bring a positive impact on the health and wellness industry in a 360-degree approach.
Photography by: Courtesy ICON PR