Jelka is far more than just a pretty face. This clever young woman from Belgium is not only a successful international model, but also an eco-warrior, advocating conscious living and veganism to her thousands of followers. Next to that, she is a keen writer and online content creator. But that’s not all. Jelka also appears to be quite the kitchen princess, creating the most delicious plant-based recipes. We at The Model Cloud are beyond honoured to have such a kind and creative spirit on our platform.

Photo by Felicia van Ham / HMUA by Peggy Timmermans / Styling by Sacha van Aert

So Jelka, how did you get into modeling? 
I was only 10 years old when I got into the modeling industry. I often get asked if I was pushed into the modeling industry by my parents, but I actually had to beg them to be allowed to pursue it! At the time, there was a teen magazine in Belgium where you as a reader could sign up for a make-over, followed by a professional photoshoot. I applied, and to all of our surprises, I got selected! After the photoshoot the photographer told me I should give modeling a real shot and look for a professional modeling agency. I was still quite young at the time, but after some time I managed to convince my parents to let me be seen by model agencies specialized in child models. Only a month after signing with my first agency, I landed my first modeling job and have been working steadily as a professional model ever since

Where are your roots and does this affect your work as a model? 
I’m originally from Belgium. So far it hasn’t had a lot of influence on my work as a model. 

Photo by Zach Ramsay

What was your favourite photoshoot? 
Such a difficult question! I’ve been blessed to be able to travel around the world and experience working together with so many creatives from all over. Every photoshoot, every creative person I get to work with is a wonderful experience.

Do you have an idol? If yes, why this person? 
I don’t have one person being my idol, but I get inspired by all the beautiful people I surround myself with on a daily basis, such as family and friends. Each and every one of them are such hard working people in every aspect of their lives, career wise and in their personal life. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many beautiful souls. 

Photo by Felicia van Ham for La Maision Victor magazine / Styling by Kate Housh

How do you use social media and has it been helpful in your modeling career?
I started using social media at first just to share my (modeling) experiences with my family and friends. At that point, I didn’t take it seriously at all. Now however, my social media became almost a part-time job itself and I’m very happy about that. Social media has definitely been helpful in my modeling career. Because of social media, we are now able to connect with people on the other side of the world, which was a lot harder before. It definitely opens a lot of doors and opportunities on different levels. I’m not only sharing my experiences as a model, but over time, I got into sharing about conscious living and mental health as well.
I want to motivate and inspire people to become the best version of themselves. By sharing my personal experiences as well as how we can have a positive impact on the world around us by being mindful about our everyday choices, I hope to encourage them to be more kind to the planet.

What do you think of the current state of fashion and the industry around it? 
A lot of positive changes are happening. Slowly, but they are happening. I’m really excited to see what the future holds. There hasn’t been a moment in history where, on a global scale, we are becoming more conscious about our choices. We think more about where our clothing comes from, how and by whom they are made. In the long run that’s going to influence and change the industry for the better. From a model’s side of things, I see some positive changes happening but at the same time, there’s still a lot of pressure from the industry to have the desired look and measurements. The good thing is, we’re starting to seeing a lot more diversity in the fashion industry and I’m looking forward to seeing this positive trend further develop over the upcoming years. 

Photo by Nick Ramsay / HMUA by Nazna Lepever

What do you do when you’re not modeling? Any special hobbies, passions or untapped talents?
I love being creative! It’s really hard for me to sit still, I just can’t. I love taking care of my body and mind, so I enjoy being active. From running to yoga, from pilates to weight training. I also love boxing! When you’re that active it’s really important to fuel your body with the right nutrition. This is why I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, creating and trying out new vegan recipes! I’ve been vegan for 5 years and love all the positive benefits it has had on my physical and mental wellbeing. This is the reason why I decided to promote my vegan lifestyle on YouTube and Instagram, where I share tips, tricks and the vegan recipes I love!

Isolation has given us a lot of free time. What have you been filling your days with during the confinement? 
Honestly, I’ve been enjoying this time as I decided to travel back to my family in Belgium during these trying times so I can spend some quality time with my loved ones, and with my dog as well! Next to that, I’m spending even more time in the kitchen cooking and looking after my body. A lot of people are using the time in isolation to push things such as new projects or skills, but I’m taking this time to slow down.

Photo from Jelka’s Instagram with her dog Nila

What is your life motto, and how do you apply it during these trying times? 
‘’If there’s a will, there’s a way.’’ I strongly believe that if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it work. Everything happens for a reason and everything will find its way when the time is right. It’s easy to get caught up in feelings and emotions during time in isolation. Spending this much time inside, leaves us with nothing but our thoughts making it really easy to overthink things. In this case the motto helps me a lot. Whenever I feel I start to over analyse, I try to move my thoughts back to “everything will find it’s way when the time is right”. Even in uncertain times like the one we are currently in, anything is still possible.

What are your dreams for the future? 
I hope to be able to inspire a positive change in the industry and I feel strongly that it is my purpose in life to help others find their way in life

Any advice or quote that inspires you, that you would like to share with fellow models and readers? 
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create

Photo by Aaron Aubrey

Jelka surely proves there is a lot more to being a model than just looks. With her amazing drive to inspire the world around her she has clearly understood the responsibility of being a role model as well as being the best version of yourself. We at The Model Cloud couldn’t agree more with Jelka’s ethics.
If you are interested to see what delicious vegan dishes Jelka has been cooking up, make sure to check out her YouTube channel below!