Inviting patients to appear as podcast guests is officially now a thing…
But there’s so much more to Waz Ashayer.
The fitness influencer, entrepreneur, and soon-to-be TV personality talks candidly about his rise to success from a low point of substance misuse, addiction and depression.
In This Episode
03.01 – Defining addiction
11.47 – The turning point
24.58 – Positive Vs negative addictions
28.29 – Modelling
32.46 – Advice to Waz’s younger self
38.25 – Go Hard or Go hard
43.13 – Influences and inspirations
About Waz Ashayer
Waz Ashayer is the founder of the pop-up fitness brand Raise LDN, described as the ‘fitness industry’s legal high’.
He is the group fitness manager for Equinox and a trainer for the leading on-demand fitness app FIIT.
Waz is also a brand ambassador for many leading fitness brands.
So if you’re not campaigning for yourself, you’re never going to win.
And were you in the public eye as you are now as much? I don’t know.
Were. I mean.
I don’t know if I’m in the public eye now.
Yes, he is. He’s going to be he’s going to be coy about this, but was also dated.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
This is Mind Movers. Moving the conversation forward on mental health and optimisation for dental professionals. Your hosts, Rhona Eskander and Payman Langroudi.
Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of Mind Movers. I’m so excited here today because I’ve got not only one of my patients, but also really, really good friends. Was Asher. Am I saying it right? The surname, by the way. Yeah.
Asher. Cool. We’ll go with that. We’ll go with that. We’ll go with that. He is still a really good friend, guys. I knew that. And actually, I have to say, someone called me Rhonda the other day and I was like, Drop the D, Just drop the D. Rhonda. Rhonda, you remember.
How you introduced yourself to me?
Oh, what did I say?
He said, it’s like Corona, but with an R, Yes.
That’s the pretty unforgettable. So was is a really impressive person. I actually first came across him many years ago. He wouldn’t have known who I was, and I then got reintroduced to him last year by one of my very good friends, Sana, aka Sweat with Sana. I think she lost the sweat with, didn’t she? And she introduced me to was because he wanted to get his teeth done. And at the moment that we met we actually really clicked. But I’d actually heard of was story a long time before. And I say story because I believe everyone has a story and was had worked in nightlife for a long period of his life. He was heavily involved in doing bookings for celebrities and was really exposed to things in nightlife that people don’t necessarily talk about, but happens a lot. And one day he came out on a post on Instagram and I actually saw the Post and you talked about how you wanted to give that whole life up because you recognised that you had a problem with substances and you were, you know, you were an addict essentially. I know that word. A lot of people have negative connotations, but we shouldn’t because actually I think it’s a really brave thing to say and I think that most of us are addicts in something was then went on to change his life and became one of the biggest fitness influencers in his industry. Not only did he smash it, but he also became, I would say, head of Equinox. Is that your role? Head of Equinox? Can I say that?
I manage group.
Fitness Group Fitness.
Group Fitness for Equinox or Equinox. Equinox Equinox in America.
And really was has created a community which I think is one of the hardest things to do for a brand. And I would say if anyone wants to argue with me, they can. That one of the greatest successes of the business can be attributed to you because you’ve done such an amazing job at getting people to come in love fitness, and you’ve gone beyond that, created really amazing brand partnerships, deals, including Gymshark, and you continue to do that. You currently live in York now where you have been also building the brand out there. Had an amazing summer in the Hamptons. We’re going to ask you all these questions as well. And lastly, you are about to be featured on a BBC show, which is super exciting. I can’t wait to tune in. So that is my introduction for the lovely Wires, which is short for Waseem. Waseem, Waseem, fellow fellow Arab brethren. Yeah.
Welcome. Half, half Palestinian, half Irish.
A full terrorist.
There you go.
Lovely to have you. Us. I think the way we were thinking about you was it’s not often talked about, but addiction is actually quite huge in dentistry and medicine. But in sort of high stress jobs, we find that people get themselves into those sort of holes and there are functional addicts and, you know, many dentists are functional addicts, too. Maybe, maybe they’re drinking. I don’t know what the definition is of an alcoholic for the for the sake of the argument, but maybe you can help us. But maybe. Maybe the guy’s drinking a bottle, bottle of wine a night or something. Yeah.
What is an addict?
I think there’s there’s. When you when you say the word addict, you think of somebody that’s, you know, so, so visually off the scale. So you would see somebody, oh, they’re drunk, they’re an addict or oh, they’re, you know, they’re high. They’re, they’re an addict. But, um, you know, addiction can have, like, silent forms. And, and I think that’s the, the most deadliest form in the sense that if we look at it from an accumulative effect, you know, if you were to let’s just take let’s take it out of dentistry, let’s take it out of fitness. If you were just to have a drink on Monday, drink on Tuesday, say you rest Wednesday, two more drinks on the Thursday weekend comes, you know, five, five more drinks on the weekend, five more drinks on Sunday. If you add up how many drinks you’re having a week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, up to Thursday. Doesn’t really seem like a problem. Right? People would think, oh, they go out on the weekend. But actually, if you look at the week as a cumulatively, you’re drinking all the time. Yeah. So it’s it’s adding up and what you know, I think that’s where my problem started is I worked in nightlife. I you know, in London every night it’s a night out. So I’d be going out is a big night in London Tuesdays. A big night. So, you know, it wouldn’t be as crazy as the weekends, but you’d still indulge. You’d indulge on Monday, you’d indulge on Tuesday, you’d indulge. So it probably is quite relevant to dentists, right? You’d you’d do a working week. You’d. Ramp-up to the weekend, but you’d still be indulging in like midweek or early week, I think. That’s like red flag number one is, you know, we’ve all heard of that person that’s clean during the week parties on the weekend. And I think that’s a bit more obvious and that’s the problem is a bit more local and central and we can sort that out. But I think the danger is when you’ve got somebody who just has no problem with it but is doing it cumulatively throughout the week because then it’s habitual.
Do you think it’s dependency as well, though? Like you’re depending on a substance to get you out of your feelings and your emotions and, you know, what do you think it’s that the addiction somehow entails you being dependent on something?
Yeah, I think, you know, you have to have an honest conversation with yourself. And I just I don’t think the body differentiates between good or bad habits. The body just knows habits. Right? So society determines peer groups determ determine, you know, if it’s good or bad. If I say I go to the gym all the time, oh, he’s really healthy. He goes to the gym all the time. If I smoke, you say, that’s bad. You just got a bad habit. He smokes. You know, really and truly, it’s you know, the gym could also be a bad habit, you know, if you could be overly obsessive. So my point is, take away, like good or bad, your body just knows habits. Yeah. So if you take. A habit away. So say if you stop smoking, your body is going to want to pick up something else because you’ve got all this unused time or all this. You know, quite a lot of people contributed to putting on weight or eating more because people are they just eat more. They don’t it’s not your body is just looking for something else to habitually do. And that might be eating, you know, it might be instead of bringing a cigarette to your mouth. So I just think you need to understand what habits you have and what you’re putting your actively, you know, consciously and subconsciously putting your time into and then trying to decipher, okay, what you know what? Where do where do I need to move the needle?
So as you said, an early red flag is when it’s spilling over into the week rather than just the weekend in your journey when, you know, it was. I guess it’s difficult, isn’t it, because it was work and you felt like you were going to work and you were being a good guy because you’re doing more work. But actually your work was in nightclubs and in that environment, what were the next sort of flags that started showing up?
I just I say like quality of environment. Like if if hindsight is a wonderful thing. Yeah. You know, but I think quality of environment and then that trickles into quality of people right around you. And I think once that starts to deteriorate, you may not see it immediately, but I can only talk from my own experience, but I would take the people that loved me for granted. I would, um, not really sort of have any care or thought to it because I just knew at the back of the head, they love me, you know, my parents, my brother, my, you know, etcetera, etcetera, even my best friends, you know. And then I would run around after people and try and seek sort of popularity validation. I just think whenever you’re taking any substance, drink, you know, drugs, anything in excess, it’s it’s it comes from a position of, you know, that you, you, you basically it’s a vulnerability, isn’t it? You take you’re taking so much of it. You’re you want to you’re not happy and you want to you want to escape. Escape. It’s an escapism.
Do you know what? It’s so interesting because actually addiction is something that really fascinates me as a topic. And I think I really hate the fact that as well as society, we stigmatise it. So I was reading this book called Dopamine, which I really recommend to anyone listening, and it’s written by a psychotherapist, and she talks about how we were heavily addicted society. So like you said, maybe like our parents generation or the older generation, do you think of somebody that’s like, I don’t know, living on the corner of a street or like addicted to heroin or alcohol? Like we have those connotations of people that don’t have their shit together, dare I say, okay. But now we recognise that pretty much some of us are addicted to things like we could be addicted to social media, right? We could be addicted to our phones.
I think that’s the most deadly one.
Yeah. You know, I think that’s I think that’s that should be a be a conversation, a more vocal conversation because it ruins everything, you know. And it goes back to my original comment of a silent addiction. You know, gambling is another one. You know, gambling. I could be sat here with you now and everything’s accessible on a smartphone. I could be putting bets in losing all my money, you know, and and and ruining my life and ruining going back to that conversation, that quality of your environment. So the second flag, to answer your question is. Yeah. Your weekly your weekly, um, I don’t know schedule and then the second flag will be like the quality of your of your life or your environment and, and, and the downfall of that and, and recognising.
Where the addiction takes priority over other things and other things start spilling.
Away. Yeah. Like you might, you might start cancelling. I don’t know. It was something that you’ve, you’ve organised with your best friends you might and then you find yourself out until 4:00 in the morning somewhere or and it’s these if it’s done repetitively that’s that’s an issue if it’s done once in a blue moon once a month okay it’s you know it’s doable. But I just think when I was extremely unreliable, um, and for anyone listening out there that is in this position and you know, they they want any sort of advice on it, I really thought it was irreversible at the time. I thought, no one’s ever going to take me seriously. No one’s going to look at me and be like, But I tell you one thing that is so true is that you can change people’s opinion a lot quicker than you think. You know, when you’re talking about like, my rise to success or whatever success I’ve had in my given industry. But it you, you can’t be paralysed, you know, by the fear of of what somebody else thinks. And it’s like in that moment I was like, I get it. I know how it feels. In that moment, I was like, No one’s going to. They’re just going to look. Me as a as somebody who parties and drinks. And, you know, if I try and get straight, you know, they’re not going to take me seriously. You know, this this is what I’m this is what I’m dealing with. This is my reality. And I couldn’t be so far away from the truth.
So what was your turning point? Because as I said to you, I think it was extremely brave. I remember seeing that post. Yeah, I knew who he was. He didn’t know who I was just pointing pointing that out. And he and I saw the post and it was extremely, extremely brave. And I think that, you know, I’m very passionate about sharing your story online because I think you can reach a lot more people. And there’s something comforting as well, that when you put something so vulnerable and everyone comments on it or people give you support, you’re like, Wow, people understand what I’m going through because you keep it as a secret inside you for so long. So I think there is something really, you know, self-empowering in that. But what was your turning point and what pushed you then as well to kind of like go online and talk about it?
Maybe, maybe. What was your rock bottom? I mean, how bad did it get? So what were you.
So I’ll answer both the rock bottom bit was physically not wanting to be here. And I think like I’ll define that in the sense that. I didn’t want to people bracket that as suicide. Right. And it’s yeah, whilst there may have been suicide, I didn’t have the guts to commit suicide. So I think that’s that’s something that is, is you know, I want to be true about from the start it was more that I understood if I carried on, you know taking drugs in excess, I would, you know, my heart would stop beating and I wouldn’t be here anymore. So I think that was that was the goal, sadly. But that was the goal, um, in 2016. So I quit. In August 11th, 2016. That was the day I woke up and I decided to quit. I had tried to quit before and it was like, and then you’re tied to like social commitments, like something as stupid as like, how do you make an excuse, like, Oh, I’m seeing my twin brother or, you know, I’m going to somebody’s birthday? Birthdays were always, you know, it’s so-and-so’s birthday, you know, I’ll so I did like a hundred days before quit 50 days quit. I used to announce on social media platforms. Facebook was a bit more.
Of a thing, a bit.
More banging an Instagram at the time. Um, so you’d put your status up 50 days teetotal cheese. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then you’d wait for the comments to come in. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and I was doing it all for the wrong reasons, you know, you mentioned the comments and stuff. I never, I never posted. The post that you’re talking about still sits on my Instagram and I believe. It’s one that says I’m like 4 or 5 years sober. I’m now six years sober, and in August it will be seven. Um.
What was different that time where you stuck to it? What was it? You were doing it for the right reasons.
Well, so. So going back to that moment, I had gone out, I was. It was so low talking about that rock bottom bit. I’ve still got videos on my phone. Um. Well, I was videoing a message to my mum, my dad and my brother saying, I’m really sorry, you know, that I’m not here anymore. I just didn’t like my life, like crying my eyes out. And I still have that on my phone. Um, and it was so true. It was just such a horrible time. Like, I just. I literally wanted to not wake up and I just wanted to go to sleep. I felt like I had, like, a world of problems. Like, financially, I wasn’t okay, Um, because it’s expensive. Um, but, you know, and just again, going back to that quality of environment, I had crap people around me and you attract your vibe, right? And my vibe was low vibration. My, my vibe was low, my energy was low, and I was and I just wasn’t a decent human being. And I just was living a lie. And I just think that that, you know, I think people forget that you put so much pressure on the people that you love or people that love you. It’s not really about you. And people try to internalise it and they’re like, Oh, you know, my life’s so bad. And just think about it for one second. You take your life away. What what does that affect, you know, and what does that. So it was I think I was just sad. I was so sad that I just didn’t want to face anything. And I was just like, I just don’t want to be here anymore. And, you know, and I just I was just ill and I just needed help. So I tried to do it. I took, I think in total, like copious amounts of drugs. I didn’t actually wake up for about 2 to 3 days. Wow. So when I woke up, it was August 11th, 2016. Um, and I remember at the time I was living in this tiny, like one bedroom, like in Acton. Like, um.
You lived in the hood?
Yeah, man. No offence to anyone who lives in Acton, but it was not. It was not it was not.
Bougie now, but Mala.
Mala babe. Yeah, it was not.
It was not popping in Acton back then. Um, and my room was a tip and just like, it just, it was, yeah, it was just, it was just filthy. I remember waking up, um, and I just. I was just so upset. I must have cried my eyes out and just sat. Sat there just like, sort of. And, and just sort of like, where do I go from here? And then at the time, there was a girl that was like, really important to me in my life. Um. And she said that she she was so concerned, she thought I was you know, I was going to I was obviously the next time I, I wasn’t going to be so lucky. So I think she. She actually threatened to tell my mum. Yeah. You know, cause my mum, I didn’t. I hadn’t told my mum anything. I sort of and I think, I think that’s the thing. I think people that are out there and again if you are listening, you feel like you’re on your own and you’re dealing with it on your own. And that is probably the case in the in the worst cases because you’re element of embarrassment as an element of, you know, like how do you even navigate that conversation with a parent or how do you navigate that conversation with a loved one? Um, I think just the threat in its own of telling my mum, my mum, just like.
So did your parents have no idea? Did your family.
Did your dad. My dad’s a bit street like my dad’s like, he’s very astute.
Pick up the Palestinians.
He’s probably doing it himself. Yeah, but but my mum is like my mum is just such a beautiful woman and she’s just like she’s so prim and proper and just, just she’s just amazing. And I just like, I just the thought of telling my mum was like.
So do you feel you were good at hiding it from people?
I think towards the end, everyone knew. Yeah, everyone knew internally within the industry. And I think going back to like dentistry and stuff, um. People know. I think that’s the other thing as well. I think you kid yourself and you’re like, Oh, I’ll run off to the toilet or I’ll do this or I’ll go outside and have a cigarette or I’ll go do it. It’s you’re not ahead. It’s all I’m going to tell you is you’re not ahead. You may think you’re cheating the system. You’re ahead of the system. You’re not ahead. I’ve got a saying like oil always rises above water, like the truth always comes out. So I just think that, like, if your moral compass is off and you think you can, you’re getting away with it and you get your kicks and your highs out of arm at work and I’ll do a, you know, I’ll do a do this to, you know, keep going or I’ll do I it’s like, just stop it.
Do you know, it’s it’s, you know, but no, but you know what I think is interesting? So obviously, like, I’ve been teetotal my whole life. For me, it wasn’t a big deal. I tried a little bit of alcohol when I was like 14. I was like, I don’t like it. Everyone was drinking around me then. Obviously as we got older, people started dabbling and stuff and I just didn’t like it. But it was weird words that I had this real understanding of myself. I was like, I have an addictive personality, and I saw that as my choice. I was like, So I actually don’t want to try anything because for me, I’m worried that I’m actually going to be an addict. And in some ways it’s been really good for me because I’m like really militant about getting stuff done. So I get really addicted to like my morning rituals or like things I do at work or a certain way that I am. But I just knew, like I was like, if I ever go down that route, there might not be any turning back. Now during uni, that was really hard because people were like, Oh, like they wanted to get drunk, you know, uni life, especially back then, like ten years ago, people like it was cool, Like everyone just wanted to get like, do not.
Drink at all.
At all. At all. And that was Leeds. Leeds up north. Sorry. Love you. Everyone up north. But you know, Leeds was a tough times for me, so people thought I was weird. And actually it would put people off talking to me. So, for example, like guys wouldn’t approach me because they knew I wasn’t drinking. So it was like that conversation breaker that they rely on. And so I started to like God. Is it really weird that I’m not doing anything? But I still stuck to it. Fast forward on ten years. Everyone’s now talking about sobriety and celebrating it. Last week I went to an event, Spencer Matthews So he’s also like spoken openly about the fact that he’s been teetotal for a while. He’s got clean co, you know, his new brand, and he stopped drinking as well because he just felt it made him make bad decisions. And it’s so funny because when I go to these events or when I’m out, I don’t drink. Like, how was I a I was like, I never went like, I just don’t drink.
So people ask me that all the time. They’re like, you know, did you do AA or CA or. Yeah. You know, Um, and I just first of all, I think it’s great that avenues like that exist and there is so much, there’s so much out there for people to get help. So I just think that that’s like just because I didn’t go down that path and I didn’t choose that that route, you know, to to my success doesn’t mean that that isn’t somebody else’s route. So I just think that, again, if you are listening, there is so many ways to do it. So I think that’s that’s point number one, is that there isn’t like there isn’t like this like this blueprint. It goes, if you do this, you’re going to be fine. You know, it’s so circumstantial. Some people need AA, some people need a sponsor. Other people need to dig deep and find some willpower. You know, other people need a peer group around them, like a blanket until they’re ready to be, you know, to be built up and have the confidence to go out on their own. Some people can never go out, you know. So it’s it’s it’s it’s like you got to look at your deck of cards and see what’s best for you.
What was best for you.
I probably got the strongest willpower. Like I if once I decide to do something and I decide and promise to do something to myself, that’s it. I just it’s non-negotiable. Like there’s no looking back. There’s no like, oh, can we. And that’s in every and I suppose that’s why I’m successful in what I do with fitness and in my own personal training and in my own, you know, I just there’s, there’s just this, there’s this deal that I make with myself, and it’s like, I’m not going to break that deal. So I just, you know, I’m resilient. And I just I always say for every excuse, there’s always like there’s always a reason. So for every single excuse, like, I mean, I did it yesterday. I know it sounds really stupid. I came, you know, and using my addictiveness to actually help my life. But I just I was on a train back from Liverpool. Um, and the train, the train train got in at, I don’t know, say, 7 p.m.. Right. I know the gym closed at nine. I was like mapping out how I could still get my workout in. And some people say that’s obsessive and stuff, but it’s not. It’s for me, it was just I made a deal that I was going to train that day. And it’s it’s I could have I could have come up with every excuse under the planet. It could have been like, oh, I’m tired. You know, I need to rest. You know, I could go and get some food. And I just there’s always going to be an excuse. So bringing it back to going sober, I just think that you’re always going to have.
A reason not.
To be sober. 100. But but for that, there will always be a reason to be sober. So I think. Did you have.
No peer group? No. No group? Nothing? No, no.
I actually worked in nightlife for two years sober.
But so. So how did you.
Know other than just, like, blind? Sort of. So.
Well. So once I decided to quit. Yeah. My job was still. I didn’t quit my job. Yeah. So, you know, I still needed money, so. So I didn’t. I didn’t quit my job. I quit. I quit my, you know, my recreational behaviour. I, I think there’s an old, like, kind of Buddhist philosophy, like, to, to solve the problem. You must go into it. You can’t turn away from it. And that’s exactly what I did. Like, I would go to every after party, you know, sort out everybody’s drugs, give people cigarettes, give people drink, sit back, watch what effect it had on them. It’s really hard not to get involved. Okay. I do that again. I just I just put myself around the problem so many times that it just built immunity. It built immunity. But also there was a bit of like I saw what was going on. And then and then I was like, whoa. I was like, this is disgusting. This is this is who I am. Or I was more to the point.
But that was the thing about me going out, going out sober, as I was trying to say, is that I’ve always been around non sober people. So my awareness and I hate to use the word, but, you know, woo woo stuff, you know, I like my woo woo stuff. Energy doesn’t lie. And when I used to see certain energy, like you say, turn because I saw some I had there was no judgement, by the way, because I love going out all the time. And people around me, you know, they are on something, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, and it’s never bothered me. But you can see people turn in a certain way and like you said, you just you can tell like people might think they’re hiding it or that they’re not. But it doesn’t lie. However, carrying on from what you said, I’ve got a little bit of a challenging question. Would you say that you’ve replaced one addiction with another going into fitness?
Yeah, I think everybody I mean, yeah, is a great question. Not yeah I have but I just I think I think. A lot of people have said that because now I sit on the extreme end. Like if you look at anybody within the fitness industry, you know, I’m out training all the time. I can’t get enough of it. You know, I should probably rest sometimes when I’m training and I’m just I’m now on that end of the spectrum. Um, I think I think I answered it when I said, your body finds stuff to do when you get rid of one thing. I got rid of three things. You know, I got rid of drinking. I got rid of doing drugs. I got rid of smoking. I used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day. You know.
You go all on the same day.
You just just all on one day cold turkey, you know? And again, it’s like I had loads of I had loads of shots at doing it. You know, I said to you before I did 100 days, failed 150 days failed, you know. And my biggest problem with the previous attempts was I was doing it to tell people are day 150 talking about social media and comments and and it was like, yeah, you know, and I was expecting I wasn’t doing it for me. I mean, at the time I thought I was, but I wasn’t doing it for me. And it’s like, you, you, you have to have a real conversation with yourself. Like, you want the best for me, you want the best for me. But when you’re away from me, it’s like, that’s that’s when you’re susceptible to. Yeah. To do something right, wrong. So it’s you. You need to become stronger and you need to be like, you need to take accountability. Like everybody wants people to be, you know, to, to get to get off it and do well or everyone’s loved ones do. But you need to want it like you need to be the person that is like the lead charger on it. That is somebody that’s going to be like, you know, I’m campaigning for this. If you’re not campaigning for yourself, you’re never going to win.
Was there shame in it because you were in the public eye? Did you feel like.
I don’t I’ve never seen myself in the public eye. I’ve just. Have you not? No. No, I don’t think I am. I just think I’m just. I’m on that fitness guy.
He’s not your usual life fitness person.
No, I just. I think I’ve had a life of. I’ve worn many hats. I’ve done the nightlife stuff. I actually started doing modelling. So I did a modelling TV show in 2006 called Make Me a Supermodel. Lived. All right. Did you do well? Obviously not. I’m sat here I got. How far did you get? I was like a competition to win a contract with select models. So I ended up I didn’t win the show, but I got a contract with Select, um, modelled for years. Lived all around the world Paris and and and all, most of Europe and stuff. Greece and all those modelling cities basically did that for a while. Um, went into nightlife. Ran all the like the top bougie bars like PR stuff. Ended up doing whisky mist.
Do you remember.
That? He was the guy.
He was like the front of whisky mist.
I’m going to get his number.
He’s going to be.
A useful number.
Just if anyone’s going to ask me. I don’t know anywhere to go. I still get a phone calls and messages from people really long, like, Hey, I’m in town and I’m like, Equinox banging party with bench presses. So, yeah, and then I did, um, I set up nightclubs abroad, you know, like I’ve done loads, I’ve done loads of stuff. And then I did, I sort of set up my own consultancy PR, um, with nightlife and celebrity hospitality. And I worked for Ciroc Vodka and did sort of, um, placement with artists and stuff at different venues. And, and then I qualified as a PC when I was 17 because I just loved fitness.
The stuff, the stuff you’ve done sounds like really fun stuff to do.
He loves that stuff. No, no.
But the question that we just did a shoot with with models and things and it’s a hard job. It’s not an easy job at all. Being. Being a model. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, of, of the stuff that you just mentioned, which which ones are things that you would think are, are, are as cool as they sound and which ones aren’t. None of it. Cuz it all sounds. It sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? Live all over the world being a model. Nightclubs sounds pretty damn good I think.
I think here’s here’s a here’s a here’s a deal with modelling unless you’re like in the top 0.2%.
David Gandy Yeah, yeah. Who’s such a good looking guy. Um, no. And a nice guy as well. But I just, um, it’s, it’s it’s peaks and troughs. Like you don’t get paid for, like, three months. You’re like, you’re going to castings constantly doing rejection, moving around. I wasn’t super successful in it.
How did you take the rejection, for instance?
Well, you just don’t hear about it. You just go to castings and they just won’t pick you. So it’s just like you’re constantly putting yourself up. Um. And I just. Yeah, I just I was never super successful. I did a lot of I did a lot of commercial stuff in there. I mean, I was successful, but I wasn’t like, I didn’t it didn’t it wasn’t I wasn’t a phenomena in it.
Yeah. Did that bother you?
I was 17 at the time.
But did it still bother.
No, I think at the time it bothered me because it was like I always say, desperation, smells. And I believe that in anything, in any work or line of work, if you’re desperate, people don’t tend to warm to you. Yeah, that’s true. You know, and I think, you know, you you never get desperate if you can stay hungry but never get desperate. And I think that’s something that that I learnt from that because I, I always want to be the best. I always want to do the best I can. Um, and I think that that, that hunger is innately is within you or not. And I am that person. I want to, I want to perform to the maximum or otherwise I just don’t perform. And I think desperation smells and I think do not ever move like you’re starving, never move like you need this so bad. It’s like, what is this going to do for me? You know, and then align with it and then and then and go after it. If you don’t get it cool, go again. But you. You can’t be begging people and you can’t be moving around.
I mean, it’s a cliche, but if you did meet your 17 year old self, what advice would you have given to yourself?
Oh my God, I had the worst fashion. I mean, I still do. I’ve got the worst fashion sense in the world. That’s probably why I wasn’t successful. All like when it comes to gym, it’s like, you know, black on black on black like was black tops. I mean, I can barely put together a t shirt and jeans. I’m like the worst person on the planet. So I think what I thought was cool was not cool. Like I just straighten my hair. I used to have like coloured contacts. I used to have see through Air Force. Like, I mean, I was a mess.
Life advice would you give yourself if you were.
If you were meeting your like 17 year old self, apart from telling them you can’t dress?
Um, like I thought you meant it was to do with modelling. No, no.
But what would you tell them? Like in hindsight, would the stuff that you’ve learnt because you’ve obviously learnt a lot more than most people our age. Let’s be honest.
Um, what would I say? Just just like, stop trying to please other people, you know, like I think. And if you look at the things I did, hospitality and all that sort of stuff is catering for other people. I had this burning sensation to be loved and liked.
Do you think that’s gone away?
Don’t think it ever goes away. I think it’s your you need to you need to manage that and you need to get to a level where you don’t care. That’s like the Holy Grail, right? It’s getting to a position where you move without thought of others in in the nicest way possible. So you, you, you put yourself first and you, you, you’re not malleable to your environment and I think I was super malleable.
Do you think Rhona the you’ve got dentists right who who are in a way you are the ways of dentists. Right. I love that. And you are in a way. Right. You’re well known. You’re out there. You know, we were talking about judgement before and we’ve discussed the thing about your biggest strength being your biggest weakness as well, right? So you’re highly ambitious. So that’s a great thing. But sometimes that can lead to like competitive stress or whatever. Yeah, but do you think that there’s something about the two of you that’s different to the average person who, you know, doesn’t even want to put a post up on Instagram in case their auntie thinks it’s not?
The thing is, I’ve had those thoughts before. I mean, I love it. I love the fact that you think memoirs are special, but we’re not. Um, the other thing. The thing is, I think there is something to be said for people that want to put themselves out there. I think there are some people that are like inherently quite introverted, like my sister is a confident person, but she doesn’t necessarily like like eyes on her. Does that make sense by character? As a child, you would find me like pushing her out the way, being like, Dad, take a video of me. I didn’t mind the camera on me. And I think that was something about like being a performer in a way, or being like in the creative. And I’d argue as is the same like I’ve seen him in his work environment. But for me personally, the validation thing doesn’t go away. I do still care what people thinks. The place that he may have got out because of what he’s been through, he said, You know, it’s about a place where you feel like you’re almost bullet-proof essentially, is what you’re saying. I’m not there yet.
I’m definitely not there. You know, I’m I’m definitely not there. I think I think, you know, to to sort of go back over that is that that’s to me, that’s like the Holy Grail, right? So to get to that position and I think you you have to believe like you have to believe in numero uno. You have to believe in yourself. Right? Any time. Had any short fallings like you’re talking about not posting or something stopping you from doing something, you know, and I know social media is a massive thing for dentists now, and that’s how they accumulate a lot of their work. If when you believe anything is possible, anything you have to believe. No. One, you got you know, if you’ve got two hands, you’ve got two legs, you’ve got you’re, you’re like you’re like me. You’re no different. We’re all the same.
You’re able to get up there, work, do everything that no one no one is special. Right. And I just want to I just want to make that really clear. It’s like it’s hard work. And there has to be a mirrored sacrifice. People always look at like, Oh yeah, this person is so successful. I want to do that. But it’s like they don’t look at like what that person has done leading up to that moment. And I think that is the problem with the generation now, is that people will look at people that have achieved success and they’ll go, Well, I want that. That’s great. It’s great. That person inspires you. It’s great that you aspire to be like that. Go and find out how that person got there. And that’s what people aren’t doing. People aren’t going back to their bad, you know? Where did you start off with your dentist dentist career? You know, you were you were renting a room, probably.
But I mean, it’s so much more than that. Like, we don’t even have time to go on my story. That’s a whole podcast on its own. Um, but the thing is that what I will say is there are a lot of young dentists out there and they do look up to the social media, dentists or the ones and they don’t understand the story and they don’t want to do the grit and the grime. Do you know what I mean? Like, I worked really hard, horrible working life for eight years on the NHS. I went through periods of barely earning any money. I sacrificed, I spent money on courses I built. I had sweat, blood and tears. But they don’t know that and they don’t even want to learn the stuff, the basics. They’re like, Oh, I want to do the veneers and the bonding straight out of uni, you know? So I think that’s things to be said for that. So for me, it’s really important that people understand. Like you said, the story now was tell us a little bit as much as you can about the show that you’re about to be on. How did you get approached to it? How do you feel about it coming out?
Um, the show is on BBC three. It’ll be on BBC iPlayer. It comes out February 19th. Um, what’s it called? It is called Go Hard or Go Hard. No, no, no, no. It’s called Go Go Hard or Go Home.
So fitting for me. Um.
So, yeah, it’s. It’s. They’ve taken eight sort of athletes or warriors, um, that all have a nice background story. Um, I’m one of them. So there’s four guys. Four girls. Um, you’ve got Olympic athletes on their medal winning Olympic athletes. You’ve got like MMA fighter, you’ve got some like professional footballers and you’ve got all, all sorts mix mix of people, celebrity, personal trainer. Um, and each of us have got a story. So you guys obviously know my story or some of it. Um, and then they’ve got trainees that we’re on the island, trainees come to the island. We filmed it in the Dominican Republic, which was quite nice. And then the trainees are out there and these are young sort of adolescent kids or like teenagers that have like really had some big issues in their life. And we use fitness and pioneer fitness to like change their life. And we train them. We get given a trainee, we train them and get them to compete against each other on the island, um, without giving too much away. So it’s like a competition for them. Um, and I would just say one thing, it does change their lives and it’s like it’s powerful to be a part of that. Um, it was an honour to be part of the team as well, like part of the Warrior team. Some really, really interesting people there. And just like I’m all about learning and I just think that like, I’m sure it’s like when great dentists get together and they, they chat and, and and there you go. And they and they but it’s true. And then you create stuff which you’re creating now.
But I think one of the most beautiful things in the world I think is giving or passing on your knowledge to help shape. And we have that a lot in dentistry where like an older mentor sees like someone that they helped, like kind of like harness their skills and then they watch them, like you said, change someone’s life. Someone taught me how to do what I’m doing, you know, like the impact that it has. And it’s a beautiful thing. So it really is.
Yeah. Well, you know, exercise can get you dopamine highs and serotonin highs and all that. Were you doing any exercise while while you were also partying or were they too all the time?
Oh, were you? All the time? Yeah, I was. I just like and that’s what I’m saying. People always. So I know you ask that question to me earlier. Did you replace one for the other? It was already in existence. I loved working out. Working out for me was like, I didn’t know what day it is. I don’t know what time it is. It’s like meditation. It was like, yeah. And I just like, I just love it. Like, I just love being in that position. And it’s a gift. It’s like it’s, it’s, it’s. You’re blessed to be able to move your body, you know, like movement. If everyone says this, but movement is medicine for your body and it’s it doesn’t have to be in a gym. You know.
People people are like gym gym they think they think as soon as you say, you know, exercise, people like gym. It’s like, I love the gym. Right? But there’s so many forms of exercise walking, getting up and walking in the morning. You’d be surprised what it can do for you. And I just think that, like, there’s so many, so much available for you and you might discover this is what I love about fitness is you might discover something that you love. Something be that you’re really good at and you just wouldn’t know unless you put yourself in that position. So I just think that that for me is the beauty of fitness. But the.
Motivation. Have you heard Gary V what he says about love? Gary V Yeah, but what he says about this that, you know, to have a private trainer, what they call it, a personal trainer, personal trainer, um, part of it the motivation wise is to, to go and make sure you turn up for them.
I love my personal.
Trainer, you say, but the accountability piece, like some people like me, for instance.
Yeah, yeah, you’re lazy.
It’s not that I will do anything for someone else, not for myself. Yeah. Yeah. So for me, that would be the way to do it. To be.
But, but, but that may be how you get into it. But you need to flip the script. Yeah. Because no one’s got you. Like you. Yeah.
Yeah. It’s what. It’s what you were saying.
And self care is self love.
Self care is self.
Everyone goes away at the end of the day and you’re left with your own thoughts and it’s like I just, you you have to put yourself first. I mean, I.
Sometimes think about it. Yeah. Sometimes go, you know, get on a plane, go to the, you know, somewhere six hours away for a for a party. Yeah. So for the right, for the right thing, I will do difficult stuff. He would have.
Been there back in your Ciroc.
Days. He would have been there. So we have loved having was here today.
Yeah. Thank you so.
Much for such.
An inspiring, wonderful human being. I like to ask each guest guest a question, so I’m going to leave it on that note. Who was the biggest influence in your life and why?
Who was not prepared for that on purpose? Um, in my that I’ve met as in like a real.
Anyone you want.
Anyone you want biggest influence can be Elvis Presley if you want anyone.
The biggest influence.
When you’re a.
Twin. I think there’s there’s something really special about that. And I and my brother lives in LA, but up until the age of trying to think of what time we separated up until the age.
I don’t want to say teens you we were in bunk beds together we like and it’s like he’s super successful and he’s like the opposite of me. I’m like extrovert. He’s introvert. He like, he played rugby for Ireland. I played hockey for England. Like.
Like he. Are you.
No, no, no, no, no.
He’s Ginger. He’s Ginger.
Um, and then that’s the half Irish.
He’s the Irish. You’re the Palestinian. Yeah.
And it’s like he drank Stella. I used to drink mojitos. He had a shaved head I used straighteners. So it was like he, he’s not on social media. I am like, he’s just we’re just so different and I just my, he’s always been like my anchor. Like my, my, my grounding. Like, I always think that you can go back to that person and they’re they they I don’t know they just get rid of all the noise and the fluff and you can have real conversation with somebody. And he he’s always been when you’re a twin, you always have that and I’m so grateful for that. So like and in terms of inspiring me and most inspirational person, he is so successful and you wouldn’t even know and unless I told you so, I’m going to tell you. But he is first assistant director on on massive Hollywood films. Amazing. Um, and he but he’s just he’s so under the radar and what he cares about in life. I just. I could learn so much from him. Um, and he’s just so interpersonal. He gets on with everybody from the age of like four all the way up to 90. And I think when you’re in industries like fitness or dentistry, you’re so switched on to your target market and interacting with just those people. And he is just such a people person and he will he’s the type of person that will cross the old lady across the road. He’d talk to the little kids. He’s just he’s just had a had a baby as well. But he his priorities are so right in life. Um, he’s just had a baby, like I said, and his and his partner and stuff. And I just, I look at who he is as a person and I just think he’s very wholesome. And I just think he’s, he’s just someone that I look up to.
That is beautiful. Thank you so much. Was and thank you for being so open because I remember us discussing and we, you know, we both agree this is something that doesn’t define you anymore. But I know it’s going to reach a lot of people and help them. So thank you so much. Thank you.