Hang with Rianne for a few hours and you’ll likely hear the endearing phrase “keep it cute“, a time or two. Hailing from Holland, down-to-earth, and stunning as ever, Rianne has built a long career in modeling with a side hustle in yoga. Adventures include working for Versace, Marc Jacobs, and shooting with Steven Meisel, all the while getting a degree in economics, plus nurturing a decade-long passion for yoga and building a teaching practice focused on working with young models. On the brink of having her son, we grabbed a coffee to catch up as she enters this new and exciting chapter. Join us as we chat about the power of yoga in life & birth, being in the moment, and how social media is making us all crazy. @riannetenhaken
I’m a week out, but we kinda have an agreement that he’s going to be right on time. I told him, ‘no surprises please, let’s just stick to the plan.’
Current state of mind?
I feel so good, big, but good. I’ve been spending all my time as of late pampering myself—because I figure, when else will I be able to do this guilt free?—getting prenatal massages, and such. It’s such a a special time. Even if you get pregnant again, you’ll have another kid and there simply won’t be time for yourself in the same way.
Wellness during pregnancy?
Pedicures, massages, and yoga—mostly by myself because I’m yoga teacher but I’ll take a class from time to time. Yoga Vida has a few good ones.
I was discovered when I was really young in the most cliche way—ya know, in a mall with my mom—when I was 14. They asked me to do an Elite Model competition and I won. I modeled for a bit in Europe, moved to NY when I was 16 and by the time I was 17 was flying around the world. I love modeling, it’s such an amazing job! It’s been a great way to live and offers a ton of flexibility. I’ve been a model longer than I haven’t been a model, so I kind of don’t know life without it.
On Becoming a Yoga Instructor:
I remember thinking I was SO grown-up and while my life was an adventure, I needed to take a breathier. When I was 20 I went home for a bit and found yoga. I liked the routine of it because I had such little routine in my life. I thrived off this concept of 26 poses everyday, it was simple and became my passion. I didn’t necessarily plan or want to become a teacher, but I desired to go deeper into my practice, so I went to Costa Rica for an intensive training course—it was incredible. After coming back to NY I was beaming with all things yoga and wanted to share what I’d learned. I brought it into modeling and it became an incredible tool for me to deal with the stresses and insecurities of the industry and at the same time I began helping younger models deal with their shit. A lot of the younger models suffer with body image and confidence issues, so I wanted to create a platform for them to be able to be vulnerable and honest. Over time this gradually grew into a teaching practice.
In teaching yoga, I’m invested in my clients, and that’s an incredible feeling. Sometimes in modeling you’re less attached to the job—you’re told what to wear, how to look and then the images go to print whether you like them or not. Of course there are some jobs where you have more creative input, but for the most part, you’re fairly removed. And while modeling has allowed me to work with creative geniuses and industry legends, it’s important for me to have the balance of both.
An exploration of the self and an opportunity to be aware of the dialogue that’s constantly happening internally. We can be so self-destructive and spend so much time in our head thinking. Yoga helps me to quiet the noise and cluttered thoughts. I constantly tell myself if I were to spend the same amount of time I spend on Instagram learning a new language, I’d be fluent in Mandarin. It’s so addictive and we really have to force ourselves to stop and take a moment. I think that it’s making us all crazy. When I started modeling, it was before social media, when we used to be in the moment, because we weren’t constantly trying to document everything. I don’t know if I would’ve survived in this industry if I had to Snapchat everything. Unfortunately for these younger girls, bookings and earnings are now dependent on their following. In any case, yoga helps me to get back to that sense of being in the moment.
Yoga while pregnant?
Throughout my pregnancy my practice has shifted both physically and mentally. I used to be all about handstands and crazy moves and now I have a more gentle practice. Aside from the obvious limitations with my belly, my body’s more flexible and I’m on a whole different speed. Plus, mentally I’m more focused on my breathing and being aware of how I’m feeling, as yoga allows me to be in tune with my body. I’ve done yoga everyday of my pregnancy and I’ve had zero back pain—it’s been such a game changer. I had this big revelation when taking these hypno-birthing classes. Classically women are in agony, holding their breath and pushing as hard as they can while their veins pop out. I realized through these classes that you have to let your body do the work, your uterus is designed to help you push and you just have to relax. It’s important to learn to be open, to let go of fear and to let your body do the work that it’s supposed to do.
I get that this might sound a little strange—especially because perhaps I should be reading books on breastfeeding or something—but I’m reading a book on Octopuses. I’m fascinated by them because they’re one of the smartest animals on the planet. They’ve studied these creatures in different research facilities and they can recognize faces, know which person’s feeding them, and know how to turn on/off the lights.
The Blue Planet—it’s a BBC show. There’s so much of the sea that’s unchartered and might as well be Mars. I suppose I’ve been underwater a little bit lately. I grew up on a farm and have always felt connected to animals and nature. Living in NYC is hard, because there’s no nature here. Pigeons are not nature. Therefore I’m craving it.
They also did an episode on the plastic in the ocean. It’s inescapable the consumption of plastic, especially in this country where they give you a plastic bag when you buy a piece of chewing gum—double bag in fact! Being from Holland, people are very frugal. The jokes are all true and “going dutch” is very much a thing—my girlfriends back home split the check on a date! Therefore, since they charge 10c for a bag in Holland, people always bring their own, thus much less wasteful.
Living and leaving NYC:
When you come to NYC and live this life it’s so different from anywhere else—the way people spend and earn is so out of touch with the rest of the world. We’re excited to escape for a minute. We’re planning to have the baby here in NY at the Mount Sinai West Birthing Center with a midwife, and then move to Portugal at the start of the summer. The plan is to spend the summer in Europe, be nomads, and simply enjoy being a family. At a certain point we’ll need a routine, but I’m looking forward to breaking our pattern of the constant cycle of seasons and summers in the Hamptons that exists in NY. I realize I’m in a fortunate position to be able to do this—as I’ve been working my ass off my entire life—and can afford a minute to not worry about the next casting or booking. I’m planning to embrace the hippy lifestyle and maybe never come back. Or perhaps I might hate it and be back after a month. Who knows!
On the Hustle:
I always question why don’t we start enjoying life now? It’s a major downfall of our society that we hustle, hustle, hustle and often forget to live. Of course we have to work and all want to be successful but I think there’s a tendency to put things off like: “I’ll do that when I’m 35″ or “I’ll have kids when I have more money” But guess what, there’s always more money to earn or something to delay you and meanwhile life goes by. It’s important that even in the hustle, we remember to take moments for pleasure.
Most excited about giving birth…
Being able to wear high waisted jeans again!
Modeling after baby?
I’m definitely dreaming up my French Vogue cover as my comeback!