Smiling is a powerful gesture. It evokes happiness within yourself and to others around you. These days we are more likely to look away from others rather than show a smile because we can get so caught up with our own lives that we fail to realize that a smile can create a spark of positive energy to those around us and within ourselves. You’ll never know what impact a smile can bring to people you encounter everyday – salespersons, security guards, servers, or just plain strangers. It may just be what they need to brighten up their day. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “We shall never know all the good a simple smile can do”.
To Katharina Rembi, a model from New York, smiling comes naturally. Sometimes though, even the most optimistic of people can lose their smile. To help herself cope with some tough times in her life, Katharina created the Have a Smile Project. Have a Smile is a collection of people’s stories wherein they detail their experiences about overcoming challenges and coming out better for it. Katharina continues her project and has since made it her mission to keep inspiring people. We get to know more about Katharina and her passion project.
Katharina - more than just a pretty face
Please give us a brief bio about yourself and your modeling career?
Originally my family is from Poland but I was born in Germany. Now I live in New York City, where I work as a full time model, influencer and a driver for positive social change. I use several creative platforms to achieve my goals including fashion, film, art, advertising, and philanthropy. In the past 8 years I gathered a lot of diverse experiences through my work as a model globally, shooting for beauty clients from Lancome to Clinique, doing runway shows, and shooting editorials, magazine covers, campaigns and TV commercials. What has always fascinated me the most are people and nature. I am always the happiest when I engage with people or when I am out in nature camping, hiking, travelling. Through international partnerships, movement building, community collaboration, and education, I hope to create meaningful and inspiring action around climate change, gender equality and social justice issues.
Tell us more about your Have a smile project? What made you start it?
I started Have a smile almost two years ago. After some very painful personal incidents, I crashed and lost something that was very important to me: my smile. Because I am a woman that loves to do everything herself, I didn’t know who to reach out to or how to find my way back to be the person that I once was. Quickly I realized I can’t go back in time, nor will I ever be that same person again, but I want to be happy and so I started to take pictures of people smiling, asking them for their stories, since we all have moments in our lives where we had to overcome personal struggle. We grow. Once I started to feel better, I really wanted to share my experience with everyone. Et voila, Have a smile was born. Last year on world smile day, with a lot of help, I was able to put together my first event auctioning some of my favorite prints, raising money for the incredible foundation ‘Children of Peace’ in Uganda. It was a very magical experience and the moment I realized how much impact we all have on our environment and the people around us. Sometimes a simple smile can change someone's day. After all, I believe it is the most powerful gesture of all and the universal sign of happiness.
What is your Life’s mission/vision?
We all change and grow older and so will our ‘life mission’. For now, I know that I am deeply passionate about bringing good energy into the room, so we can all start to inspire each other, help each other out and become better people.
What do you do in your free time?
It is difficult for me to stay indoors, so I leave the house as much as I can, usually with my camera. Biking, hiking, running or just strolling around are definitely some of my favorite things. Meeting friends and family, laughing until you can’t hold it anymore and travelling are so important to me, that I call them my own little luxuries of life.
What inspires you?
I get inspired very easily. Sometimes it can be something very small, the way somebody is growing their plants in their garden or how somebody is dressed... Usually I write down all my thoughts and inspirations, that come to my mind while I work, travel or simply browse online. Because we are all connected via the internet today, there is an overload of people doing wonderful things. Sometimes I feel inspired by siting outside looking at nature. There is nothing better than fresh air, plants, or the beach and the ocean, to be fully inspired.
Could you share with us some of your beauty tips?
Today we have endless opportunities when it comes to our idea of being beautiful. In general I try to tell my friends and family to keep it simple. You are who you are. The faster you realize that, the faster you are going to be happy and able to show off what you like the most about yourself. You start glowing and no lotion or make-up can beat confidence.
If eating well and exercising makes you happy, go for it! It for sure doesn’t hurt and just keeps you healthy for much longer! Stay out of the burning sun and treat yourself to some alone time where you do whatever you want. I love to sleep. If I can take a nap, I feel much better doing things that might be stressful.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
I love the quote out of the Forest Gump movie: “ Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you gonna get.” –Forest Gump
It is very true. Things always turn out to be different. We just have to embrace the good moments and work through the difficult once.
If you were an animal what would you be and why?
A whale. The heart of a blue whale is about the size of a car and is the largest animal ever to have lived on our planet... So cool. They are just amazing.
What makes you smile?
When something unexpected happens, a small gesture that is really heart warming. Or when someone is taking a moment to make you smile, because they know you very well. And of course, hanging out with friends, talking about memories. Life is full of them and they have to be revisited. Laughing out loud is one of my favorite things to do. When I meet with my best friend from school, there are no boundaries and sometimes we laugh for 20 minutes without taking a breath.
Another very powerful feeling is, when some stranger on the street smiles at you… or just a small act of kindness.
Share your smiles and stories to the world.
Katharina's IG https://www.instagram.com/katharinarembi/
Check out these photos personally taken by Katharina.
Photos property of Katharina Rembi