Denise Keller: Model, Travel Show Host, Yogi, Storyteller

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Denise Keller is a svelte Eurasian model, avid travel show host, yoga instructor, and former MTV Asia VJ. She talks to doyenne.sg about her journey to becoming a yogi and path to wellness.

By Lee Ying Ying

“It only takes one person to believe in you, and that’s you.”

You might have seen Denise Keller at least once in the mass media, where her bright smile won countless hearts over the years. Her modelling and show host career bloomed after clinching the title of Ford’s Supermodel of the World in 2000, and a gig as MTV Asia’s female VJ soon followed.

With the recent airing of Discovery Channel’s “Expedition X: Silk Road Rising” in which Denise travels from China to Turkey along the Silk Road, the 13,000km journey definitely sparked a storyteller’s flame in her.

“I love people. I love knowing their stories and understanding where they come from – their backgrounds, journeys, and arrivals,” she starts. “Deep down inside, I’m a conduit with stories to share and to pass on. I love what I do at Discovery Channel. I get to meet the most amazing people on the planet.”

Having fronted numerous campaigns and brands, and travelled around the world for “Expedition X: Silk Road Rising” and “Passage to Malaysia”, you’d wonder how she manages to maintain a healthy balance in her vibrant life.

Denise Keller: Be kind to yourself, others and the law of nature.

DK: I’m passionate about wellness. Personally, I enjoy the process more than the end goal. It’s a common thing yogis say, but it’s true to its essence of being in the moment and staying present in learning, understanding and sharing. One of the most amazing things about being in wellness is when people come up to you and tell you they feel much better after a class or a private session.

At the end of the day, I don’t consider myself a yoga teacher. I’m more like a facilitator than anything else. I can only guide people in their bodies. The student has to be the teacher of the body.

DK: I don’t think that was my goal in media. In fact, I didn’t quite have a goal in media to begin with. I really fell into it with lots of laughter – I always knew I wasn’t the best at everything, but I could at least try it with bravado and tenacity and see if it was something that made me happy, and it did.

I think people who gave me my first “break” always knew that I had a self-deprecating nature and a discipline at the same time, and that ultimately led them to giving me a chance to prove myself. It only takes one person to believe in you, and that’s you.

DK: I wanted to be a vet, a cop, and a mad scientist – all in one. Ha ha.

DK: The list is long. Very long. I have mentors everywhere – even my dog is my mentor. I’m a very observant person, I prefer to watch and learn than to boast and proclaim. I learn more by listening.

DK: The wellness movement in Asia is at a tipping point. It’s trending like mad because we live in a rat race and work so damn hard that there is no other way but to restore its balance. Like the tao, it all comes back to innerness and Asia has always had roots in wellness just by sheer cultural values.

DK: SPICE, SPICE, SPICE, SPICE, SPICE. Was that five? Okay, I’ll start again:

  1. Anything spicy to cray cray hot Thai food to insane Indian curries.
  2. Clean lines like Japanese food.
  3. Home-cooked meals are simply the best because only you know what you like best.
  4. Did I mention Dark Chocolate? I could have a dark chocolate drip secured to my hip!
  5. Tex-Mex! My hubs and his family have introduced me to the amazing world of tacos and fajitas; chili verde being my favorite.

DK:

  1. I like a strong asana practice, so anything with inversions thrown into the mix to make my blood flow upside down.
  2. I love a good Yin class to restore balance – mental flossing is what I need regularly.
  3. Meditation. Why do yoga if it doesn’t lead you to the calm inner world within you? I’m so grateful to Tiffany Cruikshank for teaching me the wonderful and amazing aspects of meditation.

DK: My husband is my happy place. He is the most solid, most grounded, most patient human being I know. There is never a storm when he is around.

DK: She would be proud. At 21 years old, this was where I wanted to be exactly in this space and time.

Images by Denise Keller


Visit Denise‘s website to follow her latest updates and projects.

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