When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Liya Kebede: I always try and start out the day by meditating for 20 minutes but I am not always successful!
TG: What gives you energy?
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
LK: Believing that there is always a solution even when it feels impossible.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
LK: Too many books to name but recently I read “At the Existentialist Café” by Sarah Blackwell and now I am obsessed with Sartre, Beauvoir and that whole period and philosophy.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
LK: Like most people, I’m pretty attached to my phone but I always make an effort to disconnect when its important. At night I have learned to switch it off and sometimes even to charge it far away from my bed to give me some quiet time. I’m also trying more and more to focus on what’s happening outside the window when I am in a taxi instead of being on the phone.
TG: How do you deal with email?
LK: Unless I’m waiting for an answer on something in particular, I check it when I can throughout the day and usually respond immediately if possible.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
LK: I was in a habit of going on social media but now I try to read or listen to motivational/spiritual videos.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
LK: I’m constantly traveling so I feel like my permanent state is jet lagged. I get particularly burned out whenever I’ve just returned from a trip and my internal clock has to readjust itself.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
LK: I’m not sure that there is such a thing as failure. I think there are challenging moments and times when things aren’t working out how you want. Sometimes it’s about not giving up and looking for more solutions and sometimes it’s about changing your perspective and learning from that moment and moving on. Difficult moments give you the opportunity for self reflection and for going within which are two important things as well.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
LK: “The way you perceive your situation can change your condition. Maybe you don’t need a new situation, maybe you need a new perspective.”
Liya Kebede is an accomplished supermodel, actress, designer and maternal health advocate. She is the founder of lemlem and lemlem Foundation and actively serves as the brand’s Creative Director.
In 2007, Kebede founded lemlem, an artisan-driven collection for women, men and children made entirely in Africa. lemlem, which means to bloom and flourish in the Ethiopian language Amharic, is a modern resort line available at select retailers worldwide. lemlem partners with artisan studios in Ethiopia and other African countries
that use traditional techniques in hand weaving, crochet and embroidery, working primarily with local materials and fabrics. lemlem and its Foundation are committed to expanding production and job opportunities, and empowering women in Africa.
As a model, Kebede has been featured on multiple American and international VOGUE covers, runway shows and major print campaigns for top designers worldwide. She is also an established actress with several film credits to her name. In recognition of her body of work, Kebede was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010 and one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year in 2013.