To observe Erika Palkovicova strolling about global fashion capitals like New York, Paris and Milan in the effortlessly cool model uniform of skinny jeans, t-shirt and designer sneakers, it’s impossible to imagine her as a shy and insecure country girl. However, she insists that she didn’t discover her inner strength and outer beauty until she left her home village in Slovakia. “I am from a very small village that has, like, 700 people. There, the idea of beauty is not so open, so everybody tries to follow the same roads and especially the trends. Today, I think if we had embraced our own styles and beauty, it would have been a lot better. This is what I learned travelling around the world. Beauty is not just the perfect shape of something or perfect curly hair, but it can be something completely different. Mainly, it's just being naturally you. When I was a little kid, I disliked many things about myself that I actually like now. But then I started to travel and seeing different cultures and different races and I saw how all the people are different, so then I could be like ‘Okay, maybe I'm not the ugliest person on this earth.‘” Hard as it may be to envision that this natural beauty with her long blonde hair, athletic figure and glowing skin could ever consider herself any less than beautiful, her humble demeanour and modest shyness indicate that she really did come into her own later in life.
Meet the Urban Nomad with Country Roots
When Erika speaks about country life, she is torn between a sense of nostalgia for her childhood close to nature and her love of the urban lifestyle she enjoys today. “I feel most like myself in a big city, because I can get lost and nobody knows me and they don't speak about me. In the city, nobody actually bothers, nobody looks at you, so you can pretty much be yourself without being watched or judged for silly things like you are in a village.“ Nevertheless, even though a recent trip to New Zealand took her farther away from home than she had ever been, it brought back fond memories of past holidays. “Travelling in a van felt quite close to the way I grew up, when we slept in a tent when I was a little kid. I wanted to see different things that I dreamed about when I was young, but I also really liked going back to those roots, sleeping in a van and knowing nothing about where I‘m going to wake up the next day. It's nice to have the mix of both.”
In addition to her amazing travel snaps from all over the world, Erika induces major Instagram envy with the accomplished yoga selfies she regularly posts. “I first started doing yoga when I was in New York, maybe four and a half years ago and I fell in love at the first session. I had done different sports before, but more team sports like volleyball and stuff, but I wanted something more chilled and relaxing. With travelling, it was really difficult to keep it up, but since last year, I’m really trying to do it every day. If I have work at 7, I wake up at 5. I try to make at least one thing a priority and at the moment, yoga is that thing.“
Those who really experience Erika’s authentic personality are those closest to her. “I think I'm pretty open and I like to speak about emotions when I'm sad or happy. I think it bothers some people, but that's just me, so I can't change it.“