When you first see Bozena Zag, you might think she has led a life of relative ease.
Tall, blonde and beautiful, you’d be surprised to find out she has overcome many hurdles in life to become a successful supermodel and mom.
We spoke to Bozena about her childhood, career, and what it takes to make it in the competitive world of fashion.
Bozena, you are originally from Poland and your family settled in Canada when you were young.
Was this difficult for you as a child?
Coming from another country, I had to overcome not being able to speak English well, and trying to learn the new language while in grade school.
And let’s not forget, kids are mean. I got teased for years because I was still just learning English. I remember how bad I got bullied. One girl, who was much bigger than myself cornered me and tried to pick a fight with me while all of her friends were watching and laughing. I couldn’t wait until school was finished. I am 6 feet tall now and was always one of the tallest kids in school. I wore glasses and I didn’t wear the clothes the other kids did. So needless to say, it was rough and I couldn’t wait until I graduated.
Having children of your own now, what do you think parents can do to help combat bullying today?
My job is to do whatever I can to protect my children, especially from bullying. Parents need to communicate with their children. THAT IS A MUST.
It does not matter how busy your life is, you should always ask, “How was school?”
“Did anything happen that upset you?” When you ask these questions on a regular basis, you develop a trusting relationship with your child and they feel comfortable. Then if there are any issues you can deal with them. Be sure to let them know how wrong it is to be rude or to tease someone. We need to teach our children to always be kind to others. And if they see someone that’s not kind, don’t follow their lead. This will also teach your child confidence and security that will benefit them in life.
Life has not come easy for you and your family struggled when they moved from Poland.
How have the hardships and adversity in life shaped you as a person?
It made me a stronger and confident human being. It made me speak up for myself and not let anyone walk all over me. I voice my opinion when I need too. It made me a better person where I will always be kind to others and help with no expectations and for this I can sleep at night.
We consider you a role model for today’s modern woman. Do you believe women can truly have it all?
I came from a hard-working European family. There was no such thing as “can’t do it”.
I watched my mom do it all and it was just how I was raised. I didn’t know any differently. Yes, of course I believe women can have it all. I wanted to have children. I took my children to work with me. I took my children to all my appointments. Whatever you want in your life you go for.
It’s not easy to start. There’s a hiccup along the way. But you deal with that at that time and make it work with all that is already in your life.
You know the importance of giving back. What charities or organizations are important to your heart and why?
I am all for charities and help in any way I can. I am currently helping to organize the fashion show for the Windsor Symphony Orchestra Guild. During the Christmas holidays, my children and I help the hockey league give clothes, toys, and food to families that are in need.
My daughter as a newborn was diagnosed with a “co arc aorta”. Seven days after birth she was rushed in a helicopter to Toronto Sick Kids. We were there for 6 weeks and through a surgery. So, Sick Kids Toronto Charity holds a very special place in my heart. I am so grateful for their cardiac floor and wonderful staff.
Tell us about your passion for fitness and clean eating?
I have always had a passion for fitness. I would go twice a day at times. Now I am a fitness spin instructor. Working out keeps you healthier in every aspect. I get women asking me for advice on how they can get leaner and healthier. I love helping them because I want them to get to where they want too. This is what I live for.
It is also very important to eat preservative free. By this I mean gluten free and GMO free. In my household, you will only find organic.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Traveling, working, investing in properties – I want to continue traveling with my children. It’s something we always enjoy together. And I want to continue helping others; that’s a given to me.
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