Pau Hana / Mahina Garcia

Story and Photos by Alexandra Khan

In a culture engrossed in social media, the behavior of those in the spotlight creates an even more significant impression on the minds and actions of youth. Young girls, in particular, are more susceptible to self-imposed pressure brought on by a constant comparison between themselves, their peers, and the social media stars they idolize. It’s essential that those given the power of social media stardom view themselves as role models and therefore invoke behavior that inspires the impressionable youth who follow them. We are also in an age when being a feminine female athlete is accepted, and women are capable of reaching fame for both their beauty and their strength. It is vital for women of social media celebrity status to promote a healthy lifestyle, self-love, and self-acceptance. One woman who embodies all of these qualities and more is native Hawaiian surfer girl and fitness model, Mahina Garcia.

Garcia radiates happiness and confidence, and it’s no wonder that she has built a successful career as a model. Besides being a stunner, her passion for fitness and water sports have allowed her to transition into the world of fitness modeling- a place where she can embrace her natural form, her love of exercise, and her passion for variety. She hides nothing from her social following, showing the real, raw person she is and encouraging a healthy mindset in others. She often speaks about healthy diets, exercise routines, hydration, being outside, embracing your body type, and listening to your body. She is a well-balanced individual on a quest to help others achieve a similarly healthy and balanced life.

Like most of us, Garcia has not always been the perfect picture of confidence and health. Like many young girls and aspiring models, she once attempted to fit the mold in which society tried to place her. This relocated her to cities such as New York and LA, where Garcia found an emptiness in her spirit that had once been filled by her connection with nature. She longed for the ocean, the sunshine, the mountains, and the forests, but she also missed her family, with whom she is very close. Realizing that this traditional route might not be her path, she returned to Hawai`i to embark on her own. During that time, Garcia also grew into her womanhood and experienced changes that felt unwelcome within the modeling industry. At first, she tried to fit the physical mold she believed was necessary for success through unhealthy methods until she realized the negative physical and mental repercussions and opted for a change in lifestyle. Garcia created her own mold: one of nature, exercise, healthy food, spiritual practice, body awareness, and most of all, self-love. She understands the lack of confidence and self-esteem in women, and recognized that it was time for a change. Garcia, who has two younger sisters, knew that her decisions would affect not only on those who look up to her as a model, but most importantly, her two sisters who look up to her as a role model.

These days Garcia openly acknowledges the mentality that her body is her temple and tells Freesurf, “I love my body, so if I can be the strongest that I can be both physically and mentally, then that’s what I am happy with.” She hides nothing from her fans and encourages them to follow what they feel every day and adjust to those feelings.

As someone who travels for both modeling jobs and surfing, maintaining a healthy routine is not always easy. Garcia developed techniques to continue feeling good no matter where she is, such as keeping a healthy diet, drinking hot lemon water once she arrives at a hotel, staying hydrated throughout her flights, and exercising when she arrives in a location. She also tries to consume green juices and ginger shots when she is on modeling jobs. “If I’m on a pleasure trip, I’ve learned to allow myself a certain amount of leeway when it comes to food, so just having that balance is important. Another priority is enjoying food for its flavors, and choosing quality over quantity.” Regardless of the trip, she always allocates time to move her body because, she says, “If I don’t move my body, I’m a whole different person. When you go on vacation a lot of people are so used to saying, “Screw it I’m letting everything go out the window,’ but once you are in tune with your body, ‘screwing it’ all the time isn’t going to make you happy or make your trip better. Feeling good is going to make your trip better. It comes back to balance. Everything is about balance.”

Over time, Garcia has taken an interest in genetics and blood types and how the two elements influence diet and body type. “Your body is the only thing you own on this planet basically, and it’s who you are and how you function. Understanding your genetics is an important key. Also understanding what your build is and understanding how your body functions is important.” However, a healthy diet is just one component in treating the body as a temple. We asked Garcia a bit about her routines in fitness, nutrition, and beauty. Here’s what she said:

What’s your typical daily routine?
I wake up; I drink my lemon and apple-cider-vinegar water, and then I will journal down the goals that I have for the day or week. Once I journal, I open up my computer, check my emails… I will probably go on my Instagram because social media is a business nowadays. Then I head into Haleiwa and do a workout and hit the sauna, and if it’s beautiful out I’ll go for a surf and grab lunch from Pupukea Grill or make a salad. Depending on what the rest of the day has in store, I’ll do more computer work or enjoy the beach.

Average workout?
Recently I’ve been trying to get in at least four days of cardio and two days of strength training and toning. For my cardio, I have two days of running or hiking, and the other two days I’ll come and do cross-train vibes, so I’ll be on the bike, the rower, and I’ll mix it into a crossfit-type workout. The other two days are booty, kettlebells, and squats. And yoga, too, at least four times per week.

Beauty secrets?
Always hydrate! Add lemon, apple cider vinegar, and garlic into your diet. As far as beauty, facial cupping is my go-to. That helps with circulation and lifts your face. You lather your face with oil, then you move your mini facial cups around. It’s basically a natural Botox for your face. I do that almost every night. My other beauty secret is oil; I pop Vitamin E oil tablets open and put them on my under eyes and any scarring I might have.

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