The Story of ‘I’ and the Rise of Nude Yoga Girl

In an intimate conversation with the enigmatic artist behind Nude Yoga Girl, we delve into the origins of her groundbreaking piece, "I", and the journey that ensued. From the sanctity of her own apartment to the viral explosion on social media, she shares the blend of photography, yoga, and art that defines her unique expression. This interview offers a glimpse into her creative process, the pivotal moments of her career, and the profound impact of "I" on her artistic and personal growth. Please note, this conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.

GEORGIA: “I” marks a pivotal moment as the genesis of your work. Could you share the story behind your initial venture into nude yoga photography and how the experiences of that day shaped the creation of “I”?

NYG: It was a Sunday in 2015, and I had just set up the smallest photography studio in our apartment. My passions include photography, modeling, yoga, painting, and philosophy. I’ve always been drawn to historical nude art. Having a safe space like my own apartment to create made me think about new forms of expression. I am someone who constantly seeks new ways to express myself! The idea of artistic nude yoga photos struck me because it seemed to blend many elements… Could I craft something modern, nude, and elegant?

Without 'I,' Nude Yoga Girl wouldn’t exist. So, it really changed my life. I only had in mind to try nude yoga photos; it was never my intention to publish them anywhere until I saw 'I' ready. I absolutely loved it.

GEORGIA: On November 8, 2015, at 15:01 PM, something inspired “I”. Could you take us back to that moment and describe the setting and emotions that contributed to this significant piece?

NYG: I was really excited about trying to create artistic shapes with my body. Something that would work well in B&W, be gentle nudity-wise, and also without showing my face. All those things together inspired me to create ‘I’.

There wasn’t enough room in our apartment for photos that could fit my whole body well in the frame, so that played a role too in the pose I chose! I was moving all the furniture out of the way to get just enough room. You can see a line in the middle of the piece, and that is actually from white wooden panels that I had tried to put together to create an even surface under my feet.

It could be easily edited out, but I prefer the file to remain untouched as it has always been. It also reminds me of the very beginning of this journey.

GEORGIA: Your Instagram posts over the years have highlighted the importance of “I”. How do you feel these snapshots in time reflect the evolution of Nude Yoga Girl and the significance of this particular piece in your artistic narrative?

NYG: They take me right back to the first years of my journey as NYG. I’ve always been aware of the significance of “I,” but I didn’t remember having posted about it exactly a year later in 2016, too. I was happy when I found the post again last year while scrolling through the beginning of my account.

GEORGIA: You mentioned that “I” was a deciding factor in starting your Instagram account and sharing your work. Can you elaborate on the decision-making process that led from capturing the image to sharing it publicly?

NYG: Without “I,” Nude Yoga Girl wouldn’t exist. So, it really changed my life. I only had in mind to try nude yoga photos; it was never my intention to publish them anywhere until I saw “I” ready. I absolutely loved it. It made me think if I could start an Instagram account and begin posting, but I was also sure I wanted it to be anonymous… A couple of hours later, I created the Instagram account and chose Nude Yoga Girl as the username.

GEORGIA: What initial reactions did you receive?

NYG: ’’I’’ has always also been my profile photo on Instagram since day one. I’m grateful of all the compliments I kept receiving on it as they also gave me courage to continue. The start of my Instagram account was pretty hectic and crazy. After the first couple of weeks when the account was growing, New York Magazine (The Cut) asked to do an interview and publish my work. From there my account went viral worldwide in all the medias and kept growing… Within the first 4 months I had around 300K followers, over a 100 photos, set up my own company etc.

But all of this made me really nervous too. It was a lot and caught be completely by surprise. I wasn’t expecting anything like it and there were moments I also thought about deleting my account. My closest friends and family didn’t even know about any of this yet and that made me nervous too. But I’m grateful I kept going, mainly because my boyfriend was very supportive of everything.

GEORGIA: Looking back at the creation of “I” and the start of NYG, how do you believe this piece has shaped your journey as an artist, and what does it represent to you today as you reflect on your growth?

NYG: For the first 1.5 years of Nude Yoga Girl I only created B&W studio photos the exact same way as ‘’I’’. One challenge which was fascinating to me was to invent hundreds of new positions that would also cover my face at the same time. It really shaped the whole beginning, artistic approach and foundation of NYG. 

Author: Georgia O'Eth