In her previous career as a fashion model, Eline was on the cover of Vogue Italia. Today she works for Carin. A remarkable transition you would think. But there seems to be a returning element in the choices she makes. by Kirsten van der Kolk
“The thing that interests me is the way we look at a woman’s body. The modelling industry promotes a beauty ideal which is not the same for normal life. Modelling is a world of illusions. To fit in the dream you really have to discipline the body. I worked for ten years as a model. What I am doing today is really a continuation of my previous career: the way we think and look at the woman’s body. There are many taboos related to women’s bodies. Incontinence is just one of them.
Why did you quit working as a model?
“I became physically a woman! I felt like it wasn’t allowed to have curves. At some point I got tired of being told how to look and how to behave. Although I didn’t identify with the industry, the work itself I really loved doing. You are creating something together with a team. A model in this case is irreplaceable because it is about emotions and making contact with the audience.”
You have a Master degree in the interesting field Gender Studies. How does this relate to you current position?
“ The choice for gender studies is a result of my work as a model. First, as a model working in the industry you have the status of an entrepreneur. But you totally depend on your agent for promoting. This passivity intrigued me because it is not empowering. Secondly, the fashion industry is a world of extremes, especially when we look at the body. It made me sometimes insecure about my body and negatively influence self-confidence. I decided to write my thesis about the modelling industry and how an image is created. I love to translate my knowledge into practice.
How do you translate your vision to Carin wear?
“The larger industries in the market offer care to women and not cure. With Carin you train your pelvic floor muscles whilst being protected by the underwear. This means that as a woman you are active in solving the problem yourself and work on your health independently. This is really empowering because you don’t depend on medicines, pads or expensive surgeries. But this also requires willpower and patience. This is difficult in a society where everything needs to be done quick. With Carin we are a really a ‘David’ competing with the giant industries.
What is your drive?
My drive is to give women alternatives to products the major industries offer nowadays. Revolutionizing healthcare is about bringing innovation to the people, make technology serving the people. Women empowerment is important in the case of Carin. We address an embarrassing topic, one that is charged with shame. It also costs us willpower, time and energy to beat it. But it’s totally worth it. Your body is your home and if you can heal it, it’s worth the effort.
You also have an office in Tokyo, Japan. How do Asian women look at the product?
“In general Japanese women have a sophisticated taste and take good care of themselves. If you look at the underwear, the quality is very high and the shops are filled with pastel colours. How the female body is looked at differs in comparison to the Western world. But we have in common that incontinence is also a taboo in Asia. You need a lot of cultural knowhow to operate on the Asian market. I am glad the Japanese team is really experienced.
What was your first response when hearing about Carin?
My impression was very positive right from the start. This is a technology about the ‘unspeakable’ for women. When meeting Julia (the designer and co-founder of Carin) who demonstrated Carin I saw the potential of it. Carin makes women independent and take matter into our own hands to work on our health. This is why our slogan is called “empowering women everyday”.