Roosmarijn De Kok is a model known for her work in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and in magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She is also an investor focused on direct-to-consumer brands in the health and wellness space, including Veracity.
I grew up in Holland. There, it seems like doctors recommend that you go on birth control pretty much as soon as you start your period to minimize the symptoms and side effects of PMS. So, I started taking birth control when I was 16. But I didn't have a good reaction to it at all. I know some people can take it without any side effects, but that was not my experience.
My body and hormones got really messed up. I started feeling really moody and I had incredibly low energy. I gained weight and each month my skin would break out in painful cystic acne before I would start my period. When I told my doctor about these problems, he explained that not every birth control works the right way for every person. So, I started this long period of trying different doses for the pill I was taking, then switching to a different type of pill, then trying the Nuva ring. I experimented with so many different types of birth control until I finally realized that none of them were for me.
Dealing with the birth control side effects while I went through this long period of trial and error was particularly hard because I had already started my modeling career by that time. I was scouted in my last year of high school, and on one of my holiday breaks, my mom and I flew to New York to meet with the agency. I thought, “Oh, modeling could make for a great gap year.” But it was going so well that I stayed. I started modeling when I was 18 and have now been doing it for a decade.
Because of modeling, I always put a lot of pressure on myself to look a certain way for the jobs that I was doing. After I realized that birth control wasn’t the solution to my problems, I started learning more about hormone health on my own. I was so intrigued by how something as seemingly insignificant as taking a little pill for your period could have such a big impact on how you're feeling and how you're living life every day. It can change everything.
I read books like Alisa Vitti’s In the Flo and started trying to work with my cycle instead of against it. I realized that I had a lot of habits that were hurting me. I found out I was doing the wrong kind of exercise – I was doing a lot of high intensity workouts all the time and was not giving my body proper rest. I was eating a restricted diet and traveling all the time in a lot of different time zones. So, all of that put a lot of stress on my body. I never lost my period completely, but I could tell that my cycle was off because of the extreme PMS symptoms I kept having.
Finally, I decided to go off birth control entirely and changed my lifestyle to be more hormone friendly. I don't really exercise as much anymore. I probably should exercise a little more than I do, but I like to make sure that I’m taking enough rest days. Right before my period, I limit how much I’m traveling, if possible, and I make sure I’m not doing things that I know will put stress on my body. It makes a big difference in how I feel. Overall, I'm also really cautious about the things that I use on my body -- like skincare, deodorant, and hair products – and the things that I use in my home, like the cleaning products. There are so many things out there that can mess up your hormones, so I try to limit them as much as I can.
These changes have made me feel so much better. I feel like I’ve healed from the inside out and all of the PMS symptoms I was having when my hormones were disrupted have disappeared. I see a huge difference now that I’m paying attention to my hormones and working to keep them balanced.
It was never my plan to be a model. Before I was scouted, I was always more interested in economics and business and was planning on going to the University of Amsterdam. After modeling for nearly a decade, I wanted to start exploring these areas of interest a little bit more, so I got into investing. I focus mostly on direct-to-consumer companies that I personally use and am a believer in. Last fall, I saw Veracity on Instagram and was intrigued that a skincare company was also interested in hormone health. So, I reached out to Allie Egan and have since become an investor in Veracity.
One thing I’ve learned throughout my personal and business experience is that it’s really important to educate yourself. Hormones make a huge difference in how women feel but, unfortunately, Western doctors don’t really educate us about them. I saw so many women I was modeling with put so much stress on their bodies – not properly eating, not giving their body rest, or doing the wrong types of exercise – that they actually lost their periods. Now, years later, they’re finding out that they have fertility issues.
When you're younger, you just don't think about these things as much. Then, you start getting to the age where you want to have kids or want to feel better and healthier, and you don’t understand why you feel the way you do or why your body is struggling to get back on track. So, I hope women can hear stories like this and feel empowered to start learning about their hormones at an earlier age so they can start feeling healthier.