Music, Mantras and Macrobiotics: A Day with modelFIT’s Vanessa Packer

As the founder and CEO of modelFIT, you can imagine Vanessa Packer’s daily routine is ever-changing. After following the New Yorker around her city routine, there was no doubt in this initial assumption. Throughout this ever-changing routine, there was, however, a surprisingly serene composure that engulfed her. It is one that was all encompassing, almost contagious, as I walked into her LES loft-style apartment and that cool composure surrounded me. “I like the natural light, and keeping it open,” she says as she welcomes me into this haven. “Just please take off your shoes, then make yourself at home.”

Packer is midway through a large, black, iced coffee, computer open, and hair down—comfy, collected, cool. She followed my eyes as I peered around the apartment and almost noted when they rested on certain pieces, “I love vinyl.” “That chair is my fiancée’s; I love how it fits with my furniture.” “Those are my chakra sprays, would you like to try one?”

She walked me through the use of chakra sprays, and how grounding they are each morning, depending on what you want to focus on—from insight, to nourish, to harmony. I can’t help but spend a little time getting comfortable in her space as Packer nods her head to the background music and finishes up reading an article before we head out for her day.

It’s very clear that the serenity that engulfs Packer is what made modelFIT so successful—reflecting the exact type of specialized composure that dedicated fitties crave in a studio–Packer found it. Yet as we stroll to her meetings, hit her favorite lunch spot, and discuss her mindful patterns, it seems as if she not only “found” it, but rather, it found her—an innate feeling she polished from within, to create a studio for so many that needed to find that positivity to radiate out.


What led you to start modelFIT and why on Bowery?

I started modelFIT because I felt there was a void in the market for a studio that fused together mindful exercise and mindful nutrition. I wanted to create a space that felt beautiful and welcoming, with cool artwork, great products, amazing people and a results-driven workout and wellness approach. I think we have all those things at both modelFIT locations.


How did you find a studio as fitting as the NYC location in LA?

I design the studios myself, and I’m pretty decisive when it comes to decor. Light is a big part of what makes our studios so special. I knew when I saw the light flooding in through the large front doors that I would be able to create a space in LA that felt as special as our headquarters in NY.


What is a typical work day for you?

My day varies but I try to spend the mornings at the studio before running off to meetings and deep-diving into my email inbox. I speak to the managers at both studios throughout the day usually reviewing events, schedules, and everything in between. Day to day, it’s all about maintenance of the business, as well as growth and development of the business. Easier said than done, I can assure you, but I truly love what I do–so work doesn’t feel like work.


What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Press the snooze button (haha). After that, I’m up making hot water with lemon–I’ll have that while I prep my things for the day. I’m a morning workout person so I’ll usually bring a change of clothes with me to the studio for afterwards. Post workout, it’s my daily cold brew coffee and, go!



You split your time between LA and NYC. Are there differences in your routine for these bicoastal cities?

Slightly. In New York, everything is so close, so I can run home after my workout and shower, make a smoothie, while doing emails. LA requires more morning prep and I bring everything with me to the studio in West Hollywood–and I’m there almost the whole day, whereas in NY I’m in and out of the studio and home.


Do you have a daily mantra?

Breathe. Keep Calm. Have Patience. Words to live by, but it’s a daily practice.


Talk me through the use of Aveda chakra sprays in balancing your mornings.

I love using the chakra sprays throughout the day depending on how I’m feeling. It keeps me in touch with my mood and how I’m feeling throughout the day. Knowing I can tap into heightening one or the other and balance myself out.



You frequent Souen, so what’s magical about this spot? Why macrobiotic? And what’s your favorite meal here?

I’ve been going to Souen since I was a child. My mom raised my older brother and I on a Marcrobiotic diet, and this has always been a favorite spot of ours. I just love how authentic it is. The food is simple and delicious, and they care about what they are serving. It’s authentic and it’s been there a long time. In NY there is so much turnover it’s nice to see a place survive and thrive through the years.


You’re big into music, particularly vinyls, what are some of your favorite musicians?

Wow, tough question! If I wasn’t in fitness/wellness I would work in music. I have pretty eclectic taste and I love discovering new bands–new and old.



Do you have a pet peeve?

I can’t stand cigarette smoke. Especially when people are fully dressed in athletic wear–on their way to, or on their way from, a workout with a cigarette in their mouth. It’s gross.


How would you describe your style?

It’s a balance between found and polished, I think. I’m an urbanite so I tend to wear a lot of dark colors, a lot of black, but I also love vintage and one-off pieces. I really appreciate a well-made garment, and a beautiful silhouette. I actually really love clothes and shoes, so I’m not someone that lives in ath-leisure or workout gear.


What’s something you need to do everyday or you’ll feel out of balance?

Green juice, cold brew coffee, meditation, workout. Love my routine.


What’s the last thing you like to do before going to bed?

Kiss my fiancée.

Photography by Cynthia Lee