British-Indian model Sofia Hayat has spoken about her controversial decision to have her breast implants removed and commit to a life of a celibate nun.
Since April this year, when the star of Footballers’ Wives and Waterloo Road and more recently India’s famous Big Boss decided to fully commit to the life of a nun, she has stopped wearing make up, bagged away her designer dresses and Louboutin heels, and has chosen to meditate for five hours a day.
After living a luxurious life of celebrity filled parties, red carpet film premieres and dating a string of handsome high profile men, Sofia, 41, has found a new way of living which she believes is her true calling.
‘My previous life was wonderful but I love this one more,’ she said. ‘When I look at photos of the old me I still smile. I feel I was meant to go through that life so that I can witness the real world.
‘But now my life is like a second coming. My reason for existing now is to take away all the negativity and to reveal the truth of our our existence.’
Sofia was raised a Muslim and grew up in South London with very strict parents and two brothers but her ‘restrictive and suffocating’ up bringing led her to rebel in her teens.
‘When I was a teenager I was desperate to free myself of the rules and restrictions of my religion. I wanted to be sexy, I wanted to wear nice clothes and I wanted to flaunt my long hair and body.’
Sofia had always loved singing and wanted to be a professional even though her parents strongly disapproved.
‘I never necessarily wanted to be famous, I just loved singing.’
Consequently, Sofia fell out with her parents, but the model quickly blossomed in the industry. And eventually she was appearing in BBC and ITV dramas, including Footballers Wives, Waterloo Road and Jonathan Creek and often mixing with high end society at some of London’s top parties.
When she was 19 she went to a party in London with Leonardo Di Caprio. She said: ‘He was in London to film The Beach and at the party he invited me to his room where we chatted. I was only about 19 at the time, still a virgin, but he wanted me to stay.’
By 2009 Bollywood came calling and she starred in the film, The Unforgettable.
She added: ‘I was quickly known as the very glamorous and down to earth Brit in Bollywood and people liked my sense of fun and honest attitude. I enjoyed wearing provocative clothes on the red carpet and having fun with my co-stars.
‘Bollywood was very different to London. Stars never admitted to any beauty enhancements or cosmetic surgery in Bollywood, many liked to live a lie. I never confessed to my 2010 boob job and botox sessions and fell into the trap of not admitting my enhancements also but I didn’t take any of the attention or glamour too seriously.’
Sofia didn’t move to India full-time, instead she spent many months a year in Mumbai, and then often returned home to London.
Her career went from strength to strength often earning £20,000 a photoshoot as a model.
And in 2012 she was chosen as one of the Big Boss celebrity housemates, India’s popular version of Celebrity Big Brother.
‘I lived a life of crazy parties and extreme wealth where people constantly took drugs’
‘I dated cricketer Rohit Sharma. I also dated other men from Bollywood and London and I thought it was real love, but it was just an existence; it was not a life. They often partied all weekend and sometimes got home at 11am on a Sunday; I had no idea where they’d been. One used prostitutes and once took me along thinking it was sexy but it made me feel sick and I realised this wasn’t the life I wanted. Deep down it was empty.’
Back in London in summer 2014, Sofia was at a 5* hotel for a treatment when she spotted the services of a spiritual healer. She was intrigued.
‘I asked the receptionist about it and she told me he was much cheaper if I visited him at his home,’ she said. ‘So I made an appointment. I’d never had an experience like it. I felt like I’d had an out of body experience. The healer told me I had a special gift.’
Following the session Sofia began to look into spiritual practices and Reiki, which is said to channel healing energies through the power of touch.
She said: ‘I didn’t really know what to make of it all but I felt this natural pull to want to know more.’
That summer, many unusual experiences began to add up.
She said: ‘One time that summer I was seeing a friend of mine, former Miss Great Britain Liz Fuller. She’d been told by her doctor that she didn’t have any eggs and was clinically infertile. She was naturally upset. But believing my healer and some of his predictions, I offered to give her my own healing session and she agreed. Remarkably, just two hours later she said she could feel her ovaries bubbling. And a few months later she called me and told me the doctor said she was extremely fertile and she went ahead and froze her eggs. Since then, my life continued to evolve in remarkable ways.’
Sofia had a boyfriend that summer but she said all physical desires died. ‘I suddenly felt like all my sexual desires had died inside of me. I did not have an urge to do anything. I was very sure when I ended that relationship.’
Then, in September, Sofia went to a Ayahuasca retreat, in Yorkshire. Ayahuasca is an hallucinogenic tea, famous in South America, used by people seeking enlightenment.
Sofia said: ‘Someone I knew had taken it and told me that they saw a vision of me so I wanted to know what it was all about. What would I experience?’
But while on this private retreat Sofia said she took part in a Ayahuasca tea ceremony and had an experience that was the catalyst of her new life.
‘I saw the Goddess Isis, Mother Mary, and I was clearly told I was on this earth to awaken it.’
Coincidently, that same day Sofia tragically found out her father had died.
During the tea ceremony she said her father took over her body.
She added: ‘My parents didn’t agree with my lifestyle so we had not been speaking for 13 years. But when I lost my father I suspected I would see him. During the spiritual ceremony my father took over my body and talked through me. It was very sacred. And I was at peace at his funeral because of that experience. I believe I would’ve been a mess and killed myself if that had not happened. I believe Ayahuasca saved me and showed me what happens when you die and helped me deal with my grief.’
Sofia was becoming more convinced she was someone or represented something quite spiritually remarkable.
In September last year Sofia attended the high profile premieres of Tom Hardy’s Legend and in December Eddie Redmayne’s The Danish Girl wearing her usual trademark provocative outfits but that month she spent her Christmas and New Year in Egypt believing angels had sent her.
‘I went alone,’ she said. ‘I just needed to go and learn more about what I was feeling. I visited the pyramids and every time I entered, I experienced an overwhelming pull. I felt spirits were trying to communicate with me and I felt an energy that I had never connected with before. My guide was amazed by the affect it had on me. The Guardians of the Temples told him a prophecy about Goddess Isis. He translated that the guards said I was the prophecy. I left feeling more empowered than I ever had before and I knew that I was destined for more than what I was living.
‘I was beginning to believe that I was like no other person,’ she added. ‘I felt this exceptional purpose, this power that no one else possessed. It became clear that I could no longer continue as an actor, wear make up and hide behind a mask. I was beginning to feel pure and cleansed. I was being elevated into a life that had no place for drugs, parties, or sexual promiscuity.’
In April this year, Sofia had her breast implants removed, she stopped drinking alcohol, stopped smoking and going to parties and she turned vegan.
‘I was committed to living a new life and washing away the old me.’
As a renowned actress and name on the celebrity circuit Sofia felt she needed to explain her decisions. So later that month she flew to India and held a press conference in Mumbai.
Dressed in a white organic cotton dress she explained to the Indian media her wishes to step away from the life she was famous for and to follow a new path.
Many of her famous Bollywood colleagues did not support her and the Indian media felt she was hugely hypocritical but she was determined to stand her ground.
She added: ‘I know what I feel. My life is like a second coming and I am the reincarnation of Goddess Isis. I don’t care what other people think. I know what I am here for now and the prophecy is most definitely real.
‘I’ve not had sex since last year and I’ll never have sex again. It’s not about wanting or not wanting children but I am now committed to other people, my children.’
Sofia now calls herself Gaia Mother Sofia, the Divine Sofia, and she spends her days meditating for five hours, visiting a girl’s orphanage when in India and meeting with people for healing sessions back in London.
Even though Sofia was raised a Muslim, she converted to Catholicism in 2006 and taught herself about Hinduism in 2012. But she doesn’t follow any religion now and instead believes in spiritual unity as a Holy Mother.
‘I use telepathy, the power of my hands, as well as crystals.’
‘This will now become my full vocation and I’m currently having a temple and ashram built in my home to be finished next month. It’s a £50,000 extension where I will use it as a meditating room where people I meet can relax, connect with themselves and find inner peace. It will be called the Temple of Awakening, and it will be the first Orgone temple in the world. The materials I’m using in the floor produce such a strong vibration it removes any negative atoms in the body, removes stress, and cures cancer cells. If someone sits inside for 20 mins three times a week it can help a number of illnesses. It will be a first of it’s kind.’
Sofia still gets offered TV work but she will only accept jobs where she can be the new Sofia. She said she was recently offered a presenter job for £500,000 but they wanted long hair, make-up and ‘busty Sofia’ so she turned it down.
‘I no longer earn money as I did even though I still get TV offers. TV appearances want the old me. I now live off my savings and people also pay for my services. I’m not comfortable charging but people do pay me, people want to give and I have to pay my mortgage and living expenses at the end of the day but that’s it. Anything extra I make will go to my girls’ orphanage that I support in India.’
Sofia has no regrets about her old life and believes it has made her who she is today. Now, she orders organic white cotton and has her simple dresses and yoga pants and t-shirts made to order, as well as her white head-dress. She plans to sell all her designer clothes, shoes and handbags and donate the proceeds to charity.
She added: ‘My friends are hugely supportive of me and often visit me for healing sessions and I help them with personal issues. I haven’t had a good relationship with my mother since I became famous many years ago but now that I am covering myself up and living a more grounded life she might open the doors to me but either way I am content.
‘My previous life was absolutely wonderful and I learnt so much but this journey is now equally beautiful. I don’t dwell on my own needs any more. My life is dedicated to others and I feel fully content with that.’