Models & Photoshoots

GloryGirl Ilana


When I think of GloryGirl and Nadine, the first thought jumping to my mind is the words of The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

She is without doubt an instrument of God by changing lives around her using the words of 1 Corinthians 6:20: I am bought with a price therefore I glorify God in my body and in my spirit, which are God’s.

Personally Nadine became my motivation, inspiration, mentor and friend through our weekly coaching sessions where we worked towards my goals that sometimes resulted in frustration, sweat and tears. Like so many other girls in Dubai, I came back here as a broken person after the love of my life was taken from me in a horrible car accident.  I lived a  life seeking pleasure in everything that kept dragging me down, trying to find sense and peace with all that has happened. I had absolutely NO goals, NO purpose and a constant aching feeling that there must be a way out,something better but I had no clue where to start. It felt like everytime I tried getting my head above the water, something came along dragging me further back down. Enter GloryGirl Nadine du Toit..

She pushed me to be all that I can be, the best as I, Ilana van der Merwe, the Ilana that God created for His purpose. Through kindness, patience, her sense of humour and sometimes harsh words of reality, I started to develop a newfound sense of direction and purpose in my life, digging back to years of forgotten dreams and desires that I used to long for but abandoned during trialed times in my life.  Through her top of the range training programs I managed to push myself to limits that I NEVER thought I would be able to achieve.

Although all the training sessions on my own, whether in the gym, hotel rooms or outside on the beach were sometimes a lonely road, I kept on looking forward to our weekly Guts and Glory training sessions with my fellow GloryGirl sisters and fitness family.  Living in Dubai far away from my home and family and living a flight attendant life, has it's challenges regarding the feelings of loneliness and isolation. But GloryGirl has given me a new family where we fellow GloryGirls interact with each other through motivation and supporting each other on our set-out goals that we want to achieve. Whether it's on-line via Facebook (some GloryGirls I have never even met in real life but communicate with them frequently!) or at Guts and Glory training, the sister bond gave me a sense of belonging and helps my soul to grow and bloom to be the best person I can be through Christ.

The 12 week journey started with a vision board, constant reminders in my life to strive and work for the things I wanted and realizing that the only limitations I have in life are those which I set up for myself. Nothing is impossible! The photo-shoot at the end of the 12 weeks proved that and was the highlight of the journey. Looking at it I can't believe that the person jumping in that picture is me!

I am now working on starting up my own business and competing in a high level fitness competition in the USA later in the year as part of Team GloryGirl, dreams that I could only long for.

Thank you Nadine and GloryGirl for helping me realizing my dreams and potential for the the future. Words doesn't do justice for just how much this journey has meant to me. I am proudly a GloryGirl for life!