On Friday afternoon, at a Juhu five-star room, we got adopted by British-Indian model Sofia Hayat, best known for being mounted to sex goddess status by Vogue Italia in 2012, after they named her Curvy Icon.
Gaia Mother Sofia, 31, arrived in India to visit an orphanage in Santa Cruz and declare she has become a nun, who can see her past lives. Pic/Sameer Markande
"I am the Mother Goddess, Isis and Mary, who are the same by the way. I am the Supreme Goddess, and you are my child," she said, her lush lips free of colour, parting into a peaceful smile.
"I know that the things I say may sound crazy. God knows they sound crazy to me as I am saying theM, but it's all happened to me."
The 31-year-old, who Indian audiences remember for making it to the top nine finalists on reality television show, Bigg Boss 7 in 2013, is now Gaia Sofia Mother. For now, the nun operates from a makeshift temple set up in the living room of the hotel suite. She wears a white sleeveless dress that skirts her ankles (it's self designed, she says), a habit, and beads around her neck.
Gaia Sofia Mother currently operates from a makeshift temple set up in the living room of a suburban five-star suite. Pic/ Sameer Markande
The transformation, she said, wasn't sudden.
The daughter to Muslim Kashmiri immigrants — factory worker Zammurrad and homemaker Surriya — Hayat was disowned by her parents when she took to modelling while in college at Sussex University. "Once, my mother had me kidnapped from college and tried killing me. But I have forgiven her for it. At my father's funeral in September last year, I told her I am honoured that I am her daughter. I think she is happy now that I am all covered up," she laughs.
Hayat remembers her father as a disciplinarian who wouldn't hesitate from thrashing his daughters if they didn't stick to rules. She cut off communication with him 15 years ago, after a case was filed against him for having sexual relations with an underage girl. "The charges were later dropped, but I didn't wish to speak to him... possibly because I was abused by his cousin when I was a child," said Hayat, now in tears.
Sofia Hayat was a contestant on Bigg Boss 7 and had bit roles in The Diary of a Butterfly (2012) and Welcome (2013)
She left home to continue modeling, altering her body along the way. But it was a heartbreak in 2015 that left her broken, drinking more than usual. She was at a hotel in London when she opened the spa menu to find that a shaman was visiting. Guests could consult him for £400, for a session of healing. "When I was with him, I saw my past lives. In one, I was an orphan, and forced into prostitution. In another, I was a king who liked killing animals," she says with conviction.
That reading disturbed her, leaving her open to the gift of "knowing things".
Then, a friend suggested she try ayahuasca, a tea made of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leaf, used by the Amazonians as a spiritual medicine. It has the power, Hayat explains, to reveal your true purpose on Earth. Hayat was off to a retreat in the suburbs of London where they used this healing practice. "My friend said when he meditated after having the tea, he was told, Sofia is a planet, not a human being." Told by who, she wouldn't say.
It was when she was at the retreat, on September 10, 2015, that her niece, Hannah called to say her father had passed away. "I was shocked with the news. But I decided to stay on at the retreat because I knew my father would come to me.
When I had the tea later that day and meditated, his soul entered mine, and he apologised to me," she recollects.
On her return to London, she had another moment of reckoning. Lord Ganesha and Lord Brahma were telling her to head to Egypt. It was in Egypt that she said, she discovered, "that I was the Goddess herself. I went to the pyramids, and by this time, the angels were constantly around me, talking to me. I felt the goddess Isis enter me. I started talking in an ancient tongue and the temple guardians folded their hands before me. They said, 'She is here'. Later, I slipped into a trance and the goddess came to me. She said, 'Sofia, do you know who you are?' I now knew."
Hayat returned to India last month to visit and donate to an orphanage in Santa Cruz. She has now declared that she is now a nun. She is now busy building a temple of awakening in London by pooling in her life's savings, the money she had made from modelling and the funds she raised by selling her old London home. "People who come over can try crystal and Tibetan healing. It's to assist them find the real them.
There are angels all around us, you know. They help us." For Hayat, modelling and acting are evil. They force you to aspire to look a certain way. "Young people should know that doesn't matter! What are 'fat days', anyway? Why does one wear make-up? I don't regret my days as a model, because only if you go through it [the excess], can you comment on it.
Everyone here does plastic surgery and is promiscuous. That's how men want us to be. But that's not us. I haven't had sex for a year, and I don't feel like it either. Now I know why," she said, before treading into the green zone. "There is nothing like global warming! When I was with Isis, I was blowing at my hands to cool myself down, since I am planet earth. And she asked me, why? When I said it was so I can reduce global warming, she said, the planet is perfectly fine. Global warming doesn't exist. It's just a tactic for governments to extract tax from us."
We hope she is right with at least that one.