Launching herself into the fitness sector has been the best investment of her life, says Doris Hofer. The Swiss expat lives in Turkey and has become an expert on health issues.
She reinvented herself after her divorce, and, not least through social media, notably Instagram, the 42-year-old Hofer has made a name for herself in Turkey giving advice about fitness and healthy food.
swissinfo.ch: Why did you leave Switzerland?
Doris Hofer: I left the country in 2004 because of love. I was married to a Turkish man for almost ten years and we have two children together, Zoe and Noah.
swissinfo.ch: Did you plan to leave Switzerland for good or do you intend to come back one day?
D.H.: I’d like to visit Switzerland more regularly and cooperate with Swiss companies. But as a patchwork family we are unlikely to move back. The father of my children lives here in Turkey and I don’t want my children to grow up without him being around.
swissinfo.ch: How did you get involved in the kind of work you do? And how is it going?
D.H.: I set up my own company, Squatgirlexternal link, after my divorce. Using social media, my business model is to encourage people to do more sports and eat healthy food.
swissinfo.ch: You have nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram. How do you explain this success?
D.H.: It seems that I inspire my fans to eat healthily and be more active physically. If they see what kind of breakfast I eat, they want to cook the same dish.
Recently my children and I cooked oats with banana and served it with unsweetened scoops of raspberry sorbet.
Many also write that they love to watch my videos, which encourage them to do the exercises I recommend. They say it puts them in a good mood and because my enthusiasm is infectious.
swissinfo.ch: Where exactly do you live at the moment? What’s life like there and what’s the main diet?
D.H.: I live in Istanbul. Being a vegetarian, I love Mediterranean food. Our dishes are very colourful and made with plenty of fresh vegetables.
swissinfo.ch: What is more interesting in Turkey than in Switzerland? What are the main differences between the two countries?
D.H.: If you speak Turkish, people open their hearts and simply love you. This can be quite useful and it is certainly beneficial for my television shows.
Also, I’ve never received any hateful comments here, unlike in Switzerland.
Maybe it’s because of my foreign accent or because people here are less frustrated than in Switzerland.
swissinfo.ch: How do you see Switzerland when you look from a distance?
D.H.: I am proud of my country. Our political system is an important model for others.
People are entitled to have their own opinion there and they can express it if it is reasonable enough. I also love Switzerland’s public transport as well as the disposal and recycling system.
swissinfo.ch: What is the political situation like in Turkey? Do you follow politics in your country?
D.H.: People use various social media platforms to voice their opinions on politics, but in an utterly uncivilised manner. I don’t like this and I make it a strict rule to avoid any comments about politics.
I want to bring people together who care about a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t matter where they come from, what religion they have, or what kind of clothes they wear.
swissinfo.ch: Do you participate in votes and elections in Switzerland?
D.H.: No, because I feel I don’t really know enough to make informed decisions.
swissinfo.ch: What do you miss most about Switzerland?
D.H.: My family and friends. And when thinking of food, the nice Swiss cheeses.
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Translated from German/ug, swissinfo.ch (the interview was conducted in wirting)