Wellness. *Emphatic sigh.* It seems to be one of those words that we’ve said, typed, and written so frequently… it’s starting to sound weird. Wellness has been defined, redefined, revolted against, re-imagined, and back again—and we’re just talking about the last five years. One thing youRhere is mighty sure of, however, is that wellness is a personal, individualistic journey of self-reflection, training programs and self-discovery for everyone help help you feel confident (we’re sure this is the only universal definition). Thankfully, the marvelous thing about modern wellness is that its teachers, advocates, and supporters are more accessible than ever. To date, the “wellness movement” has been largely lead by women. Wellness and physical health is still seen by many as a luxury (and mainly headed-up by white women of means), so it’s *pertinent* to highlight the accessibility and diversity held within the wellness space. Our list of Professional Women All About Wellness is ever-expanding!
YRH community! We would *love* to expand this list with any recommendations you may have! Leave us a comment or DM us on Instagram if you know of someone who should be amongst these awesome humans.
Stacey & Jasmine Johnson – Black Zen
Starting our collective of professional women all about wellness and health and fitness: these powerhouse sisters have over 15 years of experience in the world of meditation. The BZ team curates top-notch, accessible content for all… but mostly, for people of color, whom have often found barriers between themselves and the wellness space promoting mental health and mind body. BZ features a podcast, a litany of excellent resources for those interested in meditation, and personal facilitator services (bringing a meditation professional to your office, classroom, and beyond).
Jun Lee – Eir NYC
Following a sports injury in 2012, athlete and NYC local Jun Lee found her surgical experience to be lacking. Frustrated, Lee renewed an interest she had developed in childhood: holistic healing. After developing her popular Surf Mud product—natural sun protection that doesn’t harm the ocean!—it was only natural that Lee produce a full-on natural beauty & wellness line. Enter: EiR NYC (pronounced “air”).
Layla Lopez – Trigger the Tingles ASMR
Cayman-Island-native turned London transplant, this ASMRtist is the injection of zen and comfort you need. If you’re unfamiliar with the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response—that “tingly” feeling when you experience something extra soothing) community on YouTube, we highly recommend checking it out. Lopez’ channel features over 100 videos of relaxing role-plays, whispered tutorials, and mom-like love. Her videos often feature members of her family and friends; we’ve been watching her for the last few years and feel such a strong connection to her community spirit.
Yaquí Rodriguez – Wave of Healing
Climbing the ranks in the fitness world, Rodriguez found a new way to express her wellness mindset through reiki healing and energy work. She credits the strength of her lifelong intuition with getting her into this holistic space. At first, the idea of reiki (a Japanese relaxation technique that essentially means “laying on hands”) was in direct contradiction with her Catholic upbringing, but after years of research and self-reflection, she found the principles of healing from her Dominican background and the general concepts of energy work were one in the same.
Cassandra Lam & Karen Mok – The Cosmos
A (virtual) chance introduction over social media sparked something deep and real for Lam and Mok. Exhausted and frustrated with the realities of being Asian American women in the world, the pair began seeking out others who could relate. As it turns out, they were *far* from alone. After receiving hundreds of messages from their peers, Lam and Mok decided to throw out the concept of a meet-up. In 2018, 20 Asian women gathered at an Airbnb in Seattle to spend a weekend of mutual support and love. Thus, The Cosmos was born!
Nadine Habayeb & Priyal Bhartia – Bohana Life
On a fateful trip to see her grandmother back in India, Bhartia was re-introduced to a beloved childhood snack: popped water lily seeds. Seeing (and tasting!) their obvious wide-spread potential as a healthier alternative to popcorn, Bhartia and her co-founder, Habayeb, decided to bring these tasty snacks to the United States. Bohana is a fledgling business, but it’s already gained major traction and publicity (Shark Tank, anyone?) from wellness junkies and foodies the world over. Bonus: it now comes in three yummy flavors (Himalayan salt, white cheddar, and Sriracha spice).
Lauren Ash – Black Girl In Om
Founding Black Girl in Om back in 2014, Ash is nearly *everywhere* in the wellness space, advocating for the concept through public speaking, podcasting, writing, and guiding through yoga and meditation. Ash’s goal is to engage a historically and consistently marginalized group of people—black women and women of color—into a community of healing. A leader in the contemporary wellness movement, Ash’s influence reaches across the world—she has been a key speaker for a growing list of major events (SXSW), companies (Adidas), and brands (Teen Vogue). She’s a strong advocate for other professional women in wellness, too!
Annya Santana – Menos Mas
A native of the Bronx, Dominican-born Santana’s wellness journey began when she had just about had it with her acne. At 22, she dove into research on holistic, natural ingredients, and began making skincare products in her kitchen. Out of that kitchen came the gender-fluid, clean beauty brand, Menos Mas—which essentially translates to “less is more.” With the founding of Menos Mas came a loving online community packed with those who believe in “from the inside, out” wellness methods. In her own words, “the brand is about bridging the gap between wellness and culture.”
Stephanie Zheng – Mount Lai
For over five decades, Zheng’s grandmother has been practicing gua sha—or instrument-assisted press-stroking of the skin for therapeutic purposes. This practice comes from traditional East Asian medicine, and has recently seen a resurgence in the beauty field with the popularity of the jade roller. Zheng started Mount Zai (a name that draws inspiration from Chinese mythology) at the ripe age of 21… but not before starting her own jewelry brand at only 15. Zheng’s dedication to self-care and wellness, as well as her connection to culture, have produced a contemporary skincare line rooted in tradition.