What are you most thankful for?
My health, my family, my boyfriend, my friends, nature, and art. There are days it is SO hard to be a functioning person because life can throw serious shit at you, and it’s easy to lose spirit and get disheartened. So, there are things and people that help me maintain a base of positive energy. I’ve seen some rock bottoms that taught me early on that things like death, loss, and sickness - no human is immune to those realities. We need to care for each other the best we can and allow space for mistakes and redemption while withholding judgment. The people who exist in their special places in my life that inspire me, love me, make me laugh, make fun of me, encourage me, push me, challenge me, give me the right to silence, teach me to not take life that seriously, and let me be who I am - I am eternally grateful for those people. I am grateful to people with big hearts.
What does self-care look like to you?
A good skincare routine, eating as many nourishing fruits and vegetables as possible, cooking, stretches, running long distances, good sexual health, showering, smoking a joint before bed or brainstorms, a good glass of wine when needed, chocolate, quality time with my boyfriend, making sure I take time to read, workout, and discover new music. Also sleeping in sometimes. In general - self-reliance, in my opinion, is a huge part of self-care. You can’t take care of anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. I’m Muslim, so sometimes I pray which I consider part of self-care. I genuinely think human beings can only control so much. I don’t ever want to take anything for granted because I’ve seen the universe work and it has its ways of humbling us when our ego begins to grip us harder than it should. A long time ago I overheard a saying, “You can go from drinking the wine to stomping the grapes, or stomping the grapes to drinking the wine”. It strangely put perspective on how quickly things can change for any of us.
What makes you feel self-conscious?
I can be self-conscious about my career from time to time. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in this mindset where I constantly feel like I need to do more, and I need to do better, and I’ll quickly sink into these strange negative feelings I can’t pinpoint. My parents are both medical professionals so I have always subconsciously thought, what am I giving to the world at this moment? I put a lot of pressure on myself to work on things that are meaningful, not just for myself, but for others. I love people. I love storytelling. I love language. I love images. I studied science so I have a very analytical brain that's interested in studying layers of everything and connecting things. What that's led to is balancing commercial projects, management in agency roles, and personal creative projects respectively. The self-conscious part comes in where I’m like, is this enough, is this the right way to be doing this? My brain just goes…” It can’t be”. I’ve started to make peace with that. I don’t think we have to be one thing or be one way, and I’ve accepted I’m a work in progress. Knowing where I fall short and can learn from others has been really key. I acknowledge I’ve been lucky to work with people who support my growth and interests - so I really am humbled before those people. I think the imposter mindset can be experienced by literally anyone. Ambition is gruesome, and can be downright narcissistic and aimless if we don’t check in with our end intention of what we want to serve, who we want to serve, and how. But also, our work doesn’t completely define us -- our character does.
What moves and inspires you?
I’m really inspired by films, photography, design, and books. When I love something I really REALLY love it and get extremely obsessive and want to champion it to everyone. I get proud of people I don’t know. It’s kind of ridiculous actually, and I’m sure some people think I’m nuts, but I think it’s important to celebrate people who are doing cool things. I have worked with a lot of designers but I am not a technically trained designer... yet they have inspired me so much. Their way of thinking is all articulate and sensible but different depending on taste. Design is just an expansive and interesting world that attributes to pretty much every part of life so I’m inspired by it. Also: film and TV. I watched A Queen’s Gambit and was like holy shit, the writing in this, the cinematography in this, the styling in this, the directing in this...I told everyone to watch it as I do with anything I fall in love with. Hmmm...I’m also really inspired by my parents. They are extremely flawed humans but so damn special. They put themselves through medical school and the journey of raising three kids while starting over in a country they were not native to, and dealt with some crazy ass shit. We were not easy kids. I just can’t fathom. Also, kind people are inspiring. Like the kindness of strangers is one of the most beautiful and powerful and underrated things ever.
Do you have any daily practices?
I wouldn’t say daily... but 4 times a week I run 6ish miles per day. Running is an extremely reflective process for me and I’ve been doing it for many years. In some way, it’s been a coping mechanism. I just feel so much stronger mentally afterward, like I can kick actual ass even if it’s in my head. It’s just you and your body and your mind challenging itself all at once to go as long as you possibly can. When I don’t have an answer to something, I’ll go for a run and I’ll come home and have a clearer head with a clearer way forward. It’s not always easy and it’s not something I’m always excited to do but when I do it I feel sharper. I also try to write every day, even if it’s just a sentence. Other than that, coffee is a ritual. Coffee shops during my life in New York City and Brooklyn have been a huge breeding ground for building community and real relationships, and I also just love trying new coffee beans. I guess I’m pretty boring in that sense.