As a society, but especially as a generation of millennials, we are consumed and obsessed with success. Whether through coaches, seminars, podcasts, or the literacy of self-help, we are regularly chasing what it means and what it looks like to be and gain success. At the end of the day, what separates dreaming from doing or personal relationships from social media plugs?
Nai Vasha is a visual provocateur and craftsman on a mission to answer these extremely large questions. As an expert in health and wellness Vasha partners with designer Sophia Chang to curate UNDO-Ordinary, a fitness and lifestyle magazine targeted at presenting a healthy living for urban millennials. Whether she is working with brands to find a visual balance, coordinating galleries to share her art, or implementing new UNDO-Ordinary content, like Budget Hungry – a vertical of UNDO-Ordinary that focuses on giving Millennials a fresh and healthy perspective on their relationship to food – she is constantly helping others. Vasha is on a mission to reshape the way Millennials think about their world, starting with the way she moves in it.
It’s not about me. It’s about what I’m here to do. That’s what’s really important to me. @undoordinary
“I am a child of God. I am here with a purpose,” she shares. “It’s not about me but more about what I’m here to do, and that’s what’s really important to me.”
Hailing from Stockton, California, Vasha knew she was different from the onset of her childhood. To call her a go-getter would not cut it. Her spirit is fierce, ready, and racing to live out each day to its fullest potential. She is working constantly, at all hours of the day.
I am here with a purpose.@undoordinary
“I understand that it takes ten thousand hours to be a master. I knew that when I was a kid. That was the one thing that stuck out to me. It’s the idea that consistency is going to garnish the results that I want – nothing else,” she describes. “I want to be able to step in these rooms and deliver in a confident manner and that’s a big difference between the social wave and what people are doing who are actually in it.”
Vasha sees social media – perhaps the identifying mark of our generation and a cataclysm of ever-evolving ideas and platforms – as a space our generation will come to define. Although the rapid growth of social media amplifies opportunity, the merits of which that opportunity come by are questionable. Especially when considering social media’s role in defining success, the worth of art, and most importantly – the self. Her biggest questions rest around the way the digital economy has equated large social followings with success.
“I don’t just care about numbers, I want to make sure my relationships are real. I look at the people I respect like creative directors, they don’t have crazy followings. Why?” Vasha exclaims. “Because they are working or they are so good at what they are doing that they don’t need all that. People need to realize it’s going to take skill and talent. It’s going to take some effort.”
Vasha would know. Since early on she has constantly been observing and watching others. She always had jobs because she knew every job was an opportunity to do something.
I don’t just care about numbers – I want to make sure my relationships are real. @undoordinary
“There is no wrong move, there are no bad steps, there are no mistakes, there are no bad jobs,” she says.
At each job, she would take the skill set she used and plot how she would be able to use it again – all while earning money.
That’s where her entry into UNDO-Ordinary comes in. UNDO-Ordinary was an act of love for Vasha, that happened to have a spotlight on her wellness related interests of breaking the gap between the unhealthy lifestyles of traditional overworked young city people – after-work drinking, selfie sticks and mirages on social media – a with real-time living. Yet even before Vasha first became involved with UNDO she wasn’t an elite or advanced athlete or heavily involved in the world of fitness – which is the magazine’s primary focus. When I asked her what she thought of running as a younger girl she said she didn’t like it.
“I thought the 20-minute mile was insane and I could never do it in 20 minutes. I hated running but then had a ‘Forrest Gump’ moment and woke up one day and started running. It wasn’t about the act of running but the challenge: can I cross this bridge? Can I do this one thing? I wanted to run the Williamsburg Bridge and come home and see if I could do it. That was one beautiful spring day and I did it. Then I was like, can I do this again tomorrow? Then I was just consistent with that and four months later, I’m running my first marathon.”
Eventually, after showing up to her first group run, she decided to get instinctively more involved in the world of health and fitness. She found an opportunity to help make graphics for a community that was just being launched called UNDO-Ordinary. From there, she continued to use the opportunity to share her creative work with UNDO’s audience and the world.
There is no wrong move. There are no bad steps. There are no mistakes. There are no bad jobs. @undoordinary
“That’s where opportunity lies – you have to have this desire to seize it and say, ‘I can do whatever I want if I really work towards that which is bigger than me.’”
What allows some to take initiative and others not? While confidence, maturity, time, and brainpower are surely part of it, Vasha feels we’re born with it.
“I think it’s understanding what’s important to you and then being willing and available. That’s just how I live and I don’t think that’s something I’ve been taught. You really have to realize what you’re after and what you desire. I have always been wired to help people.”
You have to have this desire to seize it and say, ‘I can do whatever I want if I really work towards that which is bigger than me.’@undoordinary
That and I’m aware of who I am. I don’t know about confidence in everything…but I’m aware that I’m going to try and give it my all. It’s how you show up.”
For her role in launching and building UNDO – a brand which was co-founded by high-profile fitness influencer Robin Arzon and currently co-executed by high-profile designer Sophia Chang, Vasha has taken a role that is deceptively silent but incredibly important within the group.
“I’ve been at the center of all of this quietly,” Vasha illustrates for me. “It’s funny because I’ll be there to champion other initiatives, while I’m there working endlessly to make sure things are executed for [UNDO]. When people just think things are going to happen, I remind them they have to put the effort in.”
Conversely, Vasha knows, if she decided to bow out or stop at any time, she’d still be good.
“I’m not afraid of what’s going to come from this. I know that UNDO is a priority of mine, so sometimes I’m mad at myself for not finishing a side project but then I’ll remind myself, I just put out another magazine. There are all these little milestones you have to hit to get to the next place and you have to keep working.”
What’s next for Vasha?
“I keep on moving as I keep changing things,” she says.
A holistic wellness center, a space where people can relax, and an UNDO headquarters is in the works – for Nai Vasha the limit does not exist.