Portrait of a Lady: Sophia Gushee of Ruan Living
Our Hedge clientele is full of incredible women who inspire us. They exude grace and grit and define our brand because they live authentically and enjoy what life has to offer and respect the lessons it has to teach us. The Portrait of a Lady campaign features women like Sophia who have so much to share with the world.
Sophia began her career in finance. However, her interest in toxic exposures began soon after her first daughter was born in 2007. After returning to her career but delving deep into motherhood she realized all that the supplies and necessities for raising children could expose them to toxic chemicals and heavy metals that could participate in her daughter’s development. Hundreds of credible reports motivated her to research baby bottles, baby bottle nipples, infant formula, food, crib mattresses, pacifiers, and more.
She found herself staying up all hours of the night researching the toxicity of the products on the market. The more she uncovered, the less she could ignore. Motherhood brought to the forefront of her mind very important issues that she could no longer ignore. Like most entreprenuers, she felt so passionate she began to research more and to write. For almost 14 years she studied science-based opportunities to minimize toxic exposures in daily life.
She started a company using her maiden name, Ruan. Sophia wanted not only to honor her father, mother and brother but also some incredible ancestors who made remarkable contributions to peace, philosophy, art, music and nature. The mission of Ruan Living is to help people live a less toxic lifestyle to optimize health and harmony. It is a complicated and overwhelming topic that she simplifies brilliantly and outlines basic steps to start small or fully embrace in our own lifestyles.
We all know life is messy and imperfect, especially for mothers. Her method results from applying knowledge to real life, and we are excited to share what we learned with you.
Our Interview with Sophia at Adore Florist in NYC on the Lower East Side :
Tell us the steps you’ve taken since college and the evolution of your passions.
I have had more jobs than your average person. After college, I decided I was going to spend my 20s committed to my learning curve and view my work experience as my “graduate school.” So any salary was better than paying for graduate school tuition! I wanted money to NOT be a factor in my career choices. I am finally able to enjoy the returns from all the risks that I took. To me, “returns” are not financial, they are passion, purpose, diversified perspectives, and a dynamic skill set. I’ve never before had so much fun!
Tell us a little bit about your work ethic and drive.
I’m almost 49 years old and I’ve never worked as hard as I do now—and I don’t “need” to be working this hard but am just so passionate about my current path that I almost can’t help it. In fact, my parents were very frustrated with how “lazy” I was during my childhood. But, soon after college I immediately fell in love with many of my jobs. Since then, I have to exercise a lot of discipline to stop working!
What are your top three tips for detoxifying your life?
1. Avoid plastics, especially in your diet.
2. Disable your wireless connectivity whenever you don’t need it.
3. Maximize distance between you and technology, especially during your sleep.
Tell us about how you started playing tennis.
My father forced me to play a lot of tennis from when I was young because he loved tennis so much and he wished so deeply that he could have started earlier in life. However, I hated it. Regardless, I didn’t have a choice. I had to play much more than I wanted to. I played Varsity Tennis from 7th grade and played #1 and #2 singles for a while. As soon as I went to college, I stopped playing for a about 20+ years. Then, when my eldest daughter was in kindergarten, I started playing socially to get to know other moms at my daughter’s school. That’s when I began to find the joy in tennis. Now, whenever I remember, I thank my parents for forcing me to play so often as a kid.
What have you read recently or what is one of your all-time favorite books?
Generally, I have a hard time reading fiction. I think it’s because I find real life and real people so fascinating! However, lately, my frequently referenced book is the I Ching, an ancient Chinese text which is sometimes translated into the “Book of Changes.”
What endearing term did your mom call you growing up?
My mom didn’t use endearing terms. Endearing terms was just so NOT a part of my parents’ background.
As adults we never stop growing and changing. How do you feel you are growing?
I am growing in so many ways that it’s hard to select a few! If I had to pick #1 way in which I’m growing, I’d pick my connection to my subconscious/unconscious influences. It’s been incredibly liberating to reach a point in my evolution at which I am beginning to identify patterns that were established early in life.
What scares you?
The regrets that I may have.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
“You’re the best mom I could ever have!”
What are you most proud of?
How do you reveal your personality through style and wardrobe?
I wish my style and wardrobe represented my personality more often! After having babies, I spent years in a wardrobe that was comfortable and practical for a mom with young kids. Recently, I started experimenting with style again. But I find myself going back to what felt most “me,” which is preppy with a twist or a Bohemian or 70s flair.
What is one of your simple or guilty pleasures in life?
Binge-watching TV series with my family.
What is a lesson you have learned lately?
That, from the beginning of their lives, my children have been tuned into my energy as if they are radios searching to connect with my signals.
If we wanted to take on this challenge of detoxifying our home and lives, how do we start?
The six areas below are the key parts of our lives that we should detoxify. Choose the area that feels easiest for you to tackle and then follow the steps to choose healthier products and habits.
1. Cleaning products
2. Self-care products
4. Interior furnishings
6. Our habits
When we first meet people, usually we don’t reveal characteristics of our personality for a very long time or even to anyone other than family. Can you share with us something that is quirky about you--something perhaps only your family knows?
Only my children understand what plants do for my soul.
Sophia, thank you for your time with us and all of your brilliant work; you are changing the world for the better! We are so excited to have a signed copy of your book from the photo shoot and cannot wait to start our path to less toxic living.
For more, visit Sophia her website, blog and new podcast.
Email Sophia: email@example.com