Meet Ushshi Rahman: a Bangladeshi-born New York-based creative and Plant Person we love.
What are you reading right now?
I have a bad habit of starting too many books before finishing each one and it’s only gone on hyperdrive since quarantine so I won’t bore you with a full reading list. This year has definitely been heavy on Sufism and Esotericism, lots of Carl Jung, Audre Lorde and Alduous Huxley deep dives. Currently also obsessed with Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” and Lillian-Yvonne Betram’s book of poems “Travesty Generator”.
What’s your relationship to the world of wellness/plant medicine?
Complex. The industry at large has at times been homogenous, appropriative and exclusionary, though I believe the tide has truly begun to shift. I’m in my thirties and health and wellness are a priority to me now more than ever. This has required contending with all the ways in which I was conditioned to believe this arena was not for someone quite like me. Is wellness only for the already well and wealthy? Or at least those who fit societal ideas of what gleaming optimum health looks like?
What do you love about it?
Feeling like a botanist, a mad scientist, and an alchemist! There’s something so infectious and exciting about finding all the subtle and sometimes deeply impactful ways in which you can work with your physical being. I love mixing my adaptogens and potions in the morning, sharing effective topical pain relief that doesn’t involve big pharma - I mostly love watching how expansive this industry is. Be it unearthing and bringing to light age-old herbs to discovering new compounds and formulas, the future of holistic health as fundamental self care is an exciting frontier.
What needs to be changed?
Accessibility- in marketing, in price points, in the creation of truly diverse communities.
What’s one thing everyone can do today to create a more equitable wellness world?
Earnestly? To have an honest estimation of the self in relation to the world to start with. High up that looks like understanding and questioning why positions of power may only be filled with only a certain demographic and why that might serve you. Who makes you comfortable and why? Who makes you uncomfortable and where is that discomfort internalized from external interactions and where is that because you are being asked to look at, and subsequently, avoiding something within yourself?
What is your favorite product in the Plant People range?
Hands down, the Balm+Relief. I’m obsessed with the earthy, minty-green smell, how the texture melts and glides off warm fingers. From menstrual cramps to lower back pain to just jazzing up a regular massage by taking down inflammation - I reach for my jar nonstop.
Who are three people we should follow right now?
- @embrace_mess is a Harlem-based black, lesbian creative and comedian. She’s a fellow plant person obsessive and working towards opening her own store!
- @rorointhehouse is a friend and fellow immigrant from back in Bangladesh who is now based in Seattle at Facebook. Her art, style, narratives on partition and the complex, multidimensional, immigrant experience always hit home for me and feel like necessary viewing for everyone.
- @la_luna_negra an aviator, photographer and free spirit, her creativity shines through in breathtaking travel photos and a perennially optimistic outlook.
What’s the future of wellness?
That it becomes synonymous with health at large and not a niche and specific industry counterpoint to the western medical complex. Also, very ready for the future of mental health to be radically shifted once Entheogens and Psilocybin are legalized and incorporated on a mass scale in therapeutic contexts.
What’s your number #1, must-do tip to feel whole, nourished and grounded?
Radical Acceptance of any given moment, feeling or thinking state, and of the self - mind, body and spirit.