Recently, our Founder, Vanessa Alfano, was interviewed about why she created HSNY, and what she hopes women will take from the site. We’d like to share that interview with you.
Interview with Vanessa Alfano, Founder + CEO of HealthyStyleNY
Interviewed by HerFuture’s Kelsea Brennan
How did you come up with the idea for HealthyStyleNY?
I was in a lunch meeting with a very successful business man who was seeking media advice. I have a TV News background, and had agreed to sit down and share my thoughts on how he should pitch media. At some point, the conversation shifted and turned to me. He posed the question, “What is your passion?” He then followed it up with telling me that he thought that I should start a business of my own. It’s strange because although I have always been really confident in my abilities, it was his recognition of them that made me seriously start to think about starting a business of my own. And I knew whatever business that was, I had to incorporate my passion and do something that was really important to me. Living a healthy lifestyle, being balanced, and feeling happy and fulfilled is something I am passionate about. It took me a long time to realize the profound effect our health and our lifestyle has on us, and I thought more women might benefit from a site that covered that. So it all began over a business lunch, and it very quickly (and organically) grew and evolved from there. I like to think it was meant to happen that way.
What does it mean to have healthy style?
Having a healthy style means living a life that is truly good for you. It’s about taking care of yourself, and doing things that foster a healthy mind, body, and spirit. It’s not just about eating right and exercising. Sure those play a big part, but it also extends into the relationships we have, careers we chose, and decisions we make day to day. It’s about raising our own awareness, taking control, and making choices that lead to good things. It’s about being better (or, as Oprah would say,”living our best lives”). I’d like to believe that it’s a movement towards the good. It’s changing your lifestyle for the better, and ushering in the good stuff that comes along with that.
Balance is a big buzz word today. What does balance mean to you?
Balance to me means keeping everything in check. And believe me, sometimes it’s work to be balanced — especially in a city like NY! I still have to tell myself to head home early, pass
on that next cocktail, not pick up my mac book to do work at 10pm, and always remind myself to put down the blackberry! I know that going to that yoga class, eating whole, healthy, REAL food, taking time to do the things that make me happy, being quiet and reflective, fostering good relationships, and taking good care of myself, is so important. I have learned that these things are critical, keep me in balance, and make me a better person in every area of my life. That, to me, is balance. Balance is work, but that equilibrium and subsequent harmony that comes with it, is a total pay off in the end.
When a woman leaves your site, what’s the feeling you hope she leaves with?
I hope she feels encouraged and empowered most. Of course we look to give practical advice, and even provide some entertainment, but above all else I want her to feel affected by what she has read. I want her to feel motivated to make some change for the better, even if it’s a really simple or small one. I just hope to spark something in our readers, even if it’s on the very simplest of levels. I think small changes, especially in our thinking, can have monumental effects. So yes, I hope she is encouraged, empowered, and sparked!
Who are your mentors?
My mom is probably my biggest. She has a huge heart, and is one of the most forgiving & compassionate people I know. She also is super pro-active and always focused on being positive. She is a do-er, and I love that. She is also the one who first introduced me to Yoga, and raised me on home-made baby food from her organic garden. I feel lucky to have had a head start on this whole healthy lifestyle thing. I also mentioned Oprah earlier. She’s someone I admire. I feel like she is actually trying to make a positive change in this world, and I respect her for that. She is a step ahead of the rest in the area of enlightenment too. Most media people are not there. I think the fact that we both started in broadcast journalism makes me admire her even more. I love what she turned that in to, and that she’s using her power for positive things.
What is the best healthy style advice you ever heard?
“Take care of yourself.”
I was going through a really rough time, and trying to fix everything and everyone, and someone said to me “take care of yourself.” It struck me then that this was my most important responsibility. At that time I really needed to prioritize “me,” and make sure that I was doing what was good for me and my overall health and well being. I think as women we often want to take care of everyone else, it’s in our nature. But really, we must remember that at times we must first take care of ourselves, and this in fact makes us better and more effective human beings.