Meet the 10 visionary experts ushering in a new era of wellbeing
From glossed vinyl eyelids to social saunas and movement with meaning, these Soho House members are here to challenge the wellness matrix around the world
Tuesday 8 March 2022 By Rose Boulton
Ten years ago, the wellness industry was 90% green juice and jade eggs, and came solely out of Los Angeles. But today – especially due to the pandemic, when health came to the fore in all of our lives – it’s an integral part of life. The stats are there, too: it’s now estimated to be worth a huge $1.5 trillion globally.
With the arrival of Soho Health Clubs – a new vision of wellness, where movement, grooming and wellbeing come together socially – we take a look at the Soho House members around the world who are inventing new ways to approach health and wellbeing, and challenging the status quo.
Toronto: Robbie Bent, Othership
At newly opened wellbeing destination, Othership, in Toronto, founder Robbie Bent combines social connection with ancient wellbeing practices to address all manner of mental and physical maladies. Dubbed the ‘House of Transformation’, the Othership experience pivots on a sauna and ice bath circuit, both of which are proven to alleviate stress, inflammation, and pain. Plus, it also offers a relaxing alternative meeting place to the typical dinner and drinks scenario. With an accompanying Othership breathwork app, a home for a selection of excellent guided breathwork sessions to help relax body and mind, you’ll find yourself practically drifting out of those doors.
Amsterdam: Sophia Sinot, hair and makeup artist
From electric red, Marlene Dietrich-inspired eyebrows and glossed vinyl eyelids to all-out lip embellishment, Sophia Sinot is an Amsterdam-based hair and makeup artist whose creativity knows no bounds. Expressing herself through colour, adornment, and pure artistic flair, Sinot makes experimenting with different mediums look easy. Luckily for us, her Instagram account (@sophiasinot) is full of the good stuff and it’s the perfect place to get lost if all you want is a little escapism. Using her own face and hair, as well as other models (@uglyworldwide often makes appearances), she is one creative to keep an eye on.
Chicago: Ryan Mundy, Alkeme Health
For too long, the mental health space neglected the Black community, but Ryan Mundy – a former NFL player from Chicago – changed all that when he created Alkeme Health. From racial trauma and microaggressions to stress and anxiety, Alkeme seeks to redress the health disparities the Black community faces across the spectrum, using an array of helpful resources. Offering much more than just guided meditations (although that’s a part of it as well), there’s everything from therapist-led wellbeing courses to educational content on offer. The aim is not only to improve Black mental wellbeing, but also physical health in the community. After all, physical and mental health are wholly intertwined; when we treat one, the other often improves, too.
London: Paleta, CalmQuality
Connecting with ourselves is about more than just tuning into our thoughts and feelings, it also lies in how we move the body. Paleta CalmQuality is a master of movement. Much in demand by the entertainment industry (including dancers and artists), she will tailor a session to your needs. It may include an array of techniques, from guided movement, dance, yoga and free flow to release techniques and energetic work (such as remote healing) to balance physical and emotional health – and help you move like you mean it. Whether it’s a lack of confidence or you’re struggling to let go of something in body and mind, Paleta will guide you in reconnecting with yourself, and work through it. Catch her at Shoreditch Health Club, where you can book into her 7.30am class every Friday, as well as for one-to-one sessions.
London: Ollie Olanipekun, Flock Together
The pandemic reminded us all of the healing power of nature, but Ollie Olanipekun was one Londoner who did something about it. He founded Flock Together – a birdwatching collective for people of colour – in summer 2020, having noticed that the great outdoors didn’t feel like a safe space for everyone; by and large, people of colour felt unwelcome and marginalised. The #BirdGang he formed is committed to helping everyone, whatever age, race, religion or economic status, to nurture their relationship with nature and the great outdoors, and subsequently heal, inspire, and boost creativity. Not only did he recently receive a letter of commendation from UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, but he’s also releasing a memoir-meets-manifesto in June.
London: Yuri & Portia, The High Priestxss
If, like many, you’re personally invested in whether Mercury is in retrograde, you need to know about Yuri & Portia of The High Priestxss. Reimagining witchcraft for the modern era, they are making spirituality, healing and all things cosmos cool again, offering their community (or coven) a new way to look at personal growth. Combining all manner of alternative practices, whether that’s tarot, astrology, divination sciences, dream interpretation or energy healing (such as reiki), they’re spearheading the way for those that want to look to the outside to heal the inside. Super accomplished – and always learning (Portia is even currently studying the magic of ancient Egyptian spirituality) – they are two people to engage with if you’re feeling lost, need some guidance or are just a tad intrigued.
Los Angeles: Kenzie Burke, Brûlé
Kenzie Burke’s earthy Instagram aesthetic reflects her holistic approach to wellbeing and the place she resides: the birthplace of modern wellness, Los Angeles. Whether it’s celery juice and bone broth or highlighting the healing helpfulness of astrology and the law of attraction, Burke is in touch with all the universe has to offer – and brings her 116k followers along with her for the ride. With a new clothing line, Brûlé, set to launch imminently, she’s a helpful reminder that you can manifest the life you want.
London: Jenn Ellis, AORA
If you’ve ever ventured into an art gallery and felt the immediate peace art can instil, you’re not alone. Viewing art is scientifically proven to heal, reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate pain, and speed up recovery time – and no one knows that better than Jenn Ellis, cofounder of virtual art gallery, AORA. After spending time in hospital due to burnout in 2016, Ellis noted the lack of art on the walls of her room and got researching. The result is a digital space that’s been created for viewers to relax in, enjoy, and escape the day’s stresses. It’s filled with brilliant, thought-provoking art. Pioneering a new dawn in digital art, Ellis’s aim is to create a ‘culture of care’ and harness the powers of art to heal. The best part is that this is art that is always, wherever you may be, right at your fingertips. Happy browsing.
Mumbai: Namrata Purohit, The Pilates Studio
At 16, Namrata Purohit was the youngest woman ever to become a Stott-trained Pilates instructor, so she was always going to be one to watch in the wellbeing space. Alongside her father, Samir Purohit, she has since opened The Pilates Studio in Mumbai, a space that also offers simulated altitude training in the city. Helping her clients to feel their best, it’s no wonder that Bollywood celebrities, fitness fanatics and sports personalities alike flock to see her in their numbers. With a strong work ethic – and a number of credentials to back it up – she has honed many a limb during her impressive career.
London: Christina Disler, The Werk
Despite the fact that we spend the majority of our time at work, it can be difficult to make it work for us. Christina Disler, who hails from Canada, is on a mission to change the way the world thinks about traditional workplace culture. Instead of the punishing rigmarole of long stressful days that many of us are used to, instead she is championing employee wellbeing in the workplace, and pushing us to shift how we perceive, approach, and relate to work. How? The Werk website offers content on alternative healing, breathwork, hormones and holistic health – to name just a few – and is soon to launch e-commerce. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Werklab is a co-working space that puts holistic wellness at its core.