Thirty minutes before a star-studded group arrived at the Sakara headquarters in New York, I sat in a circle with Sakara Life cofounders Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle, and Kin Euphorics cofounders Jen Batchelor and supermodel Bella Hadid.
Paloma Elsesser and Sophia Roe were among the many guests who came to dine and drink various Sakara Life and Kin Euphorics pairings, like a plant-based take on Hadid’s favorite eggplant Parm. The private dinner was meant to inspire joy around food and nutrition—not restriction—something we can all keep in mind around the New Year.
Going into the interview, I had a plan: I had specific questions to learn more about the collaboration between the two brands, which evidently share so much in common. Sakara is a wellness and food brand designed to fuel your body with plant-based nutrition; Kin Euphorics is a nonalcoholic drink brand that utilizes mood-boosting ingredients designed to calm, energize, and improve the mind.
Instead, the four founders excitedly opened up to one another about the ways nutrition and wellness can spark joy and shift one’s whole perspective. Did I mention this was the first time the four had been ever been in the same room at the same time?
How do you find joy?
Bella Hadid: I always say that first thing in the morning, you have to start your day by staring at the sun. When I was going through a difficult time, I would pull myself out of bed, open the blinds, and then just stare at the sun. But it’s so true! And now, I have a sun light and I drink Actual Sunshine, our new Kin flavor, which honestly makes me feel like I’m walking on air.
I try and look at little things in a joyful way. For example, look at how beautiful this light sits on this table. That’s what’s gotten me to this point of joy without substance. I’ve been making a list of anything I have a desire to do—from glassblowing, which is now my favorite thing, to skydiving to playing the guitar to starting a garden with multicultural seeds. The world really is our oyster.
That’s hard to hear when you are in a bad place, because I’ve tried to preach it to myself while I’m down thousands of times, and I’m like, “Can you just shut the fuck up? Can you stop telling me to feel better, because I just don’t and I won’t?” But it really is about taking every day one step at a time. Even when I have my Kin in the morning, it makes me a happier person.
Danielle DuBoise: I focus on the things that I can do to feel on my authentic path. I used to be the person who would think of all the things I shouldn’t do before the things I could do. Now, it’s not about looking or feeling better. It’s about focusing more on the things I know bring me joy.
There’s a similar-sounding phenomenon going around TikTok called “Lucky girl syndrome.”
BH: Oh, is it literally what I said?
BH: Things go viral on TikTok so easily. They’re talking about affirmation, and then it’s called Lucky Girl Syndrome. There’s always a name for it. That’s so funny. But whatever way it gets out to people is what’s most important. If it is about Lucky Girl Syndrome that is making people feel better and feel good, that’s great. It’s a form of healing. Lucky Girl Syndrome or affirmation—any way you want to name it, it works.
Tell me more about how this collaboration between Sakara and Kin came to be.
Whitney Tingle: Our brands share similar values and ethos about living in joy, living in abundance without sacrificing anything.
DD: We have a shared vision. Jen said earlier to think about your intention first, and then have our actions ladder up to that. Kin and Sakara partnering is the way that each of us can ladder up to our intentions.
BH: It’s wild to think this is work. We’re at work right now having the best time. It’s interesting when you think about journaling and all of that, how you really, like, have to write with intention. Not saying I manifested this moment, but I really have been writing, like, to find my tribe people and people that are like-minded to me, that understand me, and be able to put that personal into my work space as well. And that’s how Jen and I connected years ago, and that’s how we connected [with Whitney and Danielle]. I know that this friendship is going to last forever.
By the way, this is the first time we’re meeting, and I already feel the connection. That’s what’s interesting about how powerful your inner voice, intention, and energy is about finding your path and living in your truth, and then being at these pinnacle moments where you’re like, “Oh, I am walking in my truth. I’m so proud of myself, because I’m in alignment with myself and who I am and my work and my personal life. Everything is coming together in this moment. So I’m doing something right.”
JB: We all recognize that we could spend our time doing other things. I have two kids under two, and Bella is on a plane every two seconds.
BH: Well, not this month. This is my “you” month—well, I decided that yesterday. We also both want to have brands that differ from regular businesses. A lot of time, big companies don’t thrive off of energy or connection, but see how much money a product can make them.
Do you have a dream food-and-drink pairing?
JB: I love the Sakara Life curry. The Sunshine Curry. It’s like our Actual Sunshine drink. I was thinking the two would be a great pair. It has saffron, turmeric, orange, guava, pineapple, vitamin C, ginger, collagen, and zinc.
BH: It has everything you would get from staring at the sun. Plus, the Sunshine Curry and Actual Sunshine colors go really well together. That wasn’t the plan, but we all agree.
What would you say to someone who is looking to decrease their alcohol consumption or eat healthier this year?
JB: I’m always also going to look at it from the scientific lens—resolutions can be dangerous in the sense that they’re not actionable a lot of times. A lot of people think willpower is magic fairy dust, but at the end of the day, the higher your serotonin levels, the more willpower you have. Then, you can say, “I don’t need it, because that’s not serving me,” and do it with joy and grace, instead of punishing yourself.
BH: Take it day by day. Also, it’s important to not label yourself or cut yourself off.
When I stopped drinking a couple months ago, I tried to see how long I could go without drinking. I put a label of six months or a year on my effort. I realized, I just wake up every morning and take it moment by moment. I realized I could have a glass of champagne tonight if I wanted to. I took one sip and immediately looked at my boyfriend. I immediately knew that it didn’t make me feel better. I don’t really care about that glass of champagne, and it didn’t help me at all. It helped my anxiety in so many ways to realize I didn’t want the drink—not telling myself I couldn’t have it.
WT: Instead of saying, “I can’t make this move, or I can’t have that,” start filling your body with the things, because your body will start to crave food things. Our biology supports making healthier decisions.
BH: I’ve always had a difficult relationship with food. In high school, my relationship with food came from not having control, but food was the one thing I could control. So I would micromanage and make schedules for food, but it’s more important to check what’s good for your body and your own biology.
Someone once said to me, “There’s a difference between pleasure and happiness.” A cupcake could be pleasurable, but it’s not going to bring you happiness forever. I try and give myself grace and to understand myself.
JB: Bella, it’s like you said, “Do you like this or not?” I used to do these green juice fasts, and then I got to the point where I could not smell green juice without wanting to vomit.
Do you all have any wellness goals you want to achieve this year?
DD: One of my person goals is to unveil the sides of myself that I keep hidden, that I don’t realize I keep hidden. I’m here because I started talking about my relationship with food and insecurities with my body, and I never thought I could talk to someone about that. Even little things like wearing my hair in braids today. I would never do that.
BH: Really? That feels like it’s so you, like your soul is coming out. It’s also about trying things you think other people won’t deem as cool. I would never know you don’t wear your hair like that. You feel like your most authentic self. Slay! It looks so cute.
WT: I’m looking to reduce stressors in my life. I think there’s so many stressors that you can’t control. Even reducing the toxins we put in our body. So although I would love some Botox right now, it’s short-term pleasure versus long-term happiness. Hopefully, electing to not put a toxin in my body will reduce my stress overall and, hopefully, reduce my wrinkles.
Both of your brands are very Instagrammable. Do you think aesthetics help get you in the mindset for healthy habits?
BH: I really believe we need to walk in our intention. You see a drink before tasting it. Everything that Sakara produces is natural, organic, and beautiful. It’s served to you at your house in this perfect, beautiful way. With Kin’s aesthetic, Jen really hit the creative on the head at the start. Our direction and aesthetic is really beautiful.
JB: I think that caring for yourself should be fun and enjoyable!
DD: The diets I always did were never beautiful.
WT: Or even a decade ago, when we were using natural, organic products, it was expected that we wore Birkenstocks and didn’t shave our armpits. We wanted to make sure everyone could enjoy it—without sacrificing aesthetic.
BH: You also made it accessible. To have that kind of food be that accessible is so important, especially with all of our lifestyles. It’s easy. When you guys sent me those boxes a couple of weeks ago, I almost cried. I looked at my refrigerator for the first time and saw something I could feed myself that I knew could give me a positive impact. A lot of the time, we’re so fast to order whatever is easiest, not what’s best.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.