Nikki Bostwick, Founder & Editor-In-Chief, The Fullest
It's pretty tired to think the singular definition of "wellness" translates to performing a headstand while drinking a homemade spirulina smoothie. Nikki Bostwick, the founder of the online space The Fullest, recognized this early on in life when she realized the level of deprivation and sacrifice she put herself through to achieve "health." After connecting the dots, she created a contemporary culture publication (which lives both online and off) in which she discusses well-being in the context of the political landscape, big pharma, personal finances, pop culture, travel, you name it. On site, you'll find anecdotes about Ghanian elixirs to soothe a cold, an essay on the way the #metoo movement has impacted men, and dealing with anxiety in times of crisis. She believes in creating a holistic environment for wellness to weave in all aspects of life— and is just getting started. Read below for soundbites on speaking to the "woke", game-changing baths, entrepreneurship, and guiding people on their emotional journeys toward true health.
Can you share with us your journey through your wellness experience?
As a teenager I went through a lot of ups an downs- my family was going through a hard time while my parents navigated their separation and divorce. I internalized my pain through body image issues and control through a period of bulimia. I was getting into trouble at school- not doing well in my classes and my friends and I were experimenting with drugs. My parents, despite the pain they were going through, caught on and helped me shift gears. Yoga came into my life at 14 and changed my world forever. I learned so much through my practice— self respect, love, creating my own happiness, the list goes on.
I always knew I wanted my own business (I was a terrible employee and didn't want to answer to anyone), so in college I studied Business, while I taught yoga. I was also interested in food as a form of medicine and after college I went to culinary school for plant-based foods in Santa Monica. I was so passionate about wellness and spent all my free time learning whatever I could. The more information I read, however, the more “right” I felt in my views. The changes I made in my personal diet caused me to annoy the people around me with all the new information I learned and what they should be doing differently in their lives.
Eventually, I went so far down the rabbit hole of what I called “wellness” that it was robbing me of my livelihood without even knowing it. The thing that I thought was my passion and what made me happy was also making me sick! The stress from going out to restaurants, trying not to offend anyone with my new diet and always unsure whether or not there would be food for me to eat, was so deep and complicated that my face and body were inflamed. As I shifted my militant schedule to the philosophy I now follow, which is “consistency over rigidity,” I started to feel better, open up, lighten up and am overall am so much happier.
How did The Fullest get created?
As all of that was happening, I was also finding interests outside of just the normal definition of "wellness" (awareness around nutrition, spirituality, physical movement) to what I believe is also wellness, which is self-expression through arts, politics, music, and fashion.
I wanted to create a platform that bridged the gap between wellness and contemporary culture, without giving up style, while holding the experience of the reader at a really high level. Rather than bombard the reader with meaningless advertisements, they are able to enjoy content and really focus on what we’ve carefully curated for them.
Through digital content/media, a quarterly print magazine, an e-commerce shop, community events and pop-up shops, we have created a platform, The Fullest, in which we connect with our readers on all levels, and in all forms. Bringing a community together both on and offline.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always wanted and knew I would be a girlboss.
What are the stories you're most passionate about telling?
I’m really interested in holistic politics. It’s a special time to be in media right now. We have a population of "woke" people looking to make a difference in the world. We are here to share stories that take a few steps back to include the “full story,” not just a click bait headline...
There is a lot of frustration out there about the dogma and restrictions involved in being part of “wellness"-- considering your journey in finding what works for you, what advice can you give to others that may be overwhelmed by the quote unquote health world?
I like using quotes around “wellness” and “health” because there's no one definition of either of these words. What works for one person is not going to work for another. Stressing about what you put into your body and all the toxins around you, is not going to help you feel any better. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been down that rabbit hole- to the point that I refused to listen to any rap or intense music because I thought it was going to ruin my subconscious thought patterns. When in reality, music is there for you to feel and connect with your emotions! It can pump you up for a workout, or help you sort out some of your anger. Maybe you just love the beat— whatever it is, go with what you love and what makes you happy.
I want to share a message of empowerment. We are in a time when everyone is interested in getting “healthy” and while it's exciting, it can be overwhelming to know where to start, it’s a never-ending journey. So take it slow and define what it means to you personally. I now define wellness as what brings me joy. I gravitate towards what makes me happy and what makes me feel good, in every aspect of my life. Sometimes that means a night of drinking and eating garlic cheese bread with friends that (gasp!) I didn't source from my sourdough baker.
How do you break through the noise and stand out among your peers when talking about wellness, health and today’s hot topics?
I’m so over talking about the next smoothie or supplement that's going to change your life. I really believe change comes from within, it's in your thoughts and the way you view yourself in the world. The Fullest is a progressive platform that bridges the world of wellness with the rest of contemporary culture. We bridge our our holistic roots with new topics of conversation like equality, mental health and what that looks like for gun control and prisoners, etc. We’re interested in self care because that enables us to also take care of other issues that are bigger than ourselves.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
Baths! I love bathing. Salt baths with all sorts of things- I bathe with my crystals and add in whatever oils I need at that moment. Peppermint essential oil to energize me, lavender if I need to soothe my skin and calm my mind, or turmeric for inflammation.
Can you talk about the relationship you have with yourself and body today?
I am so much more forgiving now than I ever was. I used to be so rigid, that I would set up routines and if I didn't stick to them, I thought it was the end of the world. It would make travel more difficult and overall my mood was just not that great. I was so hard on myself, I couldn't enjoy the world around me and the wonderful experiences I was able to partake in. Now I am much more present. I still pack my day and get overwhelmed but I’m much more centered and so much happier overall. Just by practicing kindness with myself!
Any advice for other young women looking to start their own business?
The only advice I can give comes from my personal experience. What I can say is that no one, not your family, friends, or life partner, can believe in you enough to help you get started or make it through this incredible, empowering journey if you don't believe in yourself first. My dad has been a huge supporter of me starting my own business, as he is an entrepreneur himself. He believed in me so much and would do whatever he thought I needed to just get going. It took a lot of courage and strength on my part to get up and make the decision myself when I knew I was finally ready... not because someone else thought I was.
Entrepreneurship is a pretty “lonely” road, and I'm still at the beginning of my career. Most people don't understand the intricacies of your business or the problems you experience on a personal or professional level. They don’t know what it's like to hold responsibility over other people, have work constantly on your mind, miss quality time with your loved ones, be the final decision-maker on something that could make or break your organization, deal with rapid change, cut ties with or fire people you care about, just to get a business off the ground. In fact, many people will dismiss you completely if they know that you have money — since money is the focal point of so many people's own problems.
Entrepreneur’s problems are just different, and I believe understanding this from the beginning can be helpful. I would encourage other young entrepreneurs to start their careers by surrounding themselves with other bright, young women who are also at the beginning stages of starting their own businesses. Those who are going through the trials and tribulations with you. Also, having access to a mentor, someone who you can talk with candidly and who will give you good advice, is key.
Lastly, it's an emotional journey, so having a wellness practice can help you find clarity and reconnect you to why you wanted to start the business in the first place. It always goes back to your intention, and sometimes your intention changes, but that’s also part of the process.
What are the top things inspiring you right now?
I’m inspired by others stepping into their power. I’m inspired by those who work tirelessly to pass legislation and create a world where everyone is supported, cared for and included. And most of all, I am inspired daily as I learn more about the unbelievable power we hold as women to bring new life into this world.
What's next for yourself and for The Fullest?
Our team at The Fullest is working hard to bring more content that is timeless and timely across all areas of life, while simultaneously creating more opportunities to connect with our readers in real life.
On a personal note, my husband and I are expecting our first child to arrive earth-side early August of this year. We are so grateful to have access to such amazing, healthy food and snacks from Sakara to keep us going as we prepare for an exciting new chapter in our lives!
What is the legacy/ mark you wish to leave on the world?
I want to leave the world full of people who feel empowered to realize the fullest expression of themselves and inspire others to do the same.