Many of you know Michelle as @BananaBlondie108 from her popular Instagram page and now you can get to know her on a more personal level by reading the following 20 questions. You will get a taste of her candid personality, get tips on becoming plant-based, learn what her badass response was when we asked her about body image and our favorite, what her style of yoga would be described as;) Enjoy!
1. Where does your name BananaBlondie108 come from?
I wanted to find a cute, catchy name that represented both my plant based diet and yoga. I was brainstorming one afternoon with my best friend, my daughter Haze and her best friend, Hendrix. I had a bit of a reputation amongst my friends for consuming a fair amount of bananas on a daily basis—they are, after all, a staple in a high raw vegan diet :-) It was Hendrix, an 8 year old girl, who ultimately came up with Bananablondie. We all agreed it had nice ring to it, so we tacked on the “108” to represent the yoga side of me. And if you don’t know the significance of the number 108, google it! Good stuff!
2. How did you get started in social media?
I started my YouTube channel at the insistence of my then boyfriend and current business partner, Jay Oliveira. He really pushed me to do so, feeling I could inspire women to start a yoga practice and eat a plant based diet. At the time, I had an instagram where I shared yoga flows, but never really took it seriously. It was my best friend who taught me what a hashtag was and how to use them and when to post and all that good stuff. I would have never had the confidence to put my yoga practice and youtube vlogging/blabbing out into the universe without those two people.
3. Who/What inspires you everyday?
There are so many, this could take a while!!! LOL! At the risk of sounding cliche, my two kids are my greatest inspirations! I need to be healthy and happy for them. I need to show them how to live life in alignment with your core values. I want to make the world a better place because my two awesome kids are in it! I need to save the planet and show compassion to every living being on it. Leading by example is the best way to shape our kids and change the world.
4. What is a typical day like for you?
On a typical day, I wake up around 6:30 to pack my kids’ lunches and get them ready for school. Once I drop them off I run errands and come home to walk my two dogs. Then it’s time to work! I have a subscription based website in which I provide full length yoga tutorials and plant based nutritional coaching. I spend a few hours catching up on social media, filming and editing videos, and responding to emails and questions on my website’s forum. Fitting in a yoga practice is a must! Even if I only have time for 15 minutes of practice, consistency is the key and I really make it a priority. After that I pick the kids up from school and its time for homework, sports, dinner, play, reading stories and bed! I’m usually working or tooling around on social media until I turn the lights out around 11:30 pm. I realize this day may sound routine or even boring, but not to me!! I’m loving the life I’ve created for my family and I. I truly enjoy the simple mundane tasks like walking my dogs and making dinner. I don’t live for the weekends or vacations. I genuinely love my work and am grateful to get to share my passions. But weekends and vacations are awesome too! LOL
5. Where are you originally from? How has it helped shape the person you are today?
I was born and raised in Hawaii. I grew up in a little beach town called Kailua on the island of Oahu. Growing up in Hawaii, I was always outdoors. It gave me a deep appreciation for the planet we live on . It’s beautiful and fragile. Hawaii is not a place where people litter or disregard the environment. If you see a piece of trash on the beach, you pick it up. Its certainly not like the beaches in LA or Miami where trash is a common sight in the sand. We have a saying in Hawaii, “Malama Ka Aina” Respect the land. Life in Hawaii is simple. There’s no rat race there. Everyone just wants enough money to have a good surf board and food on the table. No one gives a shit about what brand your jeans are or what kind of car you drive. Respect for the earth and simple living. Those are the lessons from Hawaii that I’ve taken with me.
6. Favorite place to chill in Florida?
I haven’t had much time to explore Florida yet, but I will be doing more of that soon! It’s tough to beat chilling at home, but being at the beach with my dogs and my kids is pretty awesome too.
7. When did you know you wanted to be vegan? How long did it take you to fully transition?
It was about 12 years ago that yoga started to become a big part of my life. The more I practiced, the less I wanted to eat meat. I stopped eating land animals about 12 years ago, but it wasn’t for any particular health or ethical reasons. I just didn’t desire them anymore. Then about 5 years ago, fish began to repulse me as well, so I stopped eating that. Then I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and woke the fuck up. When you look at the research, it is clear that all animal products are harmful for your health. I certainly wasn’t going to continue feeding my children something that I knew to be harming them, and I valued my own health as well. So that was it for all animal products. Done. It wasn’t long after we ditched eating animal products that I made the ethical connection as well. I didn’t feel right about hurting anyone, human or non human. I didn’t want to wear dead animals on my feet or my body. I couldn’t bear to have furniture or rugs made out of animals. And I didn’t want to use any products that contributed to the cruelty of animal testing. I have been completely vegan now for almost 4 years. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect or never sit on a leather couch at a friends house. LOL. I’m just doing my best to cause the least harm possible.
8. Do you have any advice for anyone just beginning in the vegan world?
Yes!!! Eat lots of whole plant foods! Most people that fail on a vegan diet do so because they don’t eat enough. Plant foods are not nearly as calorically dense as animal products, so you need to eat a much larger volume! Don’t fear carbohydrates! We have been trained as a society to fear carbs when it is actually what our body is meant to run on! Load up on fruits and starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice. If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up! Educate yourself and your families. Watch the documentaries Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and Earthlings.
9. Best thing about being plant based?
With a simple choice of what I put on my plate, I can improve my health, save the planet and save the animals.
10. Favorite post-yoga snack?
Banana nice cream! Just blend frozen bananas in a high speed blender, maybe add some dates for extra sweetness, then top with oats and buckwheat groats. YUM!
11. How often and when did you start your yoga practice?
I’ve been practicing for about 15 years now. I began following along with DVDs at home, then eventually got myself to a yoga studio.
12. How often do you get on your mat? How do you stay motivated to practice so often?
I try to get on my mat every single day. It doesn’t always happen and sometimes its only for a few minutes. I originally began a yoga practice because I suffered from back pain due to scoliosis. Yoga took my pain away. When I skipped a few days of practice, the pain would return. Haha, pain is a great motivator. I’ve grown to love this practice and truly look forward to it every day. It’s my sanctuary and I’m a better person when I practice. I like myself more when I practice. And as a mom, I tend to yell way less when I practice daily, so I’m guessing the kids like me better as well ;-)
13. Top 3 favorite yoga poses and why?
Oh man! This is worse than when someone asks you what your favorite song is! Ok, here goes… Paschimottanasana because it makes me cry in a good way. Handstand because it reminds me that I’m more capable than I give myself credit for. Savasana because, duh, savasana!
14. What is your all-time favorite quote?
“Practice and all is coming” - Pattabhi Jois
15. How would you describe your style?
Stripper yoga? LOL I don’t know…. Feminine shakti liquid flow.
16. One thing you wish every woman would take home as far as body image goes.
You don’t have to harm yourself to achieve your personal best body. I know I’m supposed to say something like, “love your body and its flaws and blah blah blah” And yes, you should love your body. But saying that to a woman isn’t very useful. What is a woman supposed to do with that? I want women to love their bodies enough to take care of them. This is real self love. Not just accepting where we are, but having the balls to make changes if necessary to reach your optimum health. I would like to build the connection between body image and health and nutrition. For so long woman have been starving themselves, over exercising and taking drugs to achieve that magazine cover girl body when it’s not only unnecessary, but going to harm you in the long run! Just eat plants, find a physical practice you love whether it be yoga, tennis pole dancing, MMA or Zumba, and the rest will follow. Like Pattabhi Jois said, “practice and all is coming”
17. What is playing on your Spotify these days?
I’m old and I can’t figure out Spotify, so I use Pandora still. Haha. My favorite stations are Desert Dwellers, Blackmill, and Duran Duran is pretty dope as well. Can I still say “dope”? I better ask my 11 year old son. ;-)
18. Yes you can Michelle, yes you can. LOL. I'm sure your 11 year old would agree;) Are you currently working on any special projects?
Just in the process of revamping the website to make it all pretty and more user friendly. Click HERE to see Michelle's website!
19. Favorite "mean comment" of the day? Had to ask, we follow you on the SNAP & freakin LOVE your hilarious posts.
LOL! I love that you watch my mean comment snaps! Man, there are so many good ones! I recently got one on Tumblr that read, “Funny that Michelle thinks she looks good. To me she looks like a cheap middle aged trailer trash.”
Pretty sure I shared that one on snap chat! Sadly, my mean comments have all but ceased since I began the sarcastic snap chat readings. LOL!
20. Damn. Well happy to hear the trolls backed off & even better that they did after you called them out! Ha!
Ok, last but not least, what is your favorite MIKA style?
Mika makes the sexiest shorts! The Meeko short is my absolute favorite cut. I just love it!
& you rock those Michelle, so so gorgeously:) Gracias Chica! We love you & are so happy we get to share a taste of your awesomeness here! xoxo