ARTIST INTERVIEW ° HENNA BY NATASHA
For the month of June The Reef is honored to spotlight HennaByNatasha. Read the full interview below and be on the lookout for our AD collab with Natasha featured in this month's Dope Magazine and the June 19th issue of The Stranger. Check out here amazing work on IG HERE.
1. How long have you been practicing the art of henna professionally? What made you decide to pursue a career in this field?
I’ve been practicing henna for about 10 years now and became a henna artist self-taught via YouTube videos, sketches and cannabis. I was working in a call center at BECU when I started to doodle for fun and wanted henna art on my hands since I hadn’t been to an Indian wedding in a while.
One day out of the blue I decided to pick up a cone from a local grocery store, try it myself, got obsessed and never put the cones down since. That’s when I decided to quit my job and go to cosmetology school. It took years of practice to get to the point I’m at now, but I would say I took to it pretty naturally and it was one of the best life decisions I’ve made yet!
2. Describe your relationship with cannabis and why you decided to be a vocal advocate for the plant?
I was diagnosed with PTSD and like many others given a prescription for drugs such as Sertraline, Adderall, Lamictal, Lithium and more. The medications that I was being prescribed left me feeling numb both physically and emotionally. I had lost my drive, it was difficult to stay focused at times, I felt my response time to questions was getting slower. It was a horrible experience to feel trapped inside yourself because you can’t feel anything, I even had thoughts of suicide and almost attempted to take my life.
My cousin at the time was having the same experience and gave medical cannabis a shot on her own. After seeing her thriving I felt safe to try it and only micro-dosed and it changed my life. No one around me knew I switched from pills to plants and I was doing better and better each day. I advocate for the plant because I believe it saved my life and because it’s not vocalized enough nor accepted in the East Indian community due to the stigmas attached to cannabis. I hope I can help bring education and awareness about cannabis to help break the stigma’s attached to it.
3. What did you think of The Reef ° Capitol Hill when you visited the store?
When I walked into The Reef the first thing I noticed was their staff greeted me with smiles. I liked the cleanliness & design of the shop, the parking was not the best but it’s Capitol Hill so it’s kind of expected. The location was very easy to find and is open late until 11:30 pm which is a plus. This dispensary also has a separate area for just pesticide free cannabis which is something I always suggest to dispensary owners and this was the first shop I’ve seen it in.
4. Tell us about your love for Washington Bud Company and why you decided to pick their products up while at the shop.
I’ve found that Washington Bud Company has the strains and quality that works best for me. I choose to use Sky Master sativa as a daytime strain and winding down my night with their Blackberry indica. The cannabis from WBC is clean, smells great, smokes well, looks great, comes in beautifully rolled joints for those who don’t know how to roll their own and I can trust that their plants are grown with products and a process that isn’t going to be as harmful as some others.
5. What does social media influencer culture mean to you? What is your approach to showcasing content to a rapidly growing fanbase?
I am just grateful that I could inspire and help strangers with mental health struggles that many are going through and can relate to. My approach is to keep combining my culture and cannabis, be myself and hope to translate what I’m learning in Hindi one day.
Influencer culture is a strange thing; I don’t really get it. I’m a regular person, I stay in my own lane and post when I have a message to share and never have let the internet rush me. I use photos with cannabis and my culture to create content and share stories. With the little time that I have I read about cannabis, visit farms & cannabis labs, attend events, talk on panels & absorb as much as I can since this industry is new, & changing every day it’s feels like cannabis college.
6. What goals you would like to accomplish in the cannabis community this year?
Currently I’m only 1 and a 1/2 years into the cannabis industry and have much more to learn. One of my biggest goals is focused around education. I want to help get rid of the stigma of marijuana with my community by slowly translating what I’m learning from English to Hindi. I think if I was able to better communicate the benefits of it in our language then maybe my community will look at it in a better light.
7. What piece of advice would you offer to other creatives trying to make a living as an artist?
Don’t ask for opinions, enjoy your job and love the process of making your art before you turn it into a business. Sometimes I don’t want to work on a bride at 5 am for ten hours, or drive an hour to work with a client, or spend a few hours at midnight coming up with a design for some company. That’s natural, but a lot of that is the business. So you have to love the process of creating to push through some of those tougher days.
Find the best way to showcase your art whether it’s on social media, in an art gallery, word of mouth, whatever, and stick with it. If it’s good, people will find it and if enough people see it at some point people will want to give you money for it. It’s a long process but stay consistent and it’ll all work out.