By Lisa Elaine Held
Nikki Reed is most known for playing Rosalie in the Twilight movies, but her big break came much earlier with the 2003 indie film Thirteen, which she co-wrote and starred in when she was 14 years old. That kind of tween talent and ambition is less surprising in the context of everything she’s done since (and she’s barely past 30).
Reed is an actress, screenwriter, singer-songwriter, and designer. She’s also a passionate conservationist and entrepreneur.
In 2007, she launched BaYou With Love, a company that makes gorgeous jewelry with upcycled gold and silver from old electronics and Boho chic apparel using recycled and organic fabrics. And she regularly shares the steps she’s taking to lighten her environmental footprint with her 2.7 million Instagram followers. “I’m not an expert in sustainable living, I’m a student,” she tells me. “Part of starting Bayou With Love was sharing that discovery and journey with people.”
Another big part of her journey? Reed is a mom (or “mama” as she defines it) to an almost-two-year-old daughter, and she recently signed on as an advisor to Raised Real, a plant-based baby food subscription service.
In the midst of kicking off the partnership, I spoke to her about the challenges of motherhood, her whole-lifestyle commitment to sustainability, and why you’ll rarely spot her daughter on Instagram.
What about Raised Real appealed to you as a busy mother? My relationship with this company actually formed in a really organic way. I discovered the product and fell in love with the product. Like all moms, I’m on this journey navigating how to feed your child. All moms want the best things for their kids and all moms are busy regardless of your role with work.
I’m a busy mama, and I’m working hard, and I still want to be sure that I can pack in the right amount of nutrients with my daughter. The thing I love the most is Raised Real gave me the opportunity to feed her in a way that I would have wanted to if I could start a meal from scratch. This is sort of one of those amazing mom hacks.
You have the ability to do that but in less than five minutes, and you’re still a part of your child’s mealtime. Mealtime shouldn’t be stressful, and oftentimes it is for moms. It’s nice to be able to have the chance to feel the relief of feeding your child well.
Also, I live my life really focusing on sustainable living and being aware of waste, and waste comes in all forms, and food waste is a huge issue. Knowing things are portioned means there’s so much less food waste, and imperfect foods are a huge contributor to food waste. Raised Real has the opportunity to use imperfect foods because it’s all flash frozen; no one’s looking at what the food looks like.
A lot of what you do is rooted in a commitment to sustainability. Where did that passion come from? Did you have an “aha moment”? That’s an interesting question. I can’t really pinpoint when that was, but once you open your eyes to the endless ways we can practice conscious living on a daily basis, you can’t unknow it, you can’t unsee it. So, everything leads into something else once an issue is brought to your attention. You hear about water waste and you can’t brush your taste any longer and keep the sink running. Your awareness expands and it continues to expand. I’m on this ever-evolving, lifelong journey.
If someone is just getting started on that journey, what would you suggest they do first? Slowing down, first of all. There’s a ton of waste in everything being so fast-paced. Slowing down and just thinking about the decisions you make. It all comes from just a mindful approach. By the way, that does not mean being perfect. I just know that we are a very large world and if everybody did one thing differently every single day, I think we could move mountains. It’s an exciting time we’re living in because we have the ability to share information and knowledge.
Speaking of sharing information, I noticed “mama” is how you define yourself on Instagram, but you don’t share many photos of your daughter. Was that a conscious decision you made? That is a very conscious decision we made as a family. It just stems from the desire to let our child make her own decisions in the future. If we make that decision for our child and they grow up and they don’t want to have their face everywhere, I want to respect that. That is her choice. It’s a conscious decision, but I do very strongly identify with our whole global community of moms and women, and it hasn’t stopped me from being vocal about child nutrition, breastfeeding, and supporting and being a part of this global community of moms.
(Photos: Raised Real, Joe Perri)