Ruby is a British lifestyle writer and the celebrated creator of the blog The Numinous. As if that's not impressive enough (it is), she's also a regular writer for the Sunday Times Style in the UK and numerous other publications.
Best of all, Ruby will be our feature writer for the lululemon blog. Get to know more about her in our exclusive interview.
The quick seven:
1. First pet’s name: Delilah. She was a gorgeous longhaired tortoiseshell cat, every bit as glamorous as her name.
2. Number of siblings: Two brothers, both younger.
3. Hometown: I’m a Londoner born and bred, but New York feels like home already (we moved in Feb 2012).
4. Can’t live without: Hugs from my husb.
5. Heels or flats: My heart says heels, my head says flats. I move too fast for spikes.
6. Crumpets or muffins: Neither, bread is dead to me. (Although I do love a scone, or as the Yanks might say, a biscuit).
7. Being an Aries means...I really love to sweat! I’m a triple fire sign - Aries with Sagittarius rising, born in the year of the fire dragon, and yes I am a Bikram yoga addict.
How did writing become a career for you?
I always wanted to work in fashion, and studied fashion promotion at college thinking I would go into styling. But I quickly discovered I liked writing about clothes more than putting them on people (it was working as wardrobe assistant for the 1990s boy-band 5ive that sealed the deal – they were total brats), and so I majored in magazine journalism. I’ve been writing for a living ever since.
Are there any writing rituals you do to get you in the right frame of mind?
Yes! If it’s a long piece, I have to print a hard copy of all my research the night before it’s due and use it to write out a plan in long hand. Then I set my alarm for 6am and get straight on my computer to thrash it out. I can only write with a clear head, and if I open my emails / Twitter first, I’m done.
How do you deal with writers block?
Being prepared (see above) means I don’t really get it. But if I find myself procrastinating over how to say something, I tell myself to stop being so precious. It’s only words, and can always be re-written.
Are you an old-school notebook or a digital note taker?
A friend recently introduced me to Evernote, which is the best app ever for note taking – I used to send myself a million emails a day. But I have a (sparkly pink J Crew) notebook for handwritten to-do lists, and I still keep a paper diary for my appointments.
If you're digital what's the one piece of tech (device, site, app) you cannot live without?
My iPhone, of course. I record all my interviews on it, but double up with a digital Dictaphone. I have been burned in the past...
Where do you find inspiration for a story? Is there a place you find you are most creative?
Anywhere and everywhere. But mainly from conversations with my amazing, inspiring friends. I tend to surround myself with people who are really dedicated to creating interesting, exciting lives for themselves, and I’m always stopping them mid-flow with the words; “I feel a feature coming on!”
You write about an array of topics: fashion, fitness, lifestyle – what subject are you most passionate about?
I love interviewing celebrities, because they’re almost never how you expect them to be. But on a personal level, I am passionate about health, fitness and personal development, so where those areas intersect is where I feel most inspired, which is why I’m so happy to be writing for lululemon! I also have my own blog, The Numinous, which is about all things mystical, but presented in a modern, fashion forward context. I’ve been obsessed with things like astrology, tarot and metaphysical ideas about life for as long as I can remember.
Favourite story you've written so far?
Every story I write is my favourite in the moment, but when I came up with the idea for my blog, I wrote a story called "The New Age is Now" for the UK Sunday Times. It talked about how a lot of 1960s hippie ideologies were being updated for a young, switched on audience, who believe things like the law of attraction and radical self-love are our future. It’s how I met my good friend Gabrielle Bernstein, who I interviewed for the story and who has been super welcoming since I moved to NYC. I love it when my work leads to something deeper.
We know you've met some pretty famous people – who gave the best interview? Why? Who have you not interviewed that you would love to interview?
I have so many favourites. Recently, Julianne Moore, for being so warm and friendly it was like talking to an old friend; Crystal Renn for being super mystical and knowledgeable about all kinds of topics (we talked for three hours!); and Solange Knowles for having the most syrupy Texan drawl I could have listened to her talk forever.
One of my dream interviews is Victoria Beckham, because I’m so impressed with how Posh Spice reinvented herself as one of the most credible designers at New York fashion week. And then, of course, there’s Madonna.
Most embarrassing moment during an interview: one where you stuck your foot in your mouth?
I interviewed Carey Mulligan just after her the gossip blogs started saying she had secretly gotten engaged to Marcus Mumford. Her publicist had banned me from asking about her relationship, but of course it was all my editor wanted to know about. I waited until right at the end, then asked if it was true – seeing as, “you’ve been flashing that ring in my face for the past hour” (she was sporting a huge emerald on her ring finger). She went bright red and said; “I have NOT.” I was embarrassed for both of us, and I still didn’t find out the answer.
Who's been influential in your career?
Two people. My finals tutor at the London College of Fashion, who was a working editor and who commissioned me to write stories for him as soon as I graduated (researching one of which I met my husband – long story).
And my editor at the UK Sunday Times, Tiffanie Darke. I always feel like she took a bit of a risk hiring me. I didn’t have any newspaper experience, but she was always a big champion of my work and encouraged me to take risks, which made me so much more confident as a writer.
Favourite thing to treat yourself to post-workout?
I am hopelessly addicted to Harmless Harvest’s raw coconut water, and I’ll go through all the bottles in the cooler to find a pink one (they say they have more antioxidants). The Bikram studio in Union Square in NYC also does this fresh watermelon juice, which is literally like manna from heaven after a particularly sweaty session.
New York vs. London. What's been the biggest adjustment moving from London? What's your favorite things about each city? Not-so favourite?
I’ve always been a busy person, but when I go back to London now the pace of life feels SO SLOW. It’s like NYC is jacked up on caffeine 24-7, but I find it incredibly energising because it feels like every day I’m living life to the max. It’s awesome. I also love all the New Yorkers I’ve met. The city attracts the kind of can-do people I really vibe off.
But it goes without saying that my friends and family are also what I miss most about London. Thank you software developer geeks for Skype. My home city is also way cooler than NYC. Creativity is everywhere, whereas the culture in New York – or Manhattan, at least - feels much more commercial.
You write a fitness column which means you’ve probably been to some interesting classes, what's the strangest workout you've done?
Gabby Bernstein invited me to a Kundalini yoga workshop at Kripalu over Easter weekend, and the teacher, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa (one of Yogi Bhajan’s original disciples) led a re-birthing session on the Sunday that most definitely flipped my ego the bird. The group created a tunnel, or ‘re-birthing canal,’ which we each had to pass through in turn, as people whispered positive affirmations and blessing in our ear. There were lots of tears. As far as a ‘yoga’ class goes, it was pretty out there.
Have you always been a dedicated athlete/runner? Was there a tipping point that moved you to become one?
I started doing step aerobics when I was 16 and I’ve been a card-carrying fitness fanatic ever since.
I’ve been through phases with pretty much every kind of workout over the years, but my current regime is a mix of Bikram, high-intensity Tabata workouts on Fitnessglo.com (a genius subscription site I use when I can’t get away from my computer and just need a 30 minute cardio blast to get my endorphins flowing).
My latest obsession – Particia Moreno’s IntenSati class at Equinox. She combines spoken affirmations (a la SoulCycle) with a tightly choreographed and hardcore cardio workout, and I come out of class absolutely flying. It makes me feel so good about myself and my body, and my active role in creating a life I truly love. Spoken like a true New Yorker, right?