Radha Agrawal

Radha Agrawal On Sacagawea, Dead Poets Society and how her Dad got married in a Salvation Army suit

 

Who: Radha Agrawal, Co-Founder and CEO of Creator of Daybreaker, Co-Founder of Thinx Underwear, Conscious Citizen Of The World

 

Why She’s Foxy: After spending her life as a type-A overachieving tomboy soccer champ, she's finally realized the recipe for true happiness—to wake up and dance.

On Her Childhood: “I grew up in Montreal. My twin sister and I were always the mischief makers-- the jocks and tomboys. We didn’t wear dresses until senior year prom and almost went in tuxes. I didn’t think about boys until I was eighteen. We played division one soccer at Cornell and went to nationals three times in Canada. Sports was genuinely our lives. I tore my ACL twice in college. I was an overachiever, never causing trouble and doing as many things as I could for my resume.”

 

On Happiness: “There are two staggering statistics that blew me away and made me want to understand what makes people happy: one in four Americans report zero friends to confide in, and that number has tripled in the last thirty years. Having weak social ties is as harmful to your physical and emotional well-being as being an alcoholic and twice as harmful as obesity. The single most important thing for a happy and healthy life is cultivating and nurturing happy connections. I used to go to nightclubs, but no one ever danced because it was seventy percent guys, very masculine and testosterone heavy. People were on their cell phones, on their new designer drug and smashed and sloppy. They weren’t connecting in a mindful, human way. I was eating falafels late one night and commiserating how nightlife had gotten overrun by bright lipstick and stilettos and not being real. I started thinking about: what if we stripped away all of that— what if we did it in the morning when everyone’s cup is full? We’d serve green juice, coffee, tea, and breakfast treats instead of alcohol and do it in different places. We'd call it Daybreaker—it was supposed to be an art project. It was never intended to be full time. We launched in 2013 and invited three hundred friends. We never thought people would come at 7 am, but 180 people showed up. You can do whatever you want as long as your community is there to support you.” 

On Her Parents: “My mom is from Tokyo. She came to Canada to study abroad, in the seventies when interracial marriage was frowned upon. She was a babe. My dad’s family were merchant Indians with sari shops on the Ganges. Dad was a vegetarian and mom was a meat eater. Against all odds they ran into each other at student housing. On their first date, he had to borrow fifty dollars from the bank to take her out to pizza. She drove herself to her wedding and changed a flat tire on the way. My dad wore a Salvation Army suit and made samosas for all the guests. They are still very much in love.”
On Daybreaker: “'Wake up’ is our tagline —  wake up and love, wake up and learn. Why can’t we take a cooking class in the morning, or produce music? Why is night school the only time to learn? Daybreaker is going to own the morning. We are in sixteen cities around the world in the last two and a half years. The world is ready to wake up, especially after the elections. We need each other, we need community. After the elections we had planned a coast to coast celebration: Hillary dolls, brass bands, balloons that said ‘when they go low, we go high.’ We still threw it the next day and 250 people woke up and danced it all off. We stopped the music early and had a town hall and talked about healing the planet and getting to know our political climate.”
Fave Love Book:An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton. It’s good for adults and kids to read. It’s a book about how the have forgotten to use our imaginations."
Fave Movie:Dead Poets Society. It’s just a beautiful coming of age story and I love it. One of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”
Fave Love Song: “It’s called Home by Phil Phillips. He won American Idol which is kind of embarrassing, but whatever. Home is where the heart is.”
Fantasy Wedding: “Michael Jackson and Sacagawea. Lewis and Clark got all the credit but it was actually an American Indian woman who had given birth en route and carried the child with her while she was breastfeeding. I would wear a sari and I'd learn how to play a Japanese koto instrument. I would take my love Eli and throw a dance party called One White Glove.”