Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Christina Grasso: I make a strong coffee, try not to look at my phone, hug my cat, and turn on the Today show.
TG: What gives you energy?
CG: So many things! I’ve spent the majority of my teens and twenties dealing with a pretty serious illness, and through my recovery I’ve somehow found boundless energy most days. I’ve found random acts of kindness, alone time, being around people who inspire me to be better, art, dance, and working with Project HEAL, a non-profit I’ve volunteered with for over 5 years now, to be the most energizing. Also, laughing. Levity is everything!
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
CG: I try to go out of my way to be kind and polite to everyone even when it’s a challenge, because the world can always use more of that and we never know what someone is going through.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
CG: There are a few: Wasted by Marya Hornbacher, Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed, and Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
CG: I guess we could say it’s complicated! Social media is my livelihood so I am constantly plugged in. I valiantly *try* to put my phone down during evenings and weekends because I feel so much better when I’m living in the moment and not for others through a screen, but it’s a difficult balance. And it does sleep with me, though I’m not thrilled to admit that!
TG: How do you deal with email?
CG: Between all of my endeavors I have five email accounts which is a little bananas, but I always try my best to respond immediately to all business emails, and within a few days to personal matters.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
CG: I’d probably call my parents, grab a coffee, or if I’m near a Catholic Church I’ll stop by and light a candle.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
CG: In general, I’ll start to feel burnt out when I don’t have enough solitude. Although I come off extroverted most of the time, I am extremely introverted and if I go several days without recharging with alone time I’ll start to feel off-balance.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
CG: To be fully honest, I often feel as though I’m failing because I’ve always set impossible standards for myself. I feel this immense pressure because I’ve had to take considerable time off work and school over the years to be treated for an eating disorder, and as a result often feel like I’m behind in my career. But it’s something that I’m actively working on, and have to constantly remind myself that my shortcomings are how I’ll continue to grow and learn, that comparison is a waste of energy, and that I’m exactly where I need to be no matter how cheeseball that sounds.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
CG: There are several quotes that bring me strength and inspire me to be my best self, but more than any quote, there’s a song and it’s “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks, who is someone I have loads of admiration for, has said the song was written about staying connected to her younger self before her career took off when she was a waitress in San Francisco trying to make ends meet. It’s gotten me through a lot, and always reminds me to remember my roots which is of the utmost importance to me.
Christina Grasso is a 20-something year old writer, activist, and social media consultant originally from Western Pennsylvania. Over the past five years she has worked with Nylon, Huffington Post, Obsessee, StyleCaster, Bullett, P.S. I made this, Oscar de la Renta, Nanette Lepore, and celebrity makeup artist, Robin Black. She currently leads social media for StyleCaster and appeared on Season 18 of Law & Order: SVU. In addition to her work in fashion and beauty, she serves on the boards of the Glam4Good Foundation and Project HEAL. She has been involved with Project HEAL since 2012 as the founder of the New York City chapter, director of the PR and social media team, and creator of its viral social campaign called #WhatMakesMeBeautiful, shot in 2016 by photographer Arthur Belebeau. She is a frequent speaker on her own recovery from anorexia, and volunteers her free time to doing arts and crafts in hospitals, shelters, and assisted living communities throughout the New York City area. She lives in Manhattan.