Whenever we see sunflowers, we immediately think of love, joy, and taking a moment to connect deeper with ourselves. There is no doubt that this comes from the years of following Harpo, pondering over her many sunflower metaphors and witnessing her lead and live with so much love.
In this interview, Harpo shared with us why her work in community is so important to her, what keeps her grounded, and where she finds the greatest sense of community and connection in her life at the moment.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to the work you do in community today.
I’m Harpo. I am a visionary, thought leader, community builder, storyteller, and cultural producer. I am the General Manager of 5X Fest. I’m a proud kid from Surrey who loves conversations, creating space, taking space, and cultivating space. I previously hosted a podcast titled, Brown Girl Guilt, where I spoke about my experiences as a second generation Canadian. In addition to managing 5X Fest, I’m a strong leader in my community for my grassroots work in arts & culture, for which I received Surrey Board of Trade’s 2021 Top 25 Under 25 award. As well, I’m a popular social media personality with a combined following of 35k followers across channels.
How do you stay inspired and grounded?
I find a lot of inspiration from the people in my life. My friends and family constantly inspire me. It’s in my conversations with my loved ones that I make connections with myself, with others, and with the world. In this way, my loved ones also ground me. Every time I spend time with my friends, I’m experiencing a deep level of love and healing. It’s truly remarkable and inspiring. My loved ones are such an important part of my legacy.
What does wellness and self-care look like for you right now?
Wellness and self-care right now look like routine for me. In the mundane routine of things are the keys to our greatest success. What I eat, how I nourish myself, the movements I grant my body, the way my posture is, the music I listen to, the time I go to bed are all important variables in my self-care practice right now.
What do you hope your work inspires others to think, feel or do?
I hope that, in seeing me unapologetically embrace my authentic self, others are inspired to also be themselves. I always say that I want to be so good at loving myself that it inspires others to do the same.
What does community mean to you?
Community to me is world-building. When people gather to build a similar world rooted in similar values, beliefs, and ways of being, that to me is true community. Community to me is also a love-centric vision for your life.
When and where do you feel the greatest sense of belonging and connection in your life?
I find the greatest sense of belonging and connection in my role as General Manager for 5X. I wake up every day with a smile on my face– I’m not exaggerating!! I wake up every day incredibly grateful that this is my job, that this is what I get to do as a full-time job. I have a sticky note in my workplace and it says, “Your work is sacred. Lead with love. Lead in love.” For me, this role is not a job. It’s my calling, my purpose, the way I’m meant to create impact in my lifetime.
Why are the communities you are currently building important to you?
The communities that I’m currently building keep young, diasporic South Asian kids in mind, particularly those hailing from Surrey. For many years, Surrey and young brown kids in Surrey have gotten a bad rep. The world knows about Surrey, but the stories they know about Surrey are seldom told by and for the young brown kids from Surrey. All the work that I do is intended to change that. It’s important to me that the stories of young, diasporic brown kids from Surrey are told by them.
Do you use candles or other home fragrance products?
Candles are an incredibly important part of my spiritual and wellness routine. As is incense. I find that nature contains wisdom like no other creation and candles and incense are a way of bringing elements of that nature directly into my space. Lighting a candle does two things for me very often: it washes away my stress and tension, and it helps me feel connected with my guides, angels, and God.
Do What's your all-time favourite candle scent?
I’m a sucker for rose-scented candles. My mom always wears a rose scented body oil. I connotate love, healing, and connection to the scent of rose because of her.