The fourth post in our series about some seriously cool Aussie babes…
This post comes to us from Natalie Shukur, and is the fourth and final in our 4-part series featuring some of our amazing new friends in Australia!
Model, naturopath, herbalist and eating psychologist-turned-chocolatier, Emica Penklis is driven by love in all endeavours. It’s the essential ingredient in her raw, organic, vegan chocolate brand Loco Love, with its tagline: It’s chocolate that’s good for you. Well, what’s not to love about that? We caught up with the alchemically and creatively talented woman in her hometown of Sydney to talk synchronicity, stand-up comedy and eating a LOT of chocolate.
Name: Emica May Penklis
Location: Bellevue Hill, Sydney
Describe your morning routine…
It varies depending on how I’m feeling. I like to wake up early so I have time to fit in all the things I like to do. A perfect morning would look like this: wake up well-rested and from magical dreams. Head to the kitchen to hydrate — I like to drink filtered water first thing and then tea. After this, I generally go back to bed to write and meditate. Then I go for a walk to the beach and a quick swim if I have time. Sometimes, if I check my emails too early, none of this happens and I end up working in my pyjamas until lunchtime.
What gets your juices flowing?
Inspiring minds that can spark things within me. Nature and its complexity, patterns and idiosyncrasies. Sometimes inspiration comes to me at the most random times, such as when I am just walking along the street. I can find inspiration in anything, really. Even something as banal as a brick, I can see the beauty and story behind it…well, my version of its story. I like metaphors.
Do you cook or follow a food philosophy? If so, what are your favorite things to eat?
No specific food philosophy as such, although I eat mainly an organic, plant-based diet. This means lots of vegetables, smoothies, salads, nuts, seeds and chocolate. I eat a lot of chocolate, as I am working with it most days and have an endless supply in my fridge. I love food that is prepared with care, even if it’s not the fanciest of meals. I don’t eat pork or red meat, purely because it doesn’t feel right to me…never has. I tend to stay away from refined sugar, dairy and gluten, though not strictly. I believe strongly in organic and biodynamic farming methods: I shop at organic grocers, farmers markets and support local. I believe in creating a better world with my choices and food is a good place to start.
How do you like to incorporate movement into your life?
I love walking, swimming, Pilates, hiking and dancing. This is an area I need to work on, though. I can become consumed by day-to-day activities and my work, and often let movement slide. Yoga is something I would like to practice more regularly.
When do you feel most inspired?
People inspire me…humanity and its crazy ways. The fact they we are all here on this planet in a global community, each so different though with a common thread, that binds us. Being alone and relaxed with lots of time to ponder life, read books, watch documentaries, and reflect on my purpose/purposelessness here in the universe. Nature also inspires me. And stillness. There’s something profound about the space you enter when you let go of attachments. The unknowable, the uncertain, and the things we can’t explain with science also inspire me. The realities and synchronicities that seem to become apparent when I am truly present within myself. I am slightly obsessed with human potential and developing intuition and surrendering to something bigger than myself. We don’t really know much about anything, really…the universe is infinite and this excites me.
What do you feel most gratitude for?
Gratitude is something I practice every day. I feel grateful for so many things…to name one would be denying the multitude of others. I feel very fortunate to be genuinely at peace with myself and not suffering. This hasn’t always been the case, so I am not taking it for granted. To be able to wake up each day in health, to do what I love and to share this life with so many inspiring and wonderful people. Gratitude is a huge part of my life; it can transform even the darkest of moments. Being alive in the first place is a miracle, and to be alive on this planet, I believe, comes with a divine responsibility to do your best to contribute whatever you can to the greater good.
When the going gets tough, what do you turn to?
As I mentioned, gratitude is imperative. No matter how bad things can be, I know there is always something to be learned. Usually, when I work out what this lesson is, things shift and the light shines once more. Darkness is only a shadow that can be transformed by self-inquiry and consciousness. I choose to live with my heart open, and this [creates] pain, though it’s the only way for me to truly experience love and life. I generally spend time alone. Either I meditate in silence or overanalyse to the point where I realise I am usually trying to control something that is out of my control, so I surrender and have faith that it will all work out. These tough times bring wisdom and a catalyst for personal growth so I actually enjoy them in a really strange way. Also, becoming childlike again, looking at the beauty of flowers, the ocean, animals, people laughing, remembering to let go of control of the external and bring back a sense of wonder to life.
What couldn’t you live without?
This question has so many layers. I couldn’t live without the sun, the trees that produce the air that I breathe, the water that makes up 70% of my body, and the energy that animates this reality. I feel like more awareness needs to be raised around the state of our planet; we all have choices and we all contribute to the whole. I am not preaching here, I just know as a human, you either make a choice or choices get made for you. I choose love and I want children to be able to breathe fresh air and swim in the ocean. It seems easy to just sit back, switch on the TV and pretend everything is OK, though it’s so clear that something is wrong. The use of antidepressants is rising, corporatisation means half of the world’s wealth belongs to one percent of the population, the media is manipulated, our food is sprayed with poison, there is toxic waste in the water, scientific research is funded by big industry… and yes, I want a better world for all. I am happy my life is so wonderful, though I couldn’t live without mother earth and nor could anyone.
If you could learn a new skill or foster a new talent, what would it be?
Stand-up comedy, I know that seems strange, and I can’t actually see it happening. I think laughter is healing and an important part of being human. I’d also like to be able to fly and if I’m allowed to get carried away, being able to time travel would be pretty great, too. Anything’s possible, right?
Where have you travelled to recently?
Most recently, NYC, LA and South America. I want to relocate to America when the time is ripe and Loco Love is flourishing here in Sydney. South America is an incredible place; if you haven’t been, I highly recommend.
And where would you like to travel to next?
Africa, Madagascar, Iceland and Italy.
What music do you have on rotation currently?
I have some playlists on Spotify if you want to check it out. I love music, many genres, from pop to Ethiopian jazz. Some of my favourite artists are Talk Talk, The Zombies, Jackson C Frank, Crowded House, Billy Idol, Neil Young, Nina Simone, Michael Jackson, David Bowie…. I like love songs — I’m a romantic.
Is fashion important to you? How do you like to dress?
Fashion to me is self-expression. I go through stages with whether it is important to me or not. When I was younger, I studied fashion design had my own fashion label. I loved the art form and creative process. I then went through a stage of guilt…I saw fashion as one of the problems in the world and felt identifying with external means was superficial. Now I realise that it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. I love self-expression and fashion as a means to express a feeling is a beautiful luxury that I treat with care and respect. I like to think I have a balanced approach; I definitely appreciate fine fabrics such as linen, silk and cashmere. I don’t buy fads and items that I know I will be bored of in a week. I love beautiful design and quality pieces. I choose not to own too many things, so I tend to only buy things I love…and vintage pieces. I would say my style is 90s, mixed with 70s, and then a little bit of grunge and bohemian. With some designer stuff…just to play the game. Haha.
Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to?
There are many people in my life I look up to. My friends are amazing, always honest with me and supportive. In philosophy I like the minds of Alan Watts, Krishnamurti, Buckminster Fuller, Gurdjieff and so many others. I read a lot of books and listen to a lot of podcasts. I work alongside some amazing people that I can ask for advice any time. I feel in Sydney we have created a collective community of similarly minded conscious businesses that work together to support each other and I am incredibly grateful to be part of it. It seems to me, that’s the way forward for humanity also.
What’s your personal mantra or life philosophy?
Know thyself. I believe anything is possible with knowledge and understanding, and not just the thinking type of knowledge. The understanding of ourselves as limitless beings, connected to all that exists. In combination with the latest information, even if I don’t agree with it — it’s important to be aware. I believe in being objective and rational, as well as intuitive and dreamy. There needs to be a balance and direct experience to embody a lot of the knowledge that can often just be an intellectual understanding, especially when it comes to spirituality. I don’t claim to know anything; I’m always open to a challenge and having my mind blown. I also never become too one-sided in an approach as it can be blinding to the whole perspective. Live in love and be humble, have faith and determination.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on growing Loco Love into a global business and getting myself to the US, which is happening in good time. I have some huge yet humble dreams and I feel at this stage I have an understanding of my purpose in life, so I am staying true to that. Also some fun things that will be revealed when they are worthy. They can’t be done alone, so I am collaborating with others. Ideally I will keep creating through chocolate, film, photography, poetry and make art for the greater good of humanity. Also working on being a better friend, lover, daughter and person. The smallest of kind gestures can have big impact.
Photographed by Matisse Ruby