The “Wanderful Girl” is a modern bohemian. She’s a nomadic bon vivant collecting perspective and style inspiration around the globe. - from "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style."
Meet Cass Cleave, a photographer and creative director for a vegan, all natural and amazingly minimal skin care brand. Her insta profile simply lists her sign (Virgo) and location (presently she’s in Tokyo) however her images tell a beautiful story.
Cass and I have one of those relationships that occurred on Instagram. I was immediately obsessed with her ethereal, simplistic yet soulful images and wanted to know more about her. When she and her business partner launched RIPE skin (they product brand made exclusively from plants grown in CA + HI) I had to have it. I LOVE following her adventures and I know you will too!
AE: Your brand appeals to women with a love for holistic goods, slow loving and a bit of wanderlust too (our favorite things over here at Oui We), tell us how the brand came to be.
CC: RIPE truly stems from the minimalist movement—only using what you need, and nothing else, while staying as close to nature as societally possible. My partner, Shannon, had been living on the Big Island of HI, pretty much alone in the jungle, surrounded by the abundance of nature. It hit her that there’s a level of connectivity between humans and nature that has been growing more and more distant with each year’s passing. But, why? Long story short, she found we can actually take nature, bottle it up, while still keeping it in its natural form. And turns out it’s actually better for you than processing it! It was fate that she and I met, because every part of my being wanted this kind of connectivity to nature to be my life. My entire life, not just how I eat or care for my skin. RIPE is a way of living simply, celebrating nature as well as ourselves, and feeding our soul at the same time. The brand continues to unfolds, but more and more it’s about giving yourself and the Earth exactly what it needs, and nothing else.
AE: What cheats do you have for looking good while spending days traveling?
CC: I will always make a point to take a quick dip in the ocean before hitting the road. It adds the texture my hair craves, my skin shines brighter, and my soul feels so, so refreshed (especially on those sweltering hot days)! If I don’t have the ocean, then I’ll maybe grab an extra cup of coffee to help perk up the bags under my eyes (or maybe it’s a placebo effect—but hey! Still does the job).
AE: Tell us about a person you met on your travels that you know you’ll never forget?
CC: Oh gosh, there’s so many, how to choose! There’s this little man we buy fruit from here in Sri Lanka. He is tiny, with a bowl cut and thick bangs and wears your typical Sri Lankan skirt. He barely speaks any english so we communicate with body language. Every time we go to his shop I catch myself wearing a huge grin on my face, and all I’m doing is buying fruit! Damn good fruit, nonetheless. He’s got this way about him. I swear he’s an angel. He teaches me how to be happy and grateful for something as simple as buying a good piece of fruit. It’s a symbolism for life.
AE: What’s one product you always take with you on your travels?
CC: Lavender essential oil. Keeps me calm and at ease (and smelling good) while on the road.
AE: Favorite souvenir?
CC: Sand. Honestly, as annoying as it can be it means I’m in a place that truly makes my heart sing. If I’m in a city, far from the ocean, and I find little pieces of that pesky earth in my pocket, or hair, it brings a smile to my face. I know that I could travel anywhere in the world and as long as I’m by the ocean... I’ll feel at home.
AE: For someone interested in becoming more involved in a mystical life, how do you suggest they begin?
CC: Be as mindful as possible! Look around more, really look around, smell the smells, say hi to strangers, eat slower, stop and take a big juicy breath, have a good belly laugh! It’s so cheesy, but when I stop and slow down to notice how beautiful (or not) life is, I get the chills. Ever had those moments when you make a decision and feel your whole body saying, “yes”? That is magic. And it only gets stronger with more intention.
AE: What’s on your favorites list:
Camera you shoot with the most:
Canon 5d mark iii
The app you can’t live without:
Honestly, Instagram! Non-stop access to networking and inspo.
An object or charm you keep with you?
My evil eye necklace I got in Turkey 8 years ago haven’t taken it off since.
A quote that inspires you?
“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” - Donald Woods Winnicot.
A friend referred me to this quote when I was going through a tough time, and it hit home like no other. This is a constant contradiction I feel, and I am so happy to know I’m not the only one.
The Ripe Skin product on your nightstand?
The Healing serum (pictured above). I put it on my face, body, hair… anywhere that’s had too much sun or not enough moisture.
AE: Lastly: tell us about a moment you knew that magic was real.
CC: This is a tough one. I am one of those people that has always been spiritual even when I wasn’t consciously aware of it. The first time I did reiki I was in high school, and remember I couldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t tears of fear or sadness, it was tears of love. I felt so much damn love my body couldn’t handle it! I’d say that was the first time. The most recent time was just the other day. I was surfing in the Maldives, unsure of exactly what I did to get myself there, but there I was… surfing perfect lefts, in literal paradise, and all by myself. I was alone! That doesn’t happen! Not when there’s perfect waves to be had. I spoke out loud to the universe and thanked it for blessing me with this experience. Man, that stoked is something I’ll never forget.