Girl Boss 101: Beauty & Lifestyle Expert Nitika Chopra Talks Career And Self-Love

As a follower of Nitika Chopra, beauty & lifestyle expert and inspiring talk show host, it was an easy decision to choose her to interview for my next installation of ‘Girl Boss 101’. However, what I didn’t know was the series of take-aways that I myself would walk away with from not only this interview with but her ‘Deep Dive Into Self-Love’ event.

Since I have started speaking with women for Girl Boss, I have realized that in one way or another they help me, open my eyes, or say something I really needed to hear in that moment. Self-love is something that I have personally struggled with in my own life, as I’m sure  many of you have as well. So, when talking to Nitika both through our interview and being in the atmosphere of her event, I knew that I had come to the right person.

It is actually difficult for me to form the words needed to describe the sense of ‘Finally hundreds of other women out there GET ME’ after leaving her event. It’s  even more difficult to describe how inspired I felt when I heard Nitika speak about what self-love means to her during our interview. Whether you feel lost with your business, career in general, or self (mind, body, and soul) I sincerely recommend reading what Nitika has to say.

Through this series of questions you will get a sense of how Nikita started her career as an entrepreneur, what excites her most about her career, and much much more. It’s my hope that through this interview you will feel just as inspired as I do to not only take control of your career, but maintain a balance of self-love and care throughout it all.

 


CW: What was your original plan growing up for your career (if you had one), and has your passion for self-care and self-love coaching always been there?

NC: I was in real estate, and was working that for five years before I started trying to launch my own career. Even in the first business I had as an entrepreneur (Bella Life), it’s been a constant evolution to shave off the things that I don’t need, and practice the things that I love. It [self-care and self-love] was kind of always there for me. I wanted to know the deeper meaning to things, and the deeper answer to things. I wouldn’t say I was ‘into’ self-care and self-love, I didn’t categorize it, it was just a part of me.

CW: How did your TV hosting and coaching all start?

NC: I was trained to be a life coach 12 years ago, so I’ve had that training for a long time. And then I had always loved performance, singing and acting and other performance based things. But I didn’t like the emptiness of the entertainment business, so when I started Bella Life [now Nikita Chopra] it was with the goal of becoming a talk show host that would allow me to merge the performance and coaching.

CW: Have you always had the support of friends and family when you decided to launch your career as an entrepreneur?

NC: My family has always been supportive in terms of wanting the best for me and loving me, but when I started to be an entrepreneur I definitely scared them. My parents are immigrants, they took a big risk, and being an entrepreneur is a big risk. We had a lot of conversations of ‘what am I doing?’, and it wasn’t until I got my talk show, and they saw ‘oh she can get hired for this!’ that I felt like they could get on board. When starting my business, my friend group totally changed. I distanced myself from a lot of people who couldn’t get behind the idea and support me.

CW: What do you think gave you the courage to become an entrepreneur?

NC: I think for me I had always felt like I had a greater purpose in my life. And I just didn’t know what the hell that was. It didn’t really fit the bill that I had seen with other people or anything like that. It was really up to me to create the following of the purpose and my dreams. I didn’t come from a family that was going to give me a connection or fund my dreams. I was the only one who was going to make it happen. I didn’t know anybody who was able to help me with that.

I have a lot of strength in me, I’ve dealt with a lot of challenges in my life. I choose to be more committed to my happiness. Even when things seem tough or uncomfortable, I choose happiness. Whatever that looks like. It’s definitely a roller coaster, but it’s a choice. Following my dreams, is not easy all the time. But it’s a choice I make every day. So to me courage didn’t come to mind, it was really a choice.

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CW: What has been the most exciting and thrilling part about coaching women on self-love?

NC: I love the women in my love-entourage, that’s who I coach the most. I would say those moments where they realize they’ve been doing something one way for so long but that they could be doing it a different way. Their in my home in NYC, and you can see it on their faces having these ‘aha’ moments, and I’m watching them sitting in my living room like oh my god this is so incredible.

I feel like it’s the easiest program I’ve ever lead, because I’m supporting and loving them. It’s really a safe space to uncover and discover, and I’m just so honored to be on this journey with them. It’s such a privilege. 

CW: Why do you think so many women lack self-love, positivity, etc. and do you have a recipe for obtaining it no matter what your circumstances are?

NC: I think so many women lack self-love because a lot of times when you’re growing up we’re told a lot of messages that are against the truth of our soul.

Our soul is unbelievably breathtakingly beautiful, but in the world we are often told the opposite. So there is a lot of inner conflict. That is definitely what happens to me, for sure. That inner conflict is like plaque on your teeth, and if you don’t clean it, it builds up. That’s just the nature of those thoughts and conversations.

I think the biggest thing people get tripped up about when thinking about self-love is that they need to go from pain (negative thoughts) to loving ourselves immensely. I think people are forgetting a very important step in the middle, compassion. I think that is key to moving away from the negativity in your life and mind. Allowing yourself to say, I’m in pain right now, I don’t love these parts of myself, I’m embarrassed, etc. You hear people talk about inner child work, thinking of the young version of yourself that first got hurt by something, for me it’s the 10 year old girl who is hurt that I think about. It’s important to have a practice where you love her, and you love that part of yourself, that’s what I’m most interested in helping people with.

It’s not about “I’m happy all the time, and I’m never upset” that’s bullshit actually. It’s about having compassion about where you’re at. Nothing happens to you if you feel it (you’re not going to die because you’re sad), but if we keep shoving it down and bypassing it, it’s just going to keep being there waiting for us.

CW: In your mind, how does self-love/self-care translate into other areas of our lives?

NC: It translates into every single thing that you do. For one, we can’t expect others to take care of us. There are times that people will take care of us if we’re lucky, but we can’t expect it. Self-love and self-care, if you’re anchored in it and have a practice, then you end up needing less from others, and don’t expect them to owe you something. And you’re more able to be present and be of service. That’s why I think self-love and self-care are the foundations of everything.

CW: What is the most challenging part of coaching women on self-love and self-care?

NC: The thing I have the hardest time with is when people are not coachable. Because I want so much for everyone (and for myself) that if I meet you, I can literally see the possibilities within you, the possibilities of what you’re capable of, and how bright your inner light is. If I am with someone who is so dead set in not seeing that in themselves, not willing to be open to the fact that what I am saying might be true, I have compassion for those people, but I usually just have to let that go, that’s challenging. There are some people who are more committed to their suffering than their happiness.

CW: Where do you think that your positivity comes from, and how do you maintain it during tough days, weeks, months?

NC: My positivity was honestly just cultivated. I wasn’t a positive person until I was about 20 years old. For the first 20 years of my life, I wasn’t happy.

Then I realized there was a choice, and that I could choose happiness, not that it was easy, but that I could choose it. Now when I’m in a really shitty place, sometimes I let myself be upset for a little while (going back to the inner child, take care of her) other times I’m gonna call that friend that makes me laugh, so let’s just call her and have a good mid day chat cause I’m not feeling it in life. The other thing I do is listen to a lot of Abraham Hicks (law of manifestation ) and allow myself be in that and listen to it over and over again.

CW: What is the most exciting part of your career for you?

NC: I think there is so many things. Because each part that I get to explore, is exciting to me for different reasons. Part of it is the love entourage, because that’s deeper than anything I’ve done. I also really love putting on live events, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to put on a live event (7 years), and every time I finish an event I’m so proud and honored by what I was able to create and seeing how people felt when they left. Even my social media, it has it’s own rhythm and flavor. Anything that has to do with my work, I feel so privileged and honored to do it. I feel super pumped whenever I get to do any of these things. I never do anything that isn’t 100% aligned with me.

CW: Do you ever feel hesitant to put it all out there on social media?

NC: I do feel hesitant, I do have those questions. I think it’s smart to have those questions. If you always have no filter then you’re not being of service to the people you’re trying to reach. I am always thoughtful about the things I put out there. I try to pause every time I post something and think: Is this me, or is this going to move things forward? Is it something that I can actually post and have it make a difference?

CW: Do you have a certain mantra or quote that is your go to for representing how you live your life?

NC: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I think about that a lot, whenever I post or write something. Is this the love I want to have in the world?


 

Taking a risk can be scary, especially when it comes to our careers. But then you see thriving women like Nitika who are inspiring others (like myself) because she took that risk.

I highly recommend attending the next event Nitika hosts if you’re in NYC, or signing up for her coaching program. It was an eye-opening and exciting experience that I think all women can benefit from!

To learn more about Nitika Chopra, attend one of her events, or simply get MORE inspired check out her website here: Nitikachopra.com and her Instagram here: @nitikachopra

 

Girl Boss 101: Meet Lauren Bongiorno Who's Making Waves In The Health Industry

 

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”

Finding our dream career is no easy task. Searching for that inner drive, strength, and passion to go beyond society’s expectations and take the ‘road less traveled’ can be even more challenging. But, it is possible.For a long time I didn’t believe that. I thought that I had to go the ‘safe’ route (job wise) rather than pushing myself to combine all the things I truly loved into a career. Now I realize that finding your passion, your purpose, your niche, and creating that into a fulfilling life and career is achievable (even if it sounds absolutely terrifying).

When thinking about how I wanted to create this new project, I knew that I wanted to present truly inspiring and talented women that could not only share their experiences, but also show that there is so much beyond the typical nine to five desk job. The ‘safe’ route (aka the boring job that controls your life and makes you unhappy), and picking your career based on what that form you filled out in ninth grade told you isn’t the only thing our there for you.

So, when I took on the task of finding women to interview, I knew that Lauren Bongiorno needed to be one of them. As a follower of Lauren via Instagram, I’ve watched a talented athlete, yogi, and entrepreneur through my social media. But, what you see on Instagram is only half of it.

You know when a person’s energy is just magnetic? That’s exactly what I experienced upon meeting Lauren Bongiorno; health coach, athlete, and snack bar creator. When she walks in a room, you can just feel her positive energy, and genuine happiness (maybe that was because she agreed to meet me on her birthday, but I’m pretty sure it’s just her). That’s not something you get from many people these days, so it was refreshing to say the least when I got the chance to talk with Lauren.

But, why does all of this matter? Why Lauren Bongiorno?

In my head I thought,  “what twenty-three year old do you know that took a risk, despite what we’re all told we ‘should do’, to create her passion into her purpose which then became her career?”

 Success obviously does not happen overnight, but that hasn’t stopped Lauren, and my curious self needed to know how she had done it (and continues to do it).

In a series of questions, I learned what Lauren did to get where she is today, what fuels her drive to continue down this path, and the advice she has for other millennial women out there searching for their purpose. Not only are her answers insightful, but will leave you thinking long after reading them (at least they got me really thinking).


CW: What did you originally plan for yourself throughout college?

LB: “Everyone is always so baffled when I tell them what I studied in college haha. I actually was a history major with a psych minor and on the pre-law track. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a trial attorney. I grew up watching my dad in court and loved the idea of fighting for justice. He used to joke that I would take over his law firm one day and that I was his retirement plan. Sorry dad! 

CW: How did you get involved in the health and wellness industry at such a young age

LB: “When I was a sophomore or junior in college I started a blog called “Lettuce Be Healthy and Happy” after watching the Netflix documentary ‘Hungry For Change’. The documentary is about the food and weight loss industry and all their deceptive tactics they use that has contributed to the rise of binge eating, eating disorders, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in the U.S. I spent roughly two years sharing my health journey with Facebook friends/family/anyone who wanted to read, which mostly included healthy recipes, yoga for the mind and body, workouts, and anything new I was learning from books, podcasts, online videos, ect. During these two years this was my hobby, along with becoming a certified group exercise instructor and yoga instructor. It wasn’t until my last semester before my college graduation that I realized I wanted to pursue health as a possible career.”

CW: What made you finally decide to take the ‘unconventional’ route rather than a more solid 9-5 job? Or in your case, choose the wellness industry over your law degree

LB: “During the fall semester of my senior year of college I was studying for my LSATS. I took it once in September and another time in early December. Whenever I made my “to-do” list for the day, writing a blog post, answering emails or comments on my blog, or watching a health video always came before LSAT studying. But even though it was so evident to those around me how passionate I was about the wellness world, I never once considered the option of not going to law school. It was my plan. It was what I was meant to do. So I thought…

That was until one day I went to a hot yoga class at my yoga center that I religiously practiced at and had a complete epiphany. I was laying in savasana at the end of class and as quickly as the idea popped into my head, I made the decision that I was going to put off law school for a year to try and pursue being a health coach. I ran home and told my best friend Emily about this program I had seen ads for on Facebook called the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The first thing she said was, “What do you think your parents are going to say?”. I picked up the phone and told my dad to get my mom because I had something important I needed to tell them. I told them my plan and promised if it didn’t work out I would go to law school the following fall. I explained that  if I started law school immediately after college, I would go for 3 years and be on this hamster wheel of law school, then working in the District Attorneys office, then working in my dad’s firm, and having the responsibility to take it over once he retired. I knew that if I didn’t go after my passion first and at least try, I’d be 40 years old before I ever considered it again. In my head that just didn’t make sense to waste those years to later decide to follow my passion.”

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CW: How long did it take you to really build a following for your programs and social media?

LB: “My blog and Instagram had a few hundred followers that organically and gradually just grew overtime. I remember when I hit 3k followers on Instagram I went to Costco and bought a box of larabars to do a giveaway on my page. I was so excited. I was just so amazed and grateful that people wanted to follow my journey. My social media presence became a little bigger when I transitioned from blogger to the Health Coach, Entrepreneur, Yoga and Bootcamp Instructor who believed in the power of the mind and body and all that encompasses total health. I started to post more that incorporated all aspects of my life- yoga, fitness, healthy food, traveling. I think the more transparent I was with my ups and downs and what I was up to, the more people could relate to me.”

CW: What gave you the courage to follow the path of online health coaching (especially when society has always told us to do the ‘safe’ career route)?

LB: “I believe that having a support system and people that believe in you is huge. When I told my parents my plan of putting off law school they were 100% behind me, and told me if that’s what made me happy than I should do it. I do know though that there are a lot of people who don’t have support from many friends/ family because why would anyone leave a good paying 9-5 job for something that in their eyes should be reserved as a side project/hobby? To that I’d say, believe in yourself. Be your own cheerleader. Listen to your heart and just go for it. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s 100% true. Quiet your mind and listen to what lights your soul on fire.”

CW: Do you or did you ever have any moments of self-doubt, and what pushed you to keep going?

LB: “Being super honest, the only time I doubted my career was when my dad sat me down and laid out all my expenses that I’d have to eventually start paying once I started “adulting”. Car insurance, car inspections, gas, transportation, gym membership, restaurants, movies, groceries, health insurance….the numbers just add up so quickly and I definitely questioned whether I’d be able to support myself as a health coach in my own business…at 22 years old none the less.

I like to consider myself a minimalist in the sense that I don’t need fancy clothes, cars, nice apartments, etc. However, I do know that I never wanted to struggle with money and I need it to do the things I love (basically shop at Whole Foods and travel haha). After the big hit of how much money I would need, my dad assured me  to ‘do what you love and the money will come.’. I’ve had so many amazing opportunities and side projects that I am super grateful and now believe if you set out doing what you love and stick to your morals with good intentions, the money will come.”

CW: Where do you think your positivity comes from (it’s so evident through your work how passionate and positive you are about life), and how do you remain positive in the face of the ups and downs of life and your work?

LB: “Ironically enough, when I was 7 years old I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and I think my positivity now largely stems from that. Growing up with a disease where you constantly have to be checking your blood sugar, monitoring every piece of food you put in your mouth, and dealing with the sickness of having blood sugars too high or too low at least once every day forces you to be pretty tough and mature beyond your years. Living with diabetes for over 15 years now, being a division 1 soccer player in college, and finding a love for yoga, I’ve learned that our reactions to the world are not what happens to us, but rather how our minds see it. Nothing is forever, challenges and life’s ups and downs are only temporary and you just have to ride the wave.”

CW: What’s your favorite part of sharing/connecting with your followers on social media?

LB: “I love that social media allows for you to connect with people all around the world. Just from Instagram I have made friends in Australia, Aruba, India, Utah, Texas… 3 of my clients actually found me through Instagram and they are from Scotland, London, and California. A reach that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. People put down social media sometimes saying we’re too consumed in it or that we only portray the best versions of lives, but let me tell you, it’s a powerful tool if used the right way. I feel that sharing your purpose, connecting and learning from others, it’s what life is truly about.”

CW: Are there any difficult parts about putting your business all out there on social media?

LB: “People are harsh sometimes if they misinterpret something you write in a caption or a post. I had this one instance a few months back where on a diabetic page I left my website and information as a diabetic health coach and I got backlash from a member saying I was spamming them and trying to sell my services. I don’t think of what I do as a “business”. To me what I do is help people. That’s my only intention. So to get those backlashes from time to time, it hurts. Because you just want to call that person up and say I’m so sorry you felt that way when you read my post but it really came from a good place!”

CW: What do you think sets your online coaching business and new endeavor with your snack bars apart from the rest?

LB: “Both of what I am doing are kind of an untapped market which is pretty cool. For my health coaching, I specialize with diabetics and give them a resource other than their endocrinologist, diabetes educator, or nutritionist. We look at their health goals and I stay by their side for 3-6 months as their guidance, support, and accountability to help them make long standing changes in the realm of home cooking, home environment, stress, exercise, optimal nutrition, and learning how their body works best. As for my Low Glycemic protein bars, there is not one single bar on the market that is low glycemic and does not have a long list of ingredients with some kind of chemical,sugar alcohol, preservative, or word you cannot pronounce. I’m not another big company, I’m just a woman that truly cares about the health of others and I just want to help make lives and this world better.”

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CW: Being that you’re an active athlete and yogi, is there any advice you would give other woman out there who feel lost when it comes to trying yoga or any type of fitness program in general?

LB: “Just because a type of workout is popular or it’s your friend’s favorite, doesn’t mean it’s right for you! Find a workout that helps you grow both physically and mentally. Find a workout that you look forward to doing. Find a workout that you do to become a better version of yourself and not just to get a nice butt. Try different classes out, get on a routine of the classes/workouts you enjoy, and stick to that routine the best you can with dedication and commitment to help you reach your goals!”

CW: What advice do you have to young millennial woman who are trying to grow a business, and are taking that ‘road less traveled’?
LB: “Follow your passion to find your purpose. Life is too short to waste it going through the motions of something you don’t enjoy doing. We’re lucky enough to live in a world these days with so many amazing tools and resources that you can use to create any vision you have. If you take a leap of faith, opportunities will present themselves.”

CW: What’s something that no one would know about you from just looking at your Instagram or website?

LB: “I really love listening music, like I don’t like rap or any radio music, I love like jazz or Motown music. Jackson 5 is my jam, I listen to that so hard during my workouts. I love music clubs in the city, I would rather be listening to a guy jamming on the cello rather than going to a club. That’s me in a nutshell, I’m an old soul in a way. I can get teary eyed listening to someone play the acoustic guitar.

Oh another good one, my friends and family still call me ‘Lo’ to this day because in high school I felt like ‘Lauren’ wasn’t exotic enough, like I wanted to be more exotic, so I made everyone in high school call me ‘Lo’ (I wouldn’t answer if they didn’t call me that), and it actually just stuck.”


Finding a person who only knows one or two rap songs (one being Kanye’s ‘Stronger’) was probably the most shocking part of our interview, especially for a rap lover like myself. But, aside from the laugh I got out of that, I was able to walk away from our breakfast with a new found love of chia seeds in my yogurt, a laundry list of insightful thoughts shared, and a whole lot of inspiration that I didn’t realize I needed myself.

Taking a chance on yourself can be fear inducing, but as you can see from Lauren, the risk is so worth the rewards.

So, go follow this girl on Instagram if you haven’t already. You’ll be inspired if nothing else, and maybe even a little jealous of her amazing yoga skills!

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And for more information on her health coaching check out Lauren’s Website!