It has been three years since our first
Q&A with Sasha Mei, so we figured it was about time we reconnected with the ever-so aspirational Toronto-based creative and ask her some questions about her new supper club, her favourite dish to cook, what's challenged her lately and what advice she would give for those of us who like the idea of running, but not so much the act of it.
Who is Sasha Mei?
I am a creative, a supper club host, a writer, and an amateur runner based in Toronto.
Can you describe your personal style for us? How has it evolved throughout the years?
My style is more on the classic end. Toronto is very casual, it's rare that we dress up extravagantly here. I like a mix of feminine, classic, and comfortable clothing, and am mostly inspired by 90's minimalism, though lately I'm partial to bursts of colour (it must be the warm weather!). It took me far too long to arrive to this, and I think I'm still evolving.
You recently launched a new venture called Yu + Mei. Can you tell us about its beginnings and where you see Yu + Mei going in the future?
Yu + Mei stemmed from the notion that making new friends as an adult can be daunting. Amy (my co-founder) and I have such contrasting careers (she's in neurology), yet we're both such social creatures that love bringing people together, so we thought, "why not mix our circles together?" We love Toronto in part because our people are here - to me, it's the people that make a place home, and I want to extend that feeling to whoever comes to an event. It's grown into something so much more exciting, and I love the little community we've built. We're hoping to keep the momentum with more wine nights and dinners!
How are you sustainable in your day to day life? Do you have any sustainability goals you’re working towards?
Influencers get so much mail - it's important to be selective with what you're receiving. I am choosy with gifting and try to keep it minimal.
If you could only eat three dishes for the rest of the year, what would they be and why?
A Malaysian hawker dish called Char Kuay Teow, pasta, and my mom's sourdough
Some advice for those of us who want to get into running but haven’t found the motivation to yet?
Remember that everyone has to start from somewhere. I find that running with a buddy is always the best way to get started - it turns something difficult into a social thing. And, despite my internal competitive spirit, no one cares how fast or slow you go! If you run more than once a week, you're a runner to me. On the worst days, I remind myself that it's a privilege and a gift to run and move my body. I do it because I can.
Your favourite dish to make and why?
Pasta, of course! There's so many different sauce options, and I love making dough from scratch. Making homemade pasta is also a fun date idea!
One item in your wardrobe that makes you feel most yourself?
I can't limit it to just one, but any of my long skirts. They can be casual or dressy, but always make me feel feminine and sexy in a subtle, understated way. Like the way a backless dress makes you do a double take.
What do you think about when you get dressed in the morning? Do you start from the shoes and then work your way up, or clothes and then down?
I definitely work from the bottom up! Aside from any weather considerations, I start by accounting for what I have going on that day and how much walking is involved - I like to walk as much as possible, so days with more walking will have me gravitating towards sneakers. Then I base the rest of the outfit on my mood: if I'm feeling casual I will wear denim, if I'm feeling feminine then a skirt or dress...you get the idea. Then the top will just fall into place.
What do you love about cooking? What about dislike?
Cooking is an act of self care. I love the process of taking the time to prepare something delicious to nourish my body. I definitely do not like cleaning though, and will admit that I'm quite messy!
Favourite places to visit, shop and eat in Toronto?
To visit: the AGO, high park, and College/Dundas West area are my usual haunts. I especially love the restaurant culture here - Dreyfus, Sunny's Chinese, and Lola Sushi are just a few of my favourite spots. And for wine, I can't get enough of bar Piquette and Paradise Grapevine, especially in the summer!
Something that challenged you recently?
It sounds silly, but events season and being social in the creative industry is difficult. I constantly have to watch what I share with people, who I choose to let into my life, how I spend my energy. I am still trying to figure out how to balance everything.
"Cooking is an act of self care. I love the process of taking the time to prepare something delicious to nourish my body."
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
It's very different every day, but I typically wake up at 6am, make a coffee immediately, and have a light snack before I move my body. I like to take my time drinking my coffee - this is the precious little time I get to sit on my couch during the day. Then I go for a run or to the gym, because it's such a privilege to move my body, and running in the early morning is so peaceful. I then attempt to tackle my inbox, and then the rest of the day I use to create. My job is to showcase people the interesting life I lead, which affords me the ability to get out and explore my home city. Often meetings, calls, and proper shoots are sprinkled in throughout that. If I don't have events in the evening I like to cook dinner, it's therapeutic and helps me unwind. I try my best to go to bed early - emphasis on try! I always read before going to sleep, it helps me wind down.
Can you tell us who some of your style icons are and why?
I love Christy Turlington's style in the 90's, there's something so classic and timeless about her. I am also really inspired by NYC-based stylist Beverly Nguyen and photographer Diana Bartlett - they both have incredible taste.
Your definition of happiness?
Feeling love, gratitude, and exuberance.
How do you inform yourself throughout the day? What are you listening to, watching, and reading?
I am glued to my phone! It makes me feel connected. I'm also a big podcast listener, and I am currently loving Freakonomics, the Economist Espresso, Cautionary Tales, Armchair Expert, Eyewitness Beauty Podcast, Are We On Air, and Overheard National Geographic. I am a serial re-watcher and am so behind on television as a result - I also don't have a TV so I feel very behind culturally there, but I prefer to read. Right now I'm reading Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
What is the legacy you hope to leave on this world? What are you out to accomplish?
I hope I can bring at least a sliver of joy into the lives of people who I come across, or those who come across me. If I can do that, give people hope that life can be beautiful and fun and not too serious, then I've done my job.