Comscore

Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Photographed by Geordy Pearson.

Attitude Adjustment: 7 Women Challenging Wellness Norms

Health trends can be fickle: For every renewed SoulCycle membership, there’s a Shake Weight sitting unused in a closet. And, it doesn't help that it can be almost impossible to separate new trends from passings fads. But, there are always a few voices that can be trusted — the experts making a splash without leaning on gimmicks. It's those revolutionists that we're paying tribute to today in this latest installment of Beauty Nation: The New Provocateurs.

We joined forces with the tastemakers over at Revlon to spotlight seven wellness experts whose advice is truer than that old “apple a day” adage could ever be. And, we're getting them to dish on everything from what it takes to run five marathons in five days to how you can better love yourself and your body (and we're not just talking figuratively, here). These women are nothing short of radical — and could reconstruct everything you think you know about health, sex, and beauty. Read on, and you might end up changing much more than just your workout routine.

Stephanie Poplika

BN_Feature4_Horizontal_Stephanie
When you think about birth, the image that might pop into your head is one we've been subjected to time and time again. It's in movies like Knocked Up, where our heroine is sweat-soaked and screaming, ready to maim whomever comes too close. Forget that. Stephanie Poplika is on a mission to remind women that giving birth is an exhilarating experience, not just a scary, painful one.

As a labor and post-partum doula, Poplika is an advocate for women throughout the birthing process. Her method isn't just hippie naturalism — it’s about powerfully owning an experience that's 100% about your body and the connection you have with your child. Whether a woman wants an at-home or an in-hospital birth, an epidural, or a C-section, Poplika's aim is to empower her to make her own decisions. In an age where medical care can be an overwhelming or intimidating experience, Poplika is putting the power of birth back in the hands of the person who matters most: the mother.

Revlon_BeautyNation_PullQuote_Stephanie

All products by Revlon. Age Defying CC Cream, $13.99; PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator, $12.99; ColorStay Eyeliner Pencil in Black, $6.79; ColorStay ShadowLinks in Eggplant, Onyx and Petal, $2.99; Bold Lacquer by Grow Luscious Length & Volume Mascara, $7.99; Brow Fantasy in Dark Brown, $7.39; PhotoReady Cream Blush in Charmed Enchantment, $12.99; ColorStay Moisture Stain in London Posh, $9.99.

stephaniePhotographed by Geordy Pearson.

The perception I want to change about birth
“The popular image of birth is that it's something that is really horrible and really painful. I’ve worked with women across the world, and every woman who is about to have a baby is scared. It’s okay to be scared, but I think we encourage women to be scared so that they’re in a vulnerable place. People approach birth as a medical event where you go to the hospital, do your thing, and that’s it. I want people to approach birth with an understanding that it’s really intense and really hard, but it doesn’t have to be horrible.”

Why it’s important that women have access to my services
“Labor and birth involves a lot of decision-making: how you should have your baby, where you should have your baby, whether you should have an epidural or not, whether you should have a home birth or not, how much weight you should gain. People are constantly telling you how you’re supposed to be, and there’s no right answer! My work as a doula is about being the person in the room who is not judging and is providing a space for you to do whatever you need to do. I think that’s really rare. Women have been giving birth outside the Western, hospitalized way for thousands of years, and I think we can tap into that wisdom to help women give birth safely and on their terms, whether that means using different herbs, positions, or something else. It’s not just about what a doctor says. I’m helping someone make their own decisions and that's provocative — it’s microrevolutionary to make your own decisions in health care.”
Superwoman


When I feel my most beautiful
“I like to do things that are a little outrageous, like really intense eye makeup that makes me think, 'I’m sort of afraid to go out like this, but I’m not taking this off; this shit is good!' We’re visual creatures; we respond to people who stand out. I also like to dance. When I get really dolled up and I’m really physical and present in my body, it makes me feel really beautiful. I think that when you’re physical — whether that means dancing or having a baby — you experience your body in a different way that’s giving you joy, which I believe translates to looking and feeling really pretty. Beauty is authenticity. I think when people are feeling really good in their skin that’s when they’re the most beautiful. So, undoubtedly, at the hundreds of births I’ve been to, in that moment when a women meets her baby for the first time and has worked her butt off to do it, she always looks absolutely gorgeous.”

GetTheLook_Stephanie

H&M Tunic Dress; Kenneth Jay Lane Vintage Necklace; Lucky Brand Wedge Sandals; MCM Handbag; Ring, Poplika's own.
Priya Pandya and Kajal Desai
>>