• UO Interviews: Natasha and Ashley James

    Consider us doubly inspired by these LA siblings: a vegan chef and designer, respectively, discover how the James sisters have been supporting and influencing each other since day one. 

    Above: photos via Rawcells' Instagram

    Can you tell us more about your childhoods? 
    A lot of our time was spent just being our wild selves together. Our typical day was spent creating choreographed dances to our parents 80’s disco albums and playing tennis with paper balls. Our relationship hasn’t changed; much we just do different things in the same spirit as we were young.

    Natasha, can you share more about Rawcells? How did the idea come together, what does the business stand for?
    After I became vegan I started doing research on corporate junk food companies and the way junk food affects your body. I got grossed out with how those businesses could really sell a product knowing it encourages diseases, so that automatically motivated me to give people healthy alternatives that actually nourish them. 

    Rawcells stands for daily acts of doing and being better. I want an organic donut to be a reminder that you're taking the initiative to treat yourself right and a mental check that you're on the right track of being the best version of yourself. 

    I believe the more love and care you have for yourself, the more you’ll inspire everyone around you to do the same. The goal is to encourage a more self-loving, healthy community.

    Can you share a recipe for a favorite vegan snack?
    I makes these stuffed caramel dates all the time. The recipe is super simple to make and gives you a lot of energy.

    Stuffed almond caramels
    6 dates (take out the pit)
    4 tablespoon almond butter
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    Handful of goji berries (about 12)
    Handful of cashews (about 12)
    Melted raw chocolate (*recipe follows!)

    Fill each pitted date with almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice), then sprinkle cinnamon on top. 
    Stuff in the cashews and goji berries until overflowing. 
    Dip it into the raw chocolate and add a little salt and a cashew on top for decoration. 
    Let it set in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. 

    Raw chocolate recipe
    1/4 cup melted coconut oil
    2/3 cup cocoa powder
    6 tablespoons maple syrup
    Blend on high for 5 minutes until creamy.

    Above photos by Chantal Anderson
    Ashley, can you share more about your work as an interior designer? What inspires your work, how do you describe your aesthetic and taste?
    I’ve always wanted to get into a field where I can help people feel positive and happy. I feel that our built environment truly effects individuals experience. My goal is to create spaces that make people smile and feel inspired to take on the day by the horns.

    Above: photos via Instagram

    Do the two of you ever collaborate? 
    We do, since both of our interests are highly design based. We like to bounce ideas off of each other — it’s often surprising how much our fields have in common, with both involving the use of color, depth, and texture to create a finished product.

    What’s a dream project?
    To design a Rawcells vegan restaurant! 

    Natasha, describe Ashley in 3 words.
    Psycho, loving, real

    Ashley, describe Natasha in 3 words.

    Above photos by Chantal Anderson

    What are your favorite things to do together?
    Netflix n chill, dance battle, and fight over our cat Rosy. 

    How do you influence each other’s work and/or style?
    We share a creative mind/eye so just being around that energy is inspiring for our own distinct styles.  

    Above photos by Chantal Anderson

    Tangential question: you both have INCREDIBLE skin. What’s your secret?
    Natasha: All I have been using for the past couple of years is Dr. Bronner's soap and MSM moisturizer. 
    Ashley: I’m addicted to lotion, I think keeping my skin moisturized has a lot to do with it. 

    Above photos by Chantal Anderson

    Natasha, tell us something we don’t know about Ashley.
    She drives like she just robbed a bank!

    Ashley, tell us something we don’t know about Natasha.
    She really thinks she can sing. I would love to see her in a recording studio going at it. It would be the highlight of my life…hilarious! 

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