Episode 183 // Kintsugi Wellness with Candice Kumai

July 3, 2018

Candice Kumai, classically-trained chef, five-time best-selling author, wellness journalist, and former tv host, joins us to talk about finding success, celebrating her culture to find meaning in the work she does, and the importance of sharing your story.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"If we don't share our stories, we're never going to be able to move past the struggle."
- Candice Kumai

Discussed in this Episode

  • Candice's journey
  • Defining moments of success
  • Dealing with the fear of failure that comes with success
  • Candice's book-writing process

More from Candice Kumai

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Braid Creative

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Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:00
Hey Emily, guess what I'm looking forward to

Emily Thompson 0:03
if I had to guess I'd say your next meal

Kathleen Shannon 0:06
all true that but even more than that I'm looking forward to our annual being boss vacation in New Orleans.

Emily Thompson 0:13
Same. We still have a handful of tickets left. So if you've been wanting to join us on our annual being boss vacation in New Orleans and consider this your sign to join us for a live podcast recording, masterclasses and workshops, and an epic Abbas celebration and more with me, Kathleen and your creative peers from all over the world

Kathleen Shannon 0:35
in the most magical city in the whole world, right? Yes. All right. The being boss vacation is happening September 26. To the 28th in New Orleans. Go to being boss club slash Nola. For all the details.

Emily Thompson 0:50
We hope to see you there.

Kathleen Shannon 0:55
Hello, and welcome to being boss, a podcast

Emily Thompson 0:57
for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Candice Kumai 1:01
And I'm Kathleen Shannon. I'm Candace Kumar and I'm being boss.

Emily Thompson 1:09
Today we're talking about wellness, Japanese tradition and creating to service others with the author of kintsugi Wellness Candace cmai. As always, you can find all the tools books and links we referenced on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 1:27
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Emily Thompson 2:30
Born and raised in California to a Japanese mother and a Polish American father. Candace grew up in a mixed culture home celebrating Japanese traditions and cuisine from a young age and honing a cosmopolitan perspective that continues to inspire her work today. Candace is a classically trained chef, five time bestselling author, and has been described by Elle Magazine as the Golden Girl of the wellness world.

Kathleen Shannon 2:58
Candace, it is so good to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us. Thanks,

Candice Kumai 3:02
you guys. This does really help see each other by the way. It's like way more intimate and cool.

Emily Thompson 3:09
We'll definitely

Kathleen Shannon 3:11
so dear listeners, whenever we're recording our podcast, we ask that we get to see our guests face to face. We're always doing it over zoom. Because we really do want it to be a conversation and we're stoked to have this conversation with you, Candace.

Candice Kumai 3:25
Oh, thanks. I look like a homeless person today. But that's good, because you just

Kathleen Shannon 3:30
got out of the gala today. Last night, you incredibly wealthy you look like the richest woman I've ever met. Job.

Candice Kumai 3:44
Please. I put on a great show. I will admit that I know what I'm doing. And I'm glad that you believe it too. That's the best part Kathleen. It's all pro marketing. Right? Absolutely. And like we were just talking about this, like I I think people think I'm the richest person they know. And it's quite honestly, the exact opposite. Yesterday was a charity Gala. And it's, it's just my way of sort of like giving back to everybody who helped me along my way it was it was for Health Corps. So it was Dr. Oz's charity. We raise funds for kids all over the US in high school, and educate them on nutrition and cooking at a really young age because a lot of kids aren't privileged, like we all may have been where we got to learn how to eat really well for mom at a young age. And we don't realize that our youth is really they just are missing a variety of education throughout produce nutrition, health, wellness, sometimes they don't even have PE anymore. So we try to implement programs to get them back to Cooking and learning about what real nutrition is and and yeah, I spent like most of my nights are spent doing a lot of charity work in the city or Like just working towards raising funds for a lot of these charities in New York, you get an awesome blowout. Yeah, that sort of thing. Well comes out of my pocket too. But I mean, like we were saying, It's, I get great hair for like three days from the charity. So it feels good. Yeah.

Emily Thompson 5:22
Well, I would love to know how it is that you got to a place where you're throwing dollars, like, oh, tell us about your, you know, like, jogging with Dr. Oz that there had to have been some stepping stones that got you here,

Candice Kumai 5:35
correct? No, I mean, I just looked fabulous. That's all it was, you know, like, they were like, yeah, this girl is cool. I mean, obviously, it took like 15 years. So I'm 20 or 20 years ago, 13 years ago, or so I went to culinary school. And I worked extremely hard on the line. I wrote for all the magazines I possibly could, some were paid, most were unpaid. And I also funded culinary school on my own because my mother at the time said, you can cook for your friends but you cannot cook for a living. And she was the catalyst to my career. I was like, yep, watch me, woman. Watch. And I went and I woke up. I don't know if I've ever told anybody this on a pod before. But I woke up at five every morning to get to class at 16. Yeah. And then after class was over about midday, I'd have to go get in my car and go to all my fit modeling clients. And that's how I paid for culinary school in LA, at the Cordon Bleu program in Pasadena, California, like 1314 years ago now. And it's it's been interesting, you know, like, I've written six books. Now, I feel like, I'm still 23 years old on top chef, it feels like, nothing's changed. And here's the cool part about growing up with immigrant parents is like, you're never good enough. You're never gonna be good enough. And so like, humility is a bitch. And it's real. It's just always going to be they're not trying to be humble. It is it is exactly what it is. And I think people find it to be really comforting, because I've written about how in this beautiful book, just in case you decide to expose what we all look like behind the scenes. In this pretty book, which I'm signing 73 copies of in my bed today for event tomorrow. I finally reveal the ugly truth of like, hardships, turmoil, trauma, healing, crack sealing, comparison, jealousy, anger, pain, and it is not pretty. And for whatever reason, people really have spoken up and said like, I I love this book, I commend you and your bravery and thank you for being honest and truthful.

Emily Thompson 8:00
I love that I feel like this is the age of like revealing the shadow or like we're all opening up and it's helping other people do the same thing. So I love that people are connecting with that. But I want to talk about like so between culinary school modeling and writing books like Jeff in there tell us more about what was happening in the middle there.

Candice Kumai 8:23
Oh, middle section was a lot of grit. So here's kind of how it broken down into like little stages of my life which are quite interesting. I think because the audience for being boss really wants to hear about like, the struggle and how I got through it and what worked for me it may not work for you, but I think it's really comforting for all of you girls, and maybe even some guys here and there to hear about definitely guys maybe one or two right

Unknown Speaker 8:53
it's just women because we are the bosses. I mean, let's be real

Candice Kumai 9:01
Sorry guys, Tails they all know it to at least one when my mom was raising my sister I you would believe she was the boss. Yeah, she's that Japanese ninja shit is real. So um, what happened around 22 was I went from Long Beach shape to modeling just for like a year all over the world. So I was really exposed to Hong Kong China, all over Asia for production. I was a fit model Not to be confused with fit a fitness model fit model tries on clothes, like a mannequin, all over where they do pre production for companies like American rag, seven jeans, Chip and pepper habitual. I did a lot of denim before it like exploded and now it's back to normal where it's only a few brands but I was in that whole scene so many years ago fitting for everyone and I made a good living off of it. It taught me how to hustle and it paid my bills and it put me through culinary school so I don't dog modeling it. Of course, I did some print stuff in between there and lots of like show remodeling. And I never really gave a shit about the way that I really looked, I only did because work. So deep down inside, I think being a cool person and having something to share my artistry and my heart and my empathetic like ways with was more meaningful than any sort of fit modeling or external visuals or anything external wasn't really that important because I was raised to believe that like your brain, and education were key. So I started writing and cooking. And that's where I got to express my love. So during an intro to class, which was meats, in culinary school, I studied on a piece of paper, and I crumpled it up when I was done taking my test. And I opened it up, and I'm like, What's this, and it said, the producers of Project Runway comm a new show, Top Chef, and it was like this casting for the first season. And I was like, Oh, that's fuckin weird. And my friends at the time who all went to Long Beach shoot with me, we're like, you better go to that audition, because you're pretty much perfect for that. And then at the casting, it was like, it all seemed like it was going to happen. And I didn't believe it until it did happen. And we were in San Francisco shooting the first season together. I was in a house full of crazy people. I loved most of them. And most of them were cool to me. A few of them were shitheads. And we don't even care about them anymore. And few of them were like really nice to me and took me under their wing. And you know, it was the youngest person, I think, who's ever been on the show? And I just had fun. And if you were threatened by me, God help you because I was in culinary school. So like, what was your problem? So working through that meant a lot of free writing for a lot of different journals. And at the very beginning, that was like nine for for Health magazine. stylecaster like we're talking like, you know, bottom up, and then I started writing for more prestigious magazine. So at the time, fitness was its own magazine. Then along came shape women's health Men's Health. I then started to become an online columnist for women's health, men's health, and then later moved on to be on the masthead of shaping Men's Fitness. And at the same time simultaneously, I was hosting TV shows on lifetime TLC, he and I got signed with William Morris like back in the day when it was actually William Morris Agency w MMA then it went to Wi Fi. And now it's up to me. img. I've had the same group of agents for almost a decade, I've worked under the same teams at Rodale, Hyperion Random House, and now HarperCollins. And I, you know, I'm a regular on like, the Bobby Flay, or Iron Chef America judging, and I also regularly go on shows like Dr. Roz, or a news or the today show. And while media isn't really that important to me, getting the books out there that I've written over the last 10 years, which are now six books is is important, because there's a message behind each book that I sort of wanted to convey to the audience. Now let's be honest with being Boss, I want most girls or men to hear that I played it safe. And I played a very basic bitch role in writing for a long time, because I didn't know my true potential was in my Japanese heritage. So kintsugi wellness, the newest book that just drops was such a game changer, not just for me, but for the entire industry to witness firsthand was Holy shit, like Candace was broken. And when she hit rock bottom, that's when she realized what she did have was actually her heritage and her culture and her Japanese spirit that brought her back to life and put her back together. And that's a real, real thing that happens. I mean, there are people that have been writing to me about crying through the first two chapters of the book. They're writing to me about their trauma now, their postpartum depression, their, you know, mother committing suicide, their best friend and their eating disorders, or just like everybody's opening back up to me because I finally opened up to the world. The book has been picked up by Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Holland, Taiwan, and now Poland, where my dad is from

and to preface sort of where they came from dad's from Poland to came here on a boat when he was 11. And later was in the US military in the Navy. And that's how we met mom in Japan, who was a Japanese school teacher in Tokyo, very cute, brave woman. He said, We Went to the same time akula tempo the same day, and your father in his grand sages approached me, and I practice my English with them. And she didn't really think it was going to go anywhere. And lo and behold, my sister and I are both children of war, both doing really bad ass entrepreneurial things. But keep in mind, I mean, Kathleen and Emily, both of you guys should know like this. It sounds like a fairy tale to some people. But you know, I got left by a boyfriend before the day before my last book, clean greenies came out, he just unveiled with a 30 minute notice one day, I absolutely will share that story not because I'm not over it, but because it will help other women to be able to heal and relate which it has been just been incredible. Don't share our stories, we're never going to be able to move past the struggle. And so that's where these podcasts become so important to be because it's like, I love that you guys are seeing me with my, you know, skater, flannel after workout with my cute glasses and my hair from the Dr. Oz gala last night, and my cat next to me the whole time. So I know, right? It's so very real. But yeah, we're the years in between where a lot of pain and writing and struggle between Brooklyn and New York and my parents house. Five different publishers, like many different magazines, making ends meet by teaching cooking classes, asking my roommate to spot me rent here and there. I always got her back penny for penny. But the proofs in the pudding like you get what you give, and I gave like, three years for my new book, and I, you know, never gonna be able to hit the bestseller list. People don't understand that there are politics and bullshit behind that as well. And that's something I have to come to terms with is like, let it Let it be the next one. Like when I decided to write paperback books, I have a feeling, we'll be able to print a 50,000. And I'll be able to, you know, make it rain with all my books and like that there's a time and a place for that. But for right now, I'm proud that I shot my own book. I'm so proud that everyone for like Dr. Oz to like Arianna Huffington and Sophia amoruso. And all my home girls have been like, this is awesome, because it is so unique, that only you could be able to tell the story. So what's important about all these stages that I just explained is if you're struggling with comparison, or you're struggling to get to where you want to be, you have to understand that the processes in bricklaying, and you're never going to have a solid foundation or solid business which I've been writing from LA to New York for over 10 years as a small business as Corporation, you will never be able to hit your potential until you do the work. You mustn't compare yourself. And you must not expect for you can't see the fruits of your labor overnight, it will not happen. And if you do not have anything to show for what you've been working on, you have your character, you have integrity, you can build a website, you can start a newsletter, and you can start a podcast you can start things that nobody will take away from you. Instagram could be gone tomorrow. So we can we can stop like putting all of our eggs into one basket. your index finger does not count as being a professional or small business owner. I'm so sorry. And like it that that is true, right, though Emily, you're like cracking up with so how many girls because you can do this all day. I'm like, Yo, dude, that ain't a fucking job. Now go out and pay your bills. And no, I don't have a rich husband or boyfriend guys. I'm super self made. Yes,

Kathleen Shannon 18:53
I love it. I love what you say about brick laying. Because I think that that's the best way to describe what I feel it looks like to become an overnight success. 10 years later, you've been, you know, laying those bricks for a while you've been laying your own golden road. You know, it's like wherever it is. And you're still laying it right. And so I want to talk about because I do think that people see this, like external success, whether that and I think this is why people think that you're, we're joking about being so wealthy and so rich, is because I think that attention and recognition is currency now and even likes on Instagram is currency now. And so they're seeing that as dollar bills. So I want to talk about like, you know, maybe whenever you were on Top Chef or like whenever you would have these maybe little wins or even big wins. Or maybe that first article that you saw in a magazine where you were like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe that's me. You've probably had a lot of those moments and you become desensitized to them a little bit along the way. So can you talk about some of those first times that you hit those little moments of rocket fuel, and maybe the kind of confidence that it gave you, but then also what it maybe didn't give you that people might expect? It would, for example, like Top Chef people might think like, Oh, well, you're just made from that point on. Probably not true at all. It's not like your whole career set for you just because of one thing, even if it was a big thing.

Candice Kumai 20:26
So the The funny thing is, is you're right, like, we do look to likes and followers as currency, which is, which is very sad, because success isn't measured by followers, and it's not measured by your bills, or power or fame, or fortune or beauty. It's not, it should be found in character and grit. And maybe we can look to somebody and say, like, what is this person accomplished over the span of their career? And what I wish for every young girl to see is like, look at the background of the people that your obsessive Li following investing in. Because there's, they're more often I've been finding, along with a lot of other influencers, who are friends with me who have about the same amount of followers, we all have around like 100k, which is pretty normal for somebody who's been slinging rocks for 15 years, like, and when I say slaying and rocks, for all of you who don't know that funny term, it means I'm a fucking hustler. So, um, I've had people actually ask me what that means. I'm like, Oh, God. All right. Like, if you want me to tell you, I will, but it's a it's a term of endearment in my opinion. So here's a really deep contrast, that sort of happened. I remember the first time I was ever booked on the Today Show. And I was like, 23, maybe. And I had my first solo book, pretty delicious coming out with Rodale. And my God, do I feel so special that I was on cook yourself thin before that on lifetime? And the book did so well, it shot to number one, when I was like, 20, I must have been like 20. Sorry, I must have been 23 or four during that show series. And then I got my first solo deal at like 2526 with Rodale. So when they had me on solo, it must have been because I was a cook yourself, thin girl. And they had me on doing my own solo thing. And from there on, it was really easy to book the show, with every book I had after that, you know, what, when kietzke Wellness came out this year, and arguably people will say, you look the exact same way, or you get hotter with every year. So it's nothing to do with how I actually look. And and you would think that with the success, quote, unquote, of my career that they would have been a shoo in. But they ended up not putting me on the show with my book, which was like, I'm sitting at a cafe waiting for my girlfriend's to come meet me for a big like, work sort of play meeting. And I cried, and I was like, I, I can't believe that this just happened. And everybody was like, Well, did you expect it to happen? And I said, Yeah, I did. Of course I did. And how foolish of me to do so because the industry is changing so rapidly, that I decided to start writing about Japanese wellness. And that's nice, quote, unquote, to them. And so if I was writing a book about chicken nachos, and I was an old white man, I'd have no problem getting on the show. But I took this personal and I saw it as a call to action for me to reshift my sails, and not cry, but rather go to the podcasts that understand what I'm doing, and are applauding me than going backwards to a show that once had beyond is a fucking shoo in 10 years ago, you know, it's like the evolution of getting told no burns, but the Japanese have a proverb that they say, you know, fall down seven times, get up eight. And that is what we do. And if we're not moving forward in and forever evolving,

then we'll get stuck. And or this book number six, I also wrote it for people that feel stuck, like you don't have to be traumatized. You don't have to be depressed to read it. You just have to need to, to want to learn and Aspire. And for all my colleagues at the today show, which are many, many route workers, a mentor of mine, I, I cried out for help to each of them and you know what, some of them listened and totally were crushed for me. And they said things like, We're so sorry that the political landscape has changed so much here. It actually It probably has nothing to do with you. So as Don Miguel Ruiz would say, you can't take anything personal. So I also had to learn how to grow and develop as a better person inside. As my career was blossoming, I also had to learn about the impermanence of things like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and learn that like, I'm like, not even on snap anymore, because I felt like it was a waste of time to double down. And I do Insta stories just instead all the time. So like, I had to monetize my cash flow, as smart as I could invest more time in the pods in the people that understand where I'm coming from, and that appreciate what we're talking about. Because half the time I feel like people are how do you say, you do have to change with the times, like, it's not all about the Joneses. And the Benjamins, like, sometimes it's just like, Yo, dude, like shift your sales. In Japanese, we have a saying she got the good nine, it cannot be helped. So the best thing to do is just to simply move on, and think it cannot be helped. The other greatest successes I can remember, we're like, I'm, like, I've been in other countries, when a lot of stuff has come to pass or gone away, like they put me on, hook yourself then and then took me off for nine months, they gave me a pilot for Food Network. And then they didn't greenlight it for a year on an unpaid talent hole, like those things always happened. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 26:36
I want to ask you about like a attaining a certain level of success or having these opportunities, and then there's almost the fear of it, then being taken away, or like being able to sustain that. And it almost for me, freaks me out more, I hate to be like, I'm more scared of success than failure. But there is some truth to achieving something or being told that you're going to get something or expecting something and then realizing like, oh, but it may not be that next time.

Candice Kumai 27:05
So this is a really good question, though, Kathleen, because the most successful people are those of us who just keep going, and we are not afraid of our failures or our successes. So like, and what I mean by that is for the duration of my career, my life, and my success actually scared me more than my failures. And I think if true entrepreneurs going to understand what that means. It means that I was actually afraid of how far and wide I knew I could go. And it's starting to happen right now, like by you listening to this podcast, and by us recording this right now. We are real time watching a real hustler, actually seeing her potential because I finally let everything go I was like, I'm, I don't give a fuck about who I hang out with. Like, I don't need to roll with anybody in particular anymore. I don't need to wear a mask anymore. I mean, I don't really care about like Instagram following. I think it's like amazing to have a pretty Instagram account. But at the end of the day, I'm not going to like, kill myself over it like I used to. And you're seeing like the book get picked up by seven different countries internationally. And that's just going to keep growing. And I never knew that a book like this would be able to get picked up that way. So you can't be afraid to fail. So the people that do end up making it. Like if you look at somebody like I'm trying to think of someone's like work that I frequently look at Ariane Huffington is a good example. Like she sold Huffington Post and started thrive on her own, she's not afraid to fail. And she's failed more times, probably then she's had successes. And so by, she's going to keep going Sophia amoruso, the same way like she moved on from Nasty Gal and created girlboss. And that is her future and evolution. I went from clean green eats and drinks over to keen to gi wellness, which is my next level shit. Like, I'm not afraid to fail anymore, because it's just part of being an entrepreneur. So I highly recommend to everybody to never allow the fear of failure to stop you from pursuing something really great because you wouldn't see any of the artists with these collections at the MoMA, like you wouldn't you would definitely see their collections and recognize the beauty of what they've created. And you have to know that for every painting or sculpture or creation that you see there, they're probably 50 that got scrapped if not more. So same for me like shows got shelved. People told me know people's shit talk to me my entire life. They still do it. It's gotten progressively better though surprisingly, like less and less people have been rude and started to understand that I'm trying my best as a self made girl like I didn't have anything handed to me. My mom's a schoolteacher, my dad's a nuclear auditor, like, my sister lives in London. She's an entrepreneur as well, the London bike kitchen, she runs her own cycling shop there. She's so hipster, she doesn't know she's hipster. Yeah, I mean, we make being broke look cool, because we get really creative. So you absolutely must not allow those failures, quote, unquote, to hold you back. And it's a financial thing, which it is most of the time. I mean, I don't have a steady paycheck. And I want people to know that. And I'm not going to allow that to scare me either. I have a frickin waterfront apartment now, because I feel like I deserve this. And I got it on my own. And the other day, my friend was like, she's British, she's like to have a studio, one bedroom, I was like, really quiet. And I looked at her and I was like, I have a two bedroom now. And what's weird about saying that out loud, and she goes.

The good thing about saying this out loud, though, is sometimes when you see your success, you hinder it. And like I don't tell all my close friends about what I'm doing anymore, because social media kind of ruins it anyways. And everybody sees what you're up to the what I've signed with everyone from Chanel to Samsung worked with Nike and spoken at, you know, different organizations, including like, Yale University, or the NBA or so how's the river, like signing with Chanel was another like Bing moment for me or she's Sado, or all the beauty brands, like started to call us one day. And we were like, this is so fucking weird, because Canvas is a form of shefter and wellness writer, journalist now like sort of entrepreneur and like, why am I getting signed by beauty brands and, and I had to take it as a compliment of evolution, and accept that success is on its way. And it's coming because we've earned it, instead of hindering it. So these are things that we're all learning together. And I'm not really sharing secrets, but more so just sharing my reality and experiences, in hopes that your listeners and all of you out there can pursue the same thing and never be afraid of failure of not making your bills and truly allowing your self to shine. But allowing others to shine to like I brought three incredible women to the Dr. Oz gala yesterday because I I not dating anybody right now by choice. And why not bring three successful women with me? Who will all in part, start working with this charity as well. not jealous at all because I feel comfortable with where I'm at right now. And you know what that should be starting to happen in your early 30s. And if it's not, and you're still busy comparing. My father even said this over Christmas dinner, like this year, he's like, you need to knock it off. Because that will get you nowhere. So it's she got a good night, it cannot be helped. It's a waste of time. And I keep saying that phrase, but it really does mean it cannot be helped in Japanese. And there's a whole chapter of it in kintsugi wellness, about how the Japanese women just let things go. Because they there's no time to harbor on unimportant things. So you and I get our panties in a bunch about like, so and so with their fucking index finger on some app, like, excuse my language, but they can suck a blank of blank, because and you can fill that in whichever way you want. But like, it doesn't mean anything to me because I'm like, Can you speak in front of a crowd of 500 people at Yale University in fucking throw it down, and then get them to buy 100 of your books. If you can't do that, then like you're not really like, going to ruffle my feathers, you know, they, you have to look at who you're following. You have to start investing in real deal bitches that know what the fuck they're doing. And not just somebody who's building this like, random account. You need to utilize the social apps as tools and not as your foundation. Amen. Yeah, yes. Yes.

Kathleen Shannon 34:49
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Emily Thompson 35:29
I want to talk about this this new book a little bit.

Kathleen Shannon 35:31
I know I want to talk about the book too. Yeah. It sounds

Emily Thompson 35:34
like this book. You went deeper it sounds than anything you've written before. Tell us about that a little bit. Why did you make that leap and Did something happen that gave you the confidence to write this book?

Kathleen Shannon 35:47
It makes me think of like Beyonce going from pop music to like lemonade. Like I'm just gonna say what it is on the shed and make a million dollars on it.

Candice Kumai 35:58
I love that people have been quoting it as so many different things like it's you're coming out book. It's your homecoming book. It's your like, I don't give a fuck book. It's a you can suck a bag of dicks book like all of that. I just chose

Kathleen Shannon 36:12
me because it's such a beautiful book. Like I would never pick it up and be like this is definitely a suck a bag a dick. Like I don't know.

Candice Kumai 36:20
It's me tied desire that accolade. It's me telling this face. They can do that because it's so crowded. Yeah, it's so not it's not even real anymore.

Unknown Speaker 36:33
It's all like real. It feels like it's getting real surfacey or annoying.

Candice Kumai 36:37
The superficial. It's terrible. So what's funny is you asked me if something bad happened or sorry, something happened. My brain is just thinking you're right in no way do we need to compare the beauty of this book to the bag of You know what, but I'm just saying in lineal terms how we all really feel because it's true. We all really do feel that way those of us who have pioneered this industry like we everybody feels that way. It's it's actually really quite disappointing. That wellness has taken this really wide turn of like cheapening what it truly is to be well, it's not clickbait. It's not like taking a bath 10 times a day. It's not like charcoal lemonade and, and like putting butter in your coffee. It's none of that. It's like I went back to my heritage, not because it was something good that happened to me, it was something bad that happened to me. It was like a wake up call. We're like I was seeing somebody who was in the industry. We lived together, we had cc together we had, I thought that we were gonna get married because it was something that we had discussed. It wasn't like, it was my reality, if you will. And he lost his job and visa unveiled One day, the day before plane release came out. And I had to like virtually pick up pieces of myself that day and drag myself out to the flower market and get ready for our party at ABC home. Like not really even remembering what had just happened, but like not really all being there, you know, like, you go into autopilot mode and after that event and not being able to promote my book because because I was absolutely in shambles when the last book came out. So this whole process has actually been quite weird, in a way because like doing promotions, like don't even remember what I did last time, because I was so out of it. So I had trips planned because my grandmother was passing away in Japan. And I went to go Hold her hand, because that's all we did the hospital for many hours every day. And it was raining most days because the season we went was when my mom was out of school. She's a Japanese language teacher in San Diego. I'm a writer in New York City. So we'd fly to Beth food Japan and meet there together. Some trips we would meet in Tokyo and drive for not drive but take the train all the way down Japan to southern Japan where that who is in Kyushu, we'd go to get Domine we do the unsent baths with her. Like we would take long walks in the bamboo forest together we would admire what we call como Debbie, it means the light between the trees. I had moments of sheen being Yoku throughout Shikoku and Santo Island. I went from temple to temple all over Shikoku island with the monks and the elderly that took me on my tours. I stayed where the founder of shingon Buddhism was born. I studied with the monks and quests on I felt the cold winters and the hot, sweltering summers I saw the cherry blossoms at the Imperial Palace. I went to where my parents met and Kama Kuta to the Giant Buddha. And I thought, oh my god, like, I can't believe mom and dad met here. He is still Christian. She is still Buddhist. I ate the food of the monks which is called

My brain is like fried today. Sorry, guys, that's okay called Shoji God. And I ate that every day. And my sister went with me on one of the trips, and I bartered with her to take pictures of me at the temples to pay for all the stays. And she would never do that, again. We got into a huge fight like 17 times. I mean, every everything I know sisterly love, we're not best friends, but we definitely love each other. So I'd like to preface that for anybody out there. Who doesn't have that, like, my sister, my brother's my best friend. I'm always like a psycho, you know what have you know what? So it's just annoying. Like when people act like they're like, perfect all the time, like you're so gods. So the book helped me to pick up all those little pieces together on all those trips. And there are many more. There's Hiroshima, where I cried my eyes out at the Peace Memorial Museum, where we learned of the bombs dropping over Japan during the war. And there are interviews that I did with my own family, from my cousins in Tokyo, to my great aunts in southern Japan, and the elderly, and those who lived through the war in Okinawa, so it was years of documentation. It actually was me writing stories and struggles and sharing the truth and honoring my heritage, learning what your wellness was certainly not charcoal, lemonade and butter in your coffee. It was resilience. It was grace, it was empathy. It was heart. It was strengthening, it was Kaizen. It was comedy, it was the light between the trees, it was watching a nation facing famine, death. And learning of Wabi Sabi, just celebrating the imperfections of one's life, if not the countries. And overall remembering that Japan is an example of kintsugi, a country that deals with much turmoil due to its landscape being perfectly in perfect. It does what it always does best, which is gum on proceeding with endurance and great resilience. That is to me, wellness, and true wellness. And it is what I documented in the 12 chapters and 50 recipes and travel section. In this book. I photograph the whole thing myself. I put it together with my mother. She's my main editor, and I had three editors in Japan. How was that? How was editing with it was very hard because she would say things like, okay, I only have one hour today and we are not going to you know, we are not going to take many breaks you have really bothering me. Okay? And things like that. So like she would really say things like that. I'm like, Alright, dude, I'm gonna sit down. And of course, like, we'd have great conversations together to well editing. I asked her a lot of questions like, how did you raise us? Why did you raise us this way? What was important to you? What was your biggest shocker when you move to the US? Things like that, that were? She never thought in a million years, right? Anything like this together. I think that's what makes it really beautiful, too, was the whole thing wasn't planned. It wasn't from something great. It was from the worst point of my life. lost faith. And everybody in my career. dated all the wrong man here in New York. had depression after my ex left me. That's a whole nother podcast. You laughing so

Kathleen Shannon 44:21
yeah, like you use a lot of the principles from the book, maybe even without entirely knowing it at the time to recover and write the book itself. And so can Suki means to fill the cracks with gold. Right, right. Can you tell us a little bit about that? And then maybe even some of the tenants or Proverbs, you know from the book. I feel like the Japanese have such a beautiful way of phrasing it where you're like, Okay, yes, yes, that's it's beautiful. It's wise. It's simple, but it also goes really, really deep and I'm also curious to hear it. So I'm asking you 18 questions in one, but the actual maybe routines or habits or rituals, or even recipes that help you really embody then those values or those tenants in those Proverbs. So starting with kintsugi, what does it mean?

Candice Kumai 45:20
Well, you made a great observation, Kathleen. It took me a really long time, let's say 30 years to figure out why are Jenny and I so different from everybody else. And I had to look deep inside then to how I was raised. And so we always move forward with great resilience. We always did our best. We always had empathy towards others, and compassion and respect. We tried to be on time, we tried to be of good use to others. And what was important was character and humility. And it wasn't in boasting or bragging, it was in showing with action. Like I knew that if I wanted to be the eight girl in my space, in wellness and food, that I would just have to be really fucking good. One thing. So I nailed food like down, because I knew that I was good at it. And I, I didn't know I was going to shoot my books eventually, either. So I learned photography. So I forced myself to sit down with a camera for eight years. And then I got the courage to actually shoot a book. And nobody's even noticed that it was me that shot it because I didn't really like put it out there huge on the page. And I also It looks just as good as any other book, you know, like, you can't tell a difference. So when I looked back at the pieces, I said, Oh my god, we've been living with gumbet day, which is always do your best. We've been working with Kaizen, which is continuously improving. We have been living Oh, Sekai, which is being of service to others. Because my mother and father showed Jenny and I that way of life, children watched by what their parents do not by what they say. And that is what I realized when I started writing the first beginning chapters. I said, this makes sense now. So what I did was I put together the pieces of my crumbled life, which was like me with a mask on me always trying to be perfect. Candace is the former model canvas as a TV host. Candice is the girl like Candice is dating these hot men, like whatever, I still date hot men, but you know, they're my might be my favorite. And people ask me what my guilty pleasure is. I'm like, Hello, like, but Isn't it odd the the. The other part of it, though, is is like, you have to hit rock bottom in order to pick yourself back up and put the pieces together. So the darkness that cast over New York City, the depression that I had, after that breakup, the not feeling good in this wellness space anymore, because it was so crowded with shitheads. And people that cared about money and power and likes and followers. That's not what wellness is about. And I'm not perfect. But I know that I'm going to always do my best and give you my best. As somebody who is a writer and devotionally, writer and a passionate journalist, I will give you my best work. And I will always be honest, because if you want to be trusted, the honest bottom line really easy. And I also I think that the values which we carry with us may not all be the same. So well, not everybody grew up with Japanese values. You're right when reading the chapters throughout the book, you too are finding enrichment throughout the chapters of like, exactly what you said, Gatling, this is simple. This is elegant. This is graceful, this is humble. This is what humility really is. So it's looking at life through a different perspective. And us about some of the chapters, the strongest ones right now that people are really writing to me about, everyone's going to connect to a different one. But on purpose we put kintsugi first so we could talk about how anything that's broken can be mended back together and sealed with a lacquer and dusted with gold. As an object of art. You were more beautiful. After you have sealed your golden cracks and been dusted with gold. You are an art form after you have been broken and done the work. Number two is Wabi Sabi. That's the second chapter about celebrating imperfection. As a child of war a child of immigrants a child who was teased Just for how we looked.

I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood as a kid, I was always teased for being Asian, I didn't really get it when I was little, I was like, Yo, dude, I kind of like my like, but it hurt, you know, it didn't take away the pain. So I have a lot of immigrant kids and kids of different ethnicities now coming to me saying how brave it is to take the mask off of like, everything's fine, everything wasn't fine. It's still not fine. We still have many, many different areas of like immigration, or diversity, or even or African American communities, or the LGBT communities are getting discriminated against every day, women are getting discriminated against every day. These are things that aren't going to change overnight. But right now is a great time to be alive. It's great. Drake says what time to be alive. We are seeing the changes happening before eyes, but we must understand that it will take work. So Wabi Sabi is really about celebrating your differences and imperfections, because they're what make you really special. And I quote in the book, it's not just your mom telling you that you're special. It's neat to Oh. And another good chapter, I think you will, like on being boss would be about gumba day, which is the anthem of always doing your best, praising others for doing their best, being happy for others when they're successful. That must come from the heart. And it must come from honesty and a place of true resilience. Sometimes it takes being a bigger person, to allow others to shine when it's their time. And I struggle with that still, you know, as a as a half Asian female, I would love to see the day when more Asian women will step up in politics, I still have to call the Japanese American communities out on supporting my work, I will go there too, because if I don't speak up, they don't understand half the time why I'm asking for their support. And I'm trying to explain it's not for profit, it's because Latin stick together, Asians don't tend to stick together African American community stick together, they support each other. Asians have a lot of humility based in our culture. So therefore, it's harder for them to speak out sometimes. So as a Japanese American journalist, I don't really have another choice, but to go the brave route, and take my mask off and say, Hey, I know it's not normal to share. But this is why we're not progressing is because we're not lifting each other up. So always doing your best is the anthem. And remember, if you did your best to let up on yourself a little and like, not be too hard. So there's like a fine balance in there. And then all set die is the last chapter of the book. And it's about the gifts that you both possess, and that everybody listening has, and you will be of service to others. And when you're of service to others, you'll truly be finding fulfillment in your life's calling. And that is why I wrote the book.

Kathleen Shannon 53:27
I love it. All right. Before we wrap this up, though, I am curious if you have any rituals, or habits or routines that help you remember these principles in the moment, or just keep you even rooted in your day, in these concepts and proverbs that are so deeply rooted in who you are, but like, Is there anything or maybe even something that you know, our listeners could do to help them remember what it is to be of service to others, or to always do your best or to, you know, with resilience, you know, live with resilience,

Emily Thompson 54:06
right? And it almost sounds like you should be thinking about what would your mother tell you?

Candice Kumai 54:10
Yeah, right. She's like, She's like, I am okay with being in your shadow. Okay. I don't want to be like a front and center. Okay. And the other day, Sophie? Oh, she's amazing. I need an acknowledgement to her without realizing it in conversation on Lewis Howes podcast about how I am my mother's daughter, and one of the greatest accomplishments in my career is acknowledging their success and not mine. Because if you raise two badass daughters, who are both out helping others and doing really good things in their community, what more could you wish for, and especially in a time where Jenny and I both that's my older sister, who I love, she's at London bike kitchen. That's her shopping list. Did, we both pioneered our spaces where we were like, I don't really give a fuck what everyone else is doing. I'm going to do my own thing and slaying rots. And whether we did it the right way or not, no one will ever know. I did it my way. And I told everybody like, basically, you know, it is what it is, I'm always gonna do shit my way. And I think my mother would tell everyone that if you can do something great with your life, why would you not do so? Why not go there. And her father was an impressionist painter who had collections at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, which is the equivalent to the MoMA. And my aunt, her sister had permanent collections at the MoMA, and all over the world. And so I come from a family of daring artists. And I also come from another side of the family, which is Polish American, very blue collar. And a great story about my father is, he'll always call you out, even though he's very quiet. Like one time I was home, and they say that I come home and just throw my suitcases everywhere and get ready to shoot Now lay. And I told him how stressed I was. And he goes, easy get stressed. In my line of work, there is zero room for error. And he audits a nuclear power plant. So you can imagine how there is zero room for error in that job. So I just shut my mouth and walked away. And then also, he taught me when I was really young, during those writing years, I forgot to tell you guys about another breakup I had in LA with my server boyfriend, Ryan, who was a great fun guy at the time. And we had fun, just like we were supposed to do for a reason or a season. And we broke up and I struggled. He did tell me that when I was struggling after that breakup, and I was forced to move home to my parents house at 26, to write my first solo book, pretty delicious, the one that made it to the today show and all that. So as broke as fuck back at home, after breakup, no job showed in get renewed on lifetime. My father said, I don't care what you do, but you have time now. So you should go and volunteer. He's like, you've got time to give back Go. And so it just like so happened that I worked at a local bread line and saw the comparison of like, nouns of food at restaurants and culinary school and Top Chef to people that had nothing to eat. And so the contrast was deep and wide. And so his advice to anybody out there who doesn't have a job is always if you're able to help someone help. So these really great tomes of wisdom have come more so from my parents, through me and my sister, as artists and writers. And what her and I both do, as artists and writers is we both journal and bright. She has a podcast and books as well. But we share our philosophical parents tomes with the world, but they didn't really know we're doing it. So I'm just exposing them and my mom sometimes every now and then we'll be like you are using in your father and we are going to charge you PFC.

Oh, yeah. You're always talking about that, you know, we want to even normalize. And I'm like, Mom, we you can't really do that anymore, because people really want to hear from you. So like Dr. Oz had me record her and her Sencha tea. So like the next episode that I'm on, there's like a 21 minute clip of her saying, Hello, Dr. O's. I'm enjoying Sencha green tea. And she talks about like the benefits of it. That's true. This is real wellness, right? Like even dr. oz is calling it out, like the Japanese live longer than any other culture. The 117 year old woman that was living right south of Tokyo just passed away recently. That is incredible. 117. So yeah, you got to take it from the real deal, peeps, right? Like, I'm sorry. But if I ran an empire about butter and coffee, I wouldn't feel as fabulous as like, say the child of like the 170 year old woman that could write about the real deal longevity in which she lived. So please.

Kathleen Shannon 59:38
Yeah, and I think that your book addresses this is that you know, what the wellness world wants now or what people want from the wellness world on a superficial level is tell me which green tea to drink. So I can live to 117 and it's like, No, no, no, no, no. It's all cumulative. Yeah, that's about these values and intentions and then embodying those into how you move through life, how you eat through life, how you love through life, I think that it's just so much more than these formulas that everybody wants.

Candice Kumai 1:00:10
Yeah. And I love that you bring this up, because my mom and I often talk about how everybody wants a quick fix to everything. And as somebody who suffers from depression, and once from anxiety, it doesn't ever really leave me. I just know what the fuck I'm doing now. And I'm really mindful and aware. And it's being broken, much like kintsugi in order to put that together the pieces and while I'm doing that sealing and mending, which is truly the work, I'm realizing what feels good, and what doesn't, and what worked, what healed and what didn't. So when you're broken, it's safe. You're at the lowest of lows right now at this point in time, you will know who you are the gifts, you will know exactly who your real friends are, because they will fucking be there for you, you will know exactly what family members give a shit about you. And more often than not, it will be most of the close family members you have. They will give up anything for you. Even if you don't get along all the time. They will be there for you in your darkest hours. Those are the people that you need to remember to take care of. Because you will see once you come out on the other side, so much more clear, you will be able to see blue skies one day that are brighter than anything you've ever seen in any movie or animated series. Like I'm telling you. shit That was crazy was like reliving life through a Japanese American lens. I was blown away by how mindful I could be once I did these practices. And it wasn't even doing them. It was like, it was exactly what you just said Kathleen is living them every day. And it's not writing fucking intentions on a piece of paper and putting it on Instagram, either. It's in your fucking heart and mind. People need to wake up and stop putting bullshit out there all the time. It's like if you really want to do something with your life, then go work at a fucking homeless shelter. Go take care of some elderly person that's down the street that's in need of your care, and stop being a piece of shit surfacey person because there are so many of those out there. You can tell I get very emotionally fired up about this. But it's because I'm a millennial too. And I know the difference between having morals and values of integrity, and doing shit for show on Instagram, there is a humongous difference. And if you don't think it's measured, it certainly is with moral integrity and depth from your soul. That is where it will come from. And in no way Please remember this all followers are not a testament to your depth of integrity, success or moral value, it will always be deep inside of your heart. That is what belongs that is where you will find the pieces that is where you will put them back together. And remember, this is happening for you and not to you. You have to remember that getting back up on your feet, showing the world what you can do to be of service is truly your deepest calling in this one lifetime. It is not on an app, it is found inside of your soul and your spirit, your heart, your mind and body and is not surfacey it is in the everyday teachings that we can show other people. And yeah, I can still look cool with my flannels and skateboarding down in Brooklyn and all that has nothing to do with not you don't have to like not be cool. It's a matter of finding what is truly meaningful in this one life if you've got one shot at your own sick die, that is being of service to others.

Emily Thompson 1:03:47
Beautiful. One more question for you. What makes you feel most boss? Oh,

Candice Kumai 1:03:55
I mean, if I said that would be very appropriate.

Emily Thompson 1:04:01
Not necessary. We've

Candice Kumai 1:04:01
talked about bags of dicks today. All kinds of things to do with that. I mean, I am a big fan of having fun like with some hot guy and can't even get into it. I am a big fan of like, getting my shit together before meeting. And like last weekend or note last Friday, we had like six of my favorite agents at William Morris saying Gee, like lay it out in a conference room. And we just sat and talked and we talked about like what the next level is and where we're going with media. And they sat there with like, they're all their books open. Like you could see like sparkles in their eyes over. I mean, one of them used to live in Japan. Jeff Google used to live there and teach English there. My book agent was in the room like my branding agents were in the room and they were like, Oh my gosh, like this book is like a treasure. And I think what also makes me feel pretty fast. It's like reading the reviews. From the book on Amazon. It's like, Mom, like we did a job well done, are getting like the emails from my agent every time another country is picking up the rights to the book, because that doesn't happen often. I also think it's cool when somebody like Sophia, you know, and her team at girlboss asked me to be a writer and a regular contributor to them. And I also think it's pretty fucking boss to be like, one of the pioneers of this space, but to be really humble about it. And I think that that's what a real boss is. It's just like, knowing deep down inside, you're doing this for the people. And if you're living with moral integrity, I do, as I say, I say, as I do with honesty and culture and heritage behind me, and I'm honest, like being honest, is a fucking boss move.

Kathleen Shannon 1:05:59
Hell yes. I love it so much, Candace. Thanks for coming on the show. It has been so I know I still like everything you said. I'm like, Yes. I'm like, slap me around a little. Give me a hug. Oh,

Candice Kumai 1:06:14
I totally did. I don't like got into like my boss. There. No, was there Unfortunately, that's, that's a side of me that I've seen in my parents too. My mother's a teacher. My dad's an auditor, like, I couldn't be imperfect. If I tried, you know, they went to school me. And I've seen my grandfather's work, and my great or my aunt's work. And, you know, I come from a family of real bosses. And like, it would be a shame if I wasn't this way. And I think it just, you got to look at your parents sometimes and see the beauty in what they've given to you in those free gifts. You don't have to read like Tony Robbins work or anybody like that. That's not our generation is different, you know, like, and actually I'm find myself really highly disappointed in a lot of those men that are getting called out on right now. For not supporting women wholeheartedly. For inappropriate comments, and some men, I was just reading about saying, Melissa Simmons the other day, like, How sad that these people took advantage of their power, and held back a lot of people from their full potential in many ways.

Kathleen Shannon 1:07:28
So why we're creating our own freaking platform. Yeah, girl, you better believe it. And that's why we're talking I agree. allow you to say like, oh, like if you won't let me in your boys club. I'm creating my own club.

Candice Kumai 1:07:41
There you go, girl. And I'm in your game to I'm in your corner. I'm on your team. I get it.

Kathleen Shannon 1:07:47
We've got each other's backs. Okay. Candace, where can our listeners find the book? Where can they find more of? Yeah.

Candice Kumai 1:07:53
Oh my god. I feel like we're doing commercial right now. So you can find it in your best commercial voice you Regan was Wednesday host at home shopping network. Fun fact. You can find kinky wellness wherever books are sold. Like Yeah, I can't. It's so awful. I can do it so good that you would be like Damn, that is salesy. Alright, Katie wellness. So for real is the best book I've ever written. It is the Japanese art of nourishing mind body spirit. It's on Amazon. You can write a review, buy a copy for a friend, buy a copy for yourself and be a boss and read all 12 chapters and tell me what you think. It's got quotes on the back from Sophia amoruso. Arianna Huffington. Irene ynoa, who's actually the president of the US Japan Council. My friend Michelle premier laico, the editor in chief of Cosmo, you can find me at Candace kumoi ca n di c e k u m as in Mary AI, and Instagram me and DM me and tell me we're boss. We all are because we are and you are too. And you can find it Candace Kumar, calm also ca n di c, k au and ai.com. And then you will probably find me. We're starting a couple of new endeavors. I'm thinking about my next book already, but I am definitely going to go to Portugal, Brazil, Poland, Turkey, like I'm going to go wherever they translated the book, and I'm going to represent for that audience. Saudi Arabia is really important for me to go to because I want to go and empower women all over the world and say, like, you can, too. I may make a little bit of time here to find a really hot man, and maybe get married and have kids. I don't know where we're going to live yet. But yeah, I mean, life is full of opportunities. And I'm grateful for the ones that come my way. And they're, they're endless, so I have no idea where we're going to go next but I'm really fucking excited. Wonderful. Thank you so

Emily Thompson 1:09:53
much for coming to chat with. I am super excited about the book. It is beautiful. And and I can't wait to see where all you go that's super exciting congratulations and all the all the book rights

Candice Kumai 1:10:09
around the wall. Thanks Emily. You guys are so sweet. And thank you for having me on again, Emily and Kathleen. I'm big fans of your work and thank you for sharing all of these stories with so many young women particularly I feel like it's your duty and calling to do this and you're doing amazing. And I commend you both like Thank you.

Kathleen Shannon 1:10:32
Hey bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day kit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO date kit. Go to courses that being boss dot club to learn more and see if it's a fit for you and your business. We'd like to give a shout out to our partner fresh books cloud accounting, you can try it for free for 30 days no credit card needed and cancel anytime. Just go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Special thanks to our sponsor 2020 who is offering our being boss listeners a five photo free trial to start yours right now go to 20 twenty.com slash being boss. That's the word 20 then to zero.com slash learning boss to get five free photos. Thank you for listening to be boss Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot v boss club. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey and are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography,

Emily Thompson 1:12:07
do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.