How author, organizer, and entrepreneur Nadya Okamoto redefines periods.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I’m Nadya Okamoto, I’m currently based in NYC, and I use she/her/hers pronouns!

I am extremely passionate about democratizing access to period products, improving period care, and destigmatizing periods. I’m the co-founder and CEO of August, a lifestyle brand working to reimagine periods. Everything we do is with, by, and for our community called the Inner Cycle.

Previously, I was working at the CBO at JUV Consulting, a gen z marketing agency, and founded the nonprofit organization,

Q: So much of our company is rooted in the re—inc founders' own quest to reimagine norms and barriers society has placed on us. How do you defy or reimagine norms in your daily life?
A: I often wonder why we, as a society, are so afraid to show menstrual blood. I’ve recently posted a couple of videos showing menstrual blood on my TikTok and it blew up into this viral controversy. It still boggles my mind how something so natural like periods can be controversial to talk about.
Like periods make human life possible, and yet society has convinced us that it is something to be ashamed of. I think that a lot of how stigmas around gender, bodies, sex, and even gender roles, really are highlighted when we start talking about periods and also the lack of access to quality period care for everyone.
I will continue to reimagine and break the social stigmas surrounding period blood. Periods are natural and shouldn’t cause people to feel so much disgust — they should be celebrated, if anything.

"I will continue to reimagine and break the social stigmas surrounding period blood. Periods are natural and shouldn’t cause people to feel so much disgust — they should be celebrated, if anything."

Q: We share in the spirit of PERIOD, to break barriers and reimagine norms. Can you tell us about the origin story and why this mattered to you?
A: I learned about period poverty in 2014 from hearing stories directly from homeless women about their experience of not being able to afford period products. I had never heard of period poverty before, but learning about that and the fact that the tampon tax existed in 40 states at the time ignited a fire in me — I knew I had to take action. So that year, I started what is now known as, a nonprofit. I led it as executive director until January 2020 before I began my journey focusing on August.

A huge part of why I wanted to start August was actually inspired by the work that I was doing at PERIOD the nonprofit, working to distribute millions of period products to places in need, and then also writing my book PERIOD POWER which came out in 2018. Through all my work and research, I kept thinking everyday that there needed to be a more empowering and sustainable brand of tampons and pads that had impact embedded into every purchase that was made. And that’s really what August aims to do -- to create more sustainable and more comfortable versions of tampons and pads, and have product and monetary giveback with every transaction to our nonprofit partners.

Q: What are the biggest issues everyone should know about when it comes to menstrual inequality?
A: When talking about menstrual inequality, it’s very important to understand that our activism must be inclusive — of all people who get their periods, regardless of gender identity, religion, background, or socioeconomic status. Just because one person might feel like their period needs are met, doesn’t mean that it is that way for all. We need to start thinking about periods not just in isolation of our personal experiences, but also recognizing that it is a global issue that people don’t have equitable access to period care, and that menstruation is still a huge hindrance to equal opportunity for all genders.
Menstrual hygiene should be treated as a right, and not this luxurious privilege.

Q: How can we all get involved in the movement for menstrual equality and justice? What's one action anyone can take?
A: It’s as simple as starting conversations with your friends, families, and normalizing discussions about periods as a part of life that is natural and powerful! Then you can advance into hosting period product drives, changing local/state policy, and grassroots organizing! I hope that you continue this conversation — please come join us at August! Join us on social media and join our community, the Inner Cycle!

I’m continuously so inspired by the work nonprofits in the space are doing as well, and with August we’re really proud to support No More Secrets, an organization based in philly.
Check out Nadya's work at What will you redefine?

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