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Jessica Roimata Clarke talks wellness fads, mushrooms, and launching a business with her best friend.

12 August 2021

More than skin deep: Jessica Roimata Clarke, model and co-founder of Mother Made, talks wellness fads, mushrooms, and launching a business with her best friend.

WORDS BY Hemma Vara

Image: Simon Upton

Modelling has taken me around the world but I always knew a time would come when I’d make a career switch. I always wanted to start a business. I’ve dabbled in styling and event organising, which I absolutely loved, and I had plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue these when Covid hit. Someone said it [Covid-19] was the earth sending us to our rooms to think about what we have done. I knew that what I did next had to be something that brought something good to the world. Mother Made was born. 

We both love mushrooms and were surprised we couldn’t find them in New Zealand. So we had a Zoom call to each other a little more than one year ago today. Between that very first call and the launch we spent every hour talking about mushrooms. We spoke to scientists, suppliers, freight forwarders, coders, formulators, distributors, nutritionists, web designers and content creators. Emily [Blanchett] and I became obsessed with making the perfect product, something that we would 100 per cent buy ourselves, and we did this by using every resource we could find. There are many brains behind what Mother Made is today and we are so proud of it. 

Mushrooms really are the ultimate superfood. There is a mushroom for everything. They’re all natural and what goes in, shows inside and out for people who use them. I will always choose to supercharge my coffee or meals because life is short and I want to do it all at 100 per cent. My daily ritual is coffee in the morning and the Mother Made AM blend supercharges it and makes me feel amazing! I also love cooking. The Māori in me likes to bring people together to share kai and give them love, so the PM blend is so perfect to add some extra health and love into those meals. 

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The Mother Made range

There’s that rule ‘never go into business with your friends.’ But Emily and I are like yin and yang. We play to our strengths but miraculously we are always on the same page. Emily is also hilarious and the biggest prankster. We are either talking mushrooms or saying something stupid to get a rise out of each other. Besides that though Emily is such an intuitive business woman and comes with a plethora of experience from owning her own business in the health food world. I love working with her and wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Juicing, cryotherapy, saunas with Glad wrap around my thighs—I tried pretty much all of them. I moved to New York when I was 17. There was immense pressure to be thin. It was pre-Instagram, we watched Fashion TV, androgynous models and Kate Moss were in, and we were all going through puberty—it was a nightmare. Our bodies were changing and we were taught to remain small. Wellness trends are harmless until they are under the guise of something more harmful. The funny thing is wellness means to be healthy and happy. Not many of these trends made me feel overly well and certainly not happy. I still love to try things every now and then though—I just do it more consciously and listen to my body. 

Wellness to me is about knowing your body and keeping it simple. Sometimes I roll out of bed and feel pretty good; other times I snooze my alarm five times and basically crawl to the shower. I’ve figured out how to achieve each of these outcomes. If I need to be bouncing out of bed I put good stuff into my body (mushrooms and water are key) and get a good night’s sleep. Simple.

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