The multi-hyphenate women’s advocate, doer, and dreamer on believing in magic… and making it happen.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Ad exec-turned-foundation leader, creative strategist, and women’s empowerment advocate Megha Desai embraces a life with lots on her plate… provided they speak to her heart. From running The Desai Foundation — which empowers women and children throughout India and the U.S. through community programs that elevate health and livelihood — to singing alongside fellow members of Resistance Revival Chorus, here are a few things that delight, fuel, and empower her from moment to moment.
What is your favorite part about yourself?
I love that I am passionately curious, always consuming information and learning. This curiosity has led me to the most beautiful people, revelations, and experiences. I’ll never think of myself as an expert on anything, because there is always a new angle or something new to learn. I love my curiosity.
What does beauty look like to you?
Health. Connection. Confidence. Self-acceptance. You know when you are watching someone do something they are exceptional at — like a performer, athlete, or chess champion? I often find it’s when I think they look their most beautiful. Find what makes you fly; your beauty is part of that.
My dream for the future is…
My dream for the future is that young girls can cultivate dignity so that they can dream beyond their circumstances. Dignity is an abundant resource that we all have a responsibility to help people cultivate. It’s dignity that has the ability to uplift people and help them reach their full potential.
How do you take a moment for yourself?
Sometimes I’ll watch a really familiar TV show, which allows me to just shut down, slow down, calm down. My favorite go-to is reruns of The West Wing — most of which I have nearly memorized — and it really allows me to switch off. I’m usually not really paying attention, but just having it be on in the background, gives me a sense of familiar calm.
What is your mantra of the moment?
My personal mantra right now has been “magical things don’t happen to people who don’t believe in magic.” I’ve been reminding myself of this quite often these days, as it’s been kind of a crazy time. I just root myself in this idea that if you believe in magic, come prepared, and come ready to work, anybody can make magic happen.
What music, books, and podcasts are you vibing to?
I am obsessed with podcasts. I listen to a lot of them! It helps feed my deeply curious self. Currently, I’m listening to Broken Record [hosted by Justin Richmond, with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, and former New York Times editor Bruce Headlam] for great perspective on creativity and magic; Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam (an interesting way to reflect on humanity, human nature, and ourselves as evolutionary animals); and so many other pods from the NPR [National Public Radio] family. I’m also obsessed with a couple of pods about the American court system. Not surprisingly, I started to take a closer look at the courts in 2016, and podcasts [such as] Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick by Slate and More Perfect by Radiolab & WNYC Studios have really helped me understand how America really works.
I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho every year at Christmas. Every time I read it, it’s a brand new book. I feel like it grounds me, centers me, and focuses me. It reignites my gratitude, my dharma, and my belief in magic.
And, of course, as a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus, I would be remiss if I didn’t plug our new album, This Joy, [which is] out on all the platforms by Righteous Babe Records.
Who and what inspires you?
I am grateful to be surrounded by so many people who inspire me on a daily basis. But the people who I am really in awe of are the people we serve at the Desai Foundation: these women and girls are joyful, tenacious, beautiful, and so eager to become their best selves. Being a small part of cultivating their dignity through health and livelihood opportunities is one of the greatest honors of my life. It really is these women and girls who inspire me the most every day.
What’s inspiring you to get to know (and nurture) yourself a little better, right this moment?