Whether she’s doing aerial yoga in her living room, mentoring kids or strutting her stuff as Mrs. Hong Kong World, Natasha Clausen makes juggling a career and family look easy.
She’s smart, sophisticated and a total sassy mama, which is why we picked Natasha Clausen to highlight this month. She’s fascinating, too, because, at 42, she will represent Hong Kong at this year’s Mrs. World competition. Born in South Africa and now a Hong Kong national, we couldn’t wait to find out more about how she handles the responsibilities of this position along with raising two beautiful children and, also – ready? – a bee farmer on Lantau Island! And we’re even more impressed because she’s the CEO of I CAN WORLD, an organisation dedicated to empowering kids. We think you’ll find her as inspirational as we do.
You’re quite the anomaly! You’re 42, a mum, a beekeeper, a philanthropist, a brand ambassador for Glow Spa & Salon, and now you’re Mrs Hong Kong World. How do you balance so many activities and honours with being a mum and a wife?
When my husband and I started our life together, I decided I would build all my projects around family. Fortunately, my line of business is human well-being, so it involves family and community most days.
My kids have been raised following me wherever I am offering my seminars and yoga sessions, when I film my environmental projects or farming bees. It’s all very complementary. Family life keeps me curious and well connected with our community concerns and challenges. As a family, our experiences are not dissimilar to any other families, and our challenges or milestones or celebrations are much the same, so it’s easy for us all to relate to one another as neighbours or as a community.
Not only am I advocating healthy living and environmental awareness at work but also on my home front. This is where it gets exciting. I’m tested just like other parents. Conscious parenting is the opportunity to put well-meaning words into action. When I teach healthy lifestyle ideas and practices it becomes more meaningful when I have lived it myself. I know when a young mum looks distant and vague and says, ‘I’m exhausted’, that she really needs a soft place to fall. The most helpful thing for a brand-new parent is encouragement, support and an adult ear that listens without judgment. Add on a few hours of ‘me time’ for her to recoup and she will have three times the power that then floods love back into her family home.
Above all my secret is having a daily ritual. It elevates my personal well-being. I find that a healthy balanced lifestyle keeps me energetic and ready to create the life I want for my family and community.
I eat energy boosting power packed super foods, stay well hydrated with H2O and coconut water. I include at least 20 minutes of exercise five times a week and meditate each morning. It kick-starts my day and sets me up for a day of productivity. Most of all I’ve discovered discipline favours success. Whether I feel like it or not, I still show up for my daily ritual. Nine times out of 10 on tired days, it’s exactly the tonic I need to revive, recalibrate my body and mind and catapult me back on my A game.
You’re a non-ethnic-Asian, South Africa-born Chinese national representing Hong Kong. What have been your biggest challenges, and what do you hope to achieve with this honour?
Everything at this point in my life has aligned really well. It feels like it’s the right place, time and moment to share what I have to offer on this platform. I notice that when I focus on the gift inside every challenge or problem that there is always something to learn. Mostly I really just decided to try otherwise I would never know. I’ve been blessed with great mentors and teachers in life. Along with their encouragement and lessons I have learnt that if you think big you get big.
I believe your thoughts create your reality. Your biggest competition is your reflection in the mirror. It’s you and your best version of you! Every thing I do is geared towards raising the bar. I’m motivated in raising the bar for humanity. Since my platform is human well-being, I look forward to growing community and worldwide collaborations that enhances community well-being and our children’s well-being.
Tell us about I CAN WORLD. What was your motivation behind starting it and what do you hope to achieve?
My motivation is my children and our children of the world. Kids are our future and they are capable of doing incredible things. I love seeing their fresh ideas and innovations that can help save and sustain our planet. Kids are our future leaders. Start teaching them young. They make the best agents of change. They have boundless energy, they learn and adapt effortlessly. Teaching them to be eco-friendly and to use their ideas to problem-solve environmental issues is empowering and life giving. It’s one of the biggest reasons I jump out of bed in the morning. I can’t wait to find out what new steps children in our world as learner agents have taken to help make a difference in their community and the environment. They don’t have to be big steps. Deciding to refuse single use plastic or to play with eco-bricks when they build a toy structure even brush their teeth with a bamboo toothbrush before heading off to bed is a step in the right direction.
Okay – bees? We love that you’re a beekeeper, but how did you get started?
My husband and I are nature lovers. We are farmers at heart. We are fascinated by the lifecycle, story and the immense value bees offer to mankind. It evolved organically. We have a farm in Italy and learnt about the importance of bees 10 years ago from our Italian neighbours who live off the land and are beekeepers. We found ourselves visiting beekeepers at our vacation destinations and observed all the different methods and delicious honey varieties. This interest developed into our bee-rescue farming project It’s been three years of learning tender love and care tips from traditional local beekeepers. The Asian bee produces a delicious honey. I’m always delighted by the tasty raw organic flavours our bees create in HK.
What made you make the move to Hong Kong?
We were newly married and my husband was offered a position at the airline at which he currently works. I started working within a few days of arriving. Seventeen years later its home and all its local traditions and vibrant multicultural diversity makes it new and exciting everyday. I love learning from our local Chinese elders; their farming practices are interesting. Then also our younger generation of kids teach me about life from their perspective. Every day is different, new and fun.
You live on Lantau. What do you love most about living there?
The easy access to nature. I love catching morning sunrises. Seaside walks are my favourite morning kickstarter, the sound of the ocean or birds chirping during a meditation invigorates my senses and gives me fuel for my busy day ahead.
Got any local recommendations for us?
I love both urban and country living. The best part about our Hong Kong lifestyle is that we can tap into both options.
On Lantau, beach life, hiking and green living go hand in hand. A paddle, canoe or surf day at the easy going Long Coast Seasports in Lower Cheung Sha is always fun. GP Cafe a vegan restaurant in Pui O serves delicious vegan and non-vegan food. The Kitchen in Mui Wo offers great pizza. The local bakery in Mui Wo has the best baguettes and freshly baked gluten free bread on order. A Thai massage place called Poillin is a fun family foot massage spot. Life Base offers a wonderful community space. Kids learn drumming and play freely in nature.
In Central, Grassroots Pantry has the tastiest dishes. I love that its produce comes from our local organic farmers. PMQ has the quaintest restaurants. The local art culture is fantastic. Dear Lilly is a fun spot for a girly cocktail evening. Glow Spa and Salon offers the best hair and skincare services. A warm and welcoming atmosphere with the friendliest and most professional staff.
A jazz night out with friends is always soulful and fun.
You seem to have an extremely busy life. What do you do when you want to wind down?
I go to the ocean; I find all my cares melt away when I’m there. I love everything about it. Catching a sunrise or sunset nourishes my insides. Scrambling rocks is a favorite of mine. I really love writing and enjoying alone quiet body, quiet mind time. It restores and invigorates me. I build this into my week as often as I can.
Tell us about your family.
We are an adventurous, outdoor family, we have tried everything, paragliding, kitesurfing, scuba diving, indoor sky diving with the kids. Our favourite times are around a bonfire or turning a beat-up, broken, trashed item into a useful treasure item. DIY’s and upcycling are big in our home. Our daughter, Savanna, is 14, and our son, Hunter, is 11.
What are your biggest parenting challenges? How do you deal with them?
Our two kids are both very independent spirits. They enjoy getting on with what they want to explore next. Their appetites to try and go places is massive. Our challenges are agreeing on one activity and getting quality family time together since we are all heavily scheduled during school weeks. Another is technology and screen time. Modern advances means having access to around the clock tutorials and entertainment. We are constantly figuring out healthier standards as our kids grow.
In both instances we keep our farm days as screen-free time so it’s quality time together. Instead we work on the land weed, plant and tend to a fire.
We negotiate on reasonable amounts of screen time when we are together at home as a family. Because its so easy to find oneself in different rooms with everyone on a device.
Our couple goals are to do things that bring us together. Last Christmas we tried a different kind of Christmas. We switched from gift giving to sharing new adventurous experiences. It included skydiving, a water park adventure and scuba diving. Highlights that we still talk and laugh about today.