Welcome to another edition of “Get to Know Your Hosts!” GNI has nearly 20 hosts across the country (and in Canada!) and each month we ask one a few questions about her self-care/reading habits. This month we’re featuring one of our Brooklyn hosts, Cassandra Johnson! By day, Cass is the Associate Sales Director of Bruce Silverstein Gallery and by night, she’s the Co-Chair of Planned Parenthood of New York City’s Activist Council and Director of Development and Partnerships for Re/Frame, a non-profit which provides art world career training for women who have been impacted by incarceration. Here’s what she had to say…
What’s the latest book you’ve read that you couldn’t put down and why?
I absolutely tore through *Bad Blood* by John Carreyrou. It’s written by the investigative journalist who first broke the Theranos scandal. The book chronicles the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and the lengths that she and cronies went in order to protect Theranos’ wild claims.
The story is even wilder than I expected and it has everything you could want: privilege, lies, betrayal, scams and Silicon Valley. Carreyrou exposes the secretive and punishing culture Theranos created and explores Holmes’ own bizarre habits – it’s a must-read!
You’re an avid reader – do you have a favorite literary character?
The first one that comes to mind is Holly Golightly, the curious and outspoken heroine from Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I always revisit this book when I’m feeling down. Holly’s joie de vivre and shameless self-promotion mask a complicated past, but in the book she has remarkably progressive views on sexuality and she is without a doubt a groundbreaking female protagonist.
How do you like to relax, recharge, or practice self-care? Any tips?
I am constantly on the go, running between the gallery, art openings, dinners with friends, and clients and meetings for my philanthropic groups. It can be hard to find time for self-care, but I try to dedicate a few minutes every day to re-center, even if it means just closing my eyes and breathing deeply.
My yoga practice helps to calm my mind after a hectic day. I love to treat myself to massages and pedicures when time allows. If I really need to recharge I’ll put on a face mask and hang out on the couch with my pup watching the latest true-crime documentary or cooking show! Lighting some candles and getting into bed early with a great book also feels really luxurious these days! My top tip is to use what you already have in your house to amp up your self-care routine! Have some honey, oatmeal or yogurt? DIY face mask! Have some wilting flowers around? Toss the petals into a hot bath! Grab the coconut oil and coffee grounds from the kitchen and voila! Homemade body scrub! Self-care doesn’t need to cost hundreds of dollars.
Do you have any recent self-care obsession(s)?
I recently discovered Wall Street Bath, a Russian bath house that has a whole network of steam rooms, saunas, hot and cold pools and an amazing restaurant serving up classics like pelmeni and borscht.They also have house-infused vodkas if you’re feeling brave. I went the other day with some friends and it was incredible! It’s kitschy but also the best discovery, and I can’t wait to go back.
I also can’t get enough of The Balm by Nucifera. I’ve been using it all winter. It is the most nourishing, decadent, plant-based body balm. I’m obsessed with the way it smells – I slather it on every morning and night!
Follow Cass on Instagram at @cassandramjohnson.