Rui and I caught up over a virtual tea one afternoon: I had a generic lychee & rose tea; she had a Slow Mellow Yellow.
The founder of Grass People Tree, Rui is also an erstwhile model for the likes of Valentino and Maybelline, Wing Chun practitioner (and teacher) and self-proclaimed ‘servant of the tea’.
We talk about several key moments: that unlikely meeting with a billionaire who ended up being her ‘wingman for London’, the fateful Valentino campaign that planted the seeds for a two-and-a-half-year journey of exploration, and how the story that begin in the mountains of Guizhou really stemmed from a bet (or prank—depending on which way you look at it).
This is a heartfelt conversation about living as an immigrant and an ‘in-betweener’, about growing up too quickly and losing your roots, about being backstage and holding that tea flask, and going onto the centrestage and owning your stories.
Plus, we spend a little time musing over Chinese calligraphy (cake analogy included) and where the name “Grass People Tree” came from.
Listen to Rui's episode on our Podcast here.
Pics below courtesy of Rui's Instagram