Live during SXSW: Ashley Greene Khoury and Olivia Khoury discuss period tracking and women’s health
Co-founders of Hummingway Ashley Greene Khoury and Olivia Khoury sat down with Giddy's Bri Jenkins and a live audience to discuss how tracking their periods has helped them learn more about their bodies and health.
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A Conversation with Ashley Greene Khoury and Olivia Khoury
In this live interview with Giddy’s Bri Jenkins in Austin, Ashley Greene Khoury and Olivia Khoury open up about how they began their journey toward learning more about their bodies, most notably through tracking their periods. This practice, Greene Khoury says, has shifted her perspective and made her proud of her body and confident in what it is able to accomplish every day. Her sister-in-law, Olivia Khoury, says tracking her period taught her to have compassion for herself — and that PMS doesn’t mean she is crazy.
The duo started a product-based company, Hummingway, that also has an education platform called “The Regular.” This platform, the duo says, will help other women educate themselves on their bodies, menstrual cycle and overall health. The biggest advice the Khourys give for someone who is just starting out on this path is to learn about their health in small, digestible ways each day. According to the duo, women adopting this method will become more self-aware, self-compassionate and health-centered.
We have to talk about y'all's personal brand. You're kind of a well-known face. Was there any sort of hesitation when you started this company from either your agent or people in your life who were just like, “You know, people like celebrities should do what they're supposed to do, like act or play basketball - don't get involved in things.”
Was that something that you had to face when you started this?
I think not so much from my team, like at this point they know I'm going to do what I want to do. I plan things out and I think about things for a very long time, and I am incapable of doing something if I haven't kind of looked at every angle. So they kind of are aware of that. At this point, I do think that one of the insecurities that I had going into this was being labeled as another celebrity putting their name on something. You see a lot of that and there's nothing wrong with that if that's what you want to do. People make a lot of money that way.
But this is such a passion for Olivia and I that we really wanted to make sure that people understood that this is day in and day out something that is so important to us and there's such a bigger picture here of what we want to accomplish. So I think for me, it didn't necessarily come from my team, but I was like, “Oh yeah, I'm going to get asked questions like, ‘What do you do?’” You know? [laughs] But I think we've kind of surpassed that at this point.
You're human, you're not a robot. You have things going on. You're more than just your career, you’re an actual person going through these things, too.
Definitely. It's just the ability to do both. Women are very good at multitasking, I gotta say. At the end of the day, I love acting but I think having multiple outlets is very important as a human being.
I have one final question: in terms of your own entrepreneurial adventures and everything you all have been through, what has this taught you about your own body?
I came into this not knowing much, so I have learned so much. I think what's really big for me is that my perspective has shifted, and I'm extremely proud of my body. Especially the industry that I'm in, it's really easy to be critical and to not appreciate everything that your body does for you on the daily, rather than just look at it and pick it apart. So I think that's been really, really huge for me — that I can wake up every day and go, “You're a badass. You have the ability to create life and you're walking around every day and going through all these hormonal changes and still accomplishing what you need to accomplish — it’s very cool.”
Then finding the ability to work smarter, not harder, with my body is huge for me because a lot of things I've been able to change because I do cycle sync. So I really plan out my schedule due to if I'm in my follicular phase and I'm more social, or if I’m in my luteal phase and I know that I'm going to be a bit more of an introvert, and just having the control over that and knowing that these two days, I'm not going to go see anyone because I know these two days my mood fluctuates — that alone has just been really a game changer for me.
And you, Olivia?
Yeah, I agree. For me, it’s just having a lot more compassion for myself. I even have a problem with the word PMS because I think there's such a negative connotation with it of being crazy or bitchy or having anger issues. And now I'm always like, “I'm luteal,” because I have way more body literacy. I know what's happening in my body, and when you have that, you can have way more compassion for yourself because you know what's actually going on.
You're not just like, “I'm crazy for absolutely no reason,” and then you wake up the next day and bleed and you're like, “Oh.” So once you can kind of have more awareness around your body and your menstrual cycle, it's like you have a superpower.
Okay, I lied - I have one more question. What advice would you give to people starting out on this journey for themselves? Like research-wise, talking to their doctor?
Yeah, definitely like we said in the beginning, what we very much believe at Hummingway is that sharing your story is the first step in reclaiming your health. Definitely go on our platform “The Regular” — it's a lot of digestible, fact-checked content. When we were doing our own research, it was very overwhelming, and we didn't feel like we had a safe place where we could trust the information.Take it every day as the day comes. Don't overwhelm yourself. It's okay.
What advice do you have, Ashley?
Yeah, I would second that and just say: start small, because it does seem a bit overwhelming. I didn't even know what the hormones were that were surging through my body. There's two main ones, and just learning that, like, “Great, take that for the day,” and then move on to the next day. Trying to understand it all at one time, like anything, will give you more opportunity to fail. Just take it a day at a time.
Then it gets kind of fun because you start being able to track your cycle, and then you can kind of add on and compound things. That's when it gets very fun because you're like, “Oh, I'm really understanding my body and let me try this and try that and alter my schedule and try this new diet, new nutritional fact.” So yeah, start slow.