I recently had a chance to interview one of my favorite local girls, Lacy Kaheaku Lyons, as part of our new “Flock Wahines We Love” series. I’ve always been intrigued by this fellow Scorpio through social media, her business and life endeavors. From her interesting projects to juggling motherhood and living her passions, I truly love learning more about some of O’o Hawaii’s Flock members and am really seeing a common theme amongst them: They’re totally badass! Here’s my interview with this “Eco-conscious Hawaii Forestry Babe, Mom, Lover, Native Hawaiian and Serial Entrepreneur” that I’m proud to say is part of the O’o Hawaii Flock!
Holly: Tell us a little about your world, Lacy. I know you own a yoga/wellness studio, a social media company and are very dedicated to forestry. Help us understand all of your endeavors.
Lacy: As a full-time mom, my mind frame always returns to things that benefit my children. I first began my Public Relations and Marketing company in 2012 as a stay-at home mom. Utilizing modern technology to communicate and engage the community for clients became something I could juggle with a baby on my hip. I grew that to a small Hui (team) of people and we currently service a handful of clients that are aligned with our values. Obviously it’s been a little harder for the marketing field because of COVID and our economy, but we’re still offering social media marketing, design and public relations services throughout the islands.
Forestry is a passion project that I got involved with because my home is nestled amongst 20 acres of ‘Ōhi’a forest. Learning about Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death and it’s toll on our watersheds and ecosystem triggered me. As a property owner, it’s my responsibility to dedicate time to conservation.
From this, sharing a more environmental focused or “aloha ‘āina” lifestyle became a mission of mine. At the end of the day, I could not do forestry alone. I’m 5’3”, 120 lbs. and there’s no way I can lug some of these invasive trees on my own. It takes a Hui. So the more people I’ve inspired with ‘Ōhi’a Lehua Day, Native Hawaiian Plant Month, the more hands there are to help get the work done. In addition to these public celebrations we have organized, I am also hosting a show called Eō, a call for sustainable action. We expand on the ideas of Native Hawaiian beliefs of aloha ‘āina and put it into modern day context (economy, politics and practicality). It airs on Hawaii News Now this year, and I’m really excited to have these conversations with people.
As for the fitness studio, Eastside Hilo, it kind of happened organically. I’m always thinking of job opportunities and spaces to bring my children along. We had purchased a commercial building and there was a room that sat empty for 8 years. During COVID, we took the jump to renovate it, put flooring in and open a fitness studio. The kids come along to classes and I’ve been able to work with an amazing partner, Donna Matthews to curate classes that serve everyone at every age (including my own keiki). We really opened this studio with the intention to help people heal. Since opening our doors we’ve partnered with the non-profit Vibrant Hawaii and are able to offer both virtual and in-person fitness classes for underserved communities for FREE. That’s been a huge blessing, as fitness should be accessible to everyone. Despite their income bracket, their location or any limitations.
Juggling all this with distance learning and the changes of COVID has been challenging. But I can accomplish all of this because I’ve managed to attract the right people and teams. From Analiese Arle, Christine Gomez, Donna Matthews, Dana Lyons, Nanea from NRCS to my own sisters Angel and Sunshine. The people who are truly the rockstars are the people who have my back and work towards each mission and goal.
Holly: You recently moved to Hawaii Island. Tell us a little bit about that and why. What do you love about Hawaii Island?
Lacy: Trick question! It’s funny because when you actually fall in love with something, you want to protect it. And there’s this selfish part of me that wants to hide Hawaii Island. But honestly – it’s the community. It’s still a small town, and people really care about each other. Plus I enjoy the quiet, cool, fresh air. It’s definitely a lot calmer here than Oahu.
Holly: We love your sexy, confident aesthetic. Dive deep for a second, where do you think that confidence comes from?
Lacy: Ha! To be honest, I’m probably considered very insecure. Maybe recently I stopped criticizing myself. But I am definitely my worst critique. As the eldest of 10 siblings (possibly 11), I have a role of alaka’i. They look up to me, and so weakness is not an option. I stay strong to lead my siblings and the next generation of my ohana in order to encourage their generational healing. We didn’t have the best role models and parents, so I take the responsibility very seriously. Physically, I don’t see what others see. I look out of these eyes. So beauty to me is not what I look like, but how I behave and what I’m doing to serve.
Holly: You obviously spend a lot of time outdoors, how does your rugged lifestyle affect how you care for your skin and why has O’o Hawaii been your “go to” brand?
Lacy: I am out in the sun and elements a lot. And I chose O’o because of the all natural ingredients, packaging and Hawaii brand. To be truly sustainable means that you have to be mindful of the things you consume. And for something as important as skin, I prioritize this with zero toxins and quality ingredients. O’o is one of my favorite brands because it covers these bases but it also smells and feels good. I love using Brilliant Feather and the gua sha tool to heal and replenish my skin after being out in the elements.
Holly: What’s it like juggling mom life with all the amazing boss babe things you do?
Lacy: Oh boy! It can be hard. But as I mentioned before, it’s all about the team! If it wasn’t for my ohana who help with the boys, my co-workers, partners and the teachers at the studio, I wouldn’t be here. I could never act like I did this on my own. Special thanks to: Leomana Turalde
Holly: Describe yourself in one sentence.
Lacy: Hawaiian Unicorn Alien Pa’ū Princess born on 11/11 who dances amongst the ‘Ōhi’a trees and talks to the stars.
Holly: Can you verbalize your life’s purpose?
Lacy: I truly believe I am here to encourage people to understand some fundamental Hawaiian values of a sustainable (aloha ‘āina), healthy life. I believe it’s a collective initiative and decolonizing our minds and decluttering our consumer lifestyle is extremely difficult, but totally possible. Call it minimalist. Call it Hawaiian. Call it basic. But simplifying things in the end brings a lot more joy. Because you appreciate the little things. If I could just encourage people to do one green thing or increase their health routine in their life, that will have an impact. And that to me is success.
Holly: What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Lacy: I love forestry, playing with my chainsaw, picking seeds, observing. Surfing, but only at certain places where there is lots of Aloha. Snorkeling (on a mission to see the whale shark!!!). Horseback riding and playing with cattle. And I definitely love star gazing. I’ve been trying out archery and learning about hunting. I’m plant based, so meat is not really my forte, but there is something pretty magical about getting close to wild animals and understanding the process of harvesting. I haven’t made a kill yet, but I observe. I think it’s important to honor your meat and don’t believe in mass production of it.
Holly: How has 2020 affected you and what are your goals for 2021?
Lacy: This one is interesting because I don’t want to sound like I’m not sensitive to how COVID has affected the world. But for me, it’s pushed me to live the life I actually wanted and to simplify and go inward with my home and community. I no longer seek entertainment, I create it on my own. For 2021, I’d like to try hula and mele because I think it would be something fun to do with the kids. I hope we can expand the classes at the studio and reach more people. And I am really crossing my fingers that we can expand the Eō series with more episodes on environmental issues including energy and transportation. Another goal for 2021 is to expand ‘Ōhi’a Lehua Day and Native Hawaiian plant and encourage the ban of the import of invasive species. We continue to bring in plants that destroy our forests at places like Home Depot. The $3 ornamental on the shelf can become quite destructive once it leaves its pot or pollinates. I’d like to work with legislation to encourage the ban of these plants and then increase the budget for green jobs to remove the invasive plants that have gone wild and replace them with food production (agroforestry) or Native plants to ensure water for our future aquifers and food for our future generation.