Indy Officinalis is a mesmerizing free spirit on a mission to make the world a better place. Officinalis wears many hats—she's a model, sustainability activist, and urban farmer. The latter role is one the Los Angeles-based multihyphenate takes great pride in. Officinalis is a Blue Ridge School of Herbalism graduate and spent six years farming mushrooms across the United States. These days, she uses her plant knowledge to manage a rooftop garden on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Ultimately, Officinalis aims to inspire her community to create a BIPOC community urban farm and teach Black and Brown youth food sovereignty.
As a model, Officinalis also finds ways to champion sustainability and healthy living. She recently teamed up with conscious skincare brand Origins as a global influencer partner. Origins is known for its mushroom-infused products, so the partnership was a no-brainer for Officinalis. Ahead, she discusses making an impact through her work, the power of mushrooms, and her skincare routine. Keep scrolling to get to know Indy Officinalis.
Tell me a little bit about where you grew up and what little Indy was like.
I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains. I've always been inspired by the resilience of that community and the folks who live off of the land. I was just a nature kid. I spent a lot of time outside, drawing inspiration from rivers, streams, and wildlife.
What sparked your interest in urban farming and herbalism?
Even though I spent so much time exploring nature, my diet was the standard American diet. I didn't have access to a lot of fresh organic produce like I do now. However, I took a class in high school on natural and organic health. I realized accessing fresh food is really important, not just because it makes you feel good, but because it also affects how you present yourself in the world. But I recognized going to the grocery store and buying fresh food is expensive. I was able to purchase a packet of seeds at the store for $4. I grew them in my window and I was hooked after that.
You spent six years farming and foraging mushrooms throughout the U.S. What did that experience teach you about the power of mushrooms?
Mushrooms are incredibly fascinating because of their ephemeral nature. You can go out in the woods, and one day, they're there. And then the next day, they're not there. Through my partnership with Origins, I've also learned the antioxidants present in mushrooms have helped humanity. They help with skin resiliency and give you that glow everybody is looking for.
What made you want to partner with Origins?
The ingredients in their products are responsibly sourced and align with my personal ethos. The Mega-Mushroom Treatment Lotion packaging is even made out of recycled materials. To me, that's just above and beyond. That's what I'm always looking for in brand partnerships. I want something more than just a partnership between two individuals. It has to be a lifestyle alignment, and I found that with Origins.
You're connected to the beauty industry as a model. Growing up, what was your relationship with beauty?
I always had a very troubled relationship with my skin. Like many teenagers, I suffered from acne and didn't have a super positive relationship with my outward appearance. But that helped me dive deeper into nutrition and made me realize beauty does begin on the inside. I spent a lot of time in nature honing my plant identification skills and spending time with my hands in the soil. I let my relationship with beauty evolve from there.
What does your current skincare routine consist of?
My morning routine can vary. Sometimes I'll get up and rush out to the garden. On those days, I rely on the Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Micellar Cleanser ($36) and Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion ($38). I also love the Ginzing Into the Glow Brightening Serum ($44). Putting that on my cheeks gives me a nice glow. I spend a lot of time outside, and it keeps my skin moisturized.
In the evening, I use the Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash ($25). It has this nice, frothy feel and helps keep my skin balanced. Two or three times per week, I'll apply the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask ($28). I'll follow it up with the GinZing Oil-Free Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer ($32) and Mega-Mushroom Soothing Hydra-Mist ($24).
What are your hopes for the beauty industry in terms of sustainability?
Packaging is a big thing. I want to see brands not only care about ingredients but also about what happens to the packaging after customers finish using their product. I want them to move toward more sustainable or reusable packaging.
What has been your proudest moment throughout your career?
I love being able to educate others. As a model, I can talk to folks about how to better their skincare routine and connect with people on an individual level. However, I am most proud of being able to work with the unhoused population in Los Angeles. I teach folks who don't have access to land how to grow food. That's where I draw a lot of my inspiration from.
You pour your heart and soul into your community. How do you practice self-care?
I rely on my morning routine to help set my intention for the day and ground me. I think it's important to carve aside time for ourselves. I'm able to do a face mask, stretch, and drink a glass of lemon water or green tea in the morning. I also love to journal to jot down my feelings or write poetry.
What's next for you?
Honestly, I'm excited to get out into my garden more since I've been traveling recently. I planted some purple tomatoes, and I'm looking forward to harvesting some of the seeds I planted.