Kimi Werner isn’t your typical #girlboss. But she definitely embodies everything that makes up one totally amazing female leader. Basically a real-life mermaid, Kimi is a former National Spearfishing Champion, free diver, chef, artist, Insta rock star and all over badass. She lives her life authentically, sourcing much of her food straight from the ocean as she dives and pushing a message of resourcefulness and respect for our natural world. Between traveling the jungles of Malaysia and snowshoeing in Norway, Kimi somehow found time to catch up with us to talk about her inspiring adventures, being socially conscious and how to travel like a local. We’ve got all the drool-worthy deets below.
B+C: You grew up off the grid in Maui. Can you talk a little bit about your childhood and how that shaped you as an adult?
KW: My family was poor when I was growing up, and we lived in a little shack with a few farm animals outside and an abundance of nature around us. It took hard work to put food on the table, but it was always bonding time spent with my family. I used to tag along with my dad as he would free dive and spearfish for dinner. I loved watching him hold his breath and dive down to the bottom of the ocean and return with fresh fish, octopus and lobsters. I never felt poor; I always had enough and was happy with our life. This part of my life really taught me that I love to live simply. It taught me the importance of family, nature and hard work. It gave me a passion for knowing where my food comes from and taught me to never waste or disrespect what I catch.
B+C: Break it down for us: What exactly is free diving?
KW: Free diving is extreme snorkeling ;) It’s simply taking a breath of air at the surface and swimming down into the underwater world.
B+C: You’re also a well-respected chef. Can you talk a little about your view on the culinary world and why it’s important for us to know the source of our food?
KW: It is so important to know and understand the source of our food so that we can make more educated decisions on what we want to put into our body and how it affects the rest of the world. For me, knowing that my food is a sustainable catch that lived a wild and free life makes me feel good and grateful with every bite I take.
B+C: So… You swam with a Great White shark, connecting fin to hand. What was that like?
KW: It was the most intense and serene feeling all at once. I definitely felt fear but also confidence in my ability in the ocean and how to communicate my role to other ocean predators. It was amazing to feel the energy of such a large and powerful animal, and yet to have her be so calm and almost submissive in our interaction.
B+C: Any advice for wanderlust women looking to add a little adventure to their day?
KW: Curiosity is a beautiful thing. It’s the fuel to creativity, happiness and self discovery, so let yourself get curious. When you feel it pulling you, don’t be afraid to follow it!
B+C: Your Instas can make even the biggest homebody’s crave some travel. What’s your best travel tip?
KW: Get to know people wherever you go. Talk to the locals, try to speak the language and eat the local food. Travel for the sake of traveling. Be a traveler not just a tourist! Leave your comfort zone and explore, and don’t just stick to what you know. Learning is the best part!
B+C: What’s your favorite ocean to dive in?
KW: That’s really really hard. I’d have to say the Pacific because it’s home, but I love them all so much.
B+C: What do you want humans to never forget?
KW: That we need to work together. That even if we disagree and have different views, we should be able to communicate them with respect. For the sake of our planet and global community, let’s have conversations, even if they are tough ones, on what we can do to make this world a better place.
Any #girlbosses out there we need to know about? Tweet us at @BritandCo!
(Photos via Kimi Werner)