We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 29 - Jaime Westendarp

A spotlight on Jaime Westendarp

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Guest Spotlight

A spotlight on Jaime Westendarp

14 Jun, 2023
We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 29 - Jaime Westendarp
The guests featured on the We Walk The Earth podcast are often old friends or acquaintances of podcast host, Sergio Isauro; typically people that he admires, else who he has a deep-rooted friendship or connection with. However, that isn’t the case with this week’s guest, Jaime Westendarp, who sat down with Sergio for episode 29.
Having only met a week prior to recording, there was a lot to unpack between the pair — especially as Jaime was set to leave Mexico City to take the next step forward in her personal journey.

Jamie comes from a long line of creatives — her mother is an artist and her aunt a photographer — so it came naturally to her to also become an artist and follow in their footsteps. She was recently inspired to think more about her own ambitions, and was encouraged by her aunt to write an “artist mission statement.”

Throughout the session, Jamie reflected fondly on her time in Mexico. “I felt myself arriving at a place of clarity as to what the purpose of myself is as an artist,” she explained, speaking about how living in Mexico City has allowed her to develop and grow.

It wasn’t always like that, however. Before her move to Mexico, Jamie felt the need for her art to be commodifiable for it to be worth creating and sharing. At college, she studied the business of film making and ended up becoming a television executive after graduation. “Ultimately the entertainment industry intends to entertain, whereas I was there to create an impact,” she says. “I wanted to be more directly on the pulse of impact.”

As she talks about this period of her life, you can hear a sense of dissatisfaction. Jaime puts it down to a lack of fulfilling her passion for art and her desire to create an impact. However she does look back on her time in television with affection — especially for the community she created with those who worked around her. And her achievements speak for themself, as she was fortunate enough to experience a number of incredible opportunities, including the chance to work on the NatGeo series Genius: Aretha Franklin.

Unfortunately, not everything went to plan, however. Unbeknownst to many she worked with, Jaime was struggling with chronic lymes disease — a condition which can lead to extreme tiredness, pain, and loss of energy that can last for years. Thankfully, she was surrounded by some amazing colleagues. Jaime explains how she was encouraged to slow down in her career, with plenty of support to develop a healthy work-life balance, taking it one day at a time. Unfortunately, she continued to suffer as she struggled to not work too hard, stuck in a system that rewarded unhealthy behaviours. For Jamie, that meant she could never fully allow her body to recover.

With no other choice, Jaime decided to leave her career in television behind. Reflecting on the life changing decision, she felt like her body was her greatest limitation, however she now understands that it was actually the greatest and strongest compass of all. “It was a navigational force, not only saying ‘you need to take time off to heal,’ but to also say ‘you are out of alignment right now’.”

When asked if she misses the energetic lifestyle she had, Jaime refers back to the two-week period in which she “hit the eject button on everything.” She fired her doctor, quit her medication, went on medical leave and booked a spontaneous trip to Siberia where she began dry fasting — a type of fasting that means going without food or water. For her, this was the point of real change, and allowed her to hit a major life reset. “My life sprinted in a different direction,” she explains. Dry fasting was originally an attempt to resolve her illness, but she soon learned that it was only the beginning of her healing journey.

Since leaving the television and entertainment industry, Jaime has worked with a number of wonderful people and organisations as a facilitator, storyteller, and strategist, all with the goal of creating a deeper connection with the world.

Around the same time, her partner set up the “Social Good Club” — a non-profit think tank and content studio bringing together the most powerful minds from creative communities. In March 2020, Jaime’s partner, Brandon, was preparing to launch a physical studio to host events for creative influencers to gather, learn about climate solutions, share stories and work together to make impactful change, only for the global pandemic to hit.

Jaime recalls being sat across a table from him as he questioned his next move. Every aspect of the business plan and connection was meant to happen in person, so the pandemic meant that all his plans had to go on hold. As they spoke, the couple realised that Brandon and his co-founders needed to bring greater gender equality into the business, and Jamie asked if they would consider bringing a woman into the fold. A few weeks later, Jaime joined the Social Good Club and since then, the vision of the company has evolved as the business has grown. Now, the team are enquiring into different ways that culture can be used and shared to drive social change through their campaigns.

It all starts with a story.

To find out more about Jaime, her experiences of dry fasting and the work she’s doing now, including the work with the Social Good Club, tune into episode 29 of We Walk The Earth “Impactful Creativity, Collective Healing and Creating a Shift with Jaime Westendarp”. Available now, wherever you get your podcasts.

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