Denise Vasi founded Maed to make wellness, health and beauty accessible to everyone
By Kamala Kirk
When longtime actress and model Denise Vasi was transitioning to motherhood, the content she shared from her journey on social media with her followers began to shift.
Committed to raising her children as intentionally and naturally as possible, Vasi started documenting her alternative choices via social media. She posted about the plant-based clean meals she prepared, detoxing her home, her self-care routine and parenting tips, and in response became inundated with questions from fans who wanted to know about topics such as the best clean products to use and what foods to eat when breastfeeding.
“I started to really shift what I was sharing because I was at home with my kids and all of a sudden I realized that taking care of myself was less about vanity and more about how I felt,” Vasi said.
“That first year of motherhood really taught me about the importance of self-care. If I make smart choices, feed myself well and keep stress levels down, then I have a much better chance of living a long healthy life. You have to have a holistic approach to health in order to live your life at its best and fullest. People began asking me all kinds of health, wellness and beauty-related questions about my personal life, and that’s when my husband pointed out that there was something there. I realized that I needed to create a platform for my growing community, they really encouraged me to build something.”
This led Vasi to create Maed, a beauty, health and wellness website that inspires and encourages women to be the best version of themselves. The literal combination of Vasi’s daughter’s middle name, Mae, and Vasi’s own nickname, D, Maed is also a nod to what makes a woman feel like she’s truly “made” it.
“The idea of being ‘Maed’ is something that men and women both strive for and it’s not necessarily about success, for me it’s a lot of different things,” Vasi said.
“I wanted to talk to people about what it means to feel ‘Maed’ in general. It’s about having a holistic version of life where you are taking care of yourself and you’re still a boss. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, you work for a big corporation or you run your own business, you still need to take care of yourself, go out and get the things you want and practice self-care. Maed really represents the full spectrum of us as women and what we strive for.”
The inclusive, accessible and diverse digital platform features content ranging from healthy recipes and parenting hacks to clean products. Vasi strives to offer a place where her audience can be inspired and make a positive change.
“Maed is rooted in serving the community,” Vasi said. “We are giving people information, education and aspiration, and providing them with recommendations so that they can make better choices in their lifestyles and ask better questions when they talk to doctors or therapists. Our goal is to be a resource where women can find inspiration to make positive changes in their lives.
“The other important thing for me was knowing that I was speaking to Black and Brown women. Coming from Brooklyn, I wanted to offer a space that was inclusive to everybody and that catered to all demographics and economic backgrounds.”
The website features multiple sections that cover topics like Eat, Nurture, Live, Glam, and Shop. The Eat section includes vegan, gluten-free and kid-friendly recipes, product guides on everything from nontoxic cookware to coffee alternatives, as well as tips for things like how to grow vegetables without a garden bed.
The Nurture section shares relationship tips, Live focuses on the latest lifestyle and wellness trends, and Glam covers clean beauty, products and ingredients. The Shop section is a guide to various products and self-care tools that Vasi uses and recommends to her audience, ranging from sunscreen and facial cleansers to massage tools.
“This is a place where you can find the resources and information you need, and we feature products at every price point,” Vasi said.
“We speak to a bigger and different demographic, and we want to make sure that we’re always making wellness, clean beauty and self-care attainable and accessible.”
When the pandemic hit last year, Vasi made sure that the content on Maed shifted in order to be more conscious of what was going on in the world and what felt appropriate at the time for their readers.
“Our content shifted to helping women who were suddenly stay-at-home moms, helping parents navigate their new work from home situation, and how to set up home offices,” Vasi shared.
“We saw an influx of people looking to figure out how to calm their anxiety and a lot of people started to do a lot of at-home beauty treatments since they weren’t going out to get facials or manicures. Our job is to assess what the trends are and make sure that we’re always creating content that feels appropriate to the time.”
Every two months, Maed also hosts various challenges that readers enjoy participating in. On numerous occasions, the challenges have been life-changing for some. During the challenges, the community will vote on which organizations to make donations to as well.
“When we do these challenges and people say that their lives have been changed, nothing makes me feel like I’ve made it more than that,” Vasi said.
“We did a celery juice challenge and one woman said that she came off her blood pressure medication as a result. If I can affect one person in this world, I know I’ve done something big.”
This past June, Maed celebrated its three-year anniversary. Vasi looks forward to continuing to expand her platform and create engaging content for her audience, in addition to balancing her busy life as a wife and mother of two.
Since moving to Los Angeles from New York a decade ago, Vasi always felt a connection with the creative local community in Venice, where she has lived for the past nine years.
“When I found myself in Venice, it felt very grounded and creative, it was just a community of artists and people with their own identities, and people had a true authentic vibe out here,” Vasi said. “Our kids love biking and skateboarding at the parks by the beach here. We love the accessibility and being near the water.”
Prior to founding Maed, Vasi enjoyed a busy career as a successful model and actress. She appeared in multiple magazine editorials and ad campaigns, and had roles on programs like the ABC soap opera “All My Children,” VH1’s “Single Ladies,” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” While she has been busy focusing on her website and motherhood, Vasi hasn’t closed the door on Hollywood.
“I know I’ll do something else, there is a part of me that still loves to pretend to be other people and live in that fantasy world of telling stories,” Vasi shared.
“I can’t tell you how blown away and how shocked I am every day that I get to wake up and do what I do. My community has been so amazing, supportive and receptive to the content we create. I’m so thankful and grateful that they have been so supportive, not only of the site, but also of the community.
“They talk to each other and they even give me advice and feedback on things. They show up for me every day and I show up for them.”
For more information, visit maed.co.