Originally hailing from Amsterdam, fashion stylist and author of IBIZA BOHEMIA Renu Kashyap moved to Ibiza in 2012 and never looked back. She spends her winters travelling to destinations such as Marrakech, Oaxaca, Tulum, London and Amsterdam, before returning to the island to enjoy the glorious first few months of the year. In 2020, Renu was setting up a new production company called The Island Productions alongside Ashley Harris – a high fashion production company and artist management agency, in addition to researching and writing a Ketogenic cookbook.
The travel restrictions and lockdown meant Renu had to delay the opening of the production company, in addition to postponing the opening of the B&B she runs with her husband. “I am trying to live in the moment, take it day by day, and not to have many expectations,” she says. “This has helped me to accept the situation and just go with it. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that something better will come out of this. More awareness, more solidarity, a greener planet. We have lived in abundance, and I am sure one day those times will come back again.”
Describe your Ibiza lockdown situation?
We live in a seven-bedroom home in San Lorenzo, in the north of Ibiza, close to La Paloma. Normally, the house operates as a B&B in summer, but now I’m here with just my husband (DJ Abel) and my 10-year-old daughter Skye Avelon. We have a dog, a cat, two chicken, frogs and birds. It’s a feelgood house, very light and filled with treasures from my travels, antiques I found at the San Jordi flea market, items that remind me of the sea, roses from our garden, huge fashion images on the walls, photography books, lots of candles and incense. In the garden you just hear the sound of the birds and the sheep. It’s been very peaceful and tranquil.
Did you expect the Ibiza lockdown to be as lengthy and restrictive as they were?
I don’t feel anxious about it. I think a lot of people (including me) are realising. now that we don’t need that much. Just food, your friends and family, and your home. I think this big reset button will do us good, and am sure we will re-invent ourselves and build it all up again, but then hopefully with better care of our planet.
What is your daily life like now?
I love the quarantine. I was actually always busy. Now we are forced to stay in, I can surrender to the silence, and just be… I felt all the years of hard work falling off my shoulders. Our house is always filled with people, as we speak we should have had 28 mothers and daughters at our home for a special retreat we host four times a year. In the beginning, I was just sleeping, working out, cooking and helping Skye with her homeschooling. She goes to the French school and at first I was worried she would fall behind, but she is doing really well. And on the other side of that, I can see by being home all the time, we were able to teach her other life lessons that are also very valuable. I cherish the quality time we have with Skye, and also with my husband. The simple things, playing card games, drawing together, art and crafts, baking – we feel more connected than ever and I really see her growing on a personal level. That is beautiful to see.
How are you feeling on a personal level right now?
I am feeling very good. I’ve been on the Ketogenic diet throughout the lockdown and feel truly great. Ketogenic means you use fat for fuel instead of sugar, and your brain loves fat. This way of eating gives you a clear and focused mind, and I feel like I am on a natural high and full of energy. I am very excited about both of my new projects so I’m loving working on both of them during this time.
Who or what do you miss most right now?
My friends. I’ve grown used to not having my family around, as most of them live in the Philippines and India, while my sister and parents live in The Netherlands, so I don’t notice a lot of change there, but they are always in my heart. I also miss dressing up and drinking a good glass of wine at La Escollera, Casa Maca or La Paloma. I miss my weekly routine of going to the San Jordi market. I miss dancing, the sea, working together with a creative team on a photoshoot. I miss travelling.
What’s been most the challenging thing for you throughout this experience?
At a certain point, I felt an aching pain because I was missing my friends. Laughing with them, having fun, our conversations and holding them. I am a very social person. But I decided to look at this challenge as an opportunity to grow. What does it mean if you miss someone? Is it because without you, I miss something in myself? By doing to this kind of self-work, it has helped me through these moments. Playing music, reading, yoga and working out also help me if I feel a bit down.
Has there been anything about the lockdown experience that you’ve enjoyed?
My new ‘me time’. I have all the time in the world to learn new things. My vegetable garden for example – normally I wouldn’t have the time for it. I’ve really enjoyed doing research for my new Ketogenic cookbook. If the island stays semi-closed this season, I want to learn horse riding, surfing and to swim out to the rock at Bennirás.
Have you set yourself any goals during this period?
To enjoy it while it lasts, to have fun and to make the best of it. I have always been a very positive person, and my goal is to see everything as a lesson, to turn every challenge that comes up into something that serves me or can make me grow, whether on a personal, spiritual or business level..
How do you keep in touch with the outside world?
I am not very fond of phone calls. I am better speaking face-to-face. I do use WhatsApp a lot though. Since the lockdown started, I do two Zoom calls a week to catch up with groups of friends and family. I love Instagram – it helps me to still work with photography and images, I really need that, creative-wise. Photography and storytelling is part of me. Bas and I organised a Live stream party every Friday, where he plays music aired live on Facebook and Zoom. We get dressed up and dance together with Skye – it breaks up our week and it’s nice to change our PJs for high heels, a nice dress and my favourite perfume. It was so much fun to dance with friends from all over the world and feel a connection with them. We love celebrating life, and the lockdown didn’t change that.
What’s been entertaining you during this period?
I just started watching The Last Dance, about Michael Jordan, and I loved Unstoppable with Bethany Hamilton, plus Self Made: Madam CJ Walker and The Biggest Little Farm. All the main characters in these movies had enormous drive which really inspires me. I also watched Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman – obsessed with the great styling in both of them. Unothodox was beautiful, it touched me, as did The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind and Green Book. I loved the documentary about Julian Schnabel, he is a great inspiration, and I love, love, loved Grace and Frankie. It made me laugh and I liked the styling.
What’s been educating you?
I am sensitive and therefore selective with the news that I watch. I only look up if something catches my attention. I have been learning a lot about the Ketogenic philosophy, because it is my new lifestyle and because of the book that I am creating about it. There is so much information about Keto (online and podcasts) that it can be confusing sometimes. I always have to check multiple sources if I have a question. That’s why I decided to write my own book. I want to make it really easy and fun to read. The book has been taking up a lot of my time, when it’s finished, I would like to read and listen to more spiritual teachings. I love to listen to the Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey Soul podcasts, and I enjoyed reading the manifesto of Li Edelkoort. She proposes a World Hope Forum – a new gathering that will include climate change on its agenda as well as caring for all neglected people .
What’s made you laugh during this time?
My daughter Skye. Her laugh is contagious and she is so funny. She has a lot of humour, something I think is important to have in life.
What are you eating habits like these days?
I have never been as healthy as I am now. My years of experimenting with Ketogenic cooking have really come together. I do intermittent fasting, so I eat my first meal at 12pm, and this makes me feel so much better that eating at 9am. So I eat two meals a day with some snack in between. Keto means that 70% of my food is fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs. The 70% of fat comes from healthy fats – this means I eat a lot of fresh herbs and vegetables, fatty fish (like eel, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines), nuts (you won’t believe how much bread, pizza dough, cakes and more you can make out of almond flour!) plus avocados. And I don’t drink alcohol at this moment, I will save that till I can see my friends again! I also love the clear brain that Keto gives me as well as the extra energy that comes with it.
Is this very different to your life before lockdown?
Being in my own kitchen every day gave us structure, and the discipline that I was much looking for. Normally there are social invites four times a week, such as lunch at friends’ houses, lunch at the beach, villa parties or pizza parties. I love them, but they are also temptations to eat unhealthily and drink too much. I love wine. Rosé, white, red, all of them! Keto only works if you commit to long term, so these social get-togethers made it challenging for me to stay disciplined. But due to the lockdown something has changed. Ketogenic really has become my new lifestyle, and I am ready to incorporate it when we are able to go out socially again. My sugar cravings are gone, and I know how to prep myself by baking and bringing things with me when I leave the house.
Is it easy for you to buy the products needed to follow a Ketogenic diet during lockdown?
Yes, we have been shopping at Es Mercat in Santa Eulalia, they have the most amazing fresh veggies (their basil!) and fish, plus La Coza in Santa Gertrudis for their organic fruits and vegetables too. We also support the Dutch supermarket in Santa Eularia, as they have eel, mackerel and good Dutch cheese. We also go to the little local supermarkets close to our home in San Lorenzo. It is a bit more expensive, but I think it’s good to support them and their products are organic. Cooking is giving me so much pleasure – I am happy to spend a bit more for it.
Are you factoring exercise and movement into your days?
I work out every day. I’d recommend the yoga classes of an Ibiza teacher, Awa, she is the best of the best – you can find her on YouTube. I do handstand training with @nickonhands, he is amazing and live on Instagram every day at 10am. Fitness Blender (on YouTube) has very American approach, but I love their training. We also do exercises in the garden with the three of us: jumping rope, swimming laps in the pool, and Skye loves making a pacour for us. I do miss hiking and moving around though.
How has the lockdown impacted your work/business/industry?
I am a fashion stylist and there are no shoots at the moment. Our B&B obviously can’t have any guests. Our connection retreats, ‘My Daughter And Me’, have been cancelled. My husband is a DJ, and he has no bookings as all of the venues are closed. I just hope people still buy books like IBIZA BOHEMIA and that it can help them dream. On the other hand, I think that when you are creative, you can always think of new ideas. This crisis will force us to come up with new ideas to survive. So I am never worried about not having work. We have been sending out a concept to international brands to see if they would like to shoot their collections in Ibiza while they aren’t allowed to fly – they can ship us boxes of clothes, and we can shoot the campaigns for them here. We will adapt to the situation and re-invent ourselves.
How do you manage stress during such uncertain times?
I trust the process, I am not often worried. All is good and will be good. If I have an off day, my husband will lift me up again. He is never worried. What can happen in the worst case? If we have each other, we will be fine – and otherwise you always have yourself. We don’t need much to be happy.
What are your hopes for Ibiza in the future?
I hope that Ibiza’s local artisans and small businesses survive. Ibiza is a strong community. People are adapting to the situation, trying to find new ways to earn a living. My hope is that the new changes are positive. I hope we take this crisis as an opportunity to become better versions of ourselves. I don’t think that we want to go back to ‘normal’, the old normal didn’t work. Ibiza has always been very creative, attracting people who follow their heart, care for animals and the environment. These things are really important, that’s why I feel so home here. So we need to create a ‘new world’. Tourism will come back one day, I really believe that. I hope the people of Ibiza stay positive, believe in themselves, trust their creativity, and that we will build up again, better and more aware than ever before. Recharged and full of new ideas. We got this!
Do you have any fears for the future of the island?
I dedicated three years of my life creating a homage/ tribute to the island through my book IBIZA BOHEMIA. I believe it is the most magical place on earth, and my feeling is nothing is going to change that. It will always attract creative and artistic people.
What about your own future – how is that looking now?
When the lockdown is over, we will launch our new company THE ISLAND PRODUCTIONS, representing the creative community of the island – it is promising to be quite a party! And by that time, my Keto cookbook will be out too. More than a regular cookbook, I am available to guide, coach and support you during your introduction to the Keto lifestyle and support you during your 30-day cleanse. If you live in Ibiza, I can come to your home to clean out your cupboards and your fridge, ditching all the processed foods. I can also buy all the products you need to get started and deliver them to your home, and show you how to prepare some of the recipes. My aim is to motivate and to inspire people during my cookbook’s 30-day Keto cleanse and to give them the fundamentals and knowledge to live a healthier lifestyle. And on top on this I want to make it easy and fun! Finally, I have been setting up garage sales on the island. I think it’s important to recycle our clothes. The fashion industry has had a big impact on the environment. I really love to organise these sales and will be doing a designer version with just pieces by high-end brands like LOEWE and Isabel Marant. I am sure there are loads of closets on the island filled with beautiful pieces that all deserve a second life.
How do you feel Ibiza has come together (while staying apart) as a community during lockdown?
There is an amazing group on Facebook called Covid19-Ibiza. It has been keeping us updated and protecting us from all the fake news on there – why on earth would you want to make fake news? It has given us hope and a feeling of unity and solidarity. Well done Ibiza! We have handled the virus as a team and looks like we are beating this thing.
Have you seen/felt any differences within your direct local community?
I have seen caring gestures for the elderly. For example, people leaving notes for their neighbour telling that they can help them with groceries. My daughter and I have set up a drawing club to collect drawings from children around the world, and we have sent them to 12,000 nursing homes in the UK. We made drawings to let the residents know that we are thinking of them, especially as they are not allowed to receive visitors. I really enjoyed doing this with my daughter – caring is one of the values I could show and share with her due to COVID-19.
Do you feel safe here? Is there anywhere else you’d rather be locked down in than Ibiza?
I normally feel safe in Ibiza and we are very carefree. You never hear police sirens. There is no place I would rather have been during lockdown than Ibiza, it really is my home. And our house is our heaven, it has given us a lot of love during quarantine. I am very grateful for that.
What are you most looking forward to when the lockdown restrictions are lifted?
Seeing and hugging my friends. Throwing a lunch party and having them all sleep over. As we can’t have any international guests yet, we are going to enjoy the house ourselves. I can’t wait to jump in the sea, and take a long hike with my family and our dog.
Is there anything you might miss?
I will try to incorporate this new way of life into the life that will be coming, so I won’t have to miss it. That would be the connection between me, Bas and Skye, plus taking more time for myself, the simple life and to learn new things.
Any other reflections you’d like to share?
Some inspirational quotes: ‘An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. Just keep focused, and keep aiming.’ Paolo Coehlo
‘Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live though you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the other side you are used to do. Is better than the other one?’ Rumi