Written by: Hillary Sproul
In today’s media-obsessed society, we are inundated with information and endless opportunities for distraction. Technology advances and people become increasingly reliant upon it. How does one remain human with so much interference? How can we all connect to our truth, to our feelings and to our values?
Natasha Garoosi–both born and based in New York City–is a creative producer and multimedia director with a definite aim. Raised by a Chinese mother born in Columbia and an Iranian father born in Italy, diversity has always been an inherent value through which Garoosi seen the world. Understanding diversity means understanding what it is to be human. Garoosi’s video platform, High Quality Human Beings, seeks to explore this sentiment.
Through intimate video profiles with individuals that seek meaning, purpose and authenticity, High Quality Human Beings strives to to bring people together in the pursuit of understanding what it really means to be human in today’s world.
HS: What is High Quality Human Beings?
NG: High Quality Human Beings is an online platform that rekindles what it means to be “human again” through intimate video interviews. It’s a project that brings people of all industries together to engage in the conversations that unite us as humans.
HS: How do you find your subjects?
NG: I find the HQHBs by simply crossing paths in-person, by word-of-mouth or by stumbling upon one of their stories somewhere.
HS: And how do you define someone who qualifies as an “HQHB”?
NG: An HQHB is someone courageous enough to own their vulnerabilities as their strengths.
They freely express their emotions and have a strong foundation in what they stand for; in a society that tries to suppress and distract us from who we really are.
HS: What is HQHB life?
NG: HQHB life is the lifestyle section of High Quality Human Beings. I think once you become more aware of your truth, your lifestyle becomes more selective and your choices become more conscious. HQHB Life features the places or brands that embody the HQHB lifestyle: the places or brands with meaning, purpose and truth.
HS: Can you tell me a bit about UNMUTED TV?
NG: UNMUTED is a series I created with my friends–Alexandra Gavillet and Wendy Bowman–that releases the inner voices within the subway system. It launched a day after the election, in response to the political and social turmoil of our society.
I was prepping to make reaction videos the next day in the studio and Ali called me and said, “Hey, why don’t we do the reactions on the subway after?” So–with 12 hours of notice and no idea what we would do–Wendy showed up the next day to film and the UNMUTED project was born.
In the first week of releasing the videos, people and press from around the world were reposting them. It was a true instance of creating a conversation that united us as humans.
The goal for me, in all projects I create, is to showcase talent with no mask on. I love portraying truth and that’s what I want people to feel through the videos I produce: that they are not above or below—that they are a part of it.
HS: It really did seem that, on the day after the election, NYC was especially in a state of shock. The subway cars were the most notable; the quiet was striking. In my personal experience, I had a pilates class that took on the feel of a self-help group and I noticed that restaurants were silent as well. What was your personal experience the day after the election results?
NG: The day after the election, I was at my family’s home. I remember my father told me in the morning that Trump won and I thought he was joking. I was crying in the morning; feeling so disappointed in a country my parents fought so hard to be in, as immigrants. At the same time, I also felt really connected to my friends. I felt blessed that I had the support of friends to cry with and find motivation with, that the mix of emotions we were feeling to create art that would be impactful. It was really a reminder that when we’re faced with traumatic moments in our lives, we need to acknowledge how we feel and utilize those feelings as fuel to grow better and stronger from it.
HS: Did anything in particular inspire you to create this platform?
NG: I was inspired to create HQHB for many reasons. I grew up in a home where not one person was raised in the same country, religion or spoke the same first language. I thank my upbringing for introducing me to various perspectives because it taught me that, even though we all live differently, we all live at the end of the day. Feeling emotions are what make us alive and when we are in tune with ours, we only become closer to who we are.
I think that many times we feel so alone in this world when really there are so many people who feel what we feel–just through different experiences. I want people to feel connected through the stories we tell on HQHB and UNMUTED.
My biggest inspiration at the end of the day is to remind people that there is no need to numb our emotions. I grew up with some people around me whose lives were so stagnant because they were so avoidant of how they felt. I created this platform to tell people, “Be truthful to who you are and how you feel at all times. No matter where you are, who you are with and what you are doing!” That’s the only way you find your purpose in life.
HS: Was HQHB difficult to get off the ground?
NG: Honestly, it wasn’t so hard because I had about a year and half of photo production experience beforehand so I am blessed with a network of super supportive creatives. Xavier Scott Marshall helped me take all the photos/videos. We had some imperfections–like finding a good studio and echo-y audio–but that’s the fun part about being 21 and starting something. It’s all about time and progress.
HS: Do you feel HQHB is especially needed in today’s highly technological world? It seems we’ve fallen out of actual human interaction and into a state of constant technology. In a way, HQHB is an interesting combination of the two.
NG: With all of the digital media I create, my goal is always to engage people online and inspire them to take the values present in the content offline.
One instant that really inspired me to start HQHB right away was when I was celebrating my 21st birthday in Berlin and–at midnight–my phone broke. I decided to travel for a month with no phone. After meeting people in various countries and connecting with nature, I was truly reminded that technology can be an amazing tool when utilized correctly but it isn’t a necessity. Therefore, as someone creating media, I want whatever I put out there to be purposeful and inspiring for whoever digests it.
HS: You refer to your subjects as “HQHB”s (High Quality Human Beings, thus the title of the show). How did you come up with that name?
NG: I came up with the name when I was thinking about the people I knew in my life who were living their truth or their passions. I had an online site before this where I interviewed conscious creatives in all lifestyle categories: food, fashion, fitness, art, travel, etc. After interviewing so many people–doing amazing things in different industries–that was the name that came to mind. People doing high-quality things that utilize their potentials: “High Quality Human Beings”.
HS: Where would you like to see HQHB in the future?
NG: I would love for HQHB to be a channel one day where we would produce different series or films that leave an impact on the viewer.
Photographer: Aubrey Devin