Mother Essentials: Natasha Lee, Director Of “In The Visible”

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
11:30 am
04/07/21

As a director and photographer for Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, Airbnb, and dozens of other impressive clients, Natasha Lee has shot her fair share of incredibly beautiful scenes. However, her latest project is perhaps the most stunning of all for its poignancy. In The Visible, a brand-new film directed by Natasha and produced by MOTHER fave Lucia Tran, is a PSA of sorts in response to the rise of violence and discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. With the goal of showing the full spectrum of the “Asian American” experience, the film features interviews with an L.A. City Councilwoman, internment camp survivors, refugees, restaurateurs, artists, actors, comedians, and more, all from a diverse range of backgrounds. (You can watch the trailer here). The project is a deeply personal one for Natasha, who is of Malaysian-Chinese descent and split her childhood between Malaysia and California since immigrating at the age of 9. Below, the Santa Monica-based mother to two sons—Calder, 5, and Cy, 2—continues to share the AAPI love with her 10 Mother Essentials.

A Strong Skincare Routine. “I’ve expanded my skincare routine since the pandemic started; having those few precious moments for myself at the end of the day in the form of a nightly ritual has been really grounding. Some of my favorites include Tatcha’s Camellia Cleansing Oil, Klairs’ Freshly Juiced Drop Vitamin C Serum, and Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence.” Pure One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, $48, Tatcha; Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop, $23, Soko Glam; Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence, $38, Soko Glam.

Noona Vegan Ice Cream. “The salty/sweet combo of Noona’s vegan black sesame ice cream is a family fave after dinner. In tiny servings, of course.” Black Sesame Vegan Ice Cream, $12, Noona

Kira Kids Sweatshirts. “I love the whimsical graphic designs of Kira Kids sweatshirts. Their playfulness brings a sense of fun and joy, whether my kids are at home or at the park.” Sweatshirts, $45, Kira Kids.

The First Forty Days. “In Chinese culture, the first forty days after giving birth known as ‘confinement’ has been a tradition for centuries. I love Heng Ou’s book The First Forty Days for making this practice accessible in a contemporary culture and it has incredible recipes. The chicken soup with goji berries and ginger is something I still make on days I’m craving some comfort and nourishment.” The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, written by Heng Ou and Amely Greeven, $27.50, Bookshop and Amazon.

Poketo Planner. “For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing off a completed task with pen on paper. The Poketo Concept Planner is set up for a whole year and the layout allows structure yet freedom in how I organize my daily and weekly to-dos.” Concept Planner, $34, Poketo.

Inside, Outside. “Having to explain the pandemic and its restrictions to young children is heartbreaking. LeUyen Pham’s book has really helped us talk about all the emotions brought on by our new reality.” Outside, Inside, written and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, $17.49, Bookshop and Amazon.

Tokyobike. “Family bike rides are one of our favorite weekend activities. We love the refined design and color options of Tokyobikes and our 5-year-old loves riding it just as much.” Little Tokyobike, $315, Tokyobike.

Good Tea in a Good Mug. “The fragrant smell of loose leaf jasmine kickstarts my morning and one of my favorite versions is from Song Tea & Ceramics, where we did a tea tasting pre-pandemic. I love how intentional they are about sourcing their leaves and drinking hot tea out of a thoughtfully crafted mug is my favorite way to start the day.” Song Tea, $13 and up, Song Tea & Ceramics. Finca Mug, $45, Franca.

In The Visible. “It took me almost my entire lifetime to feel pride about my heritage and culture and I’m looking forward to sharing In The Visible, a short film I directed featuring stories from across the Asian diaspora in an effort to dismantle stereotypes about Asian Americans while evoking empathy and compassion.” inthevisible.co

Yoga. “While I truly miss practicing yoga in a studio, I love Uma Mother founder Patti Quintero’s virtual sessions for their physical and spiritual uplift. Her prenatal sessions were an essential during both of my pregnancies.” Uma Mother Yoga & Meditation, UmaMother.com.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with best-selling author Joanna Ho, Brave + Kind Bookshop owner Bunnie Hilliard, TV personality Leslie Antonoff, author Rio Cortez, Kido Chicago owner Keewa Nurullah, small-space mama Laura Fenton, Curasalve founder Kelley Williams, Trade Street Jam Co. founder Ashley Rouse, Weelicious and One Potato founder Catherine McCord, interior designer Susan Work, author Tiffany Dufu, Les Gamins founder Veronique Nguyen, Lonny editor Angela Tafoya, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, designers Anna WallackCynthia RowleyRebecca Atwood, and Dana HaimOlympian Alysia Montano, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, model and muse Slick Woods, wellness influencerJoanne Encarnacion, author LaTonya Yvetteand many, many more!

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