Rhea Cortado

I edit and write stories about the relationship between humans, nature, and each other.

Through obsessively researching the past, studying culture, asking questions and reflecting on why, I develop content about individuals, moments, and movements that ride the riptides towards new ways of being and believing.

I grew up between redwoods forests in Santa Cruz and a marine sanctuary in Monterey Bay—specifically Watsonville, an agricultural fertile crescent of strawberry fields. My parents are Filipino immigrants and instead of a crisp grassy lawn and swing set in our backyard, we had a food forest of green beans, tomatoes, and chickens in the suburbs. I transported myself to big cities through books and magazines and analyzed costume design on screens—looking for how stories were communicated through clothing and movement. 

In 2009, while on vacation in Kauai, my cousin-in-law pushed me into my first waves in Hanalei Bay. Surfing became another reality where I learned a new language of the earth’s elements and fell in love with the watery wilderness. The moment of cosmic energy cresting into a wave—and you, being propelled by it—exists in the present but feels like infinity and then it’s gone. The surfing experience collided my past and present: resurfacing buried knowledge of living, eating, and growing by the seasons and being captivated by style and expression naked of adornments. By surrendering to nature and realizing that our health is intertwined, I recalibrated my lifestyle to the pace of the earth’s cycles. I discovered there were multiple, intersectional paths of being yourself and evolving your beliefs.

As a writer, editor, surfer, gardener, and foodie, I’m always seeking the feeling of flow—where inspiration, action, and the elements align in the present to create something special. From stories about women of color pioneering new paths in their own communities to writing copy about sustainable products, my work is propelled by a curiosity to learn about new ideas, empathy for each individual’s unique experience, and amplifying universal emotions that connect us. 

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