There’s no question these past few months have been unlike any in our shared history. Words like unprecedented, challenging, uncertain, uttered ad nauseam do not even begin to describe the emotional and psychological rollercoaster that has marked the global COVID-19 pandemic; and yet we’re all lost for words trying to share with one another what this experience has taught us.
So we reached out to recent and future Maxim subjects—esteemed leaders of industry, models and influencers, athletes, actors and creatives—to find a connection. To discover how they survived and even prospered these past months; illuminating private moments of seclusion, sharing personal moments of fear, hope and renewal. And what we discovered, really, was how we’re all much closer than maybe we realized just a handful of months ago. Here are their experiences, in their own words.
Frida Aasen - Supermodel
@frida_aasen The Lions Model Management
This has honestly made my boyfriend and I even more close, same with friends and family. I’m mostly looking forward to hugging my family and seeing them again. It’s been such a long time…. It’s making me appreciate the more relaxed lifestyle and small things like a home-cooked meal or going grocery shopping. It’s easy when you’re living such an on-the-go life to completely forget to take that step back and breathe and take in your surroundings. [But] I miss the freedom of being able to go anywhere you want…. I’m just taking more time for myself in general.
Also it’s important to me to not let myself go, even if I can be in sweats all day if I want to. I get up early, do my routine with my products, get a workout in, and get dressed as normal. I also get a yoga session or meditation in every day. It’s making me feel good both on the inside and out. I also love chatting with my followers and getting to know more about who they are. I’ve been doing that through Instagram Live and questionnaires.
Ireland Baldwin - Model/Actress
I never really hit a depression or had any major anxiety attacks. I took time out of every day to do a mental health check, move my body, and remind myself that things are going to be okay. I learned that I have a lot more patience than I thought. I can cook way better when I have the time. I learned so many random and fun little skills and wrote a ton which felt really great…. As for my family, everyone held up just fine and did their part. We all FaceTimed and checked in and kept each other laughing. What surprised me most was the amount of people who continued to believe it was okay to ignore social distancing and continue to go about their lives selfishly.
Kyle Connaughton - Chef, SingleThread
We have been organizing with a local charitable organization called Sonoma Family Meal to cook 200 donation meals a day for the community in need…. We set up a charitable fund with friends of the restaurant, local wineries, and food companies. We've had them make donations to the fund and then cook the meals for them, keeping money going to the farmers, artisans, suppliers, and cooks, and the food going to those who need it…. For us it has been all about community service. [It's] been a good way to serve and also incredibly humbling. I think we are growing personally immensely and taking it as an opportunity for quite a bit of personal development and increasing our mindfulness for the community and the role we play. I'm definitely not trapped at home, but it has just been our farm, the restaurant, and home on repeat.
In some ways it’s Groundhog Day, and in other ways every day is a new adventure…. Now we are starting to turn our attention to a reopening and what that looks like. Developing menus and figuring out how to best evolve. We were really happy with what we were doing and how we were doing it when we closed, but there is always improvement so we are working with the team on how we come back even better and even stronger than before. We use a word from Japanese which is kaizen, it's a daily focus as individuals and as a group to always be looking for “good change”… Those that are going to be successful in [reopening] are going to figure it out quickly and with dynamic solutions, and also find ways to better the hospitality of their restaurants. It's really a time we need to focus on the guests, their wellbeing, happiness, and the hospitality we bring to their experience.
Roberta Mancino - Skydiver, BASE Jumper, Stuntwoman
Unfortunately my job involves many people: when we skydive we sit in an airplane with at least 20 people sitting very close to each other. But in many, many years of the sport I never stopped, so it’s not so bad to give some rest to my body and mind. In the long term it won’t be so good because lots of my sponsors are struggling and the stunt movie industry is shut down. It will take months and months to start all again. It’s been great to enjoy little simple things in life that when I’m so busy we don’t see or don’t have time for. To know that nature is having a better life. Less pollution, people have seen animals in many places where they weren’t before. In my small Italian town of Anzio, a friend of mine sent me a video of dolphins at the port— it’s never happened before. And to see the most caring stories of the big courage of all the nurses that have been working so hard, some of them risking or losing their life to help others.
Chris D'Sylva - Owner, Notting Hill Fish Shop
What I do strongly believe will change within the retail/hospitality sectors is twofold: a massive correction in the commercial property sector, and a frightening contraction of retail/hospitality players. Most businesses have been hand-to-mouth with cash flow and many will sadly fall, with one chance of even restarting as we are “unlocked”. With regards to property, now is the time to finally correct the balance of power between landlords and operators. It’s tough coming from a culture of monopoly to change quite hard-coded landlord traits, but property is a commodity. Generally, landlords don't create any value yet demand all of what the operator creates. Not anymore!
COVID life has been such a reductive experience. The benefit of face-to-face community in an ever increasing digital culture is still the essence of life…. [Unfortunately] we have attracted the attention of desperate, yet emboldened, organized crime. When it became clear we had become the target for burglary, the thought of the slightest disruption of our community relying upon us was frightful. As a heart-on-sleeve kinda guy, I shared my concerns with most of our customers. I mean, we’re in it together. What now seems obvious, but was a surprising demonstration of solidarity, was the support of many of our customers [who] offered security service solutions, that at once reassured me that I was not alone. That what we’re doing isn’t just transactional. That what we do is community! [They] were willing to go to war for us and there is no higher compliment.
Dr. Aditi Kalla - Cardiologist, Einstein Medical Center
As a cardiologist, I have experience in critical care medicine, so I’ve been asked to work in the medical ICU and help manage the increasing number of COVID-19 patients. I’m currently working 12-hour shifts for one week, followed by being off the next week. I wake up every morning and open all my windows to get some fresh air. That is my only routine. I read articles that recommended treating your home like your workplace and maintaining the same structure, but with my profession, that was not applicable. Also, forcing myself to be productive when I wasn’t in the mood left me feeling constantly guilty. So now if I feel like spending a day-binging on a show, I do it, and I do it with pride. The next day, I always feel refreshed and itching to knock out my to-do list.
Due to limited resources and the goal of reducing healthcare worker exposure, hospitals and physicians have had to find alternative ways to provide care, including performing electronic consultations and using telemedicine for outpatient visits. These new practices are proving to be time efficient, and I hope they continue to be options in the long term…. I am remembering my family and friend’s capacity to love. I’m learning the care and compassion that even strangers can show. In a time when fear has often masked my smile, both literally and figuratively, knowing that I’m not alone is a powerful feeling.
Jarvis Landry - Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
Man… life just moves so fast! I think sometimes we all just unconsciously sit back as life moves along. I’ve been reflecting on that a lot lately. I think the thing I take the most from this time is how much I needed it. From the season, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl, surgery, events… It’s always go, go, go. So this has been perfect for me. But now I will say I’m starting to get at the point like fuckkkk. Even if I can just go do something for one day, that would be cool. But I know the importance of staying at home. But just like everyone I’m just running out of shit to do at the house—I’m about to do an elevated garden in the backyard right now. Like who would’ve thought? Get some rosemary, some parsley, some tomatoes.
I’ve been revisiting hobbies and interests that get neglected with my typical busy schedule. Jumping back into teaching myself Spanish again through the Duolingo app. I started this two years ago because of my family. I love my family so much so I hate not being able to understand what the fuck they’re saying sometimes. I hate it—my pet peeve. That shit is wack. My three-year-old daughter Joy knows more Spanish than I do! So I’d rather take initiative and learn it. So that’s what I did and just jumping back into it now….
And music. Always been a big part of my life. I’m not a hardcore musician or anything but I love writing, playing instruments, making music. This is one of the few times I’ve had to sit down…write…think…process emotions, feelings. Focus in on my inner self which I would highly recommend. Meditation! [I’ve] really found some inner peace and some quiet during this time, and am definitely looking forward to just getting back to everything I know. Hugging my family, friends… fans. The game I love. And having more appreciation for how special our lives are.
Yovanna Ventura - Supermodel/Influencer
@yoventura The Lions Model Management
I absolutely love connecting with my audience. I have been doing a ton of Instagram Live content to try and help keep people motivated and it helps me, too. I also talk a lot in my Stories about how it’s okay to not be motivated, too. The ups and downs are all valid; everyone copes differently.
I have a special phone for fans to text me—it’s been so fun to have that ability to say “good morning” and see photos of people’s dogs and just connect…. I’ve been working out because if I work out in the morning I sleep better, I am able to maintain my energy throughout the day to be active. I will go for a run, do a home workout or dance for an hour—it’s been super-important for me personally to start my day active, and it gives me motivation throughout the day.
Walt Siegl - Custom Motorcycle Builder
The isolation has not affected my creativity at all I hope. I do more reading, and still have conversations with all my friends in the creative world. Although I miss personal interaction with them for sure. I feel lucky that my clients stick with me through these trying times. COVID-19 affects every aspect of our existence currently, and will change how we manage our lives in the future. That includes rethinking the use of energy consumption and forms of transportation. My hope is that we emerge smarter and kinder to each other and our environment.
Lorena Rae - Supermodel, Maxim Cover Girl
@lorena The Lions Model Management
For starters I have been sleeping in the same bed/time zone for over 50 days now, and due to my work and travel schedule that is very unusual. I have to say I am really enjoying it. Besides that I’ve created a kind of “at home” schedule to keep myself busy and to stay sane: I have my morning coffee on the couch while I watch the news instead of sitting in an Uber rushing to work or the airport. I do a home workout and go grocery shopping (my personal highlight of the day), and help my boyfriend cook instead of going to the gym and grabbing takeout on the way.
I call my family and friends instead of not really talking to them much because I’m too busy. I do a French lesson—once all of this is over I’m sure it’ll be very helpful for the next time I have dinner in Paris—and order dinner to support local restaurants, watch Netflix and have a glass of wine instead of going out. This has definitely taught me that self-care is super important and should be practiced more often. Take time for yourself and enjoy doing nothing. Also appreciate the time you get to be with your friends and family. It should never be taken for granted. Plus the social circle that matters is actually not that big.
Stephan Winkelmann - President, Bugatti
In the short term there are obvious insecurities in the market that we can’t put into numbers or a timeline—we don’t really know how deep or how long it is going to affect us. However, after any bad phase the human species has always managed to come back stronger eventually. And after overcoming challenges, we will reward ourselves again, and the economy will benefit from this, and also the luxury automotive space. One positive [thing] is that new technologies have been enforced in our lives, although I have to say that we were quite used to working digitally already. Also, it was inspiring to see that many people stepped up to the challenges. So many stories full of empathy, humility, humanity.
This is what I really take from this—how COVID-19 lead to social distancing, and yet brought us closer together. In the end, I’m very aware that previous generations had to face challenges, that even exceeded the severity of ours. As bad as the COVID-19 pandemic certainly is for many, my grandparents had to live through two world wars and still managed to get through it. If this is the worst it will get for us, than we somehow still can consider ourselves fortunate. Having said this, my heart still goes out to all the people and families suffering. To show that we all came closer together after all, we now all have to contribute our part for the situation to improve again, the sooner the better.
Colleen Quigley - Olympic Track Star
We have a family favorite called Yogurt Fettuccine. I know it sounds weird to put yogurt in pasta, but it's amazing and I've been making it for my teammates. I add either chicken or shrimp on top and a green veggie on the side like roasted Brussels sprouts or broccoli. It makes me think of home. [When the Olympics were postponed] I didn't cry or feel super sad, I just thought ‘Okay, postponement, I can deal with, it's not cancelled, I can train for another year.’ There is something bigger happening in our world right now. I have an identity outside of my sport and that makes me feel more secure when my athletic life is so unknown. I can still wake up in the morning, take the dog out, then go for my run. I can run as hard or as easy as I want and let my body do what it was made to do and what I love to do. I feel so incredibly grateful for my health and my ability to use my body in that way
Pete Tong - DJ and Radio Host
One of the regular downsides of DJ success is that the endless travel kills the creativity and music output. This pandemic has killed the globetrotting, and DJs/producers have a golden opportunity to spend more time making quality music again. I’m sure we will see some winners. We are also seeing a huge revolution in the streaming space… I’m convinced some really creative things will come out of this as the wider electronic and dance communities push the technology and new platforms to the limit. It’s going to start moving the needle for sure and some things will survive and prosper when clubs and festivals open again.
The key question is can everyone get paid for it? Music creators and performers. Spending more time at home has been amazing. Understanding how much work you can get done is a revelation. Spending more time on my radio shows and experimenting with streaming has been exciting. Building my new record label, Three Six Zero; there have been a stack of positives. Getting fit and becoming a master at washing up and housekeeping! Also appreciating how lucky I have been to travel the world and regularly go back to the UK for family and work. When those things are taken away you realize you take them for granted. I won’t feel that way again. I feel anxious right now not being able to get to London easily.
Dan Devos - CEO, DP Fox Ventures; Chairman, Orlando Magic
I really have no idea what we are going to do with the remainder of the season. The NBA is running many, many scenarios to be ready for whatever opportunity presents itself. Major leagues are talking about playing without fans. Possible? Who knows. It would also seem like the arenas will have to look at their operations in everything from access to food/beverage just to start. Again, everything that will be required by regulation or customer needs will create a new dynamic. I think that we will also see innovation in regard to game presentation and other ways to connect with fans that will be new and different. Long term, sports will be back in business because the demand by fans to see and attend games will still be there. It will just be a bit different and will take some getting used to, but we will.
The automotive business will continue to change as we always have. In Michigan we were able to begin sales again in April, but our showrooms had to remain closed. What I am seeing right now is an acceleration of many business practices that were already underway. As an example, we have been doing more and more online for our auto sales and delivery. We are now rapidly improving our systems and training our staff to be able to work more in this way. In times like this you certainly look at your priorities differently. I have been learning to focus on those things that are really important to me, both personally and professionally. Being with my wife 24/7 (and her with me), I learned that I need to be more flexible because I need to support her in new and different ways. This has brought us closer together—which says a lot since we have been married over 38 years. On the business side I am finding that individuals are stepping up (or not), in new and different ways. Going forward we are going to need some more creativity on ways to meet our customers' needs.
Robin Holzken - Supermodel
@robinholzken The Society Model Management
Especially in a time like this, it’s nice to get in touch with the people who follow you and maybe make each other’s day a little better. I did some Instagram Live workouts and I am picking up my YouTube channel again, I think this is a nice way to connect with people. I actually changed my full skincare routine because my skin wasn’t very happy for a little while.
I started doing facial massages, ordered new face masks, got a high-frequency device and got myself a brush for dry brushing since I heard this is amazing for the body. I also started doing yoga since I am very inflexible and it’s good for the mind and body, this is something I would definitely recommend if people are not doing it yet. It’s nice to be able to put your mind on zero for a second.
Tia Blanco - Pro Surfer
I do a home workout at least every day. I don’t always do a super intense workout, but no matter what I do try to get my body moving every day. I just know I always feel so much better after I get my heart rate up or do some yoga. Aside from staying active at home, I run a small skincare business with my sister called Dear Self Skincare. Being quarantined at home has really enabled us to put a lot of focus on our line. We are currently sold out of all our products right now so we have been nonstop planning our restock and the launch of new products to come.
If I am not working or being active, I am most likely vlogging on YouTube, cooking yummy vegan recipes, playing with my doggies, watching Netflix, or being a goofball on TikTok. This time has really made me reflect on what my world would be like after surfing. I guess not surfing everyday opened my eyes to what it's like when surfing isn’t my number one priority. It has been a blast putting in so much time into my business and one day I can really see that taking over. This time period has also made me realize how fast our daily lives can change. The whole world is impacted by this and it is kind of terrifying. If anything, this experience has taught me to be grateful and to cherish time with loved ones, because you never know if life will flip on you in an instant.
Sebastian Yatra - Singer/Songwriter
First and foremost, I think this period of social distancing has made us understand that we may need to slow down the pace we are living. Without realizing it, we may have imposed a work pace on ourselves that was consuming us, making us slaves to the everyday struggle to succeed—some to reach a financial goal and others trying to elevate their status. This nonstop pace was probably causing many of us to distance ourselves from our families or from who we truly are, so I think this halt was necessary and clearly the Earth is appreciating it….
What I look forward to the most in the future is focusing on my music and seeing how the live music industry will evolve. [It] has definitely been a challenging time for musicians and the music industry overall, but I have faith that everything will turn out fine and soon we will be together again onstage! It has been years since I lived with my parents and brothers, so we have had a lot more time together and we are able to enjoy the little things like eating breakfast, lunch and dinner all together, having long and deep conversations.
Personally, I really missed having this valuable time with my family, but never allowed myself the time to process how much I missed it because of the nonstop pace of my career. On the other hand, something that hasn’t changed too much are my music habits; music is still a part of my everyday but I have been able to develop a greater appreciation for the process now that I am working from my home studio and having to do everything myself. It has allowed me to learn many things about sound engineering and producing that I never knew before.
Alexandre Ricard - CEO, Pernod Ricard
I find I’ve been working more—first and foremost, to ensure the health and safety of our employees and business partners and to make the right decisions for the business in the current context and beyond. I’m in regular touch with colleagues and contacts around the world, but rather than meet in offices, bars and restaurants, we meet via video conference. It’s a great dry run for me and my Paris-based colleagues prior to our move into new offices later this year where we’ll be adopting flexible working practices. The upside to spending more time working from home is enjoying meals with my family and being around to read my two young children a bedtime story. Luckily there is a lock on the office door—otherwise it would be difficult to get any work done as they like coming in to “help” Daddy. In the short term, because of the lockdowns, consumers are unable to patronize their usual bars and restaurants.
This obviously impacts the profession, and I am proud of the initiatives that Pernod Ricard and other industry players have undertaken to support mixologists and others in the hospitality industry. As an example, Jameson has made a donation to the U.S. Bartenders Guild which is matching our contribution and providing financial relief to American hospitality workers. [We] also began using our plants in the U.S. and Canada to produce hand sanitizer…. We’ve produced 100,000 gallons to date and supplied areas of greatest need, including partnering with the NYPD and LAPD. This ground-up initiative exemplifies good corporate citizenship and prioritization of the greater good. The temporary closures of bars and restaurants have led to more consumers discovering e-commerce, an already fast-growing channel for wine and spirits, and presumably like me, they’ve been perfecting their mixology at home. In the longer term, when the confinement is behind us, I think there will be a greater appreciation of the sector and what it represents. For me, that comes down to one word: conviviality. The need for human connection, for convivialité (as we like to say) has never been stronger than it is now when the lockdowns in almost every country are keeping us apart.
Kate Bock - Supermodel, Maxim Cover Girl
@katebock The Society Model Management
I’ve been doing a lot of Zoom cocktail hours and group FaceTimes. My sister created a family trivia game and we all played to win! That was a fun way to connect from all over North America… It was hard to coordinate schedules in person with all of our busy lives, but now we have weekly happy hours on Zoom that no one misses…. I’ve spent a lot less time flying, a lot more time with my puppy attached to me!
I have been loving sharing more cooking, health, wellness and fitness [posts]. I’m able to shoot and share more while I’m home and not always on the go…. My skincare regimen has gone from a couple steps to a whole evening process. It’s fun to have time to really enjoy all the steps and see the difference it makes for your skin. My boyfriend and I have also been making moodboards at home. We’ll open a bottle of wine, grab a bunch of magazines and start tearing out pages that inspire us for our futures and put them together on a bulletin board.
Jarad McCaroll - Chef, Le Toiny, St. Barths
I believe that our industry will always have a place in society. The love of great-tasting food, this will not soon be forgotten. The question is how many restaurants can survive this period of lockdown and the months that follow. When will people trust the system enough. I feel that the next six to eight months will be about rebuilding our businesses and gaining the trust back from the general public. It will be a truly testing time for our industry over the next several months and only the strongest will survive, or the businesses with the deepest pockets…. I am fortunate to have a beautiful young family, and being in the hospitality industry means long hours away from them. With the forced lockdown I have been blessed enough to be able to spend so much time with them. Watching my two daughters grow and develop has been incredible over the last six weeks, so I count my blessings every time they come and wake me up every morning
Jasmine Sanders - Supermodel/Influencer
@goldenbarbie The Society Model Management
Ever since social distancing, my sleeping schedule has been completely messed up! I love the outdoors and fresh air so I’ve been spending most of my days outside laying by the pool, reading by the fire pit, or catching up on one of my shows on my laptop all while trying to complete a puzzle; but I adopted a new puppy, so he keeps my days busy.
I’ve also taken the time to make major home improvements that I am extremely proud of! I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to my family back home via FaceTime and honestly it’s been really nice to have the time off to catch up with my loved ones. Times are hard and stressful but the key is to take it one day at a time. I’m sending my love and prayers to those at home that are having a hard time dealing with this!
Nicole Williams - Designer/Supermodel/Influencer
@justtnic Teall Management
During this uncertain time, I find myself staying connected to my friends and family more than ever. It’s made me stop to think about what really matters and that has definitely been an eye opener. Things move so quickly that we tend to get caught up with work and day to day life, and rarely stop to be present with the people we love. Now I FaceTime with my family and friends so much throughout the day and it feels good…. My fans and audience mean everything to me, without them I wouldn’t have this platform.
I appreciate every single follower and fan that I have, and it’s so important to me that I let them know that. I try to post things that encourage my followers to stay positive and stay productive, especially in times like this. We can all feel so disconnected and unsure of what the future holds, so I want them to know they are not alone. I cannot wait to travel again. My first stop will be my hometown of Toronto to see my family and give them all a big hug. Then I'd love to travel somewhere that I've never been, maybe Bali. A big part of my job prior to quarantine was traveling around the world and though it could be exhausting, I never realized how much I would miss the excitement of being in a new city and exploring different cultures. I can't say that I miss redeye flights, but I don't think I'll look at them the same way anymore.
Greg Tarzan Davis - Actor, 'Top Gun: Maverick'
I feel like the coronavirus lockdown turned me into a big kid, because I turned to playing video games a lot. I'm not much of a gamer, but when you are trapped inside all day on lockdown and you receive messages from your friends saying let’s play online together, it's hard to turn that down. I kept saying this coronavirus has grown men turning into kids again…. I love to bake, so I would bake cakes and cookies, cupcakes, eat a few of them and then throw them away because I would get a tummy ache and upset with myself for eating so much. The cycle would happen over and over and over again…. I realized during this time there was so much stress removed from my shoulders because I wasn’t constantly thinking of what I had to do next, but paying more attention to what I was doing in the moment. I was looking so far in the future that I was skipping the now.
Megan Williams - Supermodel
@meganmayw The Lions Model Management
A beautiful thing that has come out of this is that my Nan (grandma) has learned how to use her phone and how to use FaceTime, so for the first time ever I have been having weekly conversations with her over FaceTime, and I really hope to continue this when our normal routines resume….
I’ve learned that I really value my friendships and family and how important they are for me. That it's important for me to make just as much time to connect with them always. It really is what keeps me going in those down moments we all have throughout the week… I’ve been baking. Something I haven't done since I was young with my Nan. I've been making banana bread, lemon cake and gluten free carrot cake from scratch.
Maryna Linchuk - Supermodel
@marinalinchuk1 The Lions Model Management
I think the beginning of quarantine was very challenging and I was on my phone a lot talking to everyone, however as time went by I learned new ways of living, connecting to those who are next to me. I talk to my closest friends, [and] sometimes we have good days, sometimes we cry together, so it’s important to have people that get you and support you. Also right before quarantine I had a baby which requires all of my attention right now, I’ve been lucky to spend this time connecting to her….
I think this period of social distancing is [one of the] most challenging times of our generation, but it gives you so much to think about, how you want your life to be, because you never know what is going to happen tomorrow... To stay sane I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and walks in nature, which I’ve been lucky to be able to do as we live in California. When it’s safe to do, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my friends and hugging everyone, and have a big dinner and travel again—just normal stuff we all took for granted.
Kelsey Merritt Supermodel/Influencer
@kelseymerritt The Society Model Management
I believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder. We should never take for granted the time we have with our loved ones. I have just downloaded TikTok since quarantine started, and I’ve been so obsessed. It’s hilarious and brings out a side to me that I never thought I had. I find myself dubbing to skits, dancing to trendy songs, and doing little quirky stuff that I probably would never do on my Instagram. I love how I get to show my fans a different side of me!
I started a MasterClass subscription and it is so worth it—I have been learning so much from experts in their fields and suggest that people should invest their time and money in learning something new. I loved watching chef Thomas Keller’s MasterClass and have applied a lot of his teachings to my everyday cooking. I am dying to go back to work. I love my job so much and not being able to do it makes me realize how much I actually enjoy what I do.
Pasquale Rotella - Founder of Insomniac and Electric Daisy Carnival
I’m working harder than ever right now. I’m meeting with the Insomniac team regularly via Zoom as we plan and adapt to the changing conditions we’re all facing. Even though festivals are paused around the world, I’m still working on our events so we’re ready when things open up. Insomniac is also a clothing company, a record label, a radio station, and a media company, so I’m able to devote more time to the areas of the business that have needed it…I’ve devoted the last 30 years of my life to organizing mass gatherings, so it’s hard to imagine things going back to the way they were. In order for things to start opening up in stages, there will have to be new best practices in place—and we’re already working on new protocols. Some of them will be temporary, some of them may be permanent… I believe that more so than any other culture, the dance music community thrives on human connection. We need to find ways of creating that energy and keeping those connections strong until we can all reunite again on the dance floor.
Mariah - Singer/Songwriter
I definitely feel more connected to my extended circle of friends and family because now is when we need each other the most. I have learned who my real friends are and have gotten a lot closer to my family because you don’t know what is going to happen next. You just have to be real, be a real friend and a real family member.
I wake up every day and focus on myself. I give myself an hour in the morning to work out, meditate, make a healthy breakfast, and drink my tea. I’m detoxifying myself from anyone who isn’t good for me. Bad habits that I had are gone. I’m just focusing on self-love and I do that by giving myself some “me” time in the morning or whenever I can. What I’m really looking forward to in the future is overcoming this pandemic. I hope the world picks itself back up and that we all come out stronger and better than ever.
Corey Taylor - Lead Singer, Slipknot
Obviously I’m usually on tour so this has affected me greatly. We’ve had to cancel several Slipknot tours. But I’ve been working on things at home: my solo album, new book, scripts, etc. So it’s really six in one hand, a half dozen in another. I hope that these events only make us temporarily cautious of being in big crowds. [But] I think after all is said and done, things will relatively return to normal. I think people can only shelter for so long before it's “danger be damned.” I have a feeling we’re all going to be seeing each other “live’” again sooner than we all think…. I think my favorite has been hearing about whole cities singing to the health care workers on shift changes, to let them know we’re all with them. Once again, just when you thought the dawn was darkest, music brings a little sunshine into some people’s lives.
Lindsey Jacobellis - Snowboarder and Olympian
I was in Switzerland at the World Cup Finals when my coach got me out of bed at four in the morning to tell me the team was not competing and we were flying home immediately. Once I was home I was isolated right away and told by the USOC that we needed to stay isolated for 14 days in case we were sick or carriers. At that moment, I started making the most of my isolation and immediately started on home projects… the ones that you always find excuses not to do, and getting creative with home gym workouts. The COVID-19 pandemic will 100% affect my sport. The economy will have to rebound and there is not a specific date when that will happen… We need resorts all over the world to host our races and if they are unable to host that will stop the production of the World Cup tour. Another result of this economic shutdown could impact the U.S. Team’s budget.
Olivier Krug - Directeur de la Maison, Krug Champagne
I believe that discipline and goodwill are our two key words. Everyone in the house is working hard all day long, so we have dedicated dinner time as family time. We then gather together for the daily eight PM celebration to recognize and thank all the healthcare and frontline workers. We still maintain our hobbies: the girls do home workouts with loud music, and I share drinks with friends through a screen. And, we admit to being spoiled tasting a bit of Krug more often than usual!
We have seen some trends of people sharing from home but, very honestly, this will never replace the human nature of socializing in your friends’ presence and going to your dearest restaurants and bars. I am personally so sad to see how this situation has impacted my friends in the hospitality industry. I’m hopeful for a rebound and to visit them again very soon. I’ve found many positives working from home. In this modern age we can touch base with people all over the world in almost one click. And I also appreciate the simplicities, like quiet streets, hearing the birds and seeing the blue sky. Sustainability should be more central in our way of doing business, as it is already for us as a Champagne producer, and in organizing our personal lives.
Lele Pons - Influencer
I was very inspired to create more content. I love to see how people worked back in the day when we didn’t have social media, especially now that we are home and we have to come up with new ways to create content without a crew. So, it motivated me to think outside the box and create new content with the elements that I have at home…. Ham and cheese and Nutella crepes [have been a staple]. I actually learned how to make them while filming one of my shows called “What's Cooking with Lele Pons”. Then I started making them for all of my friends and they really liked them. It’s really nice to make something from scratch and have it turn out really good. It's a great feeling of accomplishment…. I learned patience, something that I'm not particularly good at. I feel like now I have to put my mind at ease and relax more.
Shinobu Namae - Chef, L’Effervescence, Tokyo
A new realization for me is that I hadn't cooked only for myself at home more than three consecutive days, and I found out that I could cook delicious food, but it was not satisfying at all. For me as a chef, I have always been sharing food or surrounded by people (guests and staff ), and that feelings of connections have been satisfying me, and not only the deliciousness from taste or flavors…. I have started to read many textbooks on agricultural economy which I have always been wanting to study, and I'm still learning a much broader range of things about what is happening in the food industry…. People now care about others much more than before, and I think the guests [will] start understanding more about our hard work, and the value of hospitality. I am pretty sure that we will have stronger bonds together from each side—both who host and who are hosted.
Sita Abellan - DJ, Model and Designer
I am of course traveling less, but this doesn’t necessarily mean less work. I’m managing to keep myself busy by working out, meditating and focusing on all my designing and music. I have more time to listen to myself and stay creative which is not a bad thing. I try to stay positive. I’ve still been expressing myself in the digital world, so I'm still keeping busy there as well. Self-centering, not taking anything for granted. This is a good time for introspection for all of us.
Unfortunately this is very bad for all the live event industry, and everyone has to sit tight and wait till we will be lucky again to dance together. My thoughts go out to all the young and independent artists out there struggling to have their art listened to and make ends meet, as performing live is often the only way for artists to survive financially. [But] people have more time to listen to music and discover new artists, so I think this will be a big benefit to a lot of emerging artists.
Joe Henry - Master Distiller at J. Henry & Sons
If bars and restaurants remain closed any longer, it will drastically affect how we do business. Our restaurant partners are a huge portion of our business, and many of my personal friends are owners, bartenders, restaurateurs that are struggling. Please support them in any way you can, many places are still offering takeout of your favorite dishes. Long term affects may be hard to tell right now. We may see severely limited capacity for all restaurants and bars, even when we are "back to normal." Hopefully things will loosen up once the world gets healthier, but it is really hard to determine what the world will look like in a few months.
We’ve been able to focus on a ton of projects that have been on the back burner for quite awhile. We are ramping up our website, working on doing some rebranding for our labels, creating some new blends and products and focusing on things that will make us a stronger household brand. The farm is also an important part of our family business, so being able to work and still get corn in the ground is extremely important. The food supply chain is struggling right now, and we are trying to do our part to get corn, soybeans, wheat and rye in the ground for bourbon production, but also commercial and industrial uses. Everyone still has to eat, and it all starts with our farmers!