Alia Knowlan is the lead designer of Brightside: a new app that is focused on personalized treatment plans for depression and anxiety. Brightside stands out because it encompasses a holistic approach to mental health: touching on personalized medication plans, nutrition, and even Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Knowlan is leading the revolution to a new design approach to mental healthcare.
1. What is your life motto right now?
Trust the process.
2. What's your most-played song within the past week? Why?
Pull Up by Burna Boy — but really this whole album because it’s fantastic.
3. Top 3 books of all time:
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman,
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera,
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
4. Your approach to health in one sentence:
The closer to nature the better.
5. Your approach to happiness in one sentence:
Eat well, sleep enough, tend to your mind, move your body, and surround yourself with people who make you feel like you.
6. Your approach to dating/love in one sentence:
Radiate your unique self and the best love finds you.
7. Your most cringe date:
When I was fully unaware that it was a date until halfway through when he made a move and I choked on popcorn...
8. Your most used word:
"You gotta feel it to heal it."
9. Last Screenshot:
A screenshot of my company Brightside’s instagram, where I’m leading the design.
10. What are 1-3 things you do when you feel blue to make yourself feel better? / or feel like you’re having an off day?
Cry it out! You gotta feel it to heal it.
Hug my dog a lot — puppy love is the best love.
Jump in a body of water.
11. Insert most used emoji:
— I’ve been real dramatic lately.
— This is second most so that’s a bit nicer.
12. Most inspiring quote:
This quote about creativity by Ira Glass (that someone turned into this cute video).
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
13. What was the last thing that made you laugh?
This dog that found a clam.
14. Who’s someone who you can rely on to always make you smile? Why/what do they do?
My friend Zoë who lives life with her whole heart and is always up for an adventure, swim, dance, or long-ass talk.
15. Best advice you’ve ever gotten:
Your productivity does not equal your self-worth.
16. Someone/something that changed your life (for the better):
My partner Chris who supports me in all things, knows how to calm me the heck down, and never lets me settle.
17. Most overrated advice / trend right now (in your opinion):
Taking supplements as a replacement for eating fruits and veggies.
18. Something you feel like saying:
No one really knows what they’re doing. They’re all just figuring it out as they go. You don’t have to wait until you feel confident to do it. The confidence comes by doing.
19. Fave website / youtube video / link online at the moment:
Claire Saffitz’s Gourmet Makes on Bon Appétit’s youtube channel.
20. Fill in the blank: I’m happiest when I: _______________________
am in an artistic groove, in the ocean, or dancing around the house with the ones I love.
21. Tag a gem who inspires you:
Kathy Hlavac — who is the most driven person I know and always pushes me to realize my strength and worth.