Tags: creative director
I am a big fan of running. My knees, not so much. But I train them and I get them good shoes and I do my thing in the end. So, it was running that made me want to meet Nikky so bad. I wanted to know all about it. What’s her routine, what she eats, how long she runs, how do you get from running 1kl to running half a marathon. Plus, the girl is a sight for sore eyes. I say yes to people who color their hair pink just for the fun of it. I say yes to people who wear colorful clothes and I say yes to people with cool dogs named Bono. So one sunny morning, I stepped into the California sprinkled apartment she shares with her beloved George and discovered the world of the fabulous Nikky Hayia.
I wanted to ask you about running.I always see you posting about how many miles you’ve run and I was curious how you decided to run?
I have to say, me and running were far from friends until two years ago.
But you do yoga, right? And you also teach yoga.
Yes, yoga has been a big part of my life the past years. I was never really into sports, but one day I decided to quit my job, which I loved and really enjoyed. So the day I quit, I felt so bad and I cried a lot. A friend who owned Hot Yoga offered me a job at the front desk of that place, and I thought I would give it a try for a while, until things rolled in my career. That’s when yoga really came into my life. I had done it in the past as well, but I really felt I needed the calmness it gives you at that particular time.Yoga changed me as a person and all that without some teacher pointing the finger at you and forcing you into the ‘right’ way. Your body feels different and you think different, so everything fell into place.
Running I hated! Absolutely couldn’t do it. Any time George would ask me to go for a jog with him I would refuse. One day, a good friend of mine, Kimonas Frangakis, came up to me and told me he was organizing Ladies Run. He asked me to run for the Ladies Run event and I told him that was out of the question. I couldn’t even make a 5 meter race, not the 5km he was asking me to run.
But eventually you said yes.
Yes, I did. George helped me get it shape and slowly, but steadily increase the distance I could run. Of course the first time we gave it a try, I must have run about 200 meters and I stopped feeling I could just die then and there.
That’s so encouraging! I always thought you were a natural born runner.
Ha ha! I get that a lot from people. Yes it is encouraging! On my first running attempt I just wanted to die. I was short of breath and my face was tomato red. But then running became some sort of meditation for me. I put my headphones on and just zone out. Or maybe I can focus and think of things when I run.
What’s your routine? How many days per week do you practice?
About 3 to 4 times. Once I will run 10 km straight, the next time I will do a 5 and then stop, rest and keep on with the rest of the route and the hardest is when I run about 5 km and do 100m springs. So this is pretty much it.
Apart from that, I saw that you had this idea of girls running twice a month. You called it the Runny Bunny.
You know, I had this idea after I ran in San Francisco. The marathon was girls only, and I loved this girle feeling, with women sticking to one another and really understanding one another. With men it’s completely different, they are much more competitive. But women are supportive. There are so many running groups in town, but none of them is for girls only, so I said I would give that a go. So I am starting this thing, just for girls, twice a month, and everyone can join, we won’t be running 10km straight from day one. Maybe later I will add some yoga in between and make it all nice and girlie.
Tell me about running with Nike at San Francisco.
I am an ambassador for Nike in the Southern Suburbs of Athens. They have two more in town, but this year there was a lot of focus on women and running. So they sent me to SF and just to get in shape I had to wake up at 6 every day in the summer to practice.
Were there a lot of steep hills?
No, it’s not like the ones you see in the movies. The dramatic hills are downtown. Luckily.
I think the biggest challenge when running is the psychology. Whenever I see a steep hill I think I lose all my courage and will.
Yes, indeed. But I had a friend, like a running buddy and she gave me a lot of courage and I did too. Ashley. We are still in touch and I am waiting for her to come visit me in Greece. And you know it was really great, because when we were running we stuck together and then at the end, when we saw the finish line, we just held our hands and crossed it together. It was an amazing experience.
Wow. So you ran for how long? How did you feel afterwards?
I ran for about 2 hours and 20 minutes. After the race, I cooled down a bit and then I really felt like eating something unhealthy. So I called my best friend and told him I ate the most unhealthy thing I could find. He was like: what? What did you eat? I had to veggie burgers at Burger King. Obviously he told me I had no clue what unhealthy is.
How many tattoos do you have?
Eleven. Wow, eleven! When did I get to eleven?
And the one on your finger, you had it done in SF?
Yup. I wanted to do a diamond and I did. It’s like an engagement ring. I got married to myself and put a ring on it! Ha ha!
What about Mohxa? You are helping with the PR of the brand right?
Wait, let’s ask George to tell you about Mohxa.
George: Mohxa means setting yourself free. It’s ancient Indian actually. I got that from Nikki’s yoga culture. I have always been into the fashion industry and wanted to do something on my own. When my best friend, Jason a photographer living in Brazil the past 3 years moved back to Athens we decided to start something together.
Was it hard?
George: What is hard is that you cannot always find what you are looking for. A lot of industries have shut down and a lot of machines that can give you the effect you want on the lines of the shirts we design. So we have to elaborate.
Do you only design stuff for boys?
George: Yes, but all their girls wear our stuff. And a lot of our customers are girls. Nikki wears my stuff all the time!
Nikki has a twitter and an instagram account. Runny Bunny has an instagram account as well.
A few comments on the things pictured and said above:
Bono is a French Bulldog. This means he breathes really heavily, making very scary sounds, but this doesn’t stop him from being the cute dog he is. He also wore a shirt just to impress me for the photo shoot. / The jewel on Nikki’s Nikes is a gift from Nike for running at San Francisco. It’s a Tiffany’s. / Thumbs up for the two banana trees Nikki and George have on their balcony. No bananas yet, but really big leaves. / Nikki was originally called the Kounelli by a friend who came by her place once, only to find her wearing bunny ears for no particular reason. He wanted to save her number on his contacts and because there was already another Nikki in there, he decided to name her Nikki to Kouneli, which means Nikki the bunny. / Her running routine takes place by the beach each morning at 6 o clock. Kids – Don’t try this at home. Try it on the beach. I know I will. / Her long board is her latest love and hobby.