Danielle Massi was recovering from cervical cancer in 2019 when she began her search for wellness experts and mental health practitioners to help guide her on her journey back to health. She knew there were a wealth of them in Philadelphia, but she didn’t know how to find them.
“All I knew is that I was physically hurting,” said Massi, who is 34 and lives in Marlton. “I was mentally wrecked and I was emotionally drained. I didn’t know what to do — and I was a psychotherapist.”
So, she created “Self(ish) Philly,” an annual self-care conference featuring dozens of health and wellness practitioners under one glamorous roof. “Self(ish) Philly,” now in its fourth year, will take place Sunday, Sept. 17 at The W Hotel, taking over two floors. Nearly 500 people are expected to come, Massi said. The goal: To provide women with the resources they need to be preventive and proactive about their health.
“Wellness is having the awareness to know what keeps your mind sharp, your body limber, and your heart full,” said Massi, wife and mom of two children under 10. “It’s about listening to your body and doing what it needs, whether it’s taking a five minute walk or a five minute meditation. I wanted to put as many resources as I could in one room.”
This year’s “Self(ish) Philly,” is the largest ever. Participants can sign up for reiki, massages, facials, and IV hydration. Aubrey Howard, a certified breathwork specialist and daughter of actor Terrence Howard (”Empire”), will give lessons on how to calm anxiety with deep breaths.
There will be green smoothie samples and healthy food options galore. Gem Life Collective will make non-alcoholic cocktails and those of us who require wine for our wellness rituals can hit up City Winery. Philly Fashion Week founders Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott will bring models dressed by local fashion designers. And Prajjé Jean-Baptiste, who recently competed on “Project Runway All Stars,” will give his special Philly-infused fashion advice because everyone knows if you look good, you feel good.
Massi wants to provide a safe place for people who want to take care of themselves, but feel guilty taking the time. She’s been there. Before she got sick, she felt guilty when she went to barre classes, got a manicure, or read a book. She struggled to find time for her annual wellness checks. But once she was diagnosed, taking care her body and keeping her mind happy wasn’t an optional exercise anymore. She did the things she loved and followed doctor’s instructions.
Ultimately Massi, who is now cancer-free, says she wants to host “Self(ish)” events in other cities. “My hope is that “Self(ish) Philly” becomes “Self(ish) LA”, “Self(ish) New York”, and “Self(ish) Everywhere.” I want it to be a movement.”
Tickets are $99 for general admission, $169 for VIP, and can be purchased at www.selfishphilly.com