Today the Venice Paparazzi spotlight shines a light on Rasha Mediene.
Venice Paparazzi’s “In the Spotlight” is an interview series that highlights people and organizations in the Venice community. The purpose is to shine a light on all the positive things being done by the fantastic folks in our town!
GIVE US A BRIEF BIO OF YOURSELF:
I am a serial entrepreneur with a focus on business, travel, and entertainment. I have always been drawn to the world of entrepreneurship and have had a passion for building successful businesses from scratch. I have a natural flair for identifying new opportunities and creating innovative solutions to complex problems.
NAME OF COMPANY:
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY. WHAT MAKES IT SO GREAT?
Everything I do, I do from the heart. I am extremely passionate about all my business ventures and aim to keep things fresh, fun and simple for everyone involved.
HOW LONG IN BUSINESS AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? WHERE DID THE IDEA OR INSPIRATION COME FROM?
I found the store in 2021 and used it to sell a hoodie brand that I started in 2020. By the time 2022 rolled around, I lost interest in the hoodies and got back into travel. (Roam with Rasha was born) Once that happened, an old friend of mine, Wail Alsaidi, and now business partner, was telling me about his exotic snack shop, Mr. Exotix, which sells rare and exotic snacks from around the world. And it reminded me of a time when I was in London and spent $13 on a bag of Hot Cheetos. This was because they are made in the US, therefore rare and exotic in London. That’s when I knew this would be a hit and figured this would work nicely with my travel interest.
Since all the other stores are on the east coast, Wail flew into Los Angeles to check out the spot. He liked it and we agreed to move forward. That was in August of 2022. We opened 4 months later on December 31, 2022.
I have been teaching students of all ages and swim levels for over 3 years now. Swimming was something I’ve been doing since I was about 2 years old! It’s hard for me to fathom a life without it, so when I hear adults tell me they don’t know how to swim, I am shocked. Being able to swim is a valuable life skill that I believe everyone should know. Which is what inspired me to start this venture.
I was known as the mermaid at my local gym because of how impressive I was at such a young age. Of course I swam on the swim team in middle and high school; no matter the year, I was always varsity. Once I turned 16 I got my lifeguard certificate and began lifeguarding by the age of 17. I’ve kept my certification up to date ever since. I have over 25 years of swim experience and understand that everyone learns differently. If something isn’t working one way, we’ll try another, and another, until we reach our goal! I do not believe in giving up.
I just started taking Roam with Rasha seriously as I received so many questions after my last solo trip, I decided to take this idea to the next level. I noticed many people offering group trips and itineraries but I don’t travel like that. I enjoy traveling solo, with no solid plans, just an idea of what I’d like to do. But I enjoy keeping my options open to what may come my way. So now I teach others how to do the same! Not only via social media, but I have also started a private club where the Roamers get the inclusive scoop on all things travel, including first class flight deals, tips and tricks and being able to use me to ask any travel questions that may arise. You can access the club via my website here. However, if you prefer an itinerary or want to travel with a group, I would suggest Your Travel Junkies. I’ve gone on 2 group trips with them and Joslyn Klait is the one that handles it all.
This one’s personal. I started ArabGirlPod in 2020, when I realized that a lot of middle eastern girls were not really living. Most of them go from their fathers house to their husbands house and never really get a chance to experience life on their own or their full potential. This makes me sad, because I wonder who these females would have become had they not grown up in such a strict environment. A singer? A dancer? An actress? All dreams that never even get the chance to see the light of day because it’s “unacceptable” in our culture.
So if your dreams are suppressed, are you really living a happy life?
This is what pushed me to start and host ArabGirlPod. I decided to bring people on my platform from all different walks of life who have broken out of their cultural norms. We discuss how much happier they are now because they did, how they got to where they are today, and their biggest challenges. I do this in hopes of showing others that there is more to life, and if your heart yearns for something, you should go out there and see what you can do.
The podcast is everyone else’s story, this one is mine. This is the book where I lay it all on the table.
From as far back as I can remember, I take you year by year, month by month through what I can remember of my life. You will soon realize the series of unfortunate events that I had to encounter before I could make it to this point in my life. I promise, this story will shock you.
The book is coming soon, but the waitlist can be found here.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME?
Mr. Exotix – Franchise Name
Coach Rasha – Well, I am the coach, and my name is Rasha. Haha.
Roam with Rasha – I wanted something that explained who I was and blended with my name. After a lot of research with travel words that start with the letter R, this one made the cut.
ArabGirlPod – Since I am an Arabic girl, and I host the podcast, that name came pretty naturally.
Habibti, What’s Wrong? – Habibti in Arabic means, My love. And the reason I chose this title is because I feel like the book is responding to this question. I remember being at my darker points in life, and people asking me what’s wrong, and my only answer was “everything”. Now I’m using that question to help me tell the stories. It’s as if an angel is asking me “Habibti, what’s wrong?” and I am responding via my book as my most vulnerable self.
WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I am the most proud of how fast I was able to grow Coach Rasha. In my first year teaching solo, I taught over 50 students how to become pool safe. More importantly, most of those students came from word of mouth, and as a business owner dealing with children, this is extremely important for me to be able to keep going.
I am also proud of how fast we were able to open up Mr. Exotix and how amazing the grand opening was. I was able to bring together the network I’ve built out here and creating memories with them was so beautiful to see.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN YOUR FIELD?
Create a plan, stick to it and be consistent. Find ways to make your life easier, like apps, there are so many apps now that can replace people and save you time. Also, do not overlook the power of social media and simplicity of creating ads there.
ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? ANNOUNCEMENTS, UPCOMING EVENTS, AND/OR NEW PROJECTS?
I actually started a hustle hub as well for entrepreneurs to network, learn tips and tricks from each other and even share any upcoming events! The goal is to bring all entrepreneurs together and help each other grow in different ways. You can join for free here.
A few personal questions:
Success is anytime you hit a goal you set for yourself. So I think it’s tough to be successful without some type of goal. This can be anything from waking up early and going to the gym, finishing your to do list or buying your dream house.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Hard work and consistency will not go unnoticed.
FAVORITE AFFIRMATION, MANTRA, OR QUOTE:
The opportunity is in the show up.
FAVORITE BOOK, BAND OR MOVIE?
Bird Box because I enjoy a good thriller that makes you wonder if you’re ready for something like that to happen to you.
LIST 1-2 THINGS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
- Learning how to ride a horse
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE ABOUT YOURSELF TO THE WORLD? FUN FACTS OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
- I speak Arabic fluently
- I am currently a student at UCLA, studying acting
- I have an electrical engineering degree and a project management degree.
- I was accidentally in London when the Queen died.
- I ride a Ducati 959 Panigale #bikelife Here’s my instagram for that.
Venice is where one can truly be themselves. This is the place where anything goes. The people here are aware that not everyone is the same, so it has become a judgement free zone. You’ll see barefoot surfers alongside high end professionals. It’s really a rare site to see.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY IN VENICE?
I’d wake up at the Venice V hotel, grab a coffee from Menotti’s then Rollerblade alongside the ocean walk. Brunch would be at Fig Tree, I love the Pasta Del Mar, then I’d take a walk through the Venice canals. Find my way to Mr. Exotix, grab a snack, then put on my wetsuit and hop in the ocean. Dinner would be at sunset on the rooftop of Hotel Erwin and a night cap at Belles Beach House before heading home.
ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT VENICE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY?
I love this city. The support here has been unreal, and I appreciate everyone welcoming us.
WHO SHOULD VENICE PAPARAZZI CAST THE SPOTLIGHT ON NEXT?
Awi Dawa. Phone repair.