Women We Love: Tina Tainui

Jul 17, 2019 | Community, Health & Wellbeing

Tina Tainui Angea Women We Love

*Image credit lululemon 

Tina Tainui is a woman not easily summed up in a bio. She is a yogi, business woman, creative, artist, and, so fortunately for us at Angea, a dear friend. When we launched our monthly Women We Love series, we immediately knew Tina needed to be featured. Her business, Mudd Sculpting, has operated across the road from Angea for 27 years and she has been an integral part of the Prahran community during that time. In this conversation we talk about the evolution of Greville Street, switching her salon to a sustainable model and what the biggest teaching of Tina’s full life has been. 

Tell us about Mudd – we know it is a hair dressing salon, but what really goes on when a client walks through your doors? 

Mudd to me has been a place where I can connect with Woman, and men, and be able to cultivate a sense of wholistic beauty. I realized that when you’re working with people on their hair, you’re not just making them look good. There’s a responsibility that I feel is more weighted and that, for me, has always been about seeing their beauty from the inside. Working with the canvas of their physical being and being able to cultivate what that looks like and how that translates to hair – the level of external beauty.  It’s more than seeing beauty on just the superficial surface level.
Finding myself has enabled me to cultivate that in other people.
Organically over many years it grew: I don’t just do one person’s hair but also their friends and sometimes their whole family so naturally Mudd has become a tribe, a community and an extended family.
You’ve had a business in Prahran for over 27 years – tell us how the area has evolved over time?
When I first started working on Greville Street there were a lot of op shops, task force (a drug testing centre), and a drop in centre so the street was considered undesirable. No-one wanted to go there: it was full of old buildings and character. We did slowly get amazing artisan businesses in Greville street. I have felt that the area should have cultivated a more boutique style but slowly over the years the more corporate, commercial shops have snuck in which pushes up the rentals and forces some of the boutiques out.
“In it but not of it”
During this time the street has changed but as my salon isn’t on the street level we’ve kept a bird’s eye on the changes that inevitably happen. Upstairs we are one step removed from what has happened on the ground level  – and this has been important in being able to stay connected to the roots and supporting people that were doing things of integrity and value.
My business has always supported & networked with the smaller businesses in our shire. Take the record store – Greville Records – we have been on the street over 25 yrs since the beginning of retail on Greville. The transformation has been huge and sadly with Swinburne shutting down we underwent a mass exodus of youth. Hopefully though, and  as  with all change, we may just experience another wave of youth with the Prahran High School that has just been built and opened this year.
When that things change I always remember that nothing is permanent. There is the steadiness, but so much changes and that’s part of life and evolution, so I don’t get caught up in it.
We understand Mudd is moving to a more sustainable model – what has driven that? 
Probably my journey through yoga and health – I grew up on a farm, eating the meat that we had from the animals we on the farm and the vegetables from our own garden.  I always thought it was just normal to live in a self-sustainable world.
I moved to America when I was 19,  it was the first time I had to buy food from the shops: where I grew up if we wanted to eat my mum went to the garden. The food from the shop all tasted so… well it didn’t taste at all, more to the point. So I realised that I had to seek out  organic, something that  had always been a given in my life at home except now it had a label “organic” and a price tag that was no option in my eyes.
Health has always been an important part of my life. First it was food then it became apparent that food had a lot to do with the environment we lived in. So then sustainability came into every area of my life.
I have always leaned towards sustainable but I really took it to the next level when I met my business partner Tori Pitts.  She had managed the first sustainable salon in Melbourne, Organica, and has been a blessing to have on board.  She bought with her the knowledge and details of running a sustainable business.  We trade with organic colors,  ammonia free, sulphate  free everything.  Our retail collection also is sustainable in every way.  Tori and myself are committed to a non toxic 100 percent sustainable work and home environment.  We are fully into recycling even our clothes and furniture.
It’s how I engage with the world physically, emotionally and energetically.
It is not just the physical realm that we need to be sustainable in – it’s everything. We need to be sustainable with our intentions.The world is so busy and many humans are out there to get whatever they can to expand their dollar.
In my outlook thoughts are energy and energy moves matter – energy existed before matter ever did.
We are at an all time crisis environmentally so what does that mean on an energetic level?  There’s not enough quality of attention to how we are impacting our physical world… what does that look like energetically & in what we are creating, thinking and feeling? It is all connected.
You’ve recently founded a not for profit, Peace.IN, can you talk to your motivations why you were compelled to do so? 
I have a child, Jacob, New Zealand born that  I adopted out when I was 19.  Jacob moved to Australia at 2 & grew up in the Western suburbs in a fractious and somewhat violent family. It wasn’t that they didn’t love their adopted child but their expression of love was somewhat repeating a pattern from their own childhoods and maybe not processed or with an elevated consciousness.
I moved from the USA to Australia to be closer to Jacob as he grew and was fortunate to be actively in his life since he was 6.  He spent his 20s incarcerated and no outreach, rehab, reform program has helped him and so his journey has now taken him back to his motherland New Zealand as he was deported almost two years ago.
My life of yoga led me to want to help other people’s children that are incarcerated.  Isolation and incarceration rarely help prisoners find tools to live a more meaningful and purposeful life.  I thought maybe a yoga practice will just allow them to learn to live with themselves with more peace no matter what the  situation.
My goal has never been to change or fix what was happening but give the prisoners a pathway of opportunity to inhabit their body with more ease.  My mantra and philosophy behind the foundation Peace.IN and everything I embody when teaching is “Every human regardless of their biography or geography deserves the right to live with themselves in peace”
What has the biggest teaching of your life been? 
Learning to live with myself.
…all of yourself? 
Learning to live with myself and who I am. The stories and the fabric of my life that got me to where I am today. The child, the young adult, the now 52 year old woman. Learning to allow all of the stories and let them be my gift. Cultivating and creating a life that I envisage, that is my best self, a higher consciousness with an awakened state of mind. Well, that’s the aim and the dream!
What will the title of your memoir be? 
I see me do you see you.
What is one word that reflects you 

Tina is the founder of Mudd, located opposite Angea on Greville Street. Tina is a hairdresser, business owner, yoga teacher and founder of the not for profit, Peace.IN, that brings yoga, meditation and mindfulness to men and women in custody in Australia. Follow Tina on Instagram @tinatainui or do your hair (and the planet) a favor and visit Mudd (0417390672)