Nadya Okamoto: Interview
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Nadya Okamoto, who grew up in Portland, OR, is 21-years-old Harvard student on a leave of
absence. She is the Founder and Executive Director of PERIOD (period.org), an organization
she founded at the age of 16. PERIOD is now the largest youth-run NGO in women’s health,
and one of the fastest growing ones here in the United States. Since 2014 they have addressed over 500,000 periods and registered over 300 campus chapters. In 2017, Nadya ran for office in Cambridge, MA. While she did not win, her campaign team made historic waves in mobilizing young people on the ground and at polls. Nadya recently published her debut book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement with publisher Simon & Schuster, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018. Most recently, Nadya has become the Chief Brand Officer of JUV Consulting, a Generation Z marketing agency based in NYC. Most recently Nadya was named to InStyle Magazine’s “The Badass 50: Meet the Women Who Are Changing the World” list, along with Michelle Obama, Ariana Grande, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
1. Name, pronouns, career/job title?
Nadya Okamoto, She/Her/Hers, Co-Founder and executive Director of PERIOD. The
Menstrual Movement and Chief Brand Officer at Juv Consulting.
2. Can you describe your book, ‘Period Power’?
Period Power aims to explain what menstruation is, discuss the stigmas and resulting
biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods.
It covers everything from what is happening biologically, to historical information about
period products, and the political environment around menstruation. Things are
changing. Conversations surrounding the tampon tax, period poverty, and menstrual
equity are no longer taboo. The next generation can and will change the silence and
status quo around menstruation and gender equality. My book is a call to action for
today’s youth to become tomorrow’s change makers.
3. What inspired you to write the book?
I wanted to write a book to show that this movement was REAL and has a larger vision
for social and systemic change -- we have an agenda, and real info and thoughts behind
why we’re doing this.
4. What impact has it made thus far?
Since the book came out, it’s been incredible to see more people posting about their periods
and their #periodpower on social media, starting chapters, and wanting to get more involved
after reading the book too. I hope that the book has also helped to create more unity in the
Menstrual Movement with the mission of all of us working towards the same goal in the same
5. What other activism have you been involved in?
When I was 19-years-old, I ran for public office. I ran for Cambridge City Council! We didn’t win, but we made historic waves with student turnout.
I am a big advocate for youth empowerment as well, and am Chief Brand Officer at JUV Consulting, a Gen Z marketing agency.
6. How can others take social and political activism in their communities?
Have discussions about periods -- it’s a simple solution! The best way to help and get involved in the menstrual movement is to TALK ABOUT PERIODS. Have the book out and in the open - talk about how period products should be a necessity. Tell people period products should be free in all restrooms and made readily available. They should be treated just like toilet paper and paper towels in terms of access. I talk about this a lot in my book, Period Power. It starts with finding what drives you and believing in your ability to make change happen, ignoring the self-doubt, and going for it. Find a community of like minded people who want to help you make an impact.
Put yourself out there, find a mentor, ask questions, take the leap!
7. Any final thoughts?
Get involved! Period.org @periodmovement - stay in touch @nadyaokamoto on social