hitha palepu

Woman of Substance: Hitha Palepu of #5SmartReads.

I am almost positive all of you already know and follow my friend Hitha Palepu, but if you don’t, today’s post will be a treat. Hitha is a self-appointed “multi-hyphenate”: the CEO of Rhoshan Pharmaceuticals (a life sciences company she runs with her father!), an angel investor, the author of How to Pack, a mother of two, a wife, and the curator of #5SmartReads (a weekly news digest). She is also a voracious reader, Peloton enthusiast, and lover of the occasional glass of afternoon champagne (or Raventos i Blanc cava — our shared favorite).

Her exuberance and drive in her staggering professional and personal undertakings are made all the more remarkable because she is a deeply kind person. When I moved to New York three years ago, she sent me a warm and unexpected welcome message, sharing suggestions on places to eat and reassuring me that I would love the Upper West Side. At the time, we were strangers connected only via the comments section of our respective blogs, but I thought to myself: “New York feels a little more approachable with Hitha as my neighbor.” On further reflection, this approachability — her warmth, her down-to-earth-ness, her obliging nature — seems to me one of the success-making commonalities across her many endeavors, whether she is curating the news or telling us how to pack for a trip or explaining the complicated process of securing FDA approval for her pharma company, which she did one morning on a stroll through Central Park, translating its unwieldy technicalities into an easy-to-digest parcel that somehow did not sling us out of the otherwise light-hearted and casual conversation we were enjoying. She is an exegete of the times, an expert-level translator between the initiated and the not across a range of topics. This talent shines brightly in everything she does, whether curating the news or fundraising for her business, and I’m proud to know her. You can sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Instagram here.

You can also get to know Hitha better by reading her responses to my Woman of Substance Questionnaire below.

Your favorite qualities in a woman.
Bucking tradition, intelligence, humor.

Your favorite heroine.
General Leia Organa, the Queen of Jhansi, Diana Bishop from the All Souls Trilogy.

Your main fault.
Wanting to have it all and do it all, at the same time.

Your greatest strength.
My dual-brained nature. I’m equally analytical and creative and it’s helped me solve problems in a unique way. 

Your idea of happiness.
Pre-pandemic, it would have been wandering a new city and tucking into a small bistro for a snack and a cocktail, watching the city buzz along and savoring that sentiment of feeling lost but exactly where I’m meant to be. 
These days, it’s the blissful chaos of watching our kids play while we sit on the floor and sip a glass of wine and attempt to have a conversation over the din. That moment when I catch my husband’s eye during a rare moment when the kids are actually playing together, surrounded by a mess of toys and dinner simmering on the stove…those are my happiest moments.

Your idea of misery.
Quarantine definitely had its moments of misery and frustration. Generally speaking, ignorance and a stubborn refusal to listen to another side make me miserable at a micro and macro level.

Currently at the top of your shopping lust list.
A new couch! (Something we will invest in after Rhaki and Rho thoroughly destroy our current one). A Tory Burch Lee Double Bag. A pair of Brother Velles ruffled mules. A bespoke piece of jewelry from Shamila, featuring the birthstones of my husband, my sons, and my own. And more millwork and wallpaper in my home! 

Desert island beauty product.
It would have to be the Alchimie Forever Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask. It’s my hero skincare product that I use on flights, for a quick morning mask while I’m meditating and posting #5SmartReads, and/or as an overnight mask when my skin is dehydrated. It leaves your skin glowing and drenches it with moisture and I love it. 

Last thing you bought.
A slipcover for an armchair in our living room.

I feel most empowered wearing…
A perfectly tailored dress (forgiving where it needs to be, form-fitting where I want it to be) and a pair of pumps or wide-legged pants and a cropped silk t-shirt with a pair of velvet smoking loafers. 

Favorite Magpie post.
Party GirlSecret #Basic Behavior, and every Women Of Substance post!

Get the Hitha Vibe.

Shop the post by clicking the images below or seeing links below.

OVERSIZED SUNGLASSES // GOYARD-ESQUE PHONE CASE // LINGUA FRANCA SWEATER // BABY VANS // UPPABABY MINU STROLLER // COMME DES GARCONS TODDLER TEE // TORY BURCH LEE BAG // RAVENTOS I BLANC CAVA // CASHMERE TURTLENECK SWEATER // CASHMERE BLEND PANTS // LE MONDE BERYL VELVET SLIPPERS // PARAVEL MONOGRAMMED PACKING CUBES // THE FUTURE IS FEMALE ONESIE // HYDROFLASK // HOMEGOING BY YAA GYASI // ALCHIMIE FOREVER BRIGHTENING MASK // BY TERRY BAUME DE ROSE

P.S. New York is still a shock.

P.P.S. On surviving coronavirus with two small children in a Manhattan apartment.

P.PP.S. Under-$22 finds for my one-year-old son.

6 Comments

  1. Wow — so glad to see Hitha here! I’ve been an avid follower of/subscriber to her #5SmartReads.

    I love how she describes her dual-brained nature as her strength!

    And this: “savoring that sentiment of feeling lost but exactly where I’m meant to be” — I wish we had a word for that 🙂

    Jen, as a WOC I appreciate you featuring more diverse women of substance (along with your recent feature of Julia Webb) here!

    1. Hi Mia! Yay — so glad :). I agree, lots of wisdom and interesting self-insight in her responses. So glad you’ve been enjoying these recent Women of Substance posts! xx

  2. Aw loved this – you are two women whose blogs/email list I read religiously!

    Was so excited to see Diana Bishop from the All Souls Trilogy listed as one of Hitha’s heroines. Looooooove that series and highly recommend it to everyone who is looking for a little magic in their life!

  3. Loved this! I’ve so enjoyed following Hitha’s 5 Smart Reads (and newsletter) and really liked getting to know a little more about her. I also love that she was so kind and gracious in reaching out to you when you moved to New York!

    P.S. love that Lingua Franca sweater!!

    xx

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