Sharon Bailey: Massage Therapist

Spotted: Mission, SF

What are you up to today?
Today we're out here in San Francisco visiting family — well, actually they live where we live, which is in Wine Country, but we're here visiting an uncle. My partner's brother — his family.

What's your occupation?
I'm a massage therapist. I've been doing it for about 20 years now.

What drew you to massage therapy?
I started working in Los Angeles in my early 20s and I just had lots of good luck. I started getting celebrity clientele and high profile people, and it was so easy that I just continued doing that. But now that I've moved up here, I've been developing some other things. I just moved here three months ago — and left my whole clientele in LA. So I'm in transition now.

What brought you to the Bay Area?
Since we have a baby, we wanted to live out in nature and be close to the family.

What are the other projects that you're interested in?
Writing — fiction for children.

Any idea of the types of stories you'd like to write?
Yeah, I'm very interested in stories regarding race. I would like to see more people of color in children's books. So I'm currently working on a middle-grade novel right now. I finished my first draft and I'm revising it. So issues with race, gender, and sexuality are very fascinating to me.

Do you have any favorite authors that have tackled these issues?
So many! One of my favorites is Cynthia Kadohata — she's a Japanese author. Her debut book actually was a Newbery Medal winner. She's phenomenal — I love how she writes about the Japanese experience and how she draws from her own life. Another one is Jacqueline Woodson — she's one of my favorites for picture books. I just love how wide and varied her work is, from picture books to young adult. And she just actually won a Newbery! Just this last year for her book — it's actually a memoir about her life growing up in South Carolina and New York. First she lived in the South and then she moved to Brooklyn, so a lot of her memoir is about that transition.

Where are some of your favorite places to go either in wine country or here in the bay area?
Well the Bay Area, I love the Mission and part of it is because this is one of the last spots that hasn't quite been gentrified. And I love the used bookstores on this street. So I feel like there's still a lot of culture and history. Not that there isn't in the rest of San Francisco, but this is unique. We actually live in Santa Rosa, and we love everything about it. We're still exploring it and discovering it, right now it feels like all the spots are my favorite. Going to the farmer's market is one of our favorite things to do.

Did you make a special trip out here? (ran into her outside of La Palma Mexicatessen)
This is definitely a special spot for us. Even though we're close — we're just a few blocks away, we always come here. It's really good food!

What do you usually get here?
I recommend the tortillas. The tortillas are just the best. This is the first time I'm ordering food here. Usually we just come here for the tortillas and then we make our food at home. They're the best tortillas I've ever had — except for the tortillas that I've had in Mexico!

Sharon Bailey
I just wanted to also ask about your personal style, what do you like to wear?
I would say that I lean towards the hippie, so I guess I'd call it more bohemian. I love colors and patterned fabrics.

Did you just get this necklace? That's an interesting pendant!
Yeah, this is actually a feminist deity, and I got this at the ashram of a guru that I follow. The design on the pendant is actually the symbol of this deity called Bhairavi. I wear this pretty much every day.

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