Meet Christina Stephens, Spa Director at Exhale Spa at Gansevoort Turks + Caicos
How many years have you been involved with the spa industry?
I’ve been studying and working in the spa industry for more than 14 years.
What was the path that led you into the spa industry?
On my 16th birthday, my mother surprised me with a day at the spa and I received my first facial and massage. I remember feeling so incredibly relaxed and thinking, I want to make people feel this good one day.. Health, wellness, beauty, and fitness have always been a passion of mine, and after I graduated college with a BA in Psychology, I moved to San Diego to study Holistic Medicine and Massage Therapy. Soon after, I started a private massage therapy practice working with professional international sport teams, and eventually started working in luxury hotels and resorts.
What has surprised you most about working in the spa industry?
I have always felt being a massage therapist/Spa Director is one of the most rewarding careers however I am always so amazed by the amount of wonderful people I have the opportunity of meeting and interacting with by being in this industry. Working internationally gives you priceless experiences and the ability to make great connections with so many different people around the world.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?
Being able to keep yourself balanced, mind-body-spirit, while delivering the same message and experience to your guests can be challenging at times, however, one of the most rewarding aspects is being able to give someone an experience of total zen and ultimate relaxation.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Making lasting connections with many people throughout the world and being able to adapt, learn, grow, evolve, and succeed over the years in many different avenues within the Health and Wellness industry has been my greatest accomplishment.
What qualities do you look for in your spa staff?
Naturally gifted healers who are team players, able to connect with guests, and take pride in the quality of their work.
Where do you think the industry is heading?
I’m excited to be a part of a brand that encompasses Mind-Body wellness by offering award-winning spa therapies as well as core fusion fitness classes. I believe the spa industry will start to evolve into a full service Mind-Body Wellness Center over the years.
What is the strangest client request you’ve fielded?
Years ago, at a pet-friendly resort, we allowed a guest to have two dogs in the massage room during a service and offered the pups massages while the owner was having a massage.
What new spa treatment would you like to try?
I’ve always wanted to try Watsu Massage in the South Pacific.
What’s your go-to spa treatment?
Our Glow Body Scrub followed by a Deep Flow massage and True Facial is my favorite spa treatment.
What’s your favorite skincare ingredient?
Hyaluronic Acid in our Strawberry Rhubarb Serum
Tell us two things about you that we don’t know.
I have always been a tropical “island girl” at heart and absolutely love the Caribbean ocean. My goal is to visit every island in the world throughout the course my life.
What positions have you worked in that you feel have been most influential to your career?
My first massage therapist position was with the W Hotel San Diego, the WOW training I received with that company set the tone for my entire career. Working with the NFL, Major League Soccer, and the BMW Oracle Sailing Team for the America’s Cup have also helped shaped my experience as a therapist and business owner.
If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
I would love to work for the travel channel and document all my adventures… or maybe even be a Forbes inspector one day J
How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Growing up my father always encouraged me to “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” ... I took that literally, followed my passion, pursued my goals, and built an entire career off those very words.