Meet Kaila Perusco, founder of Conscious Dating Co and your answer to virtual dating if that just ain’t your thing.
Starting out with the well received Craft Singles events at Work-shop in Redfern, Kaila has been bucking the online dating trend over the past six years, responding to a growing interest in real world connections.
Enter Conscious Dating Co. who create events for singles to meet, be it activity driven or in an ambiently curated environment – no two events are the same. Not strictly a match-making endeavour, Perusco’s intent is to create the right atmosphere for connections to happen.
Gaining traction since she launched the company, it has been a non stop year of events and personal growth for the doyenne of Australia’s contemporary face-to-face dating scene.
We took a virtual five with Kaila to find out more about the lady behind the scenes!
1. Where can we find Kaila when she’s not hosting stellar Conscious Dating Co. events?
When I’m not hosting Conscious Dating events, organising future events and delving into the
conversation of what it means to date consciously, I can be found teaching clay workshops at
Work-shop in Redfern and working at Sydney’s best eyewear shop, George Skoufis Optometrist, in Paddington.
2. What are you finding interesting in the world at the moment?
I’ve recently gone through a breakup, and I’m dating for the first time in a long time. So I’m finding that super interesting, and I’m learning so much about myself in the process.
I find heartbreak and breakups and relationships fascinating… it can all be incredibly painful but also such a good way to learn about yourself and crack yourself open more and more. Now I’m on my own path of ‘dating consciously’ and it’s such an interesting space to be in, really
feeling that I need to walk my own walk and be the guinea pig for trying different approaches.
3. Why do you think there has been such a positive response to Conscious Dating Co.?
I think that we all delved head first into dating apps and sites without much thought of how we can use these new technologies best. Conscious Dating Co. has resonated with people who feel that dating has become soulless – swiping feels so impersonal and more like online shopping; people ‘ghost’ each other rather than have honest (uncomfortable) conversations; and it’s definitely more acceptable to play it cool than be vulnerable and show your feelings.
Although mindfulness has touched on so many aspects of modern life (from work to eating to
exercising), when it comes to dating, sex and relationships, we don’t often talk about approaching those things in a more conscious way.
4. It’s not just about matchmaking either, you recently hosted a panel around Race + Dating – what was the conversation around that like?
It was exciting to hold space for that conversation to happen, and to be able to bring our speakers together to facilitate that. We spoke with Santilla Chingaipe, Zuleyka Zevallos and Andy Quan about the role that race plays in modern dating and it’s impacts, from discrimination to fetishisation.
Santilla hosted the SBS show Date My Race, Zuleyka is a brilliant sociologist who specialises in sexuality, gender and discrimination, and Andy Quan has written extensively on sexual racism in gay communities. My hope is that we all take some self enquiry into who we ‘swipe’ on and why, and become really curious with our built-in biases.
5. There was also a Women’s Night earlier in the year, what prompted you to host this event?
One of the best things about hosting Conscious Dating is that I get to hear from so many different men and women about what’s up for them in dating and sex and relating. I spoke to women who were feeling really disillusioned by dating apps; who were trying to have conscious, casual sex minus the game-playing; who were wanting more authentic connections.
And then I met Celeste Jahn, who is this amazing psychologist and diverse sexuality specialist. So we got a group of women together, we started with a tantric meditation by Thais Santos, who taught us how to connect to our heart space and feel our own sexual energy. Then we had a group therapy session! We talked about how to regain your power on dating apps and make them work for you, how to have conscious fuck buddy’s, how to mindfully approach new relationships… it was great. It felt so good to be surrounded by women who were being vulnerable, sharing and supporting each other.
6. Have there been any memorable Conscious Dating Co. events so far?
Ahh all of them have been memorable to me! I guess recently I had Conscious Dating’s 1st
birthday and hosted a picnic where anyone could come along. We did eye-gazing in the park, and people brought delicious food and shared their stories. That was really special to me, to be
surrounded by such beautiful people who just resonated with what I’m about and also want to live in a world with more human connection. It felt really special.
7. If you could go back in time and impart some words of wisdom to a younger Kaila, what time would you pick and what would you say?
Honestly, there were so many times that younger Kaila could have benefited from a good talking
to, but I don’t think she would have listened 😉 I think if anything, it would just be: love yourself.