More About Sasha, AKA “MY WILD BIO”

A More Comprehensive HERSTORY, with Fun Facts and a Tango Video

My life has been a “non-linear path.” I have reinvented myself a number of times! I wrote up this longer bio to give you a flavor for who I am, where I have been, and what I love.

If anything has been constant, it’s been change—and the willingness to tolerate the discomfort and fear of risk-taking and trying new things to feel alive.

Here’s where it all began.

I was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to an RN and public health professional who taught me to write to-do lists, to never rely on a man for my money, and to take good care of myself while also caring for others.

My father is a real estate lawyer and copyeditor who taught me the importance of getting involved with the community. We canvassed together for presidential candidates in many states. My parents instilled civic responsibility in me. I have two younger siblings: a sister and a brother.

I grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island attending public schools. I was lucky to get into the gifted and talented program in fourth grade. My teacher Mrs. Santos nurtured a love of the creative process in me that goes on until this day. I feel very fortunate that public schools happened to work for me at a young age.

My high school wasn’t too great. The bathroom stank of smoke, I didn’t have a high school boyfriend but I had a strong group of female friends. Strong female friendship has been a major theme in my life.

I obsessed about getting into a “good college” where I would “find my people,” and worked hard to become the high school valedictorian. I started off at Amherst College in Western Massachusetts, a competitive school with lots of portraits of old white men on the walls where I never felt at ease.

After three semesters, I transferred to Barnard College, the women’s college that is part of Columbia University, and felt much more comfortable in a big city. I took advantage of being in Manhattan by working at Self, when I was known as the girl who wore thrift store outfits in the Conde Nast building (350 Madison Avenue, where Vogue and Glamour were also published).

During college, I published a zine called Cupsize with my friend Tara Emelye. Doing that zine helped me to find my voice as a writer. I also interned and wrote for The Village Voice.

At 20, I appeared in the front row on Ricki Lake to advocate for bisexual visibility and acceptance within the gay community. I don’t currently identify as bisexual, but being bi was an important part of my identity back then. I believe that sexuality can be fluid, especially for women. I am a lifelong advocate for the queer community and have always been interested in the power of tapping into our sexual energy for our creativity, health, and expression.

During my twenties, I worked in the labor movement doing PR and communications at a firm in South Park, in the Soma neighborhood of San Francisco. I learned a lot at that job about creating messages for movements, and I continue to support the critical importance of the U.S. labor movement.

But that job wasn’t meant for me for longer than two years. I was crying in the bathroom at work because I couldn’t do it anymore. So I traveled to Cuba. I studied Spanish for a month at the University of Havana.

Travel has often served to jumpstart new phases of my life.

When I got back, I got editorial work and started my own magazine, To-Do ListTo-Do List was named Best New Magazine in the alternative press, awarded by Utne Reader in 2000.

An essay published in the first issue of To-Do List, “People Like Us, the Quirkyalones,” turned into a book in 2004 when it struck a deep chord in people’s hearts, helping them to feel recognized and identified as “uncompromising romantics.”

Quirkyalones are people who have been single for a long time because they don’t want to settle for less than what they really want in a romantic relationship.

This essay led to the book and me talking with Anderson Cooper on CNN, and reaching many people who found deep validation in the term. Eventually, I could say I invented a word that made it into dictionary.com.

Quirkyalone became a forerunner of later books and podcasts that have further affirmed the path of being a discerning single, especially for those who want intimate relationships.

My second book, To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us, positioned me as the world’s leading todolistologist. My fascination with lists, how they imprison us, and how they can free us, remains strong. I spoke at Google about my to-do list research.

After To-Do List, I felt some pressure to “get serious” about making more money so I got involved in Silicon Valley. I co-founded a street fashion social network called StyleMob with my friend Adam. We managed to grow the community to 90,000 and within nine months sold it to an advertising network for blogs and websites.

My StyleMob co-founder and me

As a result of the acquisition, I took a job as a product manager at an ad network for blogs and websites. Thus began the great inauthentic period of my life when I could often be found out in the parking lot crying at 5 pm, wondering what I was doing wasting my life promoting a product I didn’t believe in. I was helping to destroy our attention spans by creating addictive Internet products, and that didn’t sit well with me.

I was in my mid-thirties and feeling the squeeze of expectations to find a husband in time to have a child, earn more money and ascend the career ladder. The pressure of all those expectations made me “dry.” I got distanced from my own intuition.

Once again, travel helped me find the way. So did listening to my body.

That period of burnout in Silicon Valley led to the next phase of my life in South America, a time in my life when I made a deliberate intention to reconnect with my sensuality.

All of this will be told and what I learned through my adventures will be told in my forthcoming memoir Wet. Ultimately that urge to focus on embodiment through travel helped me work through the effects of an incident of childhood sexual abuse, and to heal my heart enough to risk opening up in love.

During that time, I also discovered tango–tango plays a starring role in Wet as the thing that rescued me from a lifetime of unhealthy patterns in romantic relationships. When I could feel what it felt like to honor myself and stand up straight in tango, I couldn’t help but bring that wisdom into my love life.

I had been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly twenty years, almost my entire adult life, but I got tired of tech’s oversized footprint on the area’s soul, and I wound up moving to Buenos Aires to nurture my love for tango, studying and eventually teaching my own brand of transformative tango through an immersive program called the Tango Adventure, which ran for six years.

Hundreds of women came to study tango with me and my time in Argentina. That was the fruitful, exciting time when I started to teach “pussywalking,” a practice of somatic empowerment to help women connect with their inner power for greater confidence and body connection.

Here’s a video where you can see me introducing “pussywalking.” A fellow expat in Buenos Aires helped me make this, where we debuted pussywalking online.

Here’s a video where you can see me dancing during a recent trip to Buenos Aires. I no longer live in Argentina but I try to visit the mecca of tango every year.

I moved back to the US at the start of the pandemic, to my native Rhode Island, which has been a full-circle journey of returning to the place where I was born and grew up, but this time Rhode Island is a home base close to family and a place to build community while also spending time abroad in Bali, Buenos Aires, and anywhere else I am lucky enough to visit.

I bought a condo at age 50, and feel very happy to be grounded in one place. Roots plus the ability to travel is my current sweet spot. I am enjoying being closer with my family and rediscovering the corner of the world where I grew up. 

Since leaving Silicon Valley and coming back after a year of travel in South America, I have been working as a life and executive coach. I have worked with hundreds of coaching clients one-on-one and led group programs to help people get in touch with what’s most true for them, and gain the courage to go for what they want.

My clients are accomplished women and sensitive, self-aware men. I take a practical and deep approach to change with my clients, as well as a cognitive and somatic one.

I trained as a life coach with CTI, back in 2011. In 2022, I added an additional certification with Gay and Katie Hendricks, of the Hendricks Institute, in Body Intelligence.

My current offerings include 1:1 coaching, which can be either life, executive, or sex/sensuality coaching, or a blend, and a yearlong group coaching program called Turned-On Living which I’ve designed to help single women come together to create turned-on lives by connecting with their bodies.

I facilitate groups of women for CHIEF, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting executive women leaders.

My favorite way to share is via my newsletter the Sasha Cagen Weeklyish. To stay in touch, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.

And if anything I said above touches you, then feel free to inquire about 1:1 or group coaching! I always love to hear from fellow travelers and fellow tanguero/as, potential clients, new readers, and anyone who wants to say hi.

And before you go, here’s a two-minute video that walks you through some of my career and life highlights, from Quirkyalone to Pussywalking to Wet, to my storied chat with Anderson Cooper, you’ve got a little bit of all of those projects here.