Rhonda Massie is a 36-year-old woman who has won over 30 national and international awards for her psychology research, most notably the prestigious Gold Medal of Honor from the American Psychological Association. Earlier this year, she was selected to be on Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list. She has been featured in dozens of top publications like National Geographic Magazine, Scientific American Mind, The New York Times, and Huffington Post as well as leading academic journals such as Nature and Psychological Science.
She is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in environmental psychology — how people participate within their home environments -and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles on diverse topics such as parenting styles and delinquency prevention strategies for adolescents.
1. She Is A Foodie
Rhonda Massie loves food. She loves food so much that she’s written two books on the subject: “Food Justice” and “Food, Culture and Society.” In fact, she wrote her first book while a graduate student at Clark Atlanta University by interviewing 50 local residents about their relationship with the environment. But she didn’t stop there, the next year she returned to her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee to interview another 50 people on the same topics. Massie titled her book “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” but when it was published in 2003 it was renamed for a song originally performed by Fats Domino… who’s also from New Orleans – duh!
2. A Foodie Who’s Grumpy
According to her website, Rhonda Massie loves food and cooking. “But she’s not much fun to be around when she’s in the kitchen,” it reads. “It’s like she has a chip on her shoulder about bread — just because it exists doesn’t mean she has to eat it. She tries desperately to eat healthy but will only make an effort after giving some fancy food a try.”
Her website also says that Massie hates marketing, advertising, junk food and non-realistic representations of weight loss or body image that promote unrealistic body ideals and eating disorders.
3. She Wrote A Book About It
Her site says that Massie also doesn’t like to talk about food because “if she opens her mouth, she’s scared she might start a food fight.” So she wrote a book about it. This makes her more of an expert on the subject than you and me combined, so maybe we should just shut up. But being a nice guy and all, I decided to ignore her advice and ask her what she thinks about food trends. “I think that it’s the culture that we have these days,” she said. “People are visual, they want to be seen — they want to be looked at rather than heard. They want to be seen eating food that’s colorful and appealing, rather than just foods that are good for you.”
4. Her Country Music Career Started Out As A Manager
Before becoming a psychologist, Rhonda Massie worked as an executive in country music management and production. She was the co-founder of Massie-Tutt Entertainment, a company that represented country singers in Nashville. She had a hand in producing hits like “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” by Shania Twain, as well as others done by her cousins, The Judds.
5. She’s A Model Parent
Rhonda Massie is the mother of three children ages five to ten whom she says have the coolest names around: “Jubilee,” born in 2010; “Annie,” born in 2012; and “Buffy,” named after Buffy Sainte-Marie. “I’ve always thought that it was important to name my kids things that just don’t fit,” she said. “I want to teach them that the world is diverse and that you can be who you are and still have a great life.” Her kids also speak Spanish.
6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Other Coolness
Rhonda Massie is an expert on children’s environmentalism, but she’s not a parent of three. So how does a child psychologist justify naming her kids Buffy, Jubilee and Annie? “I think it’s an entertaining story, so I share it with people,” she said. “I actually did choose Buffy for her name because of the character from ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer.’ Later I was watching the movie, ‘Annie,’ with my family in the theater. I was pregnant with Jubilee and I had the ultrasound picture in my bag. When Annie sang, ‘It’s a hard knock life,’ I started to cry. My husband wanted me to name the baby Annie because of that.”
7. She’s A Proud Native Tennessean
Massie is a proud native Tennessean who’s from Nashville (or at least she was born there). Her family has roots in Guinevere, Illinois where her mother was born and the small town of LaCrosse, Wisconsin where her father grew up. She enjoys singing karaoke, listening to music and “drooling” over musicians from her home state like Elvis, Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker.