“Woo exists to redefine wellness for a generation,” says Stephen Mai, the founder of Woo. Launched in 2022 as a venture backed by ITV, the culture media brand has been on a mission to skewer tropes associated with ‘wellness’ and make it feel accessible to everybody – even “people who just don’t care about wellness”, he says. “I think one of the ways that we wanted to do that was subvert expectations and preconceived notions about what a culture brand within the wellness space would do, what type of programming you would make, what type of content you would post, and what kind of stories that we could tell.”
So far, that mission statement has given rise to projects such as Nature’s Calling, what Mai calls a “fish out of water story that fundamentally was a subtle excursion into nature and the mental health benefits that that entails”. Another is a show about sex that was “supposed to be salacious” but ended up being a “slow-moving and meditative” exploration of intimacy and love. “It’s like, how do you take these things and then shake it on its head?”
Keeping in the spirit of things is Main Character – a new three-part series following the lives of three people based in Dublin. The series was directed by Woo’s creative director, Isolde Penwarden, and developed with a wider team that includes Mai and Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock, Woo’s creative director at large and co-founder of Soursop, which co-produced the series.