Let's Get to Know Nahko Bear, Shailene Woodley's Alleged Boyfriend


Shailene Woodley is as anointed a young Hollywood star as can be—she’s heading up a successful franchise (Divergent), smashed the box office with a tear-jerky teen rom-com (The Fault in Our Stars), and even has a co-starring role with Clooney under her belt (The Descendents). She’s clearly very talented, but one thing people tend to fixate upon is that she is somewhat… atypical for a young Hollywood star.

Shailene Woodley is not fun-n-relatable, the way people perceive Jennifer Lawrence to be, nor is she sullen-n-soulful, like Kristen Stewart (these three compose the “triumvirate,” according to this confusingly-written graf of Woodley’s Elle cover). No, Shailene Woodley is an anomaly in Hollywood cause she’s a big ole hippie who literally eats dirt. And fittingly, she has an alleged boyfriend whose views are perfectly aligned with her dirt-eating ways.

(To be fair: Shailene Woodley actually eats clay, and makes a somewhat convincing argument for its cleansing properties, but it’s more fun to say she eats dirt because of the hard syllables. Dirt. Dirt dirt. Dirt dirt dirt dirt dirtdirtdirtdirt.)

Shai, to Elle:

“I’m all-loving,” she says. “I fall in love with people based on who they are. “I never want to love like this”—Woodley holds her arms outstretched, as if to envelop you—”I always want to love like this.” She thrusts her arms behind her back, pressing her chest forward. “Heart centered, like, ‘This is who I am! And I love you if you love me for who this person is. And if not, I’ll still love you, but I ain’t fallin’ in love with you!'” Happily she carries on with what could seriously be the best personal ad ever—feel free to steal it: “When you’re truly in love, for me, it’s…you’re my lighthouse! You’re somebody who holds me high, keeps me safe, you’ve got my fuckin’ back…. You also love me whole, wild, and free. You let me do me, and I’m gonna let you do you! And I’ll be the home that you return to.” Is she currently in love? Woodley smiles…

Isn’t our cover subject just so mysterious and coy? Shai’s actual quotes, though, are quite mature and full of self-love—and as the New York Daily News points out, Nahko Bear, the man she’s been allegedly linked to since November, “seems to fit the bill when it comes to Woodley’s carefree, love-for-all approach to life.”

Let’s take a gander at the dude rumored to be tossing back Shai’s cakes, shall we?

Nahko Bear, who is of Puerto Rican, Apache, and Filipino descent, grew up in Oregon but now lives in Hawaii. As the leader of the jam band Nahko and Medicine for the People, he plays a style of music that is familiar to anyone who has ever lived in Oregon: super uplifting, slightly stoney, folk-rooted, post-Dave Matthews rock and roll, with spiritual dabblings. The band’s latest video, for the song “Black as Night,” features a melange of people holding up cardboard signs with a positive Sharpie’d message featuring the song’s linchpin lyric: “I Believe in the Good Things Coming.”

Woodley is one of these people. She is pictured at 1:39, holding her sign while sitting on the ground outside a CVS. This ought to be fodder for the weird media narrative that Shai is “homeless,” which fits into the portrayal of her as a ramblin’ hippie ramblin’ across America, except that she basically just lives in hotel rooms because her job requires her to travel a lot, like many business people do. Other aspects to note: her block lettering is somewhat Durst-ian, and now we know where we can cop our next hot cycle of shingles shots.

Woodley has also shown support for Bear’s music, namechecking the band on a 2013 episode of Fallon, while Bear seems to be a fan of The Fault in Our Stars. Last year, he Instagrammed an image of wheatpasted movie posters with the caption, “I don’t usually get excited about movies, but this one I’m amped for. One of my best friends is starring in this and she’s carrying a torch untamed and unmatched. Big ups to this young rebel rocker. #thefaultinourstars #shailenewoodley #medicinetribe”

To be fair, The Fault in Our Stars was actually a fine movie! I am not too ashamed to note that I cried, even though I knew about the emotional endgame ahead of time.

The Young Rebel Rocker and her alleged Bear-friend seem to share similar environmental concerns, and their “vibes” are not dissimilar. On the Medicine for the People “mission” page, they write:

As a musical collective, our mission is to be the motivation and inspiration for all that have become members of our Tribe. Within our global community, we have access to the tools needed to make changes, take action and spread awareness of how to live in harmony with Mother Gaia herself. We are honored to be a force of attraction for positive and creative minds during these often-corrupt times. With your trust and support, we humbly accept this role and speak our prayers of intention to take direct action… “Hoka Hey” means, “today is a good day to die”, but perhaps with your help, it could transform into a better day to live. Thank you again for your love and support. Tribe members, let us come together today to be the change that we wish to see tomorrow.

Woodley and Bear spent New Year’s Eve together at Nahko’s show in Australia. But who is he really? Luckily, last week Reddit hosted an AMA with Bear, so we got a much deeper peek into the spirit and soul that makes up the sensitive rocker. First of all: he is not a vegan.

[–]croooke 4 points 2 days ago
Hey Nahko! I just want to thank you for your music. Real medicine! I’m also interested in do you eat meat?
[–]nahko_bear[S] 8 points 2 days ago
yup. was veggie for four years, but switched back when i started living in hawaii and hunting my own.

While Shailene Woodley told Rachel Ray she doesn’t like to ascribe to any kind of diet that was named, it is worth mentioning that like Nahko Bear, she, too, “hunts”—or “forages“—for her meals:

“I base my diet not on any specific genre, I don’t say I’m on the Paleo diet or a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet, for me I kind of base my diet off of indigenous cultures and what they eat. And it’s very fascinating that an 80 year old indigenous man can run for miles and miles and miles with no joint pains and no problems verses us Americans who at 35 can’t do that.”
Shailene forages for 35% of her diet:
Rachael Ray- “You forage for 30% of your diet?”
Shailene Woodley- “I try to do like 35% of my diet wild foods.”

It’s a match! But what about the backstory behind Nahko’s song “Budding Trees,” which includes the lyric “hydrate these cells/cause the body talks and meditation helps”? He’ll answer that!

nahko_bear[S] 12 points 2 days ago
hey! yeah budding trees is about when i got eye surgery – lasic. i was pretty blind since age 12 and when i got eye surgery i was also breaking up with a partner of 4 years and i finally was able to see that we had to go in separate directions. duality baby! bless.

So: Nahko DEFINITELY isn’t with the person he was with when he wrote “Budding Trees,” which is convenient to the Woodley-Bear theory because that song dropped a year ago. Are we getting warmer? Let’s go deeper on his music, and ask some questions that have definitely been burning in your mind, such as: Does Nahko Bear support the income tax?

PerkinsOhoolihan 6 points 2 days ago
This is going to be an odd question, but…
I love how inspirational your music is, but I don’t always agree with all of it. Why do you oppose the income tax?
Also, can you confirm either EF or Shambhala this year?? I saw you last year at the forest and would love to see it again. I love you with your band, but with Xavier Rudd it was just…pure magic. Holy crap.
Thanks for doing the AMA. Much love.
nahko_bear[S] 13 points 2 days ago
watch zeitgeist dude! my dad worked for the IRS and it was always a hard talking point for us. in a system that doesn’t even really exist….we shouldn’t have to pay income tax – tax on the money we earn hard work etc. google the federal reserve doesn’t exist. big love!
PerkinsOhoolihan 1 point 2 days ago
I have watched zeitgeist, but a lot of the talking points in that movie can be construed to simple inefficiency, and not malice.
The income tax is allotted terribly, I’ll agree on that.
I appreciate the response, though I can’t bring myself to agree with opposing the income tax.

I honestly have no idea what was going on with that exchange, but suffice to say that both teams played hard.

More importantly, for our purposes here, it’s good to know that Bear can influence and affect just as many people with his music as Woodley does with her film acting, because obviously one thing that often throws off a relationship (for dudes) is an imbalance of power. Here, though, Reddit commenter Haydensmom227 shows exactly how his fans think of him:

Haydensmom227 3 points 2 days ago
Have you ever considered you are picking up where Bob Marley left off ? (chills as I type this) You reach every age, religion, race and give hope. PLEASE ANSWER THIS 🙂
nahko_bear[S] 7 points
2 days ago
i guesss i feel like i’m super grateful for the work he did and continues to do in the world even while he’s not here. i hope my path leads me somewhere similar. he helped us learn how to carry the torch. so yeah. we carry it onward.

Carry it onward.

Top image via Getty; Shailene Woodley image via screenshot.

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