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Vixen Chat: Selita Ebanks on Her Beauty Secrets, Working With Kevin Hart and Philanthropy

Vixen Chat - Selita Ebanks TwitterSelitaEbanks

Selita Ebanks started off as one of Victoria's sexiest little secrets and now she's taking the world  by storm with her philanthropic efforts. The Cayman born bombshell has also been busy making her mark with the charity, Shopify, while modeling and acting. With her crazy busy schedule, it's a mystery how she manages to stay looking flawless through it all. This triple threat revealed some of her beauty and fitness secrets, what it was like to work with Kevin Hart on the Real Husbands of Hollywood and most importantly, how she finds time to give back. —Christal Somar

Photo Credit: Twitter

Selita ebanksEven though you aren't a Victoria's Secret Angel anymore, are you still involved in modeling?

Yes, but right now, I'm focused on acting. Actually, Real Husbands of Hollywood premieres October 15th. I'm in a few episodes and I'm so excited and a little nervous. Kevin Hart was a pleasure to work with; he's the funniest, silliest, goofiest guy in the world. It's so funny because I'm on set working with all of these guys and I kind of just blended right in. Maybe because I have so many brothers, it was so easy to loosen up and be funny. It was like an improv class 101 because these guys are so good. They would literally go off script and come right back. I'm like "Wait, wait, wait! That's not in the script. Then I'm like oh okay, I got it!" You have to be witty and quick. It's going to be a really great season.

So you would really love to pursue acting now?

Absolutely! I'm still auditioning. You know, I'm always trying to evolve. I'm still pushing myself and challenging myself. I love a good challenge. I try to go out for roles that are different from what is expected of me.

You're always so busy between modeling, acting and your philanthropy. How do you manage to stay so fit?

You know what, that's so funny. As a model, I'm definitely not model size. It's really hard. I turned 30 this year and my body is freaking out. There are some days I wake up and I'm five pounds heavier, and the next day I wake up, I have a freaking six pack. It's like what is going on! It's insane! My schedule is crazy so I don't get to work out every singe day. I'm definitely more focused and concerned about the things that I eat. I have small portions. I used to skip breakfast all the time because my call times were always so early, but now, I definitely try to eat breakfast every single day. Even if I don't have time to eat lunch or if I eat dinner late, I try to eat healthier things like a juice or a salad. As much as I love wings, I'm like, "Put the wings down, girl! Put the wings down!"

Photo Credit: listal.com

Selita-Ebankss-New-Yorkers-for-Children-Fall-GalaWell, it seems like it's working. You looked amazing at the New Yorkers for Children Fall Gala.

Thank you, thank you! To wear that dress took a lot of coaching. I've never worn anything as risqué like that before. It was between my hair, makeup, stylist and best friend; it took them about thirty minutes to get me in that dress because I was just like, "You guys are crazy. There's no way I'm going to wear that!" And honestly, I didn't even realize that it was so revealing until I saw the photos. But you know what, I'm not going to lie, the whole night I didn't breathe. I was definitely in inhale position all night.

What is your must have beauty product?

For me, it has to be moisturizer. As women, we think we don't need it but moisturizing keeps your skin supple and soft, and it also helps prevent those fine lines and open pores. Actually, I buy this product from CVS called Avalon Organics. It is amazing! I have this big ole forehead so I can't be shining all over the place! It absorbs into the skin really easily, quickly and it doesn't leave a shine that you have to put powder on top of because that's not good for your skin either. It leaves your complexion really radiant. And another thing, women don't exfoliate. If you don't exfoliate, wearing moisturizer is going to be pointless because then it's going to sit on top of your skin and not get into your pores. Ladies, please, please exfoliate! At least once a week.

What is your favorite Fall trend?

Oh man, Fall is my favorite season. I like Fall because you get to layer on. I'm really loving the chunky sweaters for Fall. I love mixing prints and fabrics so I love this whole trendy look right now with the chunky sweaters with the wooly skirts and with maybe some boots to mix hard and soft. You know, masculine and feminine at the same time. Throw on a sloppy hat or something. Super chic, easy, ready to go. I'm really loving that.

Speaking of Fall, it's football season and you're a huge Jets fan. How'd you get into football?

My dad. I really honestly didn't have a choice. I remember being five years old and sitting on my dad's lap and him going over plays with me and cheering on the Jets. And green is my favorite color. I'm super proud of the Jets this season, I'm happy we have a new quarterback. Even if they don't make it to the playoffs, it's really great to see them doing so well.

Photo Credit: fashionbombdaily.com

Vixen Chat - Selita Ebanks BET Blogs

You're super involved and focused on your philanthropy. What are some projects you're working on?

My philanthropy, it never stops. Recently I had the honor of participating in this amazing experience with Cash and Rocket. There were 70 women and 35 cars. We drove through Italy in a red sports car wrapped up in the Cash and Rockets logo, along with our sponsors'. We drove to raise money for three charities: my charity, Shine On Sierra Leone, Orphan Aid and one more. It was just an amazing experience. It was our first time doing it so we didn't raise as much money as we would like to but it was our first year and next year I'm looking forward to it. Just recently, I started working with the New York food banks. Right now I'm in their ads and working with them is just really awesome. There are so many woman and children in need of food in New York City so it's a really great motivation. And of course, New Yorkers for Children, which is so dear to my heart because when I was younger, I was in foster care for a very short period of time. But it definitely stuck with me and I just wanted to give back to that organization.

One of your projects is Shopify's Build a Business competition. Tell us a little about that and how you're involved.

I will be one of the mentors this year. I'm learning as I'm going along and I'm so glad to be working with Shopify. It's really great because it creates a platform for people to start their business. Everyday I get all of these great proposals and ideas thrown at me about starting businesses and I always try to encourage them, especially young people. Don't talk about it, be about it and this is a really great way for them to start it. There's really no excuse when it comes to Shopify, they really do everything for you. All you have to do is focus on the business.

What advice would you give to someone involved in the competition?

I think what my advice would be is to just stick with it. The first year of any business is always the hardest and Shopify really helps eliminate the process of running a business. It really does make it a lot easier so you can focus on perfecting your business. One idea should always evolve in something bigger and better. Case in point, the iPhone. You know, they're always evolving and creating something bigger and faster. That's how you stay on top. Don't become comfortable in your idea, it should continue to grow.

Photo Credit: BET Blogs

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Bald & Boujee: A Guide To Cutting It All Off This Summer, As Told by Black Women

Summer is upon us, which means the temperatures are turnt up. And while the sunny season typically calls for cornrows and goddess braids, once the block gets hot, sometimes less is more. Considering becoming a bald baddie but not sure if you're ready for the clippers? Vixen asked four bald beauties to share their experiences to help you take the plunge.

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Dee Williams, Photographer

 

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Time for a haircut 🧓🏾

A post shared by Dee Williams (@hideexdee) on Jun 14, 2019 at 11:26am PDT

When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I cut my hair in November 2016. I don't have a cool awakening story, I honestly cut my hair because I was tired of doing it. I had dry, long, thick, 4b curly hair and the daily maintenance was driving me nuts. I'd spend my whole wash day doing my hair for it to look a mess in the morning. I swear every two seconds I saw photos of beautiful women that had shaved heads on Instagram (someone spying on me lol). I think it was meant to be.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

I felt amazing! I called my parents and my mother was pissed (laughs out loud). There is a lot of conditioning in the Black community that ties beauty with the length of your hair, especially within her generation. But, I felt like a million bucks and the most beautiful I have ever felt. My hair was always the main focus, but now it's my face and I love it.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

I honestly don't think people have treated me different. I do get praised a lot and told I'm "bold and super confident" to rock a baldie, though.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

Dying my hair a rainbow of colors and not having to worry about it breaking off or damaging my hair. If I don't like a color, I just shave it off and try again. I didn't really get to do that too much with my hair before, because my hair was already super dry and I didn't want to make it worse. So I would only use henna or vegan hair dyes and not bleach it.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

I think all women should shave their heads at least once in their lives. It will grow back! That's about all the advice I give because it is a huge lifestyle change, one that you should 100% make on your own.

Nadirah Simmons, Editor and Producer

 

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high tea ✔️

A post shared by nadirah (@hinadirah) on May 24, 2019 at 6:20am PDT

When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I first cut my hair in February of 2017. I always wanted to have a buzz cut, and after having weaves, braids, and extensions and then cutting off all of my hair and returning it to its natural state in the form of a big afro, I knew it was time. I was also going through a bit of a transformation. I felt like I had relied so much on my hair and sometimes hid behind it.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

I felt nervous. The crazy thing is when I first cut my afro off I actually didn’t buzz it. My hair was long enough for finger waves. I still had some red dye in my hair from when I had my afro, and my hairdresser who’s also my aunt couldn’t get it all out with bleach. She kept trying to cut it short and I wouldn’t let her. I was holding onto it and preferred to burn my scalp with bleach than go any shorter. Then a week or two later I got the courage, went back to the shop, and got it buzzed all the way down. My confidence skyrocketed and hasn’t gone down since.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

Men call me Amber Rose all the time! Or they tell me to get waves. I don’t like waves in my hair. Just a lot of requests for what to do with my hair or which famous short-haired woman I look like.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

All of the fun colors I can do without worrying about damaging my hair since I shave it all off every week!

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

Just do it! The more you think about the more you’ll push it off!

Gynai Kristol, Filmmaker

 

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“And when you see a nigga, please act like you know. Won’t sit around here stressing on no old hoes...”

A post shared by Gynai Kristol (@_kristolklear) on Jun 13, 2019 at 6:00pm PDT

When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I first cut my hair in 2008 because of Rihanna (LOL I am not ashamed of this at all). And then I ended up having to chop it all off in 2017 because of breakage from going blonde.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

The initial cut in ‘08 made me feel like I was grown because I did it at the start of my senior year. But when I had to cut all the way off I cried because I'd never had my hair this short and automatically felt like I was going to look like a boy. But now, I'm more confident than ever and I don't regret cutting it off and I don't plan on growing it back anytime soon.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

I'd say yes, mostly women though. I feel like I bond with more women over hair now whether it be about the color my hair is or them trying to convince themselves to cut it off.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

The fact that my morning/night routine is much shorter. Like all I have to do is brush it and move on with my day. My ultimate favorite thing though is taking showers. I completely submerge myself under the water every time. I love it so much.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

It's just hair! It will grow back and if it doesn't grow back quick enough for you, get you some cute head wraps, hats, or even a wig.

Sofiya Ballin, Journalist

 

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“...and yet she willed herself into a goddess.” ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates - - - - 📸: @mama.photog MUA: @mua_taneishanichole Styled by @fasondeviv

A post shared by Sofiya Abena Ballin (@sofiyaballin) on Feb 27, 2019 at 2:38pm PST

When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I cut my hair last year, July 2018. I’ve been natural my entire life and always had a thick, healthy head of hair, but I noticed it began thinning. My styles weren’t coming out how they used to so I decided I should start over.

Also, I was always very curious about what I would look like with short hair.  And I wanted to challenge myself to expand what I felt made me beautiful. My hair (short or long) was part of my beauty, but it isn’t and will never be all of my beauty.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all?

Cutting my hair was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. After the first big snip, I thought “there she is.” I felt like I really saw ME. At the time, I was so nervous, I convinced myself I wanted a tapered cut but I knew I was going to go lower because I saw her (me) under there.

A few days later I went to the barber and had them cut all of it off. I was shaking. I felt nauseous. But I had never felt more beautiful. It took about a month and a half for me to not have phantom fro, haha. I would wake up and forget I cut my hair and I’d get a pang of nausea or start questioning why I did it. But when I looked in the mirror and I saw that beautiful face and spirit that I hadn’t seen so clearly before, I knew I made the right decision.

My confidence has increased because I feel like I’ve made my self-love more unconditional. Cutting my hair removed the condition or feeling that I needed to have hair to feel and be beautiful. Now, I feel beautiful no matter what. I care less about what other people think when it comes to beauty because when having a baldie/short cut, you’ll learn real quick not everyone will be a fan.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

Yes. Especially when it comes to men and dating. There are those who LOVE it and those who don’t like it all. The first week I cut my hair, a guy felt the need to tell me he doesn’t usually go for women with short hair but he’d “make me an exception.”

Yeah, that was a dub.

For the most part, people have loved it.  I think a lot of that has to do with the confidence I’ve gained since cutting. This confidence is a different breed. It doesn’t need to be validated by anyone but me.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

I love how it shows off my face and neck, I love how easy it is to maintain and love what it’s taught me about patience. I’ve been growing my hair a bit, and since I’ve always been natural, this is my first big chop experience. I’m learning to fall in love with my hair at all of its stages. Like life, it’s really about falling in love with the journey and my hair has helped me see that more clearly.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

Definitely, be sure this a decision that YOU want for YOU.  And also be prepared to feel free and liberated in a way you may not have felt ever or in a long time. It’s an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with yourself.

And even if you’re not feeling it, your hair will grow faster than you think.

Orixa Jones, Artist

 

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catalogue modelé.

A post shared by —————— (@huesofstyle) on May 12, 2018 at 4:26pm PDT

When did you first cut your hair, and what inspired you to do the big chop?

I cut my hair in January 2017. To be honest, I was scrolling through Pinterest one night looking at women with buzz cuts and decided to shave my head. No trauma. No man troubles. Just a late night decision.

How did you feel afterward? Did you regret it at all? Has your confidence changed in any way?

I had a few moments of uncertainty in the first couple of days of cutting my hair, but it never takes me long to find my groove. So the bounce-back was amazing. For the first time, I could see myself completely, my power started showing itself. And since then I have no desire to grow it out.

Since cutting your hair, have you noticed that people have treated you differently?

Oddly enough I started receiving more attention once I stripped myself down. Both men and women approach me about how well I wear my shaved head. Those encounters are always humbling because it feels like they're complimenting my being moreso than what I look like if that makes sense.

What’s your favorite thing about having short hair?

My top two favorite things about having short hair are the freedom and low maintenance. I don't spend a dime because I cut it myself. The wind doesn't bother me anymore and neither does water. I'm good on any block, ha! Except for when its cold out.

What words of motivation do you have for other ladies wanting to go low who may be a little hesitant?

With anything in life, I would encourage someone to decide and commit. Make your decision, and commit to your decision over and over again. It might feel weird in the beginning, but once you find your pocket - get well acquainted with her.

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Fenty And Pyer Moss Model JoAni Johnson Knows The Art Of Being Present

When a 2016 Allure video segment on beauty and aging with grace hit the internet, one of the three subjects immediately held the attention of the masses hostage. It was hard not to quickly fawn over the 60-something woman’s sleek, mature looks, palpable wisdom, gripping gaze, and grounded sense of self. Three years later, that same model, JoAni Johnson, continues to display her elegance for video campaigns, strut down the runways of the designer elite, and stare down cameras for high-stakes fashion photoshoots.

But JoAni Johnson the person barely even likes photos. The 5’4” model with more-salt-than-pepper hip-length tresses waves off compliments about her edgy portfolio. So far, she has photographed for Vogue, ELLE and Essence magazine shoots and campaigns like Pyer Moss, Ozwald Boateng, and most recently, the debut of Rihanna’s Fenty luxury line. However, for the Caribbean American woman—while born in Harlem, her family hails from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica—gratitude and humility run richly through her veins.

In fact, she considers herself to be a tea blender and specialist before the shinier profession that kicked off in her 60s. That, and a mother, which makes her role as a spokesperson for Vaseline’s #ListenToYourMoms campaign all the more fitting. “#ListenToYourMoms speaks to me because as a proud mom, continuing to keep traditions alive and passing it onto the next generation of beautiful and strong women in my family, is important," Johnson said. "Throughout my life, my beauty regime has remained simple and the knowledge of the versatility coupled with the healing powers of Vaseline Jelly, has always been a trusted 'go-to' for generations of women in my own life.”

Her successful modeling career has admittedly been a whirlwind of excitement, nerves, glamour, risks, and stepping way outside of her comfort zone. However, above all her main goal is to stay present and take in each and every moment as it comes. While taking a break from overseeing a New York photoshoot, Johnson opened up about the art of living in the now, how beauty and self-care are intertwined, and all the lessons she’s learned from motherhood.

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VIBE: You’ve been the face of so many notable campaigns this year, like Fenty and Pyer Moss. Would you describe your modeling journey as something that you've planned or more serendipitous? JoAni Johnson: Totally serendipitous, I did not plan this. If you would've asked me two and a half years ago or told me that this would be my life, I would have told you are insane. It happened by chance. The universe has been very, very good to me and I'm just very grateful.

 

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Enormous thanks and love to @Badgalriri (a true visionary!) and @LVMH for choosing me to be on the right side of history with you, as unapologetic fashion game-changers. Representation matters. It always has and this @Fenty campaign is so excellent and so important for multiple reasons in 2019. The marathon certainly continues. #DisruptAllFashionRules #greyhairdontcare #Fenty Shot by @_glen_luchford

A post shared by JoAni Johnson (@joanijohnson6000) on May 28, 2019 at 8:40pm PDT

In terms of the serendipitous journey to modeling, what was that opportunity that you seized and said, "This could be right, this could not be but let me take it?" I didn't even really think about it. I did not get involved in this of my own. My husband encouraged because I just didn't think it was for me. I come from old-school [train of thought] that said you had to be a certain something in order to be successful. When he encouraged me to—it's so funny, I'm not very fond of photographs of myself. It's gotten a lot better in this new world but in the past with the limitations even in cameras, that industry has expanded. We're getting much more quality photographers. Everything has changed and it's all happening at once, so in the past I've never been very happy with photographs of myself.

How did you, looks of photos aside, to be in front of the camera takes a certain confidence just the presence of being there, how did you I guess? Who's confident? (Laughs) Whenever I do something, it's about being in the moment. This is what the universe has presented me with, I am blessed. I am doing the best that I can in that moment. What is the artist, photographer, make-up artist, hair [stylist], what are they looking for? I am just the muse or the conduit. What is the designer looking for? I shared with someone earlier, I don't look at the photographs, I'm not that person. It's your vision, I am just here to carry out your vision.

What things have you learned about yourself in terms of personal style? My idea of me is different than I am. I grew up in a world where I read Ebony fashion for the glamour in them, but on the real side I fight with myself because I will get things that are really glamorous but it's hard for me to wear them because it attracts people’s attention. It's not that I don't care for it, but it's hard. I'm me. I want people to know the human not the outside, the human. It's more important because we're all beautiful. We all have certain gifts that the universe has bestowed on us, it's for us to find it and to share it.

Let’s talk lineage and the things that we pass on to each other, whether it's our friends, our families. What things have you taken from your mother figures that molded who you are, and that you would in turn pass to those who see you as a mother figure? The biggest influences on me as a child were my grand aunts. They were hardworking beautiful women who had such a sense of style and I'm from Jamaican background, so there's a certain expectation that you were taught. You would call it refinement or whatever but it was the English way, that's where it came from. Good, bad or ugly, that's where it emanated from and they were always very stylish. I watched them as my image of beauty and how they cared for themselves, whether it was using Vaseline on their skin or their nightly rituals of taking it off and washing and I was fascinated. It also showed me their doing it was an expression of their love for themselves and also a relaxation, like they were treating themselves. They worked so hard but it was their time with themselves that they chose to carve out because they didn't have to do it. They carved out in their day to really reward themselves with the hard work that they had endured.

So then how do you carve time out for yourself? What is your relaxation look like? I have passed that on to my daughters as well and my mother was also part of that because she learned from them. She taught me and then I passed it on. How do I do it now? I am a tea specialist, tea consultant, tea blender. Taking that time to sit down and make yourself a cup of tea takes time. Just taking that time, that special time for you to stop and just relax.

Whether I am doing a face mask—and I do a lot of them with tea as a base. I do that once a month with tea as a base and then use the Vaseline to moisturize. I love face massages and I can't afford to pay for them. I have to do it myself and I think Tracee Ellis Ross was showing the [jade] roller that she used, I got one. The simplistic things in life, moisturizing my skin with Vaseline and then using the roller, that's relaxing.

For me it's what I owe myself because nobody is going to do it for me. We would like to think that we got it that way and you know people look at me in this role and think it's so glamorous, and it is. There's parts of it that are absolutely glamorous—when I get to wear a Prada suit, just to see the workmanship and admire the thought that they put into creating something like that and I get to put it on. There's the other times when I'm not in that world, what am I doing to take care of me?

What do you learn from now your children? With Vaseline’s campaign, the idea is to listen to your mothers and your mother figures and take what they've put into your life, but what have you taken from them? It's a two-way street, learning is both ways. What have you learned from your children? My daughters teach me that no matter what we have a responsibility in this world that we're in. I came up in the age of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, there was a struggle there was I was in, there's stories about that but you'll read it in my memos. My girls have another journey and they teach me it's got to be done daily.

My oldest and I were walking down the street and she's got like this vision, peripheral vision and she sees this elderly woman—and I say elderly only because it's a way to describe [her physically]—and she was waiting for the bus. She had packages and was trying to hail a cab and they wouldn't stop. My daughter out of the corner of her eye saw it and she walks over to her and she says, do you need a cab? The woman said yes. I did not see that. Because I am in my life, I don't have that. I wasn't gifted with that kind of vision so she teaches me to be more observant with what is going on around.

When I was growing up, we closed off. I lived in a really tough neighborhood at the time and you just closed off. You just kept it moving from one space to another. My daughter is not like that and she has taught me to be more observant and to be more generous with showing the humane qualities.

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Cassie Explains How Hiring A Team Of Black Women Changed Her “Creative Process”

The summer isn’t even over yet but it’s already been a whirlwind year for Cassie. In an interview with L’official, the “Don’t Let Go” singer shared how working with a team made up predominately of black women changed her “creative process,” and shared what she hopes to teach her daughter.

The 32-year-old mom-to-be who is expecting her first child, a baby girl with her boyfriend, Alex Fine, hopes to one day make their daughter proud.

“My priorities have absolutely changed, not just for creating an amazing future and life for my daughter, but because I want her to be proud of me,” Cassie shared. “I’ve heard people say that they’re nervous to raise females in today’s world, but I’m excited! I can’t wait to see her grow, learn and challenge the world right back!”

When asked about working with a crew of black female creatives, Cassie explained how the new squad has helped her confidence. “When it comes to me choosing to work with certain people I have to go off of an organic connection. I love the fact that everyone that I work with now communicates fully on every aspect, we are not in competition, we work as a team and they actually understand who I am and who I want to mold myself to become. As a group, we work as a collective.

“For me, this is the first time that I feel that I actually have a strong team in place that has my best interests at heart and the added bonus is that the majority of the team are creative black females. To me, it means we see each other,” she continued. “The energy I feel when we’re in a room together is unmatchable. We all have our own levels of experience and we bring our best to the table. We support each other and balance each other out all at the same time. It just works.”

Working with the new team has changed her creatively because she feels fully supported and makes decisions based on “what’s best” for her.

“I’m just a woman coming into my own learning to trust myself. It’s empowering.”

Click here for the full interview.

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