For the 29th interview, the final of 2018 (we made it!), I was happy to sit down with Brandon, who I met during my early HU days. In his Houston apartment, the grad student and veteran opens up about pushing through his military experience, his commitment to the success of others, and turning lemons into lemonade throughout his life journey.
The Carters' album "Everything is Love" propelled me through much of this journey, so I was eager to record an episode or two in Houston! There, I first connected with Rae, the creative behind Succulent Southerner, and a friend I'd met nearly 10 years prior at HU. In this touching conversation, Rae opens about her journey to and through 20 thus far, including: a fresh start in Houston after confronting drug addiction, owning her sexuality, and the heartbreaking moment that led to big changes in the way she lives her life.
Making it home to Michigan in time for the holidays, I then got a ride with my mom down to Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was set to interview her 29 year old hair stylist Swiya. The mom-of-2 is an entrepreneur with her own salon and spa, and she's looking to expand. She opens up about parenting, learning to manage her money, and the one place she can find happiness every time.
By bus, I left NYC for Washington DC, where I met up with Ashley N. for the next interview. She reached out earlier in the year after hearing Ashley M.’s episode … which I thought was cool because hey, someone's listening! Ashley's got a lot of good stuff going on, but for this interview, the Howard University doctoral student talks about breaking up with long-term friends, the pressure to keep it together as a mental-health - counselor - dating - another - mental - health - professional, -- and she recalls the agonizing grad school experience that helped her learn to fight for what she believes is right.
I believe a divinely inspired circumstance of connections and events (thanks to Salena, Janell, and the universe) brought me to the home of Nakea, creator of the Fearless Kea podcast, for the last NYC interview. In conversation, her revelations about the realities of trying to balance life, love and career in the big city helped me connect several dots of my own. Listen as the DMV native opens up about moving through the entertainment industry, finding her light and her purpose, and the power and necessity of showing up for and believing in yourself.
I was super excited that Jillian from the music duo Lion Babe was down to talk with me about being 29! I was even more excited to learn that her birthday is a day before mine. Jillian graciously invited me to Lion Babe's NYC studio, where the suburban- raised creative opened up about how city life has transformed her, learning to stand up for herself personally and professionally, and the important roles energy and intuition play in her life.
Despite intense feelings of anxiety, it was time for me to head to NYC - and it turned out to be a great decision. I sat down with Detroit transplant Alex English, a comedy writer slash stand-up comedian slash slash etc. He talks candidly about the man he is today, generational ghosting, battling body image issues -- and the good and the bad of dedicating his life to building his career as a professional comedian.
After a long mental health break in Miami Beach, I ran into my former personal trainer Ryan who connected me with his friend, Cheron, also a personal trainer. After experiencing some down days of my own, it was uplifting to talk with the Army vet about his experiences from the war zone to homelessness, and now into manhood. Listen as he talks about being grateful, turning inequality into power, and why the moment of arrival never comes - because we’re already our future selves.
Luckily I was in LA in time to attend my dear friend Pia's birthday party, where I ran into Lindsay, another HU friend in town from Washington DC. We caught up a few days later to discuss her journey, including interning with the Obama White House, bouncing back from professional setbacks, dealing with the loss of loved ones... and why her natural hair journey brings her all the joy.
From Oakland, I drove to Los Angeles, where I met up with Will (@_iam.will_) - my friend from the *First Grade.* As I've always been curious about life in LA, I was anxious to sit down with him to hear about his experiences. In this convo, Will opens up about leaving Detroit for LA, the importance of friends and family, goal setting, and why LAUGHTER is the answer to most of our problems.