You work hard, you sacrifice for everything you do, and in one second, someone can tarnish your name - someone can bad-mouth you, and someone can say things. People let all of the good things gets washed away because someone spoke ill of them.
Coming from a Haitian-American home, I thought it was necessary to give back to the country in which my parents were raised. That is why I believe in Project PlayWorld's efforts to to provide secure playing spaces for the children of Haiti with the Live Civil Playground.
I wasn't the biggest hip-hop fan, because I had to listen to whatever my parents listened to, so growing up, it was a lot of Dolly Parton, Elvis, and Whitney Houston. When they finally put a TV in my room and I got to listen to MTV Jams I was like: 'Here I am!'
The blueprint, for me, was having an understanding of self because this business will try to make you somebody other than yourself or make you change with the times. A lot of times, people will want you to do everything for free, work for free, to be down to do this after you paid your dues.
What are you doing to magnify and grow your business? What are you doing for yourself? You have to self-motivate. I had to learn a million things on Google until I was able to meet people who I could partner with for help.
For me, for a very long time, I was in denial because when you say you're sad or you're overwhelmed, we consider it whining or complaining. People say, 'Count your blessings,' and it's like, 'Yeah, I am, but I'm still sad. Something is wrong with me.' I had to acknowledge it.
At the end of the day, I'm still an African-American woman in a male-dominated industry, so sometimes you have to deal with people not taking your ideas seriously. But I look at it as, I'd rather have adversities in something that I love than doing something that I hate or where I am not interested.
I am big on not pushing anything that I wouldn't do or use. I understand my brand, vision, and the story I want to tell. I am not into taking short-cuts like tummy teas or waist trainers. I want my brand to be a lifestyle and very premium but, at the same time, relatable.
I get this thing where people are like, 'Man, you got to tell me what to do' - like I have a cheat code to being successful. It's hard work; it's trial and error. I failed, but I never let failure get to my head or to my heart.
When I had dial-up, my mom got me a phone so I wouldn't tie up the phone. She used to really pick up the phone, push some buttons, and hang it up so the connection could mess up. Now, it's a joke with her, like, 'Look, the Internet's 24/7. I have WiFi now.'
In high school, I created a fan group for J.D. Williams, who played Bodie on 'The Wire.' I had the chance to meet him, and he took me to have lunch at IHOP. At that point in my life, I noticed this Internet thing was giving me the chance to check off goals off of my bucket list.
One of my most memorable moments serving the community was after I built the Live Civil Playground in Haiti, and I visited an orphanage and gave away shoes to all the kids. I also sat with them and helped them design their shoes. The smiles on their faces were priceless.
Be You, Live Civil was a tour that I started, and it's just always something that I've been to myself. 'Be you, live civil' is like 'live my life.' That was my short version of saying to live my life.
Society sets us up to be everything but ourselves, but I want to take a moment and say to people, love yourself. Find your purpose. You are unique, and that makes you great. I pursued my dreams. You can do it, too.
I took business and economics courses. More than anything, I learned the proper steps and the things that need to be outlined. You have to keep your books: how much money you made, how much money you're spending, what you profited, and what you're gonna need for expenses.
For blogs today, it's really about content creation and partnering with a brand. You can get the news in so many forms and so many places. A tweet now is enough to tell you about a story. People don't have to click to go to your site.
Growing up was very interesting for me. If you were Haitian, people just automatically assumed that English was a second language. So they had a special class for my brother and I, but we spoke proper English.
Giving back has definitely kept me grounded. Stepping outside of yourself to serve a group or community of people who are in need in some facet has a way of doing that. I don't ever want to grow to a place where giving back becomes a foreign concept.
I'm just me. I'm that cool girl who - as I like to say, I have that Carson Daly effect, where, if you watched 'TRL,' he was able to do interviews with NSYNC, blend right in, and then he would do interviews with Cash Money and blend in there, and you just naturally liked him.
Nobody is going to love and honor your dreams like yourself. It's really not looking for someone to be your superhero but for us to save ourselves and to really understand that. I've been at the lowest of lowest of my life, and it took that for me to realize that I want to do better and to be better.
I've made social mistakes. We've all made our mistakes and tried things we kind of wish we didn't, but we plan around it. Things happen in situations that are unique and different, and no one is perfect.