One of my favorite things to do is share the stories of really smart people who are either on the cusp of greatness or have already achieved their own version of it.
Below, you’ll find my top five favorite interviews featuring three amazing editors, one entrepreneur who is helping thousands of people experience the world through travel and one executive determined to bring back the days of artist development in the music business!
For much of its existence, Essence magazine, has largely been unrivaled in its ability to reach and relate to multiple generations of Black girls and women at the same time. In recent years, many believe that this influence has diminished as Essence and the journalism industry at large has struggled to keep up with increased advances in technology and decreased attention spans.
Vanessa De Luca, a long-time editor at the magazine who moved into the chief position on the masthead a year ago, is aware of the challenges the magazine faces but is confident that Essence is back on the right track and can remain relevant for both new and old readers.
In this interview, I talk with Vanessa about the importance and value of Essence, learn more about her vision for the publication and to get some insight into her career background and the things that keep her inspired and on her toes.
On the surface, Travel Noire is a platform featuring cultivated insights from a global community of black travelers. On a deeper level, it provides insight, education and varied perspectives on the black travel experience and through the lens of other travelers, allows us to see ourselves exploring, studying, volunteering and living well all around the world. It’s a concerted effort and blatant statement from Zim and her team that lets other people from the Diaspora know that yes, you can travel too.
In this interview, I talk with Zim Ugochukwu about how she started Travel Noire with $50 (it now has 80 curators and 15 fellows and strategists), what her inspiration and mission for the platform are and how aspiring travelers can turn leverage any career or background to see more of the world.
This Montreal native may have originally launched MarcusTroy.com in 2008 as a social experiment, but six years later he’s a top arbiter of style, a permanent fixture on any notable list of menswear lifestyle experts and a serial entrepreneur.
Whether he’s inviting a convoy of influencers to test drive Bentley’s in Paris, dining in castles halfway around the world, building a mobile app inspired by the #KicksOnAPlane hashtag to encourage people to share their footwear while traveling, or taking all of us on a cultural journey through Malaysia as a part of his travel business, Marcus Troy is constantly creating the blueprint on how to collaborate with brands in creative and unorthodox ways expanding the boundary of what’s possible with each new experience.
In this interview, I caught up with Marcus to learn more about the things that make him tick and his evolving approach to blogging and business.
xoVain launched with the tagline “No Beauty Secrets,” and completely lives up to that ethos with content that feels more like you’re sharing tips with a close friend as opposed to a majority of other beauty sites whose content is often out of touch, to say the least.
I’m not sure how Anne-Marie Guarnieri first got on my radar, but I had been following her on twitter for some time and loved her witty and no-holds barred insight on the beauty industry. So when xoVain appointed the veteran beauty writer and editor as the site’s editor-in-chief earlier this year, I thought she was the perfect person for the role.
In this interview, I learned more about Anne-Marie’s career journey, her PR pet peeves, the things that inspire and motivate her and how her she leads her team at xoVain to churn out award-winning content.
While having and committing to a vision for your life does take a healthy bit of ego and confidence in your abilities, I noticed that when it came to Casey Billingsley, he wasn’t afraid to put himself out there and throw the crumbs of his dreams ahead of him knowing that one day it would lead him to where he wanted to be.
The crumbs in this instance would take the form of tweets, tumblr and instagram posts and probably countless other gestures of faith that weren’t public. For example, Casey might tweet a photo of a celebrity with a caption that he’d love to work with her one day. And then, a few months later, voila, he’s styling that person for a red carpet or event appearance.
This style of determination and ambition helped him build a client list that includes Keri Hilson, Cassie, Solange, Eva Marcille, Shanell and others. It also helped him catch the eye of UPMG President Ethiopia Habtermariam who recently brought him on as the new creative director at Motown Records.
In this interview, I talk to Casey about his role at Motown, his ‘iconic’ nickname and to get a little bit more insight into his career journey so far.
Who do you think I should interview in 2015? Tell me in the comments below!