The hallmark of creativity is rooted in the desire to bring ideas and spaces into the world that didn’t previously exist. Before our vision can ever become a reality, we first must see it in our hearts and mind first. And at every career turn to the early stages of her award-winning podcast, Naked Beauty, that’s been Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli’s edge. “I've always gone out of my way to create things that didn't exist before,” she tells xoNecole. “I've been the person to raise my hand to say I can figure out how to do it.”
Before she became a beauty maven, DeVard was a corporate marketing specialist with a career resume stretching across some of the world’s top companies, including Ralph Lauren and Viacom. Most recently, she acted as the Creator Marketing Manager at Instagram and spearheaded the creation of the official creators' platform. “At Instagram, they didn't have an account to reach creators at scale, so I said we should launch an account so that we could reach them.”
When she first launched her beauty-centric podcast, Naked Beauty, in 2016, DeVard was led by her passion for skincare and beauty and her curiosity for untapped topics around natural hair, DIY beauty rituals, and self-care, thus creating what is now the universe of Naked Beauty Planet.
If you allow your mind to wander back to 2016, memories of “girl boss” culture and the rise of dating content might come to mind. At a time when podcasts and YouTube videos gained ground in pulling on women’s desires for love and corporate ascension, DeVard sought to create an audio experience that spoke to the curiosities of the everyday beauty lover.
“I'm all for empowerment, but I thought, is there a space to talk about the best waterproof mascara if you're going to cry all night?” she shares. That question alone has since laid the foundation to produce over 250 episodes of Naked Beauty, with a community of devoted listeners from all ages and stages of life.
“I want everyone to listen to Naked Beauty and feel like they're having a moment amongst friends,” she says. “To feel like there's that intimacy. I try to allow my guests to feel vulnerable and to share their vulnerabilities.” A guest list of which is peppered with beauty gurus and public figures like Pharrell Williams, Gabrielle Union, and John Legend gracing the mics to share their unique beauty experiences — a feat that DeVard could not have imagined.
“I was really passionate about creating authentic conversations around beauty and self-care in a way that didn't feel geared toward a particular goal, but I had no idea that it would grow as much as it has,” she recalls. “I did not see that at the beginning, but I think passion, hard work, and consistency over time always wins.”
It was these same passions, as DeVard illustrates, that led her to go against the popular adage, “Don’t quit your day job," and follow her creative nudges.
Before taking the leap into full-time creative entrepreneurship, DeVard imagined what life would look like if she truly went all in and betted on herself. “I asked myself, 'What would you do if you weren't afraid? What legacy do you want to leave behind?'” she recalls. “I have always used my time and expertise in service of other brands and companies to build up someone else's vision; but what would it look like to give 100% to my own thing?”
No longer using the “scraps” of her weekends to put towards her creative endeavors and taking failure out of the equation, she drove into her second act as full-time host of Naked Beauty in early June.
“If you are in a position where you have this feeling that you could be doing more or pouring into your own vision and business, you should listen to that,” she says. “Take the leap of faith. You're only here once, you only have one life to live. You don’t want to have that lingering feeling of, what if I had done this.”
As she embarks on a new era of her journey, walking in purpose is what’s making DeVard feel most beautiful. “I feel really beautiful in this era of my life because I feel like living in alignment with what I believe is my purpose and calling,” she says. “I think that when you are operating from this mode that feels like you're listening to your intuition and listening to your higher purpose, that's when I feel the most beautiful.”
xoNecole: What are some ways that you found helpful in building your creative team when you were first starting out?
Brooke DeVard: There are so many super-talented women that work in a corporate, medical, or tech career who have a passion and hunger to do something creative with the extra few hours they get in a week. And they just want to exercise their brain in a more creative way. I have found that if you put out a fun, creative project and ask people in your existing online community for support, you'll be blown away by how many people you would have never even considered would be able to help you.
That could be the person that could help you elevate your vision and potentially work with you part-time.
xoN: As we’ve reached a crossroads in the beauty landscape where beauty standards are being dismantled, and many Black women are embracing new cosmetic procedures, what is your take on the current state of beauty space?
BD: I used to be a little bit more judgmental about cosmetic procedures. But as I've spoken to people on the podcast that do injections and lasers and Botox and all the things, I’ve recognized that is all a beauty choice. We have agency over our bodies the same way if I want to wear red lipstick or get lip filler. I've learned that it's not about what you're “supposed” to do, it's about people being able to choose the aesthetics that they want, and people are entitled to that choice. But I do think it's very important to do your research and due diligence to know the doctor.
"I've recognized that is all a beauty choice. We have agency over our bodies the same way if I want to wear red lipstick or get lip filler. I've learned that it's not about what you're 'supposed' to do."
Photo courtesy of Brooke DeVard
xoN: What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced while building Naked Beauty, and how were you able to overcome them?
BD: Being in a place where I knew I needed support, but I wasn't in a position to hire support. I do think that there's something really beautiful about that time period when you're just starting out on your creative journey, and you have to do everything. You're your own graphic designer and copywriter, but then when your team grows, you're able to brief them on exactly what you want.
There have been times when I've really needed help and wanted to expand myself in these ways, but it's all about patience and giving yourself time to grow at a rate that feels sustainable.
xoN: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting their own podcast or pursuing a side hustle in addition to their full-time job?
BD: I would say: just start. Don't let ‘great’ be the enemy of ‘good’ — and done is better than perfect. I think a lot of people get embarrassed about this gap between where they think they should be and where they are now. And if you're doing anything creative, your beginning product is probably not going to be great (unless you're like a prodigy). You have to just start putting yourself and your work out there.
People love to see a ‘come up’ and an evolution. It's an authentic part of your journey, so you've got to lean into those first iterations of your creative work, maybe, won’t be the best, and be okay with that. There's so much to be gained from putting yourself out there.
"People love to see a ‘come up’ and an evolution. It's an authentic part of your journey, so you've got to lean into those first iterations of your creative work, maybe, won’t be the best, and be okay with that. There's so much to be gained from putting yourself out there."
Connecting with other people and having an impact on others has to be what drives and motivates you — not looking cool, or having a certain amount of followers or vanity metrics — that's going to be the thing that allows you to open yourself up to sharing and expressing yourself. That's going to drive you versus getting it exactly perfect.
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Featured image courtesy of Brooke DeVard
Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy