Freddie Ransome Likes To Spark Up In Order To Wind Down
In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
Everybody has a best friend in their heads. For some it's Natasha Rothwell's Insecure character Kelli; for some, it's Megan Thee Stallion twerking up and down the kitchen while cheffin' it up. For me, it is BuzzFeed's very own Freddie Ransome. And why not? She's gorgeous, down-to-earth, hilarious, and gets paid to be herself. Talk about living your best life, right?
The popular creator, video producer, and personality is no stranger to life on-camera and has an approachable, transparent nature to her when cameras aren't rolling. Freddie is a member of BuzzFeed's vertical LadyLike YouTube channel, a cast of five women who challenge what it means to be "ladylike" through style and beauty tries, career exploration, and deep dives into pop culture.
Courtesy of Freddie Ransome
Freddie has a jam-packed schedule between getting Saweetie-inspired makeovers, going bald for a day, trying on prom dresses from Amazon, and taking flawless selfies on her Instagram page. But nothing compares to when she has some alone time for herself.
For this installment of "Finding Balance", xoNecole had the chance to discuss with Howard University grad about sparking up as a means to wind down, making time to FaceTime friends during her busy schedule and playing with her cat as a form of self-care.
xoNecole: At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause and finding balance in both your personal and professional life?
Freddie Ransome: I don't think I understood the importance of this until maybe 2016? I was 26, had been living in LA for about a year and had landed a Junior Video Producer role at Buzzfeed. I had felt like everything I worked hard for since I graduated in 2012 was finally taking shape. I had a salary, finally! This was the year I started toying with the idea of taking vacations, staycations, and remembering that I was hired for a reason and that my opportunity wouldn't get snatched away from me for taking time for myself.
What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.
Every day of the week, I'm knee-deep in emails. Deciding if I want to accept certain opportunities, looking through PR emails, and constantly brainstorming and figuring out ways that I can contribute to my community, specifically Black women and girls (all of this is with the help of my management team). Sometimes, I'm shooting Instagram stories and in-feed Instagram photos for brands; when I'm not doing that, I'm prepping for my acting coaching sessions by memorizing scenes and if I have a self-tape audition, prepping for that. When I'm not doing all of those things, I'm online shopping or looking at the home buying app, Redfin, at homes I want to buy, but can't afford (laughs).
"This was the year I started toying with the idea of taking vacations, staycations, and remembering that I was hired for a reason and that my opportunity wouldn't get snatched away from me for taking time for myself."
What are your mornings like?
So, I'm NOT a morning person, but I've actually gotten better at taking my mornings by the horns since quarantine began in March. I guess I'm holding myself more accountable. I wake up, check my phone, brush my teeth and wash my face (I'm a night showerer), get dressed in my athleisure of the day (today it's cheetah print biker shorts, a t-shirt with Snoop Dogg's face on it, and tie-dye socks), make an iced chai latte with ingredients from Trader Joe's, fix breakfast, which is a rotation between bacon and eggs, a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, rolled oats, boiled eggs, or last night's leftovers. Then, I crack open my computers to check those emails!
How do you wind down at night?
This is my favorite part of the day! I light all of my incense and candles, shower, smoke some weed, and watch something light and funny on Netflix. Lately, I've been re-watching The Simple Life and other random old reality TV shows. I'm usually in bed by 11.
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
When I have a busy week, the most hectic part of it is sending over content to brands for them to review and having to make tweaks or re-shoot some things under a tight deadline. I usually get pretty overwhelmed by deadlines, so I find myself having to take some deep breaths to stay calm and focused.
Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you?
I know it sounds corny, but I play with my cat, Roberta Sinclaire. I got her a little over 2 years ago and I have to say, she has saved me this quarantine! We just hang out and watch TV. Some of our favorite shows include Insecure, Ozark, Never Have I Ever, This is Us, Dave, the list goes on. Also, I've learned how to give myself a gel manicure with tips and knotless goddess braids, while in quarantine. I've decided to hold off on eyebrow maintenance until salons open again (laughs).
"Self-care can look so many different ways. If you feel you're too busy for it, I would encourage you to carve out the time you would normally carve out for a doctor's appointment you can't miss (we all have those) for a morning or afternoon to yourself. Sometimes, chores and taking care of certain things I've been putting off is a form of self-care."
What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?
Self-care can look so many different ways. If you feel you're too busy for it, I would encourage you to carve out the time you would normally carve out for a doctor's appointment you can't miss (we all have those) for a morning or afternoon to yourself. Sometimes, chores and taking care of certain things I've been putting off is a form of self-care. Doing laundry, folding those clothes that have been in the dryer for a week, or dropping off those clothes to a women's shelter that have been sitting in the car for weeks can clear my mind! Those things that have been hovering over my shoulder for weeks are now taken care of, and I feel free!
How do you find balance with:
I bought a bike! So, I try to go on bike rides once or twice a week. The other weekend, I got some friends together who all have bikes and we rode from Leimert Park to Venice Beach. We got empanadas and to-go margaritas. Bike riding has given me the exercise and outlet I've been yearning for since the lockdown began.
HA! I've been single for about...three years. [I've] been dating here and there but nothing serious. Not because I don't want things to be serious, but because everything felt kind of forced. And why force situationships to work when I need to be forcing myself to sit down, focus, and get my tasks done? I'm on the apps and swipe during my downtime, but I can't say I actively make time to go out and meet guys. When I had committed to making that a part of my routine [and] going out once a week to lounges and bars in different parts of LA to meet different types of guys––that's when quarantine was mandated (laughs). So, [I'm] just focusing on what I can control, which is my work!
I'm a part of many-a-group chats. So, that's how I stay tapped in on the daily. But I'm working on getting better at FaceTime calls and more intimate catch-up sessions. FaceTiming one or two friends a week is always the goal.
What about health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
I've been cooking a lot more in the last few months. Before the COVID-19 lockdown, I was "restaurant mami" and always ate out or did take out, mainly out of laziness. I've learned how to make dishes with my Instapot, made lasagna for the first time, fried chicken for the first time...I've been throwing down. Now, you mentioned "health" (laughs). Yeah I could do better with cooking healthier foods.
Do you ever detox?
I've never detoxed. Unless not drinking for a couple weeks counts?
"I think about what I want and I get extremely specific. What company or network do I want to work with? Who would I want to be my 'boss'? And then I try to focus on the things I can control. What can I be doing on my end to be as prepared as possible when this opportunity does arise? Because it will. it's just a matter of when."
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I think about what I want and I get extremely specific. What company or network do I want to work with? Who would I want to be my "boss"? Which executives do I want to know my name? Or, what character do I want to play, and on what show? And then I try to focus on the things I can control. What can I be doing on my end to be as prepared as possible when this opportunity does arise? Because it will. it's just a matter of when.
What do you do when you have a creative block on a project or feel like you have to clear your head before going into a project?
I don't really think I have many creative blocks when it comes to creating. My biggest hurdle is getting started. Once I get started editing a video or working on a script, I'm on a roll. It just takes a lot of discipline for me to actually sit down and start working....without getting distracted by online shopping or Redfin browsing (laughs) The way I force myself to sit down and get started is by setting the vibes. Turning off the TV, burning candles in my office and playing the "Late Night Vibes" playlist on Spotify. Ironically, this playlist works wonders for productivity during the day.
Honestly, what does success and happiness mean to you?
Loaded Q! Wow, success to me looks like getting my foot in the door and bringing in and making room for other Black and brown folks. I want to start the trickle-in effect of people with varying perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds getting a chance to create based on their authentic experiences. Happiness looks like...me being able to create and make people laugh for the rest of my life. I want to make enough money to move my mom from Virginia to Los Angeles without her having to worry. It would also be cool to have a life partner through all of this.
For more Freddie, follow her on Instagram @Freddie!
Featured image courtesy of Freddie Ransome.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith went to social media to share their Thanksgiving holiday with followers. The pair were surrounded by family and friends Thursday, and both posted how grateful they were to be with the ones they loved. Yet this comes on the heels of Pinkett Smith’s whirlwind of negative opinions and critics forecasting her book would be a flop.
Despite the negative feedback she received, Worthy, Pinkett Smith’s memoir, still debuted at #3 on the New York Times’ Best Seller list on October 25. The greatest backlash she received was centered around her relationship with Smith and the fact that the two had been living separate lives since 2016.
The commentary about their marriage overshadowed the reality that this book is ultimately about her journey to self-worth and the path she’s had to take in order to get there.
Social media comments about her book tour ranged from, “Me counting all the times Jada woke up and chose to embarrass Will Smith,” to podcasts like The Joe Budden Podcast saying, “Take me out the group chat,” which was a sentiment shared by many celebrities and fans alike. Yet, a point made by comedian KevOnStage proved that even though people say they don’t want to know about the Smiths, they’re secretly interested and want to know more.
Since the Smiths were wed in 1997, people have been fascinated with their marriage, and rumors about their marital arrangement have always been a topic of conversation. People continue to speculate that the pair is gay and swingers, and even new allegations have come out that Smith and Duane Martin shared an intimate relationship at one point.
However, despite their consistent united front throughout their marriage in recent years, Pinkett Smith has borne the brunt of backlash in the couple’s relationship, from her entanglement with August Alsina to Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards to the recent truths she’s shared about the couple’s marriage in her memoir.
Individuals are consistently running to the internet to support Smith and villainize Pinkett Smith, from podcast guests saying things such as “She doesn’t like Will, she likes the lifestyle” to deeming her “mean” or "manipulative" because of her facial expressions and demeanor.
Likewise, when you have hosts of daytime talk shows such as Ana Navarro saying, “I think she’s having a relationship with her bank account,” insinuating Pinkett Smith only shared stories about Smith to increase her book sales, it begs the question of where was this same energy when Smith released his memoir?
In Will, Smith discusses both of his marriages and how, in relationships, because of his upbringing, he needed constant validation and praise from his partners to feel secure. He also shared the reality that Pinkett Smith never wanted to be married, just as she never wanted the huge estate they share in California, but he wanted to give it to her despite her feelings about it.
Smith admitted to creating this family empire that only further boosted his ego and what he wanted his legacy to be instead of actually asking his family what they wanted or needed. People praised him for his vulnerability and said his book was an inspiration.
So how is it that one book about a person’s family, upbringing, and journey to self is praised, and another is villainized? The glaring thought that comes to me is, does likability often trump accountability?
People love Smith and his “good guy” persona; he’s always been an attractive, charismatic man that people can relate to, so even when he speaks about the way he mismanaged his marriage and family, it’s seen as growth. On the contrary, because Pinkett Smith doesn’t constantly fawn over him and shares how miserable she was in their marriage, she’s the villain.
People still blame her for not stopping Smith from smacking Rock at the Oscars and share their sentiments about how she embarrassed Smith with her entanglement with Alsina. Though this is a celebrity couple we’ve all followed for years, the question must be asked, how much accountability must Black women be subjected to in relationship to their partners' actions?
Why is it that the media is more interested in the marriage between Smith and Pinkett Smith than her childhood, or the fact her memoir consists of writing prompts, meditations, and methods for other women to find their sense of worth?
Could it be that the larger society doesn’t value Black women having the tools to find their own sense of worth? Or is it that Black women are expected to accept whatever is given to them regardless of how they feel or what they want?
The exclusive interview with Eboni K. Williams (@ebonikwilliams) and Dr. Iyanla Vanzant about if she would date a bus driver seems to have a lot of people talking. You can watch her response tonight on #theGrio. Catch the full interview, here: https://t.co/ctxE0zKFWj pic.twitter.com/BhIO52T2fg— theGrio.com (@theGrio) May 2, 2023
When Eboni K. Williams shared that she wasn’t interested in dating a bus driver, the internet blew up with individuals saying that Black women need to be less selective with their dating prospects. The commentary around this conversation shed much light on the reality that this demographic is expected and invited to settle in love if they actually want a life partner.
Black women aren’t often given the space to find their joy, fulfillment, or even self-worth because of the responsibility they’re forced to acquire in order to support their families and communities. Yet, “high value” Black men speak vehemently about Black women’s masculinity and inability to submit. We’re often inundated with podcast guests sharing that they’re not impressed by our success and are uninterested in our aspirations.
Black women, from a young age, are taught to place their community first and cater to the men around them regardless of what they do or how they behave.
We see this when young girls are told to put on pants when male relatives come around, we experience it when domestic violence survivors are encouraged not to press charges against their perpetrators, and we even see it when Black women face backlash for dating outside of their race.
The way Pinkett Smith has been treated since sharing the truth about her life and journey of discovering her self-worth is another example of how the world isn’t receptive to Black women being their most authentic selves.
It’s another example we can hold up to illustrate how Black women are expected to be magical but not human.
Even with this article, I’m sure there will be many who want to argue why Pinkett Smith was wrong in her narrative, but at the end of the day, it was her story to tell, and no one has more authority to share her lived experience than her.
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Featured image by James Devaney/GC Images