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.
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
For as long as she can remember, Dineka Young has been a student of beauty.
During her early school days, her mom enrolled her in a school where beauty was quite literally a part of the curriculum. At eight years old, the Mayo Hill School of Modeling put a young Dineka on game for how to always "look presentable" and maintain her "personal beauty" among other lessons. The now 30-something licensed esthetician and nutritionist jokingly says her time there "created a monster."
The Houston native indulges her affinity for beauty through her skincare brand, SKINBYDI where she provides in-person skincare services as well as all-natural skincare products underneath the same moniker. The evolution of her skincare routine and approach to beauty came with time and changes in her skin, understanding what worked for her skin and ultimately letting go of what didn't.
"I used to believe all skincare products were created equal," she explains in our interview. "As a teen and in early adulthood, I had pretty low-maintenance skin, so I could use and try literally everything with no problem. As I got older, [in] mid-twenties, stressed [and] hormones going insane, I learned that was not the case and that it was very important to use products with purpose to help achieve a particular skincare goal."
Dineka went on to explain that trying out various products on her "temperamental skin" was a "no-go." Just like she streamlined the beauty products she used in her arsenal for better skincare habits, the content creator also adjusted her lens to widen her perspective of what is beautiful. "I used to think that beauty was something you put on, you know? Like, 'I’m beautiful because I got my lashes done, my brows threaded, and my hair is done.' Now, I see beauty in myself and others in their natural state. Bare skin, frizzy hair, bushy brows, etc."
"Now, I see beauty in myself and others in their natural state. Bare skin, frizzy hair, bushy brows..."
Nowadays, it's clean beauty and non-toxic ingredients only. "Non-toxic ingredients are non-negotiable." She continues, "I treat my clients’ skin in the treatment room just as I would treat mine. Professionally working with skin has only solidified my stanning of clean beauty. I have had clients come to see me after seeing a dermatologist, being put on topical and oral meds, and seeing no progress in their skin. I have had clients that have totally different skincare concerns or goals and still be put on the same prescriptions. It's wild."
Seeing the way certain prescriptions had a chokehold on clients, whether or not they made progress in their overall skincare concerns fueled Dineka's desire to rep for clean beauty even more. "It’s made me advocate for natural options, while also wanting to educate and bring light to those areas. There’s beauty in patience and giving your skin time to naturally transform or improve. This is what I try to explain to my clients," she shares. "No shade at all to derms because, of course, they are doctors, and they can provide great pharmaceutical relief when absolutely needed."
Keep reading to learn more about Dineka's self-care must-haves and wind-down routine.
Her locs, her beauty:
"As an adult now that is natural with locs I’ve learned that my hair doesn't have to be silky and straight to be admirable or beautiful. My loc journey is one separate from my skincare journey, and it still has so much impact on my personal beauty standards and loving my entire self."
Her self-care must-haves:
"A good hydrating mist, one that's extremely refreshing and light. It refreshes your entire day when you use it. Supplements for gut health as well as skin health. A top-tier body exfoliant. I am obsessed with my smooth skin. It's just a necessity. (My favorite is the microcrystal buffing bar from @softservices on Instagram. It’s unmatched.) A stainless steel gua sha because lymphatic drainage is important, and who doesn't love snatched cheekbones and jawlines?"
Her evening wind down routine:
"I typically start unwinding for the night with a good stretch or slow Pilates flow. (I just bought a reformer that I found on OfferUp, and I am obsessed). Then I do my skincare routine, shower, pray/meditate with my husband, have a cup of tea, then go to bed."
For more of Dineka, follow her on Instagram @dinekaa.
Featured image via Dinekaa/Instagram