Exclusive: What Self-Care Looks Like To R&B Artist DaniLeigh
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, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
DaniLeigh is single handedly responsible for one of the most frequently played tracks on my phone, "Lil' Bebe". It wasn't too long ago when Dani was landing dancing features for Nelly Furtado, Pharrell and Meghan Trainor, and serving as the choreographer, creative director and lead in Prince's "Breakfast Can Wait" music video at the age of 18.
Shortly after being signed to Def Jam and making her debut with her Summer With Friends EP in 2017, DaniLeigh has made splashes in the music industry as she collaborated with Chris Brown on certified gold single, "Easy," and G-Eazy on "Cravin". From dropping her own rendition of Bryson Tiller's TRAPSOUL to her Christmas-themed "Usually" music video, DaniLeigh has effortlessly displayed range, talent and badass energy in the music industry.
The proud Dominicana shows no signs of slowing up anytime soon as she gears up to release new music on the brink of the summer, hot on the heels of her latest smash "Levi High" featuring DaBaby. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter, dancer, creative director and choreographer recently spoke with xoNecole about how she manages all her mental health, balances her different hats and still manages to find time for herself.
Along with practicing moments of stillness and silence, watching a good show to wind down, and making time to reconnect with herself, here's how DaniLeigh finds balance:
xoNecole: In the midst of the coronavirus, how do you keep yourself pushing in a time where it's so easy to become unproductive? What is your why?
DaniLeigh: My 'why' right now is all based on not stopping my momentum. I like to find new ways to challenge myself so I won't become unproductive. An example of me finding new ways to be productive is working on the production side of my work. I've always had a hand in my creative process, but now I'm getting into more detailed things from lighting to types of cameras used for my content.
How do you balance being an artist, a dancer, a friend, a sister, a daughter and still have time to focus on your mental health?
I make sure that I talk to my family, and friends everyday to help keep me balanced while dealing with the industry. It's very important to me to talk to my close friends and family because they remind you of being human and being present outside the industry. Being present is super important in keeping your mental space free from depression.
"Being present is super important in keeping your mental space free from depression."
How do you snap yourself out of negative thoughts of yourself, your productivity, life, etc. and how do you remain positive?
I tend to remember the good in me to overshadow any negative thoughts that might creep into my mental space. It's easy to get lost in the opinions of others so it's important to stay connected with yourself.
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.
I usually go to the gym in the morning, come home to gather my focus, then go right to the studio or rehearsals. I normally don't take too many breaks in-between these things, but if I do, then I'm usually shopping or getting my nails done, facials, or some sort of self-care. The studio is like my safe place; I could be in there anywhere from 6 to 14 hours at a time.
"The studio is like my safe place; I could be in there anywhere from 6 to 14 hours at a time."
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
I would say the most hectic part is really trying to complete everything on a list from rehearsals and performing, to meetings and hair and makeup. I have a great team of people who help me manage day-to-day tasks so I don't get too overwhelmed. I use the Notes app on my phone because my team and I can share it with one another to make sure things are being completed.
What are your mornings like?
My mornings vary depending on my mood and the weather. If I wake up and it's a beautiful day outside, it gives me a sense of appreciation for life and it's easy to see the good in almost everything for me. When I wake up in bad moods, I will put on music that speaks to that mood and it'll usually inspire me to create, which always gets me out of a bad mood.
"If I wake up and it's a beautiful day outside, it gives me a sense of appreciation for life and it's easy to see the good in almost everything for me."
How do you wind down at night?
I like to watch a good movie or TV show to wind down. I recently completed the Powerseries, which had me on edge the whole time. I really love how well-written that show is. I'm currently looking for something new to dive into - any suggestions?
Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you?
Honestly, being in an environment where I can create is the ultimate self-care to me. I don't really have just one way in which I create - sometimes I'm alone, with close friends, or it's just the producer and myself. As long as the energy in the room is correct, my creativity can flow freely.
"Being in an environment where I can create is the ultimate self-care to me. I don't really have just one way in which I create - sometimes I'm alone, with close friends, or it's just the producer and myself. As long as the energy in the room is correct, my creativity can flow freely."
How do you find balance with:
I like to meet up with friends and hang out at either my house or theirs. It's so fun to do normal things like go out to eat, watch good movies, or have good conversation. It allows me to be present with some of the people closest to me.
I'm someone who loves love. When dating someone, I make them a priority as well as maintaining my career.
When balancing these things, I don't really think about trying to find time. It usually just flows nicely. My trainer has me do it all. I usually post my workouts on my Instagram live and I will have fans join me in the process so we can stay fit together.
Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
I recently started cooking more - I really enjoy it so much now. I feel like getting older has made me want to learn to cook more. I love making salmon, steaks, and anything involving breakfast. I have to look up some new recipes so I can know what would be interesting to cook.
Do you ever detox?
I have not detoxed in a while. When I detox, it's usually an easy process now since I've done it so many times. I tend to go on juice cleanses. I believe it's really important to detox to free your body of things that aren't good for you. You have to keep your body in shape to really enjoy this life experience.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I talk to my brother Jackson II. Jackson is very to the point and speaks from a place of love. I know when he's telling me something, it's really for my benefit and nothing else. He really has me focus on self-love as well as family values.
Honestly, what does success mean to you? What does happiness mean to you?
These things mean accomplishing goals of self-love and giving real love in return.
For more of DaniLeigh, follow her on Instagram.
Featured image courtesy of DaniLeigh
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Actress and singer Keke Palmer recently shed light on the 'breast milk discrimination' she encountered at a Houston airport.
The incident allegedly went down on June 16, when Palmer, who welcomed her son Leodis Jackson earlier this year with longtime partner Darius Jackson, revealed on Twitter that Houston airport employees ruined her mood as she was discretely pumping.
In the tweet, the 29-year-old elaborated that her aggravation stemmed from the alleged threats spewed at her, including potentially disposing of "over 16 oz" of her son's food.
"Breast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood," she tweeted. "I should've popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16 oz [of] my [baby's] food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime?? I'M A MOTHER, for crying out loud."
\u201cBreast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood. I should\u2019ve popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16oz my babies food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime??\n\nI\u2019M A MOTHER for crying out\u2026\u201d— Keke Palmer (@Keke Palmer) 1686566225
It is unclear if the issue was resolved because Palmer has yet to release any additional details regarding the matter. Still, the Nope star's post was met with fans' support, and many shared similar stories about their experiences at other locations.
According to the official TSA website, breast milk and baby or toddler-related foods and drinks are categorized as "medically necessary liquids." This means those items, including break milk, formula, and puree pouches, aren't required to meet the carry-on regulations and can be transported onto a plane as long as it's in a proper bag.
In addition to those rules, it is also reported that it is legal to breastfeed and breast pump in public. Although different states have different laws, in Texas, where Palmer was allegedly discriminated against, a bill allowing women to pump in public areas was passed in 2019.
In light of Palmer's tweet and the controversy surrounding breast pumping and breastfeeding in public, xoNecole is sharing the stories of other high-profile women who have openly discussed their experiences, positve and negative, with breastfeeding in public.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed during a Workplace Flexibility Conference over a decade ago that when her youngest daughter Sasha Obama was an infant, she was forced to bring her to a job interview because she was still breastfeeding.
The star disclosed that she feared she would have been disqualified if Sasha's presence was a disruption. But because Obama had interviewed with the president of the company, who also had a child, they understood the responsibilities of being a parent and gave her the job.
"I packed up that little infant, and I put her in the stroller, and I brought her with me. And I prayed that her presence wouldn't be an automatic disqualifier. And it was fortunate for me that, number one, she slept through the entire interview. And I was still breastfeeding — if that's not too much information. And I got the job," she said.
"But I know that I was lucky, number one. I was interviewing with the president, that had just had a child himself and was very understanding and open-minded. But I know that most folks are nowhere near as lucky as I was."
In addition to her speech, Obama advised a plan to give tax breaks or credits to nursing mothers to cover breast pump costs, but the opposing party, unfortunately, scrutinized it.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Another person who has discussed the stigma of breastfeeding in public is actress Jada Pinkett Smith. In an episode of her Facebook talk show, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith revealed that she was mom-shamed as she tried to breastfeed her children, Jaden and Willow Smith.
The Girls Trip star explained that when she attended public locations with Jaden and Willow --who were respectively born in 1998 and 2000-- and had to breastfeed, she tried shielding it, but it became a hassle.
"I remember me, myself when I would be out with Jaden and Willow breastfeeding... I used to have that little [breastfeeding] cover. It would make it so difficult. They're in there [and] they're suffocating. I can't see them," she said.
Pinkett Smith added that the experience gave her anxiety because, at the time, breastfeeding in public was stigmatized.
"I had so much anxiety about it because back when I had them, breastfeeding was like, 'what? What are you doing?'" she stated.
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Feature image by Noam Galai/Getty Images