A famous African-American poet once said, "If at first, you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again," and I felt that in my spirit. Failure is the inspiration you need to get it right the next time and after launching her haircare business in 2017, Gabrielle Union learned that this statement is big facts. In a recent interview with People, the actress gave us a lesson in authenticity and got real about how she had to go back to the drawing board and rethink her blueprint before she could build a successful business.
Gabrielle, who initially teamed up with a group of investors to launch her brand three years ago, told People that although she was able to push through in the pursuit of her hustle, she was battling a dark battle behind the scenes. Months of IVF treatments left the actress with what she described as "massive" bald spots that forced her to wear wigs and clip-ins to keep up appearances:
"I felt like such a fraud selling products. I literally didn't have hair. But, our investors were pushing us to launch, so I was put in a position where I had to wear wigs and clip-ins. It felt so inauthentic to me. For all those women who've dealt with hair loss or balding, it's debilitating and humiliating, and there's a lot of shame involved."
After working with hairstylist Larry Sims to get her hair back into healthy condition, Gabrielle is ready to share her hacks and remedies with other Black women who have experienced hair loss. The collection, which will be available for purchase on Amazon on August 3, features a 3-Minute Restorative Conditioner and Exotic Oil Treatment that promise to get your tresses all the way together. She told ESSENCE:
"We started with restructuring the business between Larry and myself. We are a majority Black-owned company. Black-owned and Black marketed. We needed to do this completely differently. A lot of our hair products that are targeted for African-American hair textures contain silicone. We wanted to take those out. We wanted to really lean into the new technology, new innovation and incorporate hair growth and hair strength, because those are the things that I was dealing with. And I know so many of us have dealt with hair loss, balding, breakage, damage."
Despite the hair struggles she's experienced behind the scenes, Gabrielle has never ceased to give us a natural hair slay and we stan a protectively styled queen.
Curls We Do Adore
Pop Smoke-Inspired Braids
Sleek & Chic Pony
Keeping It Tribal
Curly Headwrapped Updo
Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
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Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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Switching things up in our careers---and thriving at doing so---is nothing new to us. Since, as ambitious Black women in our own right, we're often tasked with challenging ourselves, pushing ourselves past the status quo, and fighting to live out the best careers we can.
Alison Threadgill, senior director of talent relations at Revolt, made a pivot from serving as a publicist to working with top entertainment personalities in talent relations, and in her more than 15 years of experience, she's been able to elevate through the ranks of entertainment---previously at TV One and its sister companies Radio One, iOne, Reach Media and One Solution.
"I get to cast and highlight artists and creators and cultural leaders who are really driving the culture forward," she said. "At Revolt, we are very unapologetically hip-hop, and so I'm always searching for fresh voices and undiscovered artists. Revolt really is a platform that's for people like that to be showcased to the world. ... It's exciting to work in this world where I have the opportunity to really elevate Black voices and Black audiences."
I caught up with Alison to talk about why she chose to shift from PR to her current post, how we can all truly lift as we climb--even in industries that might have reputations for being super-competitive, and how she's working the job of her dreams to the max.
Marcus Ingram / Contributor/Getty
xoNecole: You mentioned pushing the culture forward. What does that specifically mean for Revolt as a network?
Alison Threadgill: One of the things that makes Revolt unique is that we represent a very Gen Z and millennial voice. What the status quo is, is not what we're about. We are sparking conversations that are going to bring about change, to make people think differently, to get people to realize that just because something has been a certain way, doesn't mean that's the way that it should be or should continue to be. We pride ourselves on being very disruptive and bringing about voices that showcase that.
We have a new show that's coming later this year where there will be lots of different voices.
We're coming up on an election year, and so being able to have voices in our community that are talking about issues that are important to us and understanding that there's a lot wrong in the world, our people are so often overlooked and mistreated, and so what do we as a community need to do to really impact change? Who are the people we need to empower who are not just going to give us lip service but are actually going to do things to create change?
It's about starting those conversations and understanding, for our audience, that Revolt is a place you can come to hear that and see that.
xoN: You pivoted from PR to talent relations. What transferable skills have helped you in doing so?
AT: One of the things that is a skill set that you have to have for both is working with very different personalities. Working in PR, I worked very closely with talent all of the time. I think that was probably the key skill set between the two---understanding that, especially in the celebrity world, you can work with very challenging personalities, whether it be on the management or agent side, to the talent themselves. Just understanding how to work with all kinds of personalities to be able to get your job done, I would say, would be the No. 1 skill between the two.
xoN: What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a pivot into talent relations?
AT: Can I speak to entertainment in general? This is something that can work in both. I think one thing that a lot of people---especially for [those] who are not in large markets--a New York, an Atlanta, an LA--it can be daunting. How do I break in? [It's by] volunteering, even with something at the local level, so that you're gaining experience in entertainment. What you're doing as a volunteer may not be something you absolutely love, but it's giving you the exposure to all these other entertainment jobs, what other people are doing, that you didn't even know existed that interests you. Volunteering is huge in figuring out what you want to [do] and giving you exposure to other areas.
The other thing that I think we don't do enough, especially as Black people---and sometimes as women--- is using our network---talking to your network. Telling your friends, colleagues, and associates about things that interest you in entertainment.
It's important to put yourself out there because if people don't know, they can't help you. It may not be a situation where it's something they know about, but a friend of [a] friend might mention that they're looking for somebody or know somebody.
It's easy to not share because you assume people may not be tapped in, but you don't know who they know---so just really be open to putting yourself out there. So much about this industry is about relationships, and doors open because of your relationships.
Also, using LinkedIn as a tool if you don't know anybody in entertainment or there's a role you're interested in.
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Featured image by Shawne Turrentine/Art Trends LLC