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How Shelah Marie Likes To Unwind On The Weekends

The CEO/founder shares the elements that make her weekend the epitome of self-care.

Inspiration

As a part of our Her Weekend, Her Way feature, we're talking to some of our favorite boss ladies about their weekends, their way. How do they relax, recharge and refuel? As we all know, life shouldn't be all about work. It's what we do beyond business and career that help keep us motivated and able to dominate for the week ahead.

Meet Shelah Marie - CEO and Founder of Curvy, Curly Conscious, a safe space for Black women to connect and heal. Check out how she takes time to practice what she preaches and prioritize taking time for herself to unwind.

How Shelah spends her Fridays:

"On a Friday, you can find me getting lost in a binge-worthy Netflix series with a glass (or three) of wine, having a nice dinner with friends or the boo. You can also very likely find me browsing the aisles of HomeGoods because it seems I am always updating the decor in my house for some reason."

Courtesy of Shelah Marie

The perfect Saturday Morning:

"My favorite way to spend a Saturday morning is by taking some type of fitness class. I'm really into hot yoga right now or bootcamp workout classes. I love group fitness because it keeps me motivated and excited. After that's out of the way, I can go back to HomeGoods or head home to read in the sunlight or leisurely catch up on random tasks."

Shelah’s ideal Girls' Night:

"With our group, we are busy women pulled in a thousand directions so we find that making finite plans for an agreed amount of time helps us stick to a plan. We love bowling, going to concerts or having girls' dinners. We are also always good for a pool day."

Courtesy of Shelah Marie

How recharging helped her business:

"As a business owner, the work never stops. The to-do list is never-ending, so if you do not carve out time to actually live life, you become a slave to your business and that's the opposite of the lifestyle I want. It's important to remember that we are not robots. We are not simply here to work and get things done. We are here to experience life, pleasure and joy in the midst of reaching our goals."

Connect with Shelah Marie on Instagram @theshelahmarie.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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