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Here’s How High-Profile Wardrobe Stylist Germanee Gerald Finds Balance In Her Life

Finding Balance

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.

If you haven't heard of Germanee Gerald, well, thank us later. Her Instagram alone may give you all the feels, but you can easily walk away with a new sense of fashion inspiration simply by seeing how she does WHAT she does.


Gerald is not only a wardrobe stylist responsible for dressing down many of Silicon Valley's C-suite and industry professionals, but she's also had a long career working in merchandising, retail management, and now, entrepreneurship. In 2015, she started GG+CO Styling Firm, where her entrepreneurial pursuits led her to create a customer-centric focus on fashion, and more importantly, style. Not to mention she also hosted her own events that bring together both men and women to learn all about dressing the part and feeling their best while doing so.

Germanee Gerald

Just because she's dealing with clothes and celebrity clientele doesn't mean that everything is easy for the Charlotte, North Carolina native. In fact, her days, weeks, and even hours are meshed with a lot of preparation, time management, and of course, big personalities.

For our latest installment of Finding Balance, we wanted to know how Germanee balances dressing some of today's hottest executives while keeping a bit of fly for herself:

What is an average day or week like for you?

My work week varies as GG+Co Styling Firm is a three-pronged business. My work as a stylist requires me to interact with clients at fittings in-person and virtually, and I also woo potential clients with pitch decks. I pivot from styling to planning with my team for our semi-annual 'Sip N' Style events, where we educate individuals on how to hone in on their personal style over cocktails all while supporting local retailers. When I've washed my hands from client and event work, I'm using the rest of my time to work my style course that I will be launching in January where I'll be teaching individuals how to curate their signature style.

What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week? How do you push through? 

I don't think I can pinpoint one singular thing that makes my week hectic. However, I often find it challenging to juggle and balance my schedule from time to time with my hands being in so many things.

Germanee Gerald

How do you practice self-care? What is your self-care routine?

I practice self-care by giving myself space to pause, meditate, and collect my thoughts at the beginning of each week. Each Monday, I reset, catch up on Sunday's sermons (since I'm usually working on the weekends), meal prep, try to write out my to-do list so I know what's ahead of me, and treat myself to a mask.

How do you find balance with:

Friends?

It's hard, but my friends are important to me and I make an effort to show them that. For me, it's all about calendaring. I often schedule calls, FaceTime dates, or time to hang with them in person. I also make it a point to try to clear out my unread text messages I may have missed from them before I go to sleep at night.

Germanee Gerald

Love/Relationships? 

At this point in life, I'm focusing on self-love. I'm making a point to be intentional about becoming the best version of myself before I allow space for someone else in my life.

Dating? 

While I'm focusing on myself, I do try to go out on dates from time to time when I'm equally intrigued by a guy. These are also scheduled out in advance, so it's important to me that I spend time with a guy who can understand and be sensitive to my schedule.

Exercise?

Exercising and having it in my routine is important to me. I appreciate it not only for the physical benefits, but it also helps me to set my intention for the day and release stress. I try to workout at least four times a week in the mornings. My workouts range from three-mile runs to cardio and weightlifting.

Do you cook or find yourself eating out? 

I typically cook my meals six out of the seven days of the week, and sometimes I even cook my cheat meals. For me, it helps cut down on spending, which is important as an entrepreneur. In addition, it allows me to have full visibility of what's going in my meals. However, I do try to treat myself to a meal out once a week.

Do you ever detox?

I've always found it difficult to detox and disconnect. Taking breaks makes me feel like I'm perpetuating listlessness and impeding my goals, so it's seldom that I detox from work. However, I've found it very beneficial to detox from social media; I compare myself less to other people's personal relationships, careers, physical appearances.

Germanee Gerald

"I've found it very beneficial to detox from social media; I compare myself less to other people's personal relationships, careers, physical appearances."

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it? 

I usually lean on faith and friends when doubt arises. I pray, read scriptures, and ask for clarity. Talking to friends helps me get out of my own head and gives me a different perspective — they assure me that I'm on the right path, that I'm capable, and if I'm stuck they usually help me strategize and tease out my ideas. I also have to self-promote at times. Talking to myself in the mirror and speaking positive affirmations to tell myself I'm capable also helps.

What does success mean to you? 

The concept of success, to me, means accomplishing a goal that I set and holding myself accountable to complete it. When I was in college, I promised my parents that changing my major from biochemistry to fashion would pay off, and upon graduating I landed a position at Gap, Inc. in the company's highly regarded Rotational Management Program — which promised a role at the company working at one of its subsidiaries upon graduating the program.

I said that I would work for myself, and now, I am. I created a plan, saved for two years, and on the day of my ten year anniversary at Gap, Inc., I was able to call myself a full-time entrepreneur. I created the Sip N' Style events to educate individuals on style, how to find it, and what works best for them. Now I do that, and the event has grown from five people in my living room to hosting 250 people at event spaces in the Bay Area. Finally, last year I created a vision board with ten of my 'ideal' clients, and I've had the pleasure of working with half of them. There's still work to be done there, but I know I'll secure the bag, as I've done with the other things I've set out to do.

Germanee Gerald

"I said that I would work for myself, and now, I am. I created a plan, saved for two years, and on the day of my ten year anniversary at Gap Inc., I was able to call myself a full-time entrepreneur."

What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?

I think people forget the importance of it (myself included). It's imperative to have a healthy balance to show up and be your best self mentally, physically, and emotionally.

To keep up with Germanee, follow her on Instagram @germanee_g and visit her website GGandcostyling.com!

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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