Here’s How High-Profile Wardrobe Stylist Germanee Gerald Finds Balance In Her Life
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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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Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
The Gina Vs. The Jheri Curl: Are Perms Having A Comeback?
When it comes to beauty trends, everything comes full circle, and perms are no exception. If you weren't around to experience perms the first time the hairstyle was cool, then the modern version might blow your mind! But before discussing what a GinaCurl is, you have to understand the Jheri curl and what a standard perm is.
A perm is short for permanent wave and is a process that uses chemicals and heat to change the texture of the hair to a curl or wave. Perms work by altering the structure of the hair thermally or chemically and setting the curl pattern and texture. This differs slightly from what we in the Black community have referred to as "perms" growing up, which were formally called relaxers, but the word "perm" could be used to describe the chemical treatment interchangeably.
Similar to perms that are known for creating permanent waves in straight hair, perms for Black hair involved the chemical process of straightening curly hair by breaking the bonds of the hair shaft. In this article, we are focusing on perms that create permanent waves in the hair, not the perms we sometimes call relaxers.
The Jheri Curl
Though originally created by Jheri Redding, an Irish-American hairdresser in the 1970s of Nexxus and Redken fame, the Jheri curl that we've come to associate with was adapted by Comer Cottrell, a Black entrepreneur. Their at-home Curly Kits were specifically created for Black hair and would lay the groundwork for the popular style to be more accessible to everyday people and not just celebs like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
The standard Jheri curl that comes to mind whenever a perm is mentioned requires a two-part application. This consists of a softener or rearranging cream to loosen the hair, followed by perm rods and a solution to neutralize and set the curls. Just like with any process that chemically alters the hair, proper care and technique are needed so as not to damage your hair during the process.
However, as a low-maintenance hairstyle, once the process is done, Jheri curls can be maintained pretty simply and effectively through the daily use of a curl activator.
Reply to @wholistichut I recommend it. It’s really helped my hair grow and made maintenance of my hair easier #ginacurl #curlyperm #curlyhair
The GinaCurl, similar to the Jheri curl, has an emphasis on loosening tighter curl patterns. Unlike other perms and relaxers, the GinaCurl is believed to be a gentler and less damaging approach to chemically altering the hair for manageability. The GinaCurl created by Gina Rivera restructures the hair molecules to reduce frizz, making the hair manageable, soft, and moisture balanced.
Per their official website, Rivera's modern take on a perm includes a 3-step process:
- Step one is a chemical that breaks down the protein chains in the hair to allow a new shape.
- Step two is applying perm rods for the desired curl size and pattern, applying heat for oxidation, and rearranging the hair's protein bonds.
- Step three is neutralizing the hair and permanently setting the hair in its new shape.
Where the Jheri curl requires maintenance every 6-8 weeks, the GinaCurl can be done every 6 months.
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