How Gia Peppers Is Becoming This Generation's Game-Changer One Talent At A Time
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.
The first time I met Gia Peppers, I was a student in the WEEN Academy, a four-week crash course in the entertainment industry.
We had been told that one day during the academy, alumnae would come by and have a WEEN roundtable, a day many of us were nervous about because you never know what to expect in the academy. As my WEEN sisters and I sat around in a circle, alumnae, including Gia, came in, offering discussions of Black women just talking about life, the industry, and perseverance.
Of all the things from that day, I remember making a mental note about something strange about Gia (she probably noticed me just staring at her and maaaybe was creeped out). I took note of how energetic she was, yet simultaneously, how calm her spirit felt. Up to that point, I had only known the name and face through my constant Instagram stalking, cheering on the sidelines because I just thoroughly loved another DMV (D.C., Virginia, and Maryland) native killin' it. She was someone I immediately made my big sister in my head, constantly following by example.
But Gia is one of those people who will steal your heart before you know it. She's young, but wise beyond her years. She's nothing short of showing people what putting in the work looks like, but also what it means to stay humble and never be above anything or anyone. But behind all the 'Gram flicks, the BlackGirl Podcast, and the nightly games during NBA season, how does Gia keep it all calm, cool, and collected?
In this installment of xoNecole's Finding Balance series, sitting outside a cute little café in the city, Gia and I chatted, woman to woman, sister to sister, creator to creator, and woman of God to woman of God. We talked work, life, and of course, balance.
xoNecole: What does an average week look like to you?
Gia Peppers: Lately, it's varied. Every single day comes down to planning and executing when you're a freelancer. Nowadays, I do a lot of hosting and get to do cool work as an on-air talent. Before, I was a journalist, but I knew I wanted to be talent. Of course, there's different perks involved, including the money. People were willing to help get me where I wanted to go, but you have to become more intentional about what you put out, and it has to be dope, especially since you don't have a standard 9-5.
During NBA season, it's a lot about travel. If I have a shoot, I'll be up and there by 8-9 AM. Then after, I get on Amtrak and get back to D.C., chill, do my makeup, and have everything ready for production meetings at 5:30. From 6-9 PM, we're hosting the game. Mom picks me up from the game, and then Dad and I will get up at 5 AM and he'll get me to the train and I'm back in NYC by 8 AM.
I also make sure to work out, pray, meditate, and set my intentions for the week.
I get a lot of really great headspace there, and then I'll work outside cafés, and sit and plan out what I want to do for the rest of the week. For me, I have waited way too long and there's all this work that I have to sift through, like my EPK! I always prep before things, so if there's an interview or event happening, I'm studying my script or writing it if I have to. It's about seeing what's coming down the pipeline and then preparing for it. I'm also getting better about posting on Instagram, and the community I've created online is really dope, so I try to put some dopeness out into the atmosphere. It's part of the territory as a host. So when it comes down to it, it's down to planning and execution.
When things get stressful, how do you get back to yourself? What role does religion and faith play in your life?
I grew up in the church. When I got to college, that's when I learned what's really inside of me, as I feel most people go through. I knew that I always had an awareness of my calling and purpose, probably because I'm the oldest in my family. I had to be an example for my brother and sister, but it shaped a lot of who I am. Even now, I'm not a wild kid, but I try to balance life when I can. Everything that we do is up to us, whether we try to act like it's a piece of a bigger picture or not. Everything we do is bigger than us. I learned how to hone in to the higher frequencies out there.
When you pray, you can ask God for help. You can tell Him you're upset, and He will help you out. It's an everyday decision to choose yourself, your health, and your dreams. You can accomplish whatever you want, it's just going to take work to do it.
But what happens when you get those thoughts of doubt? Those thoughts that tell you you can't be great?
It can be tough because people try to say "greatness" is this thing that only one person can do. Anybody can be great, but do you have the guts to be great? Can you walk around with egg on your face and 20,000 people look at you? Can you be the same person when you win OR lose? I had to learn how to be that person, but it also starts with understanding that you have to take care of yourself and be aware of your body and its needs. Step back and take some time for yourself, replenish yourself when you need to. The entertainment industry can take a lot out of you, and you need to find the things that work for you, whether it's a sermon or motivational podcast.
Awareness is the key.
You have to have people who believe in you even when you don't believe in yourself. Write it down so when you forget, you can see it. And you have to do the work. If that means listening to your favorite love songs to get yourself in alignment, you gotta fight for yourself. When bad thoughts come through, you have to sweep them away, and tell them that's not true. Those things slowly but surely get you back.
Do you exercise?
I have a trainer! She has helped me become more aware of what I'm putting into my body and how much time it takes to really keep your body on track. You don't have to be extreme and do all this stuff to your body. I think once you get into this mental state that you realize you have the power to transform anything, including your body and your mind, the physical exercise really becomes nothing. Get those endorphins going! Working out has helped me, but you don't have to join a gym. You can do what you need to do while at home or outside. But I need a trainer, because I know I'll be at the gym and just be on my phone. (Laughs)
I want to know how you find balance with friends.
From the time I was a kid, my mom had us in several things. I was taking ballet, and then piano, and vocal lessons because I was trying to be Beyoncé. So, I really learned at a young age that life is compartmentalized in different ways and experiences that help you achieve. I've always been okay with having multiple things going on at once, and I'm a person who can operate in that. Like, if I stay still too long, I'll be like, "I have to get out of the house." Again, everything is intentional.
Check on your friends, celebrating and showing up for them and yourself. Putting out that you need your friends.
Our sisterhoods and our tribes have kept our culture together. If you find someone who makes you feel more inspired, stick with them. I came from the Girl Scouts, but also WEEN Academy, who gave me people who work in the industry and look out for me. Join organizations, learn how you can get into spaces with women. Create your peer spaces.
Family, I'm nothing without them. Black moms can be a bit crazy, but my mom does not give me a choice when it comes down to talking to the family (laughs). I learned on my own spiritual journey, God puts you on this Earth with people on purpose. I have one job — to love the people in my life, my parents, and siblings. Even if you don't have a family, creating your family is dope. Just stick with the people who give you positivity, and be sure to pour back into them.
Oh, I'm still learning about dating. (Laughs)
How have you learned the power to say "no" to things that don't serve you?
It is a situational basis, everything is different. As a person who is in the middle of her journey, sometimes the right tradeoff is worth it. Not looking at the dollar signs, but seeing the larger payoff.
You have to be smart with how you choose your opportunities, because every opportunity isn't the same.
I think the reason I was so out of alignment was because, at some point, I allowed myself to stop being aware of my purpose, but also, just taking care of the spiritual part. Being in a relationship with God has to be an everyday relationship like you would be with your boo. I stopped caring, I gave the "no" rejections more power than "yes", and I just gave up because I'm human.
What's the hardest part about all of this? All that you do?
There are so many hard parts to this. Being an on-air talent is hard because you don't have an agent, you're just hustling. I'm a hustler by birth, but the hardest part is staying in the hustle mode but also giving yourself the space to regroup. Also, the disparity in pay between men and women is REAL. I'll talk to my male counterparts and they'll tell me they got twice as much.
Moments like that remind me it's about being vocal and finding out which battles are worth it.
If you have the power to be like, "Hey, so she shouldn't be getting paid less because she's a woman," and utilizing your power to help others, you should use it. Every battle has its own set of war tactics, but everytime you go through it, you add something to your arsenal. You have to be really focused and determined on what your big picture looks like. It can be tough, but remember who you are, whose you are, and where you're going, and you'll be fine.
For more Gia, follow her on Instagram. Check out past Finding Balance ladies we've featured by clicking here.
Featured image courtesy of Gia Peppers
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
One thing about Megan Thee Stallion is that she’s going to motivate you to stay active. From afar, she seems like the perfect gym bestie, and up close, it looks like her workouts would have us gasping for air. But hey, she doesn’t call her routines “bootcamp” for nothing.
After an extended break from social media and the public eye, the Houston Hottie is back sharing the high-energy workouts that are keeping her lean and she’s happy to report that “the results have been resulting."
The 28-year-old rapper dropped an Instagram Reel, detailing the workout routine that’s putting her endurance to the test. With the help of her personal trainer, Megan has one word in mind when it comes to her progress and that’s: “Consistency.”
The “Savage” artist has been traveling, making “hot girl moves," and after returning from a trip to New York, she expressed that her trainer is pushing her to keep the same energy back in the gym.
“I had just gotten back from New York and I told my trainer, ‘Look, friend, I was having a time. Can you please take it easy?’” Megan said. “He said, ‘Hmm, I’ve seen you doing all that hot girl s—, so what you need to do is get in that gym and have that same energy.’”
Her trainer then instructed her to do jumping squats with an exercise ball and resistance band around her legs for an extra burn. “I put my thing down, flipped it, and reversed it and that’s what happened. This sh– burned like a motherf—,” she teased in the video’s voiceover while executing both forward and backward jumping squats.
It’s clear that when it comes to Megan’s fitness, her trainer doesn’t play around about pushing her to her limits. In the next set of her cardio moves, we see the Grammy-winning artist jumping rope and moving on to a combination of mountain climbers and lateral jumps over a speed hurdle.
“Right here, that’s when I realized: I’ve been saying my trainer’s crazy but I know he’s really, really crazy because he must think that I’m trying out for the Houston Texans or something,” she joked.
To finish her workout, Meg hit two more barbell exercises, one being a set of cleans with 10-pound weight plates on the barbell. She then closed out by doing lunges with the barbell racked on her shoulders.
Of course, the best way to close out a workout is to nourish yourself with a balanced meal. Meg showed off her delicious post-workout plate with salmon, a sweet potato, and assorted veggies.
With so much of her public life being shared on the internet, it’s nice to see her letting us in on her progress in a fun and motivating way. “I just want to be transparent with y'all. Working out hurts, but it’s really a mental thang, so go do it!”
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Featured image by Taylor Hill/Getty Images