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This Is What Self-Care Looks Like For BET Breaks Host Jamila Mustafa

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.

Now more than ever, the emergence of Black media talent is thriving. We're seeing people on and off the red carpet, in front of and behind the cameras, and creating an atmosphere of inclusivity for all to see.


Jamila Mustafa is no different. She is the epitome of hard work, tenacity, and hustle, only teaching other media personalities what it takes to work hard and in the moment. The award-winning broadcast journalist has done a bit of it all: interviews, appearances, speaking engagements, red carpet coverage, and more.

But one thing about working in media is that the burnout is REAL. So how do you juggle a 24/7 media cycle, a personal life, and your sanity? In this installment of the Finding Balance series, Mustafa chatted with xoNecole on finding the balance in her life and what "balance" looks like for her.

When you have a busy week, what's the most hectic part of it?

Everyday, haha. I wake up at about 4-5 a.m. each morning. I head to set to shoot BET Breaks after a night of researching, writing, editing, and requesting photos for each news story. After that, I may have an interview, another hosting gig, audition, or call back, and some days, I will have all four in one day. Also, I travel a lot to host or cover events, which is fun, but it can get hectic depending on the type of event. In the midst of that, I am currently traveling across the country, on two HBCU speaking tours to help raise and give scholarship money to students, one of them I launched called 'From HBCU to Hollywood'.

Wow, you are always on the go! Do you practice self-care?

Sheesh! I still struggle with that. My sleep pattern is off because I'm a workaholic. Also, I don't eat three times a day, maybe something small early and a big lunch/dinner...maybe. Despite those poor self-care habits, I try to take power naps to rejuvenate my mental, and pack little healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day if I feel my energy is getting low.

No question about it, I am a people person, however, those "Mila Moments" are my favorite. I am a foodie, so I love picking a new restaurant and going there with a book or notepad to eat, write, and relax. I love a little retail therapy, kicking it with my loved ones, and watching movies. It's great being the plug, but sometimes you gotta take yourself out of the socket to cool down so you don't burn out, you know.

"It's great being the plug, but sometimes you gotta take yourself out of th socket to cool down so you don't burn out."

How do you find balance with:

Friends?

Need them. They are my balance. I love having people that can give me a certain positive vibe around. I exert so much energy that it's refreshing just to be around people and not feel the need to do anything. I mean anything. So much so, my friends call me lazy and I'm far from lazy, but around them "less is more" in my opinion.

Love/Relationships?

I believe we can find real love at this age, however, we must always love ourselves more, realizing we are still growing and changing. If it's true, it will be there.

Exercise? Does it happen?

I'm like Angela Bassett after What's Love Got To Do With It. Muscles are a part of my body makeup, even if I'm not working out. I started Martial Arts at the age of 3, my father was a Grand Master, and I became a National Champion by the age of 11. I also, danced, swam, ran track, played basketball. Anything athletic, really. Nowadays, I try to hit the gym weekly and walk a lot in NYC so I can get some exercise.

What is your beauty routine?

I have sensitive skin, so I can't be too adventurous with new products. However, growing up my mom ALWAYS cared about her skin, she wasn't really the make-up type, so that trait rubbed off on me. Now, I'm into texture, tone, and elasticity in the skin.

Do you cook or find yourself eating out?

Ugh! I have to eat better. I love hot wings, ribs, steak, salmon, sushi. I am not a cook, although I can whip up a few meals and that's definitely something I want to dive more into.

Do you ever detox? What does that look like for you?

Physically, I cut back on certain foods and I drink lots of lemon water. Mentally, less action, less communication, and more meditation.

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

I pray. Have a conversation with the man above and ask Him to keep me still so I can hear my next move. I talk to my mom and sometimes look to my inspirations for encouragement.

What does success mean to you?

Success is being able to make a sustainable life for yourself doing what you love to do and impacting others.

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

Something others forget when it comes to finding balance is that you're always finding it — that's why it's called balance. It's not something that you find one time, for one period in your life, and you are all good. No. As humans, we are in constant search for balance and it's our job to secure that level in our lives.

"As humans, we are in constant search for balance and it's our job to secure that level in our lives."

For more Jamila, follow her on Instagram.

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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

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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.

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