In Meet the xoNecole Tribe series, readers are introduced to the members of the xoNecole team that keep the site up and running with their textured and varied stories and voices. In the monthly series, you get a more in-depth look of the person behind the pen, social media, the lens, or whatever they might contribute to the brand.
Meet Taylor Honore, our daily writer turned Associate Editor extraordinaire:
Credit: Danielle Webster
Where are you from?
I'm from all over, honestly. (Caution: Long answer alert) I was born in Iowa City, IA, where my mom was in graduate school for Mass Communications, but she and my father are from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and that's where I call "home". I also spent time in Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia. I currently live in Denver, CO.
Where did you go to school? And what was your major?
I went to the illustrious South Carolina State University (Go Bulldogs!) in Orangeburg, South Carolina. I studied Mass Communications with an emphasis on Journalism and I also took visual and digital art courses.
When did your love affair with writing begin?
When I was little, I wanted to be just like Janet (Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty). Singing has never been my strong suit, but I fell in love with writing lyrics at an early age. It seemed like my feelings actually mattered when they were put on paper. I found that when my emotions were translated into lyrics, they were no longer just thoughts I had when I was alone. I've always had a wild imagination and a lingering desire to be on stage, so at 14, my rap career was set in motion. In college, I studied journalism, and it taught me how multi-faceted storytelling could really be.
"I had always loved writing because it enabled me to tell my story, but my world changed when I learned that I could use it to tell the stories of others, too."
How and when did you start working with xoNecole?
Since college, I've wanted to work for Necole. I applied a few times before I was on-boarded by our managing editor, and my good friend, Sheriden.
Months prior, I had been working a part-time turned full-time job at Victoria's Secret, but I was miserable. One week after I quit to do my own thing, I got a pilonidal cyst, or a large ass crack boil, and had to be rushed into surgery, leaving me bedridden for two months. I was a college graduate whose mom was paying her bills and didn't have a dollar to her name. I was defeated, depressed, and couldn't get a 9-5 if I wanted to. Then, something told me to apply to xoNecole one more time, and as proof that God is a good, good God, Sheriden gave me a chance.
Me and Sheriden immediately had chemistry, and although it was my first freelance position, she taught me everything I needed to know to be an on-going daily writer. At the end of June, I was asked to come on as Associate Editor.
How do you practice self-care?
Weed and binge-watching TV are probably my favorite ways to take care of myself. I struggle with anxiety, and sometimes my thoughts get so overwhelming that I'm paralyzed. I can't think, I can't feel, I'm just stuck in my own head. Binge-watching my favorite shows with a little Mary Jane helps me to be mindless, even if it's only for a few hours. For example, yesterday, I watched six episodes of This Is Us. In a row. With no regrets. I didn't even know I needed to cry, and laugh, and smile, the way I did for those six hours, but I can tell you one thing, I feel a lot better since I did.
Credit: Danielle Webster
What are your interests? Do you have any hobbies?
I am extremely interested in all things cannabis and hip-hop related. I'm also super interested in nature, cooking, art, and live music of any kind. [I'm also] thinking about getting into yoga!
What is your favorite book of all time? What’s the last book you read?
The last book I read and one of my FAVORITE books ever is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. A friend sent this novel to me in college, and it changed my perspective of the world in so many ways. When I first got the book, I didn't take the time to read it. It wasn't until I was watching a Pharrell interview with Oprah, and he mentioned that this book changed his life that I really gave it a chance. Now, I read it at least once a year. I recommend this book to anyone I meet who is following their dreams or deep down has a desire to do so.
What’s your endgame? Why do you do what you do?
Ladies, call me ambitious, but I'm hoping to be holding a Grammy and a Pulitzer Prize when it's time for the King to call me home. I believe deep in my heart that every experience that I've had should be used to help someone else. Like most women, I've been through a lot of sh*t in my life. I've bumped my head, I've stumbled, but my only hope is that other women who have tripped and stumbled can look at me and know they can chase their happiness and follow their dreams and be successful, too, despite the hardships. My mother was the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Iowa with a degree in Mass Communications, and I plan to bring home so much honor in her name.
Credit: Danielle Webster
I want to be apart of the Black media ecosystem that creates real change. I want my unborn child to know that their mother used words and ideas to make the world a better place, just like my mom did for me.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? What is the most challenging part?
The most rewarding part of being Associate Editor at xoNecole is knowing that women's lives are changed by the narratives that we create. We work with so many amazing women with so many amazing stories, it's truly a blessing to be a part of a community that caters to people that look like me. I learn something new every day from a different woman and that is truly priceless.
The most challenging part of my job is overcoming a sedentary lifestyle and maintaining a productive work-life balance. I am a workaholic and a perfectionist when it comes to my work. That, coupled with my anxiety makes working from home difficult sometimes. Only recently have I learned to take time for self-care, because at first, I was walking around looking like a caveman, glued to the computer at least 12 hours a day.
What advice do you have for other freelance writers?
Be transparent! Your story is invaluable, and nobody can tell it like you can. Even experiences that may seem mundane to you can be useful to someone else's journey. I don't believe in censorship in writing, which is why I love xoNecole. Don't try to mold your story to fit any one narrative, find a platform that loves who you are. Tell your story and hold nothing back.
How can we keep up with you on social media?
You can like my Facebook page @Love, Pretty Honore.
And you can follow me on Instagram @lovetaylormichal and for some flavor in your ear, follow my music page @prettyhonore.
Keep up with the other members of our Tribe here.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Halle Bailey Says She Appreciates That Everyone Wants To Protect Her, But She's Got This
Halle Bailey and her boyfriend of over a year, rapper DDG, are young and in love. We learned the two were dating in January 2022 after they were spotted together at Usher's residency concert in Vegas. DDG later confirmed the romance that March when he made it all IG official with a birthday shoutout to his bae. And since then, they've been seemingly inseparable, attending public events together, most recently, for the Vanity Fair Oscar party as Halle prepares for the premiere of her career-defining role in The Little Mermaid.
While there, DDG gave flowers to his bae, telling PEOPLE, "I'm very proud of her. And I'm just happy to see it. I feel like sometimes I'm even more excited than anybody else. Just seeing it and seeing everything that she dreamed of coming to life, it's really dope."
It's the support for me, m'kay?!
And listen, Halle loves her 'some him' too, showing that she pulls up for his music career by starring in the music video for his single, "If I Want You." "Everyone go watch 'if i want you' by @ddg it's out now ❣️you might see a familiar face 🤭💗," she wrote on an Instagram post. She doubled down on her support, revealing to ESSENCE that she had been "a fan" even before they met, adding to the cocktail of their romance that has captured the hearts of many by simply being two young lovebirds navigating their journey of fame, loyalty, and love for the world to see (and dissect).
Well, that was until a little drama, or ex (his), showed up on their doorstep and publicly tested whether the couple's relationship is what they say it is. And after the dust settled (and a little PR work), Halle hopped on IG Live to basically tell us what's understood between the two of them, does not--and will not--be explained. In fact, after sending comment sections into a frenzy for weeks because the culture was coming to her defense, she let us know that, yeah, she appreciates the love, but she's got this.
When speaking about the new music she's recording she said, "This music that I'm making right now, is a lot about the time, how I felt, when I was filming. I was very independent and on my own but also felt isolated and it's also about what happened when I got back home and being in love and all of that..."
"I just think it's so funny, people getting to see me, you know, being in love, in a relationship...I think because I've grown up in the public eye since I was younger, people just feel like this sort of protective energy that they feel like they have to have with me, which honestly I think is sweet, but it's funny."
Halle also wrote on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet, "the devil is working ♥️ lol please don’t feed into the lies, especially from a third party 💕✨stay blessed everyone."
In other words, it's giving 'nothing-to-see-here-but-I-ain't-the-one-and-he-knows-that-so-we're-not-even-going-to-entertain-this.' And as grateful as Halle is for the continued support she has received, she admits is in the process of setting boundaries surrounding matters outside of her craft.
She touched on the subject again, telling Yahoo!'sThe Unwind, "They still see me as that 13-year-old girl that they first discovered and I understand how if you've been supporting somebody for a long time you get invested in their personal lives," she says.
"It's definitely been a learning experience for me. And the beautiful people that have supported me and stuck with me for a very long time, can continue to support what I do publicly in my business affairs, and I really appreciate that, but everything else is my business. And I have to make that priority."
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Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic