If I were to poll a group of women, I'm sure many of us would agree that we live and work in a male-dominated society. At times, it can be challenging to make our voices heard, but for Megan Thomas - on-air host and producer at All Def, and podcast creator - she's found a way to successfully push through the "no's", pursue her dreams, and represent for the ladies.
For those who may not be familiar, All Def is a black-owned, multi-platform media company that gained its strength and popularity through the cultural power of hip-hop, comedy, and social justice. Since its inception, they have amassed millions of followers as well as partnerships with brands like HBO, MTV, and Spotify. While it's common to hear about some of their other great comedic talent like KevOnStage or Patrick Cloud, Megan has definitely represented for the ladies even when there were no other female hosts on the All Def platform. With shows like The Drop, Great Taste, and Squadd Cast, she continues to hold it down as one of the primary female voices and producers.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Megan about what it takes to be successful in the industry, as well as what self-care looks like for her as a professional working mom.
xoNecole: Megan, tell me how you first got involved with All Def?
Megan Thomas: I auditioned for a sports show back in 2015 for KevOnStage. They asked me, "Who are your top linebackers?" And I said, "I don't know." Needless to say, they never moved forward with the sports show. Then, around the end of 2015 they held auditions for the daily show, and instantly, in my heart I was like, "I got this." So, I auditioned again, and a week later they asked me to be the female host. So, I started hosting The Drop around early 2016, and after a month, they were like, "Hey, can you also produce The Drop?" I have a background in radio and producing, so I was like, "Yeah, of course." From there, I started appearing in and producing other types of content as well.
xoNecole: They went from asking you to host and then produce. What helped push you to say "yes" to these new roles and opportunities?
Megan: I said "yes" because of "the spirit of yes" I have inside of me. Since I was a kid, I've always had it because I didn't want to be bored. I felt like if I had more stuff to do, then I would feel important. Plus, I believe everything you do in your life builds upon the next thing. If I hadn't been a producer in radio or produced all of this free stuff for years that I never got paid [for] while living in LA, I wouldn't have been prepared. Saying "yes", however, can cause issues because I will say "yes" to stuff even when I don't have the time. Now, I'm practicing how to say "no".
Photo courtesy of Megan Thomas
"I believe everything you do in your life builds upon the next thing. If I hadn't been a producer in radio or produced all of this free stuff for years that I never got paid [for] while living in LA, I wouldn't have been prepared."
xoNecole: Many of us as women, regardless of the industry or profession, can relate to being the only or one of few women of color in a male-dominated environment and how challenging it can be. How do you hold it down being one of few, and in some instances the only female, in your field?
Megan: It's tough, because by nature, men don't always listen to women. So, you have to demand respect as a woman and do everything in your power to make sure they respect you. I know the guys that I work with are really good-natured men. They love women and they're kind to women, but there are times when they talk over me. I'll even say a joke and no one will hear it, but someone else will say the same exact joke and get all the laughs in the room and I'll be like, "Yo, I said the same exact joke verbatim."
They're my brothers for sure, but as a woman it can feel isolating because there are times when I want to talk about certain stuff and they're like, "No, only guy stuff." On the flip side, I bring a perspective that they don't have insight into because none of them are women. They may have daughters, girlfriends, and wives, but they've never been a woman so their perspective may be one-sided.
That's why I'm working on doing something that's more geared to women on the channel. I'm not sure what that looks like just yet, but I know women love funny stuff too. We like shows like Roast Me, and there are good female roasters out there. Our demographic is mainly black, urban males, but a lot of women watch the channel as well.
xoNecole: What’s the most enjoyable thing about working with a team comprised of mostly men?
Megan: The laughter and the jokes. I've had corporate jobs and there's code-switching you have to do, but not with this group. They're just funny, and I can be myself. I'm so blessed that I get paid to work with people who are funny, and we get to make other people laugh.
xoNecole: I know the ADD followers love a good roast. Has anyone ever said anything that really cut deep, or is it pretty much no holds barred?
Megan: You have to have tough skin. There have been times when things hit deep, but I also understand that I'm in the public. Growing up as a chubby kid, I had to be smarter, have [a] quicker wit…I just had to be better. So, that helps with rolling stuff off my back.
xoNecole: Besides helping a group of funny, talented men stay on-task, how’s it going with managing life as a mom as well?
Megan: Honestly, I'm learning as I go through this process. Communication is key – it's absolutely necessary to communicate things especially when it comes to scheduling. Preparation is also very important. If I know I'm going to be out of town, I'm a stickler about what my son eats. I take responsibility for preparing everything so that his dad [Megan's fiancé] knows what to do while I'm gone. If God blesses us with another one, I'm sure I'll be more relaxed about that.
xoNecole: What does self-care look like for you as a working mom?
Megan: Mommy time – sometimes, it's a playdate and other times it's my fiancé staying at home with our son so that I can have some alone time. As moms, we just need to get away sometimes. I have to have time to just be me.
Asking for help – whether that's from my village, professionals, etc. For instance, I know I had postpartum [depression] the first year after giving birth. I would read the symptoms and knew that I had it, but I didn't seek help because I thought asking for help meant failure. When the truth was, had I asked for the help, a lot of the burdens would've been alleviated.
Grace – I have to give myself grace, and remind myself that everything isn't going to get done. I used to beat myself up if I didn't finish everything on my task list. I used to carry that burden, but Jesus said, "His burden is light." So, I give it to Him. All of it helps with self-care because it helps me be kinder to myself.
Photo courtesy of Megan Thomas
"I have to give myself grace, and remind myself that everything isn't going to get done. I used to beat myself up if I didn't finish everything on my task list. I used to carry that burden, but Jesus said, 'His burden is light.' So, I give it to Him. All of it helps with self-care because it helps me be kinder to myself."
xoNecole: I know you have your podcast, “Mommy Needs A Break”, which I’m sure so many women can relate to. Is that part of your self-care routine as well?
Megan: Yes, I knew the day after my son was born that I needed something. I remember looking at him in awe and praying that he made it to tomorrow…every single day. I immediately gravitated to the idea that I needed an outlet because being a mom consumed my mind, my life, and everything beyond the norm. For example, my baby would be sleeping, but I would be on the internet researching all kinds of stuff. Needless to say, that can drive you crazy. So, I told myself, "I need a break from this." I knew my co-host, Marisa Johnson, was going through the same thing. So, we started the "Mommy Needs a Break" podcast for mommies who just need a break.
xoNecole: I love hearing about your successes as a producer, host, and mom, but tell us about a time when you had to navigate through a season of “no’s.”
Megan: I've had years and years and years of no's. Only recently did I start to have some yes's. There are a lot more no's than yes's. I've been in this industry since 2006, so it's been 14 years, and just within the last four years I've been able to get a gig to support myself.
Even during all those years of no's, one thing I used to tell myself after all those auditions was: "Megan, you are enough! God gave you what He gave you. Nobody else can be you and you can't be anybody else, so just do what you do and do what you do best." I've learned that when it's your time, it will be your time, and nobody will be able to take that away from you.
xoNecole: What advice would you share with ladies who, like you, are pursuing their goals and dreams, or who aspire to get into the media/entertainment industry?
Megan: Do it your way. You don't have to wait for somebody to give you the green light. You have a phone with a camera and YouTube. There's no reason why you can't do this within your own capacity.
Be authentic. I am Black and Korean, and when you grow up Black, what you do affects other people. So, I do this for my people. I'm glad that things are changing in this industry, but you have to be yourself. It should be OK to see me on camera with my big, curly hair. That's why I'm OK with not working in old Hollywood if that means I have to look a certain way, because being authentic is important.
Be ready and willing, and let God guide the path. I feel like God gives us nuggets and glimpses. That's why we have certain passions and things in our heart that we feel like we're drawn to. It's God's way of showing you the path that you're going to be on. I didn't necessarily put in my heart that I wanted to be in comedy (even though I saw the vision for it). That was God-given, but I still had to be open and ready for when it happened.
Do it consistently. Set a schedule for yourself. Whatever that schedule is, keep to it and eventually people will notice what you do.
You are enough. While you can admire other people and observe the things they've done as research or inspiration, don't think that it's going to be your story or your journey. God has something specifically for you. You are unique and special, and your story will look different. So, embrace that. Otherwise, you will succumb to the feeling of not being enough.
The road is long, but success is at the end of it. I worked in LA for four years before I could finally afford to support myself with one paying job. I had three jobs at any given moment and worked tirelessly for free just because I wanted to break into this industry. There were a lot of times when I wanted to give up. I was tired and worn out, but I wish someone had told me to keep going and that there is success at the end of it. You can't give up, because tomorrow might be the day that you hit your goals.
For more of Megan, follow her on Instagram.
Featured image courtesy of Megan Thomas