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
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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Feature image by JD Mason/ Unsplash