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Here’s How Miko Branch Of Miss Jessie’s Balances Self-Care With A Multimillion Dollar Brand

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.

If you've never heard of Miko and Titi Branch before, I don't believe you.


Surely you've heard of their mastermind project, Miss Jessie's, which seeks to offer amazing products for all those in the natural hair community. Taking the natural hair market by storm in 2004, Miss Jessie's products are a staple in many of our beauty arsenals.

Of course, the first question you probably asked yourself was, "Who is Jessie?" Based around Miko and Titi Branch's paternal grandmother, Miss Jessie Mae Branch, the curly hair products are a true ode to their grandmother Miss Jessie and her mixtures and kitchen concoctions that have brought the brand its current successes.

Today, Miss Jessie's is a multimillion-dollar hair care business that many of us turn to, run by Miko, who has taken on majority responsibility of the company after the passing of her sister. However, Miko carries her sister's energy with her in all she does for the company, including tackling the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. With an Instagram following of over 88,000 users, it's evident that Miss Jessie's has no plans of slowing down — and neither does Miko.

So how does she balance it all on top of being a working mom? Read on to find out.

 What is an average day or week like for you?

An average weekday typically involves a lot of work for my hair care company, Miss Jessie's. After building the business from scratch, with my late sister Titi Branch, I find myself continuing to be a student in my business — which requires a lot of my time.

A typical day involves working very closely with my team in-office from 9 am to 5 pm. Once I leave work, I try my best to decompress and let work go. A nice meal usually follows. Spending time with my loved ones has become a priority as I try my best to be happy and healthy.

What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week? 

The most hectic part of my week would probably be the beginning. Mondays are usually the most hectic day because everything seems to pile up over the weekend!

How do you push through those busier times of the week?

I attempt to have all emails answered by day's end to stay on top of things. I feel a strong sense of accomplishment if I am able to manage that part of my workload. Prioritizing on every level is the best way for me to push through my workload. If I have a handle on things by mid-week, I feel more energized with the confidence gained from completing work during the first part of the week.

With everything that you do, how do you practice self-care?

My zodiac sign is Virgo, and we tend to very particular about most things. I've learned to extend these natural instincts into my personal life and found that narrowing my circle of friends down to the ones that really love and care about me has helped to create the loving and nurturing environment. This is something that has become part of taking care of myself.

Working on good and positive thoughts has become part of my existence, and it keeps me balanced when situations shift and can get hectic. Doing the things that matter, and doing the things that I really want to do are also ways that I care for myself. I try to get the most sleep that I can, and it's become more important as I take care of my health. A nice bike ride or walk does the trick.

Laretta Houston

"Working on good and positive thoughts has become part of my existence, and it keeps me balanced when situations shift and can get hectic."

What is your self-care routine?

First, I check-in with myself to make sure I am feeling balanced, harmonious, loved and protected. I try to go to sleep with positive thoughts and wake up with a clear mind. I also try to listen to what I am thinking or feeling.

A morning walk or bike ride is a really nice way to start the day off, then breakfast for nourishment. After work, I will eat something that I really want for dinner and almost always have a piece of chocolate.

I love Zen music and the sound of rain to decompress. But if I am up to it, I will watch something on Netflix. I drift off to sleep very easily these days so hopefully, my thoughts are positive and loving before I retire for the night.

How do you find balance with:

Friends?

Over the years, I've narrowed my circle of friends down to the ones that have unequivocally let me know that they love and care about me. With my workload being as hectic as it is, they tend to understand so we find the time to do things together when we can. That could include a sleepover, cooking, talking, walking or simply doing the things that we love to do together.

 Love/Relationships?

I was fortunate enough to reunite with my first kiss and first boyfriend from the seventh grade. We were 13 and 14 years old. We've become inseparable and do a lot of laughing, cooking, exercising, talking and loving one another. Our friendship has become as equally important as our romance, so we do a lot of compromising to make the time for one another and to support our hectic schedules. We lost so much time after not seeing one another for 27 years so we make the time to be together.

Exercise? Does it happen? 

Exercise is something that I truly need to do more of, but it takes a backseat to my business right now. When I get the chance to work out, I love to bike ride on the coastline or go to the gym. But my favorite thing to do is to take a long walk so I could exercise my body and also clear my mind at the same time.

Miss Jessie's LLC

"Over the years, I've narrowed my circle of friends down to the ones that have unequivocally let me know that they love and care about me."

Do you cook or find yourself eating out? 

I have been eating much of what my boyfriend cooks, which tends to be very rich and decadent. When we eat out, we typically order all the things that we love which worries me. The good news is that I love fruits and vegetables, and I never tire of eating natural foods. It's important that I incorporate healthy choices as I'm often eating on the run when traveling for business.

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

I actually do detox. For me, detoxing is clearing and removing any and all unwanted toxins in my life and body. I make sure to have positive energy and influences around me, drink water and flush out my system to get rid of any harmful build-up. If I've eaten terribly, it's not uncommon for me to do a natural laxative to help me to rid of unwanted toxins. Sometimes I just try not to eat too much and do a day of liquids in order to flush my system.

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

I have learned to trust and talk to God when I'm feeling uncertain or stuck. I realize that I'm not in control of anything and that everything that has happened or is happening are steps ordered from God. So I've learned to be a better listener, and tune in for his cue and direction on what to do.

The faith that I have tends to alleviate any oncoming anxiety or fear that I may be experiencing. I often have to remind myself, with a smile, that I am loved and protected and I should not worry about a thing.

Laretta Houston

"I have learned to trust and talk to God when I'm feeling uncertain or stuck. I realize that I'm not in control of anything and that everything that has happened or is happening are steps ordered from God."

What does success mean to you? 

Success means freedom - that I am able to do what I want to do, and how I want to do it with a good conscience knowing that I was able to accomplish my goals the right way, positively.

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

I think others forget what's important and they lose balance when they focus on things that will not be meaningful should the important things be taken away. Staying aware of what's important will help to give you the balance you need when prioritizing.

To learn more Miko and keep up with her company, follow Miss Jessie's on Instagram!

Featured image by Laretta Houston.

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

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

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

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.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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