On a Sunday night when most people are turning in, HYDE Sunset is just turning up.
I walk in just shy of midnight and already the swanky nightclub is packed. Partygoers flank to the VIP sections where bottles of champagne and various liquors are popped, followed by an influx of beautiful women in taut dresses hoping to cop free libations for the night. The DJ announces the arrival of Chris Brown, just a few minutes after I spot Marlon Wayans and King Bach strolling by. Forty-five minutes in I look up from my phone just in time to lock eyes with the woman responsible for bringing the party to life. Miss Diddy rushes up to me in her six-inch heels and a tan-colored dress, pulling me by the hand as she rushes back out the door to meet with one of her many celebrity guests for the evening before escorting us to her designated section across from the DJ booth.
“It’s crazy, girl!” Miss Diddy says to me before checking her phone and dashing off again.
Though she’s known for her Rolodex of celebrity friends and clients, if you ask Miss Diddy, she’s a superstar in her own right. “Anyone knows when I walk in the room I kind of light it up,” she says. “Everything kind of gravitates to me and it’s always if they don’t know they’ll be like who is she? I’ve always had a star power.”
“Anyone knows when I walk in the room I kind of light it up. I’ve always had a star power.”
What can easily be considered cockiness is really an air of confidence. When Miss Diddy speaks, it’s with a certain assuredness that indicates that she knows who she is, and she’ll be damned if you don’t know it, too. She gets it from her mama, she tells me, a woman who could command a room as soon as she walked in the door.
Despite being a self-proclaimed shy gal, Miss Diddy says that ironically she always thrived in social environments, and soon learned to embrace her strong personality and hustler mentality that would eventually lead her to becoming Hollywood’s only female promoter. But before she could assume the role of becoming the “It Girl” of urban nightlife, she first had to figure out what it was that she was actually purposed to do. “I begged God for my purpose actually,” she says. “I begged him to release it to me. And I remember the first time I understood the importance of what I was seeking for, he told me that it was too big; I can’t show you that.”
As a kid growing up in Compton, Miss Diddy was free to explore anything that captured her interest, from hair and makeup to sewing. “In my house, we weren’t booked bashed, and it freed me to be able to really explore things that I was great at.”
But being born into a family of creatives (her dad was a musician and her great grandmother wrote songs with Mahalia Jackson), Diddy—a nickname gifted to her by her high school buddies—naturally gravitated to entertainment. During her second year of college, she found more value in street smarts than book smarts and decided to drop out in pursuit of real-world experiences. Her first taste of working in the industry came soon after when John Monopoly, former manager for Kanye West, offered her a job doing the west coast promotions for the G.O.O.D. Music label.
Miss Diddy excelled by doing what she does best—connecting people. She gathered a group of 20 beautiful women who deemed themselves as the “G.O.O.D. Girls” and took over street team marketing and promotions for the label. Simultaneously she was still working in insurance, but the money didn’t make up for her lack of fulfillment. When she had a sudden revelation that she no longer belonged with that company, she walked out of her job the same day and never looked back.
“I remember sitting in my office and he was like this is your last day here,” she discloses in an interview with Jocelyn Vega. “I started picking up stuff from my office in my office and taking it slowly down to my car that day.”
Thank to her industry connections and mentors such as Kenny Burns, she was able to transition into being a full-time promoter. “A lot of times you start as a promoter and then you go to a higher level and then you’re lucky if you’re able to get a music industry job, but I came in with a Rolodex of really great connections. I also sat under Kanye and John—guys whose vision were so crazy and phenomenal in how they view things.”
Her years of learning under her mentors paid off, and true to the Diddy moniker, she went above and beyond to make her name a staple in lifestyle marketing. While most promoters were busy being the life of the party, Miss Diddy was creating the party and married together nightlife and entertainment through star-studded events.
“I was able to look almost from a third eye and really see what was missing and what I can bring to the table because I’m a very business-minded by nature, and a lot of promoters aren’t. I don’t care about sitting here and partying and drinking. I’m not doing any of that. How do we maximize it to make the most of it? What’s going to make this party bigger? What’s going to make it greater? What’s going to make this moment last longer than Usher’s having a party? And we did it every week. It was also important for me to be able to put my artist friends in positions to win.”
"It was also important for me to be able to put my artist friends in positions to win.”
But Diddy wasn’t just satisfied with the applause, she wanted the recognition, too, and to take control of her success by being her own boss. “I was a tour manager with an artist that was a close friend of mine since I was a kid, and we parted ways and I said I never want to be in the position again where someone is able to dictate my livelihood, and I went to go start The Brand Group, and it just went crazy.”
The full-service marketing and PR firm, which currently has a staff of ten employees, solidified Diddy as a branding connoisseur, and soon she was getting calls from clients such as Russell Simmons for re-branding of All Def Comedy Live and celebrity and lifestyle brands looking to get her Midas touch.
On any given day the culture queen has her plate filled with creative meetings to overseeing event production. Having a consistent prayer life keeps her calm in the midst of the daily storms. “It takes a tough and graceful person to be in the position that I’m in. It’s not something that’s easy for anyone. You have to be very levelheaded if you want to be successful, “ Diddy says.
Of course, being the only female in a male-dominated industry isn’t easy; however, being one who can hold her own without getting caught up in the he say she say enables her to strut in her six-inch Louboutins while still getting things done. “In this business the way you’re perceived and viewed is everything,” says Diddy. “I’ve been lucky and blessed to be a very, very respected woman. And I’ve also been blessed to have great work ethic and to have results. I understood that the details don’t matter, they want results. And that’s what I was always able to provide so no one could negate my work, no one could act as if my work didn’t speak for itself, and I think that’s really what it was for me.”
"In this business the way you’re perceived and viewed is everything."
As much as she enjoys living life amongst the rich and the famous, Diddy believes that this is only just the beginning of what she is destined to do. Although she still has a goal of creating a positive impact on the same inner cities that she came from, she’s no longer putting herself on a set timeline to achieve certain goals. “By the time I was 25, I thought I would have bought my mom a Jaguar and I’d have a kid, but life happens. Life evolves, and as long as you’re on track, that’s all that matters.”
But by no means does that mean that this girl boss is going to sit idly by while pursuing a path of purpose, nor is she limiting herself to just being the only woman promoter in L.A. “I’m still a work in progress following God’s dream. Whatever God leads me to do and opens doors for, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Featured image by Prince Williams/WireImage
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports