Haitian-born writer Mike Gauyo, also known as "Black Boy Writes," is breaking barriers in the television arena. His love of writing began as a hobby at a young age. It wasn't until he went to college to become a doctor that he knew the medical field wasn't for him. Taking time to perfect his craft in writing, opportunities arrived, giving the trailblazer a chance to work as a production assistant on the film The Equalizer and reality TV's American Idol.
Moving to Los Angeles, California was an exciting jump in Mike's career. After taking on a part-time job working at a local gym, within 6 months, he crossed paths with filmmaker Issa Rae.
Rae put together a creative mixer back in 2015 for creatives to attend. The requirements for entry was for candidates to submit a sample of their writing. Gauyo's work was chosen and from there, his fairy tale dream would come true. "I met Issa for all of two minutes, but I made her laugh within those two minutes. I said, 'She's going to remember me,'" the tickled writer mentioned.
The two were able to stay in contact as they continued to cross paths. Issa gave Gauyo his first writing opportunity on a scripted podcast she created, called Fruit, where he wrote for two seasons. This allowed him to build a network with other writers.
"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."
Without knowing what was in store down the road, Issa reached back out to Mike offering him a position as staff writer on HBO's Insecure for Season 4. Unfortunately, he was unable to accept the position due to timing. As devastating as it may sound, Gauyo was offered another position. He landed his first staff writer job for Season 1 of Netflix's hottest television drama, Ginny and Georgia. Gauyo expressed, "The show resonated with the demographic of teens to senior citizens. It was at an equal level. Talking about the biracial Black experience and the biracial Asian experience, and even speaking about single parents and raising their children."
Mike took a lot of pride in making it known that many of the writers and executives of the show were first-timers. "A lot of times the industry doesn't take a chance on you because you're new and because they don't want to take the risk. I think that Ginny and Georgia is proof that more networks, more executives need to take the risk because it was a room full of people doing this for the first time," he happily mentioned.
Continuing to pave the way for people of color in the industry, Gauyo launched a partnership with Culture Creative where he birthed his mentorship program that focuses on providing support and resources to preWGA Black writers. The program is aptly titled the Black Boy Writes/Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative. "I felt as though there were a lot of preWGA writers who weren't being seen, who had the talent but didn't have the access. I've spent years building a roll of industry contacts and people I've built genuine relationships with who I can pick up and call."
"If I can do that for another writer who possesses the talent and just doesn't have the access to the contacts they need, I will help them."
Currently, Gauyo is in the writers' room of Netflix's Ginny and Georgia, as the show was renewed for another season after the first season was watched by 52 million subscribers. Additionally, his opportunity with Issa came back full circle as Rae offered him a position as staff writer for the fifth and final season of Insecure. Mike happily accepted.
The writer urges anyone who has a dream to push for it and never give up. Timing is everything.
Featured image via Mike Gauyo/Instagram
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.
I first moved to Spain in December 2018, bright-eyed and ready to dive into the culture. While I have loved every minute of my life abroad, I definitely received my share of culture shocks in Spain. Some were hilarious, some were surprising, and no matter how many times I was warned about others, they were still shocking!
When I first arrived in Spain, I was so used to the American mode of constant productivity. It almost caused me anxiety how relaxed most Spanish people are about everything.
In the United States, your career defines you; everything must be done correctly the first time and on time, and even your relaxation time should be productive. Spain is the opposite.
I learned to embrace it because if they’re not freaking out about it, why should I? It was an instant release. Spanish people place value on making time to relax, enjoying good company, and being outdoors in the sunshine. My mental health and ability to handle setbacks in stride improved a ton in Spain.
So as I near five years living abroad, here are the biggest lessons the Spanish taught me about chilling the fuck out.
Lesson Number 1: “No pasa nada”
My first day working as an English Language Assistant in Spain couldn’t have gone more wrong if I tried. The bus that took me to the town where I worked never showed up. When I finally got to the town, hours later, I couldn’t find the school. When I finally managed to make it to a class (after missing my first three of the day), the presentation I had prepared didn’t work.
I remember looking up from the computer screen to a class of eager students and my enthusiastic co-teacher (who also happened to be my boss). My heart sank into my stomach, “I can’t open the presentation, Mabel.”
“No pasa nada, just talk to the kids, let them ask you questions.” Just like that? The kids were so excited to meet someone from the USA that the questions just kept coming, and they thanked me for a fun class.
No pasa nada translates to something like no worries, or it’s not a big deal, and I must’ve heard it at least 10 times a day every day in Spain. If something ever goes wrong, “No pasa nada.”
You can’t control everything all the time. Is anyone bleeding, dying, or injured? No? Then it’s not worth losing your head over. Just come up with the best solution you can think of at the moment and roll with it.
Courtesy of Ambar Mejia
Lesson Number 2: “Teacher, Did You Not Have Time for Breakfast?”
When I was working in the U.S., I often had all sorts of meals at my desk. Breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks. It wasn’t uncommon for me to sit in front of a screen, clacking away on my keyboard while taking bites and sips in between thoughts.
One day, in Spain, I showed up to school with a thermos of coffee and was sipping away while I led the class. One student raised his hand, “Yes Miguel?” “Uh, teacher, did you not have time for breakfast?”
Count on children to call you out! I thought he was just being an 11-year-old until later that week, a teacher asked me to go get coffee in between classes. When I went up to the counter to ask for it to go, she looked at me like, “What are you doing?” I said I was just grabbing it to go so we could get back to work. She said, "Yeah, we don’t do that here." And in fact, they didn’t even have a way to give me this coffee to go.
She later explained to me that it’s not usual for Spanish people to drink or eat while they walk or work. “Certainly you have 10 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and relax.”
(ENJOY my coffee? Interesting concept. I was just going to consume it for energy.)
In another instance, a Spanish friend of mine saw someone walking while eating a sandwich and said, “How depressing that they don’t even have time to sit and eat a sandwich.”
And actually, if you think about it, that is sad, but it’s not out of the ordinary in the U.S. But our bodies need food, and when we don’t even take those 10 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee or actually chew a sandwich, we’re saying work is more important than caring for our bodies.
Even taking those 10 minutes to just focus on your coffee and be present can help you slow down and relax throughout the day.
Courtesy of Ambar Mejia
Lesson Number 3: “Y la sobremesa?”
I learned over the years living in Spain that food and meal times are sacred. It’s not just about getting something in to carry you throughout the day. Meal times are a moment to pause, relax, and unwind, and it’s always at the table!
Meals are also a time to gather with family and friends and have rowdy conversations about any subject under the sun (except work, as they consider this stuffy conversation).
This tradition of chatting after a meal is so important, it even has a proper name 'sobremesa' (over table). Long after the plates are cleared, the sobremesa will continue over drinks, coffee, or dessert. It can last several hours! (I once had lunch for five hours, four of which were just the sobremesa.)
If you try to get up without it, someone might ask, “Y la sobremesa?” like “What about the after-meal conversation?”
There is so much emphasis on connection in Spain, whereas American culture is more individualistic. Now, while I’m not suggesting all Americans have 5-hour lunches or do everything in pairs, there is something therapeutic about prioritizing your meals, not rushing, and being in good company.
Courtesy of Ambar Mejia
Lesson Number 4: Go have some sangria, walk on the beach, and try again.
In my second year teaching English in Spain, I moved to a different city in Spain and had the strange luck that my new boss was the strictest Spanish person I have ever met to this day.
When I couldn’t get an appointment to renew my residency card in time, she told me if I didn’t have it sorted by January 1st, she wouldn’t be able to let me stay in the country.
I made an appointment in a nearby town, but when I showed up for the appointment, the police officer told me I had to do it in the town I lived in. I started bawling. As a child of people who had immigrated to the U.S., I was in panic mode.
He tried consoling me and begged me to calm down, but I only started shaking and crying more, “My boss won’t let me stay if I don’t have my card renewed.”
And I will never forget his next words, “It’s okay. It’s okay. This isn’t the U.S. We’re not going to come looking for you.” (In retrospect, it is kind of funny.)
“Why don’t you go have some sangria, walk on the beach, and try again.” This did not feel like the time for this “no pasa nada” attitude, but I took his words of advice.
I had the sangria. I walked on the beach. And I went home to try again, and guess what? I did in fact find the appointment.
Courtesy of Ambar Mejia
Lesson Number 5: Sundays are for soaking up the sun.
Everything in Spain closes on Sunday. Everything except restaurants. So you couldn’t even run errands if you wanted to. This is usually a day for family and friends to gather on the beach, in the park, at a restaurant, or out on the plazas underneath flowering trees.
Sunday is just about connecting with loved ones and enjoying the sunshine at your leisure. I’m sure you can notice a theme here, Spanish culture is all about letting things flow.
Something that struck me most about Spain was how much less they complained about their mental health. It feels like almost all of my friends in the U.S. are struggling with anxiety or depression, and not without good reason. American lifestyle can feel like a pressure cooker, but what I think we can learn from the Spanish is to slow down, take life as it comes, have moments throughout the day and throughout the week where we can just be, and always make time for good company.
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.
Featured image courtesy of Ambar Mejia