The amount of courage it takes an individual not to give up on their dreams or aspirations while trusting God's plans and refusing to compromise themselves despite failing to see immediate gratification for their hard work showcases just how strong that person is.
One star that fits that particular description is Tabitha Brown. Before becoming a household name as a social media personality, Emmy-nominated host, entrepreneur, author, and so much more, Brown was just trying to break into Hollywood as an actress.
Although in the past, Brown shared that growing up, she always envisioned herself being a performer, her story didn't begin until the mid-2000s when she and her family moved to California so that she could pursue her acting career. In addition to attending auditions, Brown would take on odd jobs, such as working at a Macy's warehouse and becoming an Uber Driver.
The star's first brush with fame --aside from previously co-hosting an entertainment show for a local North Carolina television station-- occurred in 2017 when Brown shared a video that went viral of a Whole Foods vegan sandwich in her car while taking a brief break from her Uber duties.
That particular post would lead to a brand ambassador deal with the company. Brown's success continues beyond there. Three years later, in March 2020, as the global pandemic hit and many were forced into isolation, Brown started posting inspirational and vegan food videos on TikTok. Her posts would immediately go viral, gaining millions of fans almost overnight. To date, Brown has five million followers on TikTok.
Many, including Brown, can attest she became successful in various avenues for three reasons: her authenticity, loving personality, and being intentional.
Tabitha Brown On Being Authentic
Often when many become successful, they would change who they are to fit the particular structure that brands or companies want them to be. But that wasn't the case for Brown.
During a recent interview with Fast Company, the 44-year-old shared that being authentic has allowed her to remain "free" in her career because she didn't have to act a particular way depending on what room she was in and who she was working alongside.
"I've branded myself on just being myself. I don't change who I am because I'm with children. I don't change who I am because I'm at a board meeting. I'm the same Tab. I show up completely free, completely me," Brown explained.
Brown On Leading With Love
Another factor that helped contribute to Brown's accomplishments was that she added love as the main component in everything she's done.
Since the very beginning, Brown would address her fans in many of her videos as if they were family members by always including them in every aspect of her life, from the highs and the lows. At the end of every clip, Brown left them with words of encouragement. The most prominent one is: "Have a good day, and if you can't, don't go messing up nobody else's."
In the interview, Brown also revealed that she learned over time that leading in love with any project she participates in, whether with her cooking videos, books, children's television show, hair care brand, or fashion line, brings people in.
"I lead in love, and I root everything in that—and I think that's what draws people in. I've never claimed to be like an expert, she said. "Honey, I ain't a chef. I ain't been to nobody's chef school, Cordon Bleu, yellow, green, or purple. I am just a woman who cooks for her family, and now it has become a thing."
Brown On Being Intentional
Brown's final reason for her success was setting her intentions on helping others be "seen and heard" as they are.
Brown told the publication, aside from following her own dreams, that after seeing the joy she brought to many people's lives by simply posting a video on social media, regardless of the topic, she made it a priority to participate in things that she knew could help others become precisely who they were meant to be.
"I wake up with that intention," she stated. My intention is to love people, be good to people. My intention is to make someone smile. My intention is make someone feel loved and seen and heard."
Brown's overall journey is an inspirational one. Although she has accomplished a lot over the years, Brown intends to strive for more by eventually expanding her fashion line and starring in a sitcom.
Whatever Brown chooses, it would surely be something well-received because of the foundation behind it.
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32-year-old social media influencer and mother of five, Ariel B, did not set out to tell her story; but it was her truth that set her free. Her truth is also the inspiration for her new podcast "This Too Shall Pass," produced by Idea To Launch Productions. The podcast delves into Ariel's life and journey as a single parent and a domestic violence survivor. But it also serves as a window into her past traumas that have fostered her resilience.
In an exclusive interview with xoNecole, Ariel B. reveals that her online following grew after she decided to share the realistic, non-curated parts of her life on social media at the advice of her therapist. "Growing up, I was taught to hide things that made you seem less than," she says. "I didn't mind speaking at the shelter for women and children. I didn't mind speaking in my domestic violence group with other women, but I was ashamed to talk about it with people that I felt had a perfect life. So [my therapist] said 'No, you need to get used to telling your story. If you don't like it or you feel some kind of way, just delete it.' I started first on Instagram, and that was probably the first time I dipped my toe in the social media world of telling the truth."
Ariel's followers became inspired by her honest and raw day-in-the-life perspective: the days when she would be over her budget, her kids' rooms wouldn't be the tidiest, or when she'd be running late for pick-ups and drop-offs. Her relatability made single mothers everywhere feel seen, but there's much more to life Ariel's story that she's found the bravery to open up about.
The Florida native had her first child when she was 16 years old. Growing up in a middle-class suburban family, she says she felt judged by family and peers for having children out of wedlock. "I already had two kids before I got married," she says. "And when I got married, I think that was my parents' sigh of relief. Like, oh my gosh, she's finally married. She's not a single mother of two. She should be safe. It was a disaster."
Ariel says marriage was great in the beginning. Her ex-husband presented himself as loving and was a proud stepfather to her two children. After welcoming two more children with her ex-husband, she says that's when the problems started. "We were arguing all the time. The finances were bad. And then it got to the point where he was consuming a lot of alcohol all the time," she says. "And when the alcohol got bad, it got physical. I was embarrassed. I just invited all of my family to this wedding and everyone's so happy that I'm married, but I'm miserable."
Ariel eventually filed for divorce, and was then forced to get a restraining order after her ex proceeded to stalk her. Though these frightening moments are behind her, she's working every day to address the residual trauma. "It was a lot of trauma to get where we are, and a lot to finally feel safe," she says. "But I just wanted to do whatever I had to do so my children wouldn't have to heal from a choice that I made."
It's clear that Ariel's adorable children, ranging from ages three to fifteen, are her biggest inspiration. She often posts videos of herself teaching them important life lessons like how to create a budget and maintain good credit. It's these important life skills that many of her followers said they wished they had learned growing up. For Ariel, her greatest goal is to fill up their self-love tank. "The world is going to knock you down enough when you get older," she says. "So if I can push them out there at a hundred percent if the world can only knock them down to 80, I'd be happy with that. But if they only go out there at 80 and the world can get them down to 60 or less than half of who they are, that's a problem for me."
When it comes to her new podcast, Ariel isn't afraid of the judgments that may come, both from loved ones and strangers. "When you tell the truth, there's nothing to hide from," she says. "I am a single mother of five. I do have more than one child's father. We are on a budget. And when I was able to just be honest, I think I wasn't shameful anymore. I didn't have to pretend and I was able to tell my truth out loud."
"This Too Shall Pass" is out now!