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.
Since the launch of her first company back in 2011, Revitalized Media Group, Tamra Simmons has created a brand for herself as one of the top influential women in the entertainment industry as a talent agent, casting director and TV producer with an extensive portfolio of work such as producer credits on VH1's Growing Up Hip Hop and Mary Mary. The inspirational single momprenuer has gone on to launch her international firm, The Tamra Simmons Brand Agency, and been deemed as a powerhouse amongst names such as Ava DuVernay, John Legend, and Chelsea Peretti.
While she currently is in the midst of earning her MS and JD, Tamra is also balancing the hats of entrepreneur, filmmaker, CEO, and mother. This internationally acclaimed CEO of LA Productions, LLC is most recently notable for her role as a creator and executive producer of Lifetime's groundbreaking docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which has 26.8 million viewers to date and over 20 million live streams since its debut on January 3, 2019 with part two airing in January 2020.
For this installment of "Finding Balance", xoNecole had the chance to discuss with award-winning producer Tamra Simmons about her understanding relationship with her closest friends, managing her multiple hats in the entertainment industry and the importance of self-care.
xoNecole: At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause and finding balance in both your personal and professional life?
Tamra Simmons: I knew that I needed to find balance in my personal and professional life when I realized the importance of ensuring your family is never last while reaching your goals. Being a mompreneur is challenging and makes you have to create a structure that one may typically not need to create. Even as an entrepreneur, it is vital that you find a balance never to lose value in the things and people that mean the most and also to keep you centered in all that you do.
"Being a mompreneur is challenging and makes you have to create a structure that one may typically not need to create. Even as an entrepreneur, it is vital that you find a balance never to lose value in the things and people that mean the most and also to keep you centered in all that you do."
What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.
Ha! No day is typical. Every day is different, and it all depends if I am currently in production filming or developing. I find myself now having to rearrange my schedule due to COVID-19, and now the kids are attending school virtually. I am currently a homeschool teacher, CEO, filmmaker, television developer, and, most importantly, mom. My day usually consists of conference calls, development strategy meetings, reviewing scripts, studying from Southern New Hampshire University, and entering into [Georgia State University] Law, catching up on politics while teaching my son in between his Zooms. When I am in production, it consists of 10-14 hour days on set, in the office, or on network calls to prepare for production.
What are your mornings like?
I wake up praying, cooking breakfast, and preparing for the day, which can mean checking emails, posting on social media for the morning with inspiration, and writing down my calendar for the day. I then decide if I can squeeze in the gym in the morning or the afternoon.
How do you wind down at night?
Sometimes I catch up on phone calls I wasn't able to make during the day. I like to schedule dinner between 6-8 and spend time with my son before he goes to bed. I then try to grab a book after my son goes to bed and relax and unwind.
Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you?
Yes. I started this thing where I go to the spa at least once a week, if time permits. I found that when I take that hour out to myself to get a massage, it relaxes me for the rest of the week. I try and get a 60-minute massage every Wednesday or at least every other Wednesday. I also started going to the gym more. I found that working out is not to look good, but I internally feel good, and it keeps my spirits up. I have been on the treadmill, sending emails, making business plans, etc. It allows my creative juices to flow. I used to do so much for everyone else that I finally realized I have to take time for myself and that I am important, too.
"I used to do so much for everyone else that I finally realized I have to take time for myself and that I am important, too."
What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?
My one [piece of] advice to women who feel like they don't have time, YOU MUST CREATE TIME. If you do not create time for yourself, guess what? No one else is going to care or value you. When you take care of yourself, you not only are teaching yourself how to value you, but you're also teaching others how to value you. It took me a while to learn this, but I swore I was never going back to non-self-care once I did.
How do you find balance with:
My friends that I have know that I am swamped and that I am balancing a lot at one time. I usually will make sure I attend their holiday, birthday celebrations, and keep in touch with them as much as possible. Many of us will have dinner like one-on-one every few weeks to stay in touch. I'm usually the party planner for their birthdays and joyous celebrations, so the fact we do not talk every day does not bother them because they know that I am going to come through on the most important days of their lives. They understand that we may not talk every day, but I love them no less. Real friendships do not have to be in each others' faces daily to say they are friends. The ones who continue to love you and be there for you without seeing them all the time are the real friends you need in your corner.
"Real friendships do not have to be in each others' faces daily to say they are friends. The ones who continue to love you and be there for you without seeing them all the time are the real friends you need in your corner."
I work out four days a week twice a day if my schedule allows it. I try to have some cardio in the morning and work on certain parts of my body in the evening, such as leg day, back day, etc.
What about health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
I do meal prep often and intake only so many calories at the time. If I eat out because I am on the go, I usually try and make sure I am eating healthy on the go.
Do you ever detox?
Yes, I detox at least once a week. I love how it makes my body feel clean from toxins that it may be filled with, and it helps me stay extra hydrated.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I pray often and meditate. Prayer is the key to keeping my sanity, especially working in this industry. If I am stuck in life, I ask God to guide me and wait for Him to lead me to the next step.
"Prayer is the key to keeping my sanity, especially working in this industry. If I am stuck in life, I ask God to guide me and wait for Him to lead me to the next step."
What do you do when you have a creative block on a project or feel like you have to clear your head before going into a project?
When I feel stuck creatively, I will put on some feel-good music and allow my mind to escape and then come back to that subject.
Honestly, what does success and happiness mean to you?
Success means to be reaching a particular goal, whether it turns out the way you wanted to or not. The only way you fail is if you never try. I believe all those who try are successful. They are successful at striving no matter the result. In the industry, people equate your level of success to accolades, awards, and money. That does not equal success to me. To me, you are successful when you have a vision, passion, and desire and continue to keep your eye moving forward and not looking at where everyone else is.
You determine your success. Now there are levels of success; however, you dictate those as well. Happiness, to me, looks like when you can take care of yourself. You may not have everything you want, but you have everything you need, and you can continuously provide for your family.
For more Tamra, follow her on Instagram!
Featured image by Marjoni Janee.