What Self-Care Looks Like For BuzzFeed Writer Jamé Jackson
For xoNecole's Finding Balance series, 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.
No matter if life gives you lemons or straight up lemonade, the choice of what happens is up to you.
This was the case for Jamé Jackson, a style & beauty writer for BuzzFeed's As/Is columns and founder and EIC of TheBlondeMisfit. Our xoNecole fam might also recognize her byline from an article or two. The writer extraordinaire who decided that she wanted to go into journalism, found that there were more closed doors than open, especially for a Black girl from Washington, D.C. with no formalized journalism experience.
As a result, she forged her own path, creating content that specifically targeted Black women and the conversations surrounding Black culture in fashion and beauty. When she's not sharing her silly antidotes, beauty splurges, and thrift finds on social media, she's working on ensuring that Black girls are never an afterthought, especially when we define culture, honey.
In this installment of Finding Balance, we chatted with Jamé to find out how she balances working at one of the most prominent tech companies in the world, her health, and in love and relationships.
What is an average day or week like for you?
An average day for me can vary. Working in the beauty and fashion industry, I could be in the city at a media breakfast, meeting a client or a person of interest for a story, or even at showcases that discuss next season's goodies. Sometimes the only thing I'm doing all day is transcribing interviews or reaching out for exclusive quotes, and other days, I'm just writing, writing, writing. I could be preparing for a panel, a shoot, or just chillin', haha. The only thing consistent throughout my week is that I force myself not to overextend my work and responsibilities outside of my work hours. So, I will say, "I can only do something after work 3x a week," so that I have time to go home and actually rest. It's difficult when you're a busybody like me, but it's been so necessary to my emotional and spiritual health.
What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week? How do you push through?
Thankfully, I have really strived to find balance in my life in 2018, and work isn't hectic for me because I absolutely love what I do and the content I get to write for BuzzFeed/As/Is. The most hectic part probably is finding that moment where I turn myself 'off', and decompress after a long day, or finding a healthy schedule to get everything done. I have fabulous work moms (hey Essence and Patrice!) who make sure I take time to rest, and more importantly, that I'm not apologetic for needing time to myself. I'm someone who will literally write "Go grocery shopping," in my calendar so I won't forget. I push through by honoring myself when I see that I'm putting too much on myself, but also forgiving myself when I forget something or just don't have the energy to do it. Nothing is worth trippin' about in the bigger scheme [of things].
I also have amazing accountability partners who work on different teams in BuzzFeed, people who are always pushing me to take a moment and celebrate my wins. There are women like Julee Wilson at Essence, or Dana Oliver at Yahoo, who pour into me all the time. Badass babes like Gia Peppers or Sheriden Chanel who literally keep me filled up with prayer and purpose on a daily basis. There's women like Renae Bluitt from In Her Shoes, Africa Miranda who is a poppin' beauty entrepreneur, or even Necole Kane, who are all amazing examples of women who model what I hope to deposit in this world, but they always remind me that I can't take on the entire world all in a day (even though I try).
"I push through by
honoring myself when I see that I'm putting too much on myself, but also
forgiving myself when I forget something or just don't have the energy to do
it. Nothing is worth trippin' about in the bigger scheme [of things]."
How do you practice self-care? What is your self-care routine?
Self-care to me can be sleeping, watching movies, getting outside on a weekend for some fresh air, or even just binge-watching YouTube videos and podcasts. A huge part of self-care for me has been learning how to stop answering emails, or not feeling like I have to immediately respond. I don't check emails or social media before 10 AM or after 10 PM, unless it is an emergency, in which case, someone can text me. Giving myself that time in the morning to ease into my day before I start consuming everything happening in the world has REALLY allowed me to feel more at ease while at work.
Of course, as a beauty girl, I love things like getting my hair and nails done, doing an at-home spa day for myself, or just giving myself a few more minutes in the morning to do my makeup. I get weekly massages and practice yoga, both of which have helped me release tension in my body. I know it seems very superficial to some, but if it makes you feel better, I'd argue that's part of self-care.
How do you find balance with:
This is one of the things I have always struggled with, mostly because I can get so laser-focused that I'll forget to come up for air, sometimes. However, I have learned that as you continue to grow and pursue your passions and purpose, the ones who are meant to be with you will be there, and they won't make you feel bad when you have to do what you have to do. I have friends who I talk to almost every day, and I have others who I'll talk to every few weeks. I think social media has helped too, because I'll see them online and can interact with them there even if I can't see them during the actual week. I don't expect my friends to come to every panel or support every story, but I do expect for my friends to pour into me as I do for them.
I have had to become very "business"-like with my friendships, because the reality is, not everyone will root for your success. If it doesn't serve me or add to my bottom line for health and prosperity, I gotta cut them loose. When I stopped attaching my worth to friends' circles and instead started thanking God for sending me only the right ones, that's when my attitude around life and friends really changed.
"When I stopped attaching
my worth to friends' circles and instead started thanking God for sending me
only the right ones, that's when my attitude around life and friends really
Like friendships, I believe love and relationships that are meant to be will work. While I love the idea of marriage and kids one day, right now I am so selfish with my time and energy. If I end up sharing that with someone else, they won't subtract anything from me, they'll only add. And they won't make me feel bad for being a focused woman with her eye on the prize.
With relationships, it's all about balance but also about intention. When I began setting better intentions for myself, by asking the Universe and God for authentic people in my life, that's when He was able to honor them. The biggest relationship I have is the one with God, followed by my relationship with myself. When I improved my relationship with God, I saw my personal relationship with myself improve. Now, I have so many women in my life who pour into me and aspire me to be bigger, and better, versions of myself. And then I'm able to give it back.
Exercise? Does it happen?
I don't exercise as much as I'd like to, but I do yoga. I've become a huge yoga lover over the past few months, and have really seen how it benefits me emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. The days I don't go to the studio, I'll go the gym and workout, or go running in my neighborhood. While everyone's physical needs are different, I definitely think a balance of exercise will help creatives who may need a physical outlet to the stress that's natural with the job.
Many of the major life changes I've had to make were direct results of a deteriorating health. I remember one time being in the doctor's office, and after getting my blood results back, one of my blood levels were so low, the doctor said, "I don't even know how you are able to have enough energy to get yourself out of bed in the morning." This was the same doctor who said that I'd never be able to have children because my estrogen levels were non-existent. At that moment, I had to pick myself up, and begin making lifestyle changes that would not only allow me to have the life that I always wanted, but the life that I never knew I was missing out on. Especially as Black women, it's vital that we take our health seriously and I'm blessed that I've been a living testament of changing your life around, even if I still have a long way to go. I'm also a huge advocate for support groups and therapy.
Do you ever detox? What does that look like for you?
I don't do physical detoxes (although I'm never opposed to one!) but I do my own versions of detoxes, like a few times a year, going a month without meat or without coffee. I also do spiritual detoxes, where I'll pull myself back from social media. It's hard when you work in the influencer space and people literally depend on your photos and imagery, but I can't serve others if I don't serve myself.
"I can't serve others if I don't serve myself."
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I always have to remind myself that faith and fear are polar opposites, and if I am feeling fearful, then I'm not practicing faith. I always think of the scripture that says not to be anxious for anything, and that the latter half of that scripture says to make my requests known unto God through prayer. When I get 'stuck', or start questioning myself, I pray. At the end of the day, God is the single most important thing in my life, and I live to honor Him by the work that I do. I have a ton of screenshots in my phone of DM's, emails, and texts, from people who have thanked me for the work that I do or even just given me that "Yaaass, Black Queen!" stamp of approval. Funny enough, when I feel down, I do a shoutout on my Insta stories for people to tell me about good things that happened to them that day, and reading those responses lets me know God is still up and movin'! It's the moments of encouragement and positive words that help re-ground me into my purpose on this Earth, which is to uplift and empower Black women.
What does success mean to you?
When I first moved to New York, success meant being in every room with the big dogs. Now, success is experiencing the fullness of peace, and not feeling the need to push for things when I know I am already equipped with everything I need to succeed.
What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?
Balance isn't really formulaic, which is why I think I have an issue with how people try to be very prescriptive on finding balance. Everyone will find balance with their different variances of percentages, so it's not always a 50/50 thing. Sometimes it will sway left, sometimes it will sway right. The most important part is that you always find yourself coming back to center, no matter what.
Follow Jamé on Instagram @theblondemisfit. Also be sure to check out some of the other amazing ladies we've featured in our Finding Balance series by clicking here.
Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
"I Have Truly Survived the Unimaginable." Megan Thee Stallion Is Ready To Resume Her Next Chapter.
Megan Thee Stallion is ready to resume her life, not as a victim but as a survivor of gun violence.
In a recent as-told-to essay for ELLE, the 28-year-old mega-star took time to reflect on her experience surviving the shooting incident involving rapper Tory Lanez in July 2020.
In the piece, Megan described her traumas in the aftermath of the shooting and the drawn-out legal case and trial that brought on the public's negative reaction to the incident.
“Imagine how it feels to be called a liar every day?” Megan says. “Especially from a person who was once part of your inner circle.” She notes that many people were quick to doubt her story and blame her for how the incident unfolded. For nearly three years, she went through the weight of public humiliation, while being the brunt of jokes, memes, and “sneak disses” as her humanity was ignored.
“The truth is that I started falling into a depression,” the rapper says. “I didn’t feel like making music. I was in such a low place that I didn’t even know what I wanted to rap about. I wondered if people even cared anymore.”
She adds, “There would be times that I’d literally be backstage or in my hotel, crying my eyes out, and then I’d have to pull Megan Pete together and be Megan Thee Stallion.”
Megan wrote how not fitting “the profile of a victim” played a role in the dismissal of her traumas in the public eye and emphasized the importance of believing women when they come forward with their own stories of violence and abuse. “But my heart hurts for all the women around the world who are suffering in silence, especially if you’re a Black woman who doesn’t appear as if she needs help,” she says.
“So many times, people looked at me and thought, ‘You look strong. You’re outspoken. You’re tall. You don’t look like somebody who needs to be saved.’ They assumed that, per preconceived stigmas, ‘I didn’t fit the profile of a victim,’ and that I didn’t need support or protection.”
With time, the Houston fem-cee has been able to take a step away from the public eye to heal, spend time with her dogs, and “doing a lot of praying” to recover from the incident. “The physical and mental scars from this entire ordeal will always sting, but I’m taking the appropriate steps to resume my life,” Megan says.
And while she is “in a happier place,” there are still moments of anxiety that come up from time to time. “Talking about being shot still makes me emotional. I’ve started journaling as a way to better process my thoughts, hopes, and fears,” she says. “Prayer has also played a therapeutic role in my healing, because I can have honest and unfiltered conversations with God without any judgment.”
Megan concluded her essay by expressing her hope for a future where people can live without fear of gun violence and victims of trauma and abuse can receive the support and healing they need.
“My purpose is for these words to serve as the final time that I’ll address anything regarding this case in the press,” Megan notes in the article. “I understand the public intrigue, but for the sake of my mental health, I don’t plan to keep reliving the most traumatic experience of my life over and over again. I’m choosing to change the narrative because I’m more than just my trauma.”
With new music to come, we look forward to seeing Megan back on her healed, hot girl ish.
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Featured image by Hubert Vestil/WireImage