Willow Smith Calls Her Relationship With Hair And Skin A ‘Learning Curve’ And Shaving Her Hair ‘Radical’
Since her early days in the music industry, Willow Smith has always marched to the beat of her own drum. We got a taste of her one-of-a-kind style at 10 when she released “Whip My Hair” and later as an act of rebellion, she shaved her head. Today at 21 years old, she is rocking a shaved style proving that she still hasn’t fallen victim to society’s standards of beauty. Willow has also ventured into metal, a genre that her mother Jada Pinkett Smith has occupied for many years but is still predominantly white.
In the cover story for Glamour UK, the “Lipstick” songstress reflected on her younger days, her journey as a Black woman in metal, and her relationship with beauty.
Willow on Shaving Her Head
“Shaving my head is maybe the most radical thing I’ve done in the name of beauty.”
Willow on Being a Child Star
“Yikes. I mean, I was definitely fearless back in the day! I think a little bit more about things before I do them now, which is a good thing. I feel like I’m forever evolving and trying to find the most authentic version of myself. I think that’s a lifelong thing.”
Willow on Her Relationship with Her Hair
“As a Black woman there were a lot of layers to my relationship with my hair and skin growing up; it was definitely a learning curve.”
“However I’m feeling, I like to do that. I don’t really like to think about it too much. I love to be free with it. I think just being me sometimes is radical.”
“I had to look up to other beautiful Black women. Just looking at someone who’s like me, living their truth and doesn’t let what society says tear them down. I think that was the most important [influence] for me as a child.”
Willow on Jada Pinkett Smith Influencing Her Music Career
“That was my first experience with music touring. And just watching her as a Black woman in this crazy metal scene. I was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ I loved it. My mom showed me everything. I still go to her now like, ‘You got any new stuff for me to listen to?’”
Willow on the Pushback She Received When Wanting to do a Rock Album
“When I wanted to do a rock album, there were a lot of executives that were like, ‘Hmm…’ If I had been white, it would’ve been completely fine; but because I’m Black it’s, ‘Well… maybe let’s just not’ – and making it harder than it needs to be. If I go through that, every single other Black artist is getting the pushback [too].”
Willow on How the Industry Can Empower More Women in Music
“I think the music scene reflects the world. For a long time, women have been looked at and expected to be in these boxes. It’s up to the people who have been a part of the oppressing, but it’s also up to us to step out of that. That’s scary, and it’s sometimes dangerous.”
“We need to make better spaces for each other and stop expecting other people to make spaces for us. We need to start holding our sisters, and start listening to each other the way that we wish other people would.”
Willow on Taking Care of Her Mental Health
“Sometimes [managing your mental health] is so overwhelming that you can’t really bring yourself to do much else besides reminding yourself of the things that really matter. For me, I love a good mantra. Recently, my mantra has been, ‘I accept everything as it is, and I’m grateful for it.’ Repeating that over and over again; that’s been really helping me.”
“If you don’t talk about it, I don’t know how the healing’s going to start. Even if it’s to yourself in the mirror, you know? I do that all the time.”
“I’ll literally talk to myself like I’m my best friend. And then be like, okay, what would my friend say to me right now? What would someone who really, really loves me say to me? It kind of feels unnatural because our own minds are so harsh sometimes.”
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Featured image by Emma McIntyre/WireImage
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Jordin Sparks Reveals How Her Husband 'Empowers' Her & Dishes On Their Working Relationship
Jordin Sparks rose to fame in 2007 when she was crowned the youngest American Idol winner at 17.
Since then, the singer and actress has dominated the entertainment industry by selling millions of records and starring in countless films. In addition to the professional success, Jordin, now 33, also created a family with her husband, Dana Isaiah, and their 4-year-old son Dana Isaiah Jr, whom she occasionally shows off on her social media page.
During a recent interview with People, Jordin shared details about her family life, including the bond she and her husband built through their love of music and how she balances motherhood and work.
Jordin On The Beginning Stages Of Her Relationship With Dana And How The Pair Became an A&R Team
While promoting her partnerships with Women Who Rock and Hard Rock Heals Foundation organizations, Jordin revealed that when she first met her husband Dana, they instantly hit it off because of the pair's appreciation for music.
Jordin and Dana's love story began in 2017 after the couple's mothers placed the two in a group message. The "Battlefield" vocalist mentioned that she was thoroughly "impressed" by Dana when she heard his music playlists as they took a road trip.
"When we first met, we definitely bonded over our love of music. He really impressed me," she said. "We went on our first little road trip, and he had the aux cord, so he was taking the music, taking us on this journey. I really appreciated how he was able to transition from one song to the next. I was like, 'You have a really good ear.' He was like, 'Oh, thanks. I love music.' But he wasn't thinking the way I was thinking where I was just like, 'OK, he's got a really good ear. He's got really good taste.'"
The couple's bond over music grew as they married in July 2017, so much so that they are now working together as an A&R team. The "One Step at a Time" songstress disclosed that the process gradually began during the pandemic when she and Dana started working together on music. Shortly after, the 30-year-old would become her A&R and manager.
Reflecting on her marriage and working alongside her almost six-year-old husband, Jordin stated she is "grateful" to have Dana by her side.
"We both just work really well together. We both have our core values, we love each other, we like each other — which is really important. I think we're stronger now. We definitely have a bond that nobody can take away. I'm just really, really grateful to have him by my side," the Sparkle star explained while also talking about how well they work together.
Another reason why they work well together, Dana empowers her and believes in her dreams.
"My relationship with my husband empowers me all the time. He definitely wants to see me shine," she said. "I've never had a relationship where I felt that they really believed in my dreams, that they really wanted to see those things come to fruition, that they really wanted to be like, "Hey, spread your wings and fly. Try this, and go for that part, or do this song, or go for that collaboration, or show a little skin." So, it's been amazing to have somebody who literally is just, "Whatever you want to do, I want to be there to help you do it." It enables me to have freedom in my creative process and my work that I haven't had before. I'm very empowered."
Jordin On Her Son And Being A Working Mother
Later in the interview, Jordin spoke about her son Dana Jr. The mother of one opened up about Dana Jr.'s personality and how she tries to enjoy every accomplishment he has. Jordin described the kindergartener as "fun" and a truthful person.
"He is very, very fun right now. He's in kindergarten, and man, he is just always learning something new, which is fun, but what's really been fun for me right now is seeing his personality come through," the singer said. “He is 100% his own person. He has his own thoughts, [and] he's got his own opinions. With DJ, you're never going to wonder what's going on. He's always going to tell you the truth, so that's been really fun to experience."
Jordin went on to say that one of the things she enjoys about raising Dana Jr. is the close bond the pair have developed. She even marveled that her son "cuddles" with her and tells her he loves her.
Near the end of her statement, Jordin shared how she's been able to be present in Dana Jr.'s life despite being a working mom. The actress revealed that because of her hectic schedule and the constant traveling, she prioritizes leaving "work at the door" when she comes home because she doesn't want to miss out on Dana Jr.'s "milestones."
"With the kind of job that I have, I'm traveling all the time and going to different places. So for me, I have to leave work at the door because I want him to know that I am completely present when I'm with him. We're learning every day because he is our first and only baby, and so every day is something new. Every milestone that he hits is new for us. We're all just trying to celebrate together in those moments," she said.
With these recent revelations, it appears that Jordin has found the perfect balance between her personal and professional life.
Feature image by Michael Tran/Getty Images