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For This Entrepreneur, Balance Is About Quality Not Quantity

Wilonda Previlon walks us through how she finds balance.

Finding Balance

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.

Living your best life is all about quality, not quantity.

Wealth isn't really wealth if your mental health is out of whack and a billion likes won't keep you from being burnt TF out. That's why full-time entrepreneur and boutique owner Wilonda Previlon quit her 9-5 as an Orthodontist's Assistant to pursue a life that made her feel fulfilled.

To Wilonda, success means living how she wants to and refusing to do sh*t that doesn't serve her. In an exclusive interview with xoNecole, the 26-year-old digital content creator explained, "Success to me means I can live how I want without having to force myself to do anything I don't."

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

While the Haitian-born Orlando native spends most of her days working from home, living the American dream as an influencer and aspiring actress, there are days when she has to press pause on her professional life to focus on her personal well-being. Wilonda shared, "Owning your own business(es) is an around the clock job and if you don't separate personal life with professional life, you can easily get burned out and not produce high-quality content."

Wilonda recently sat down with xoNecole to talk about how she makes self-care a priority in her busy life. Between working out, social media detoxes, and intentionally carving out time with the fam, here's how this media maven finds balance:

What’s been the driving force behind all of the hats that you wear these days? What is your “why”? 

The driving force behind all the hats I wear these days is knowing I have so many beautiful chocolate girls who are looking at me and are inspired by something as simple as me loving myself and embracing my own skin. I love getting the DMs from them saying I helped them love themselves more and more each day!

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. 

Yes, definitely no days are the same, so a typical week in my life consists of planning, creating content, replying to loads of emails, listening to podcasts, [and] working on my boutique Damis Activewear. I am a one-woman show, so I edit, model, take pictures, market, everything.

What are your mornings like?

Mornings are my favorite. I am a morning person for sure! I would wake up, say my prayers/give thanks to God, workout, eat breakfast, catch up on my DMs messages/IG comments, reply to emails. During the time that I'm eating and replying to messages, nine times out of ten, I am listening to a business or financial podcast or audiobook.

After that, if I have a YouTube video to create or campaign to do, I get my hair/makeup done to begin to create. Around this time, it is about 10:30 am. Normally this takes up the rest of my morning until noon where [if I remember] I eat lunch. I am so much more productive in the morning and being that I use natural light for just about everything, my mornings are very important and I don't like wasting time.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"I am so much more productive in the morning and being that I use natural light for just about everything, my mornings are very important and I don't like wasting time."

How do you wind down at night?

At night, before I mentally check out of work mode, I plan for the next day. My wind down is with a nice shower and either Netflix or a good book.

When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?

Deadlines! Being an influencer can be stressful, being that you are working with major companies that have specific requirements for each post/deliverable. If you don't pay close attention to the deck and make sure all requirements are fulfilled, you are at risk of doing the entire campaign again, or even worse, have the client not return for another campaign. Companies would literally come to you and expect you to do an entire campaign in a 7-day turnaround, which is very quick when you have other companies you are working with.

Do you practice self-care? What does that look like for you? 

Yes, most definitely! I love stepping back and taking care of myself. It's crazy that some people would think going on a vacation would seem to be a "self-care practice", but as an influencer, it is most definitely still work and half the time, we don't get to really enjoy it because we are worried about creating content. My self-care practices are the simple: a girls' night out with my friends where there is no picture taking involved, no postings. Also, working out is very therapeutic for me. Spending quality time with my family about once a month (since I don't live near them anymore) is a self-care practice for me. Another big one is stepping away from social media whenever I think it's needed, to be thankful for what I have going on in my life and not be so wrapped up in someone else's life and accomplishments.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"My self-care practices are the simple: a girls' night out with my friends where there is no picture taking involved, no postings. Also, working out is very therapeutic for me. Spending quality time with my family about once a month (since I don't live near them anymore) is a self-care practice for me."

What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?

You have time! It is just a matter of prioritizing you. It baffles me when people say they don't have time for themselves. Well baby, who will put you first besides you? No one. It can be something as little as 30 minutes a week where you are not catering to anything business- or family-related. You need this for yourself. It is vital to always make time for your mental and physical health.

How do you find balance with:

Friends? 

I keep my circle small. The more "friends" you have, the more you will be pulled in all directions to accommodate meetups/events. Keep a small circle of friends that are very important to you.

Exercise? Does it happen?

I strive to workout 4 to 5 days a week. [When I do] I see my skin glows, my energy is up, and I am nicer.

Do you cook or find yourself eating out more often? 

I cook. I don't mind cooking at all. Cooking is very therapeutic as well. I only eat out if I am out all day or socially. But, most of the time, I have people come over and we do seafood night or bake.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"It baffles me when people say they don't have time for themselves. Well baby, who will put you first besides you? No one."

When do you feel most beautiful?

Sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on. I know that probably sounds cliché, but it is the truth for me. And when you have people in your life that amp you up in that state, you definitely can't help but feel beautiful during your most basic state.

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty or feeling stuck, how do you handle it? 

I try not to ponder on it too much. I realize when I think about it, it starts to stress me out. Stress makes me anxious, anxiety allows me to be mentally doubtful about myself and I never want to be in that position. I am a workaholic, so my coping mechanism is to work more, which may sound bad, but I love what I do, so this is a great outlet for me.

Courtesy of Wilonda Previlon

"Stress makes me anxious, anxiety allows me to be mentally doubtful about myself and I never want to be in that position. I am a workaholic, so my coping mechanism is to work more, which may sound bad, but I love what I do, so this is a great outlet for me."

What does happiness mean to you?

Happiness to me means those around me are good. I feel you thrive in a good environment. My environment has to be positive.

What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance? 

Others forget that your actions affect everyone around you. We can easily get caught up in our "own little world" and neglect family, friends, and self. Take the time to plan and make an effort to balance all aspects of your life.

For more of Wilonda, follow her on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Wilonda Previlon.

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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