For This Entrepreneur, Balance Is About Quality Not Quantity
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:
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.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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30 Years Later: Here's Why I Think 'Living Single' Had The Healthiest Couples On TV
I don’t know about (some of) y’all but every time that I see a 90s movie or television program turn the Big 30 (or hell, even 20, for that matter), it definitely makes me feel some type of way. Lawd, where does the time go? Truly. And I definitely don’t feel any differently about Living Single — the show that, for starters, we all know Friends should attribute at least 75 percent of its success to since it basically gypped its entire concept from it. (Don’t get me started! Just know that you can read more about that very thing here, here, here, here, and here).
Anyway, there is so much to adore about the sitcom, even as it (rightfully so) plays in heavy rerun rotation to this day. There are the solid friendships between four Black women who remind me, interestingly enough, of the four hilarious seniors fromThe Golden Girls: Khadijah could easily be Dorothy; Synclaire would be Rose; Max would be Sophia, and Regine would be Blanche (wild, right?). There’s the beautiful friendship between their male sidekick neighbors, Kyle and Overton (Black male bonds are also a very precious and necessary thing). There are the relevant storylines, quick wit, and the kind of entertainment that most television shows today can’t even begin to touch (le sigh). Yeah, Living Single deserves all of the flowers to the point where I’m still pissed that it was canceled in the middle of its fifth season (although, thankfully, many questions were actually answered in the last episode).
Yet, even with all of this said, if I had to name my absolute favorite thing about the show, hands down, it’s the fact that when I stop and think of all of the shows that I’ve watched over the years (and it’s been a lot of them), Living Single is one where I think that every main love connection was pretty damn healthy. Not only that, but there is one couple, in particular, who I think a lot of folks could stand to learn how to love well and right from (heads up, it’s probably not the one you think).
So, in honor of the show being 30, humor me as I take just a few minutes to formally and officially shout out a few reasons why, when it comes to displaying Black love and hell, love in general, Living Single set the bar, raised it and then added tax — thirty years ago and present day.
Khadijah and ScooterGiphy
I like getting t-shirts made with pics of some of my favorite Black love couples. For instance, I recently got one done with Jesse and Angie on it (the real ones know who they are); folks always compliment me when I wear it.
There’s one couple, in particular, though, who’s been triggering the mess outta me for the past several months. It’s because, although I crown them as the healthiest fictional couple in television history (Black or otherwise), it’s hard as hell to find any good shots of them. Yep, that would be Khadijah (Queen Latifah) and Scooter (Cress Williams).
They were childhood friends who stayed friends. They always wanted what was best for each other. They didn’t let really good sex (remember their first time when Khadijah said, “We started kissing, and my clothes fell off!”) infect their friendship. Even when they got engaged, they broke it off because they knew that, even though the love was there, they were doing it (at the time) for the wrong reasons. They supported each other’s careers. Scooter was not threatened by Khadijah’s ambition (or other boyfriends; remember when she was about to move in with ole’ boy and Scooter was basically like, “I mean, I did pop in unannounced. My bad.”) Yet, he was also confident enough to tell her about herself sometimes (because if there’s one thing she hated, it was receiving correction and giving apologies).
On the flip side, when Scooter had to travel away for long periods of time, she didn’t put unrealistic restrictions on him. They both just kind of let each other be and allowed their love for one another to exist — even if it had to change different forms in different seasons of their lives. Their love was so full, real, and special that I truly believe that if Fox hadn’t “foxed” the show (SMDH), they would’ve gotten married — and had a really solid and drama-less union. Because the relationship was about freedom, respect, and friendship. And that is healthy as hell, y’all.
Yeah, HANDS DOWN, they are the cream of the crop when it comes to relationships to me. Who gives AF about Rachel and Ross (from Friends)? Khadijah and Scooter have always run crop circles around them in my eyes, chile.
Synclaire and OvertonGiphy
I already know that most of y’all probably think that I should’ve led with Synclaire (Kim Coles) and Overton (John Henton) since they were definitely the most popular couple on the show (again, I had to go with my personal favorite, though) — and with just cause.
All of the “day ones” remember that the first episode of Living Single featured Overton seeing Synclaire for the first time and instantly being drawn to her and her quirkiness (like that big ass troll doll that she rolled up to the brownstone with). He pined away silently for what seemed like forever as he was low-key courting her in the process (like when he faked being an accounting expert just to spend time with her). When they finally did get together, Synclaire and Overton took their time before having sex and yet were super affectionate and doting on one another in the meantime; this serves as a great reminder that intimacy doesn’t have to require copulation. They openly communicated their needs and expectations. They shared a liking for some of the strangest stuff around.
Overton had a way of being protective yet supportive of Synclaire (like when she was naked in that play), while Synclaire had his back when it came to things like resolving matters with his ex (remember when he kissed his ex and realized he was really over her? Classic). Something else that was cool about Synclaire and Overton is you saw dating go to courting, courting go to engagement, and engagement go to a traditional church wedding. They were sweet. They were old-fashioned (without being super critical of the other couples). They were adorable. They had a not-perfect-yet-very-uncomplicated kind of love. And isn’t it grand to be reminded that Black love can be just that way?
Synclaire and Overton are the kind of relationship that a lot of us probably imagine our great-grandparents had back in the day. And if anyone on this list is probably still together with some grandkids who also have troll dolls and tool belts for toys, it would be them. No question.
Maxine and KyleGiphy
These two right here, boy. Definitely, the couple who was the most fun and entertaining to watch consisted of Maxine (Erika Alexander) and Kyle (TC Carson). And can we take a moment to shout out the trendsetting hairstyles Maxine had and how intentional Kyle was about tailoring his outfits? Salute. Anyway, if any two people are an example that constant banter can indeed be foreplay, they would be it.
The clap backs were top-tier (and daily), and yet, there was a brilliance in their timing and delivery that makes them ending up together (eventually) make a ton of sense. Come to think of it, that’s what I liked the most about them — the way they let life mature some things in them both. When they had sex for the first time, they went on a date and realized (I think it was more Max’s fear than anything at the time) that good chemistry and great sex do not automatically make a solid relationship (which is mature as hell).
When they tried having just a sexual relationship (because the sex was so good), they were careful not to let it ruin their, I’m not sure if it was exactly a friendship (LOL), yet they were definitely solid advocates of one another. Even when tinges of jealousy would rear their ugly head (like when Kyle brought a woman, played by Kenya Moore, on a date), they were self-aware enough to reel it in, and when it came time for Kyle to leave for London (check out the backstory on why TC Carson actually left the show early here), even though he wanted Max to come with him, they didn’t “fairy tale” their journey. Kyle went on with his life, and Max went on with hers. Hey, it happens. Even with great sex and chemistry…to some, it happens.
Yet the best part about these two is how the universe has a way of making sure people who are meant to be have ample opportunities to accept that fact. And while it is a little wild to spin the story to where Max goes to a sperm bank and the sperm she gets is Kyle’s — I do adore that she ended up pregnant at a time when both of them appeared to be ready for a baby and a relationship together. Finally, there was full-circle peace — still loads of banter-foreplay but also a ton of peace. Well played.
Regine and Darryl
Okay. If y’all are true fans of the show, then you know that a fun fact is Regine (played by Kim Fields, who also left the show early; read why here) and Kyle dated briefly — which makes them another healthy couple when you stop to think about it because going from dating to a very sweet brother and sister dynamic? That doesn’t happen every day. And while some of you might be surprised that I didn’t go with fine ass Keith (Khalil Kain), Dexter (Don Franklin), who she ended up getting engaged to, or even the Jamaican writer Russell (Shaun Baker), who always got her to shimmy and who she said was a great kisser…I think there is another romantic connection she had who topped them all: Darryl, who was played by the late and great Heavy D — the ONLY celebrity who, to this day, I can personally say that I haven’t heard one negative thing about whether it was during his life or it was after his death.
Clearly, their relationship wasn’t super long-lasting because I couldn’t even find a GIF for it like I did for the others. Doesn’t matter, though. Darryl was a blue-collar brotha with a heart of gold, a strong sense of spirituality, a profound way of looking at life, and a comfortableness in his skin that actually got Regine out of a lot of her superficialness and materialism — and that deserves a lot of props all on its own. And because he taught Regine to look past the surface, even when they did break up, they continued having a deep respect for one another. So much, in fact, that when Regine found out that Darryl’s bride-to-be, Tina (Vivica A. Fox) was screwing around, she made sure to tell him because that’s how much she still cared for him. Beautiful.
Regine and Darryl are reminders that sometimes people come along to “refine our rough edges” so that we’ll be ready for who our “forever” is actually supposed to be. And yes, that deserves its own round of applause.
Can you tell that I watched Living Single more than a lil’ bit? Indeed and with no regrets, especially these days. Because sometimes, as I’m flipping through channels and I can hear my own self say, “TV really does hate my people” (which is another message for another time), it’s nice to see throwbacks that are full of integrity, humor and yes, healthy Black love. And as you can see, one that was in excellence is Living Single, for sure.
So, from the very bottom of my heart and with oodles of appreciation — Happy 30th, Khadijah and Scooter, Synclaire and Overton, Max and Kyle, Regine and Darryl. You will always be necessary…because healthy Black love always is.
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Featured image by Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images