When I asked Jasmine Lawrence to describe herself in one word, she paused to think, but a few short seconds later she said, without a flinch, "Amazing."
Up until that point, I'd been trying to find the words to describe how this fiercely confident Black woman was able to accomplish so much by the age of 28. She launched her first company EDEN BodyWorks at just thirteen after experiencing a personal hair loss crisis and then attending NFTE BizCamp, a student entrepreneurship program, where she was equipped with the tools that would help her find a way to create and sell a product that solved a hair problem she knew many like her needed. EDEN is now celebrating its 15th anniversary, with a repertoire of accomplishments, retail partners like Target, CVS, and Sally Beauty Supply, a loyal beauty community, and global experiences supporting the journey.
But, more interestingly, Jasmine is not only a beauty entrepreneur. After graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Computer Science, she's gone on to build a thriving career in tech at powerhouse companies like Microsoft and most currently, Facebook.
To top it off, she's not looking to quit either anytime soon.
What's the road to amazing look like? How has Jasmine been able to boldly and unapologetically float between two worlds - without sacrificing who she is and how her natural passion for solution-seeking shows up in the world? For Jasmine, this is important because she doesn't "always want to be the first or the only person that are doing things that are impressive." The word "amazing" comes with the desire to show other women that look like her that they, too, can do great things.
xoNecole spoke to Jasmine about her road to flourishing in two careers, the powers of being entrepreneurially fluid, when being multi passionate can be advantageous in the workplace, why more Black women should consider STEM careers, and whether "having it all" is ever really possible.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What has contributed the most to your business success?
Consistency. It doesn't mean you never change. It means you have a foundational understanding of who you are. At EDEN, we know our vision, mission, what we want to be known for, and what kind of impact we want to have in people's lives. That remains consistent no matter who is on my team. If you don't align with our mission and values, this isn't the brand you want to be part of.
It was also about choosing wisely what we were going to invest our time in. You can get quickly burned out emotionally or financially [by] going to every single hair/trade show and accepting every distribution deal for every mom and pop shop and everyone who wants to carry your products. It's very draining. Strategic growth and saying no to the opportunities that are not going to give you the return on investment that you really need with your limited time and other resources is important.
Courtesy of Jasmine Lawrence
"Strategic growth and saying no to the opportunities that are not going to give you the return on investment that you really need with your limited time and other resources is important."
How did you manage going to college and running a beauty company?
The work that I do with EDEN and the work I do in tech are very similar. They require the same set of strengths. I wanted to be an engineer before I lost my hair. I always wanted to be a builder, creator, and inventor of things and solve people's problems. When I lost my own hair and needed something for myself, I used my knowledge of science and the scientific method to create different formulas. All of those things I learned from my passion for science and creating things.
I knew college was going to be a challenge. I took preventative measures before officially moving to Atlanta. Building the team that I have today was part of that exercise. We took a time out for a year in the late 2000s to reassess who was going to be on our board and who's going to be on our team and run day-to-day operations. We had to automate some things that we were previously doing manually. I find a way to have the best of both worlds and make sacrifices I'm comfortable with.
In our world, we’re told you can’t have it all. Your story shows that it is possible to have your foot in different industries. How do you do it?
Having a computer degree helped me understand how stuff is being built and my role in making sure that it's built ethically and that it is accessible. It opened my mind to an entire career path that is sometimes intimidating and challenging. I love to be that bridge between people and tech. Even in the Black community or women's community - I like to let [people] know this is something you can strive towards. I'm not some crazy unicorn that just has a genius mind. It's something I've worked hard for and sought to understand and have been able to make an impact by pursuing although it may be nontraditional for someone with my background.
I'm super hesitant to say we can have it all. It gives an unrealistic expectation that you are going to be 100% fulfilled in every area that you invest your time in. It's not an accurate description. It wanes and waxes. You're in seasons of pouring more and more into your business, job, self, or family - it takes a while for you to settle into a balance that makes sense. It's hard to want more than one thing.
There's a conscious focus on "Does this matter to me? Is this worth my time?" You can have a lot - but it will be to varying degrees of satisfaction and investment based on what works for you personally. If you like doing your full-time job every day, it's okay. It's okay to not have a side hustle. If you're drawn in a different direction, you should pursue it.
Courtesy of Jasmine Lawrence
"I like to let [people] know this is something you can strive towards. I'm not some crazy unicorn that just has a genius mind. It's something I've worked hard for and sought to understand and have been able to make an impact by pursuing although it may be nontraditional for someone with my background."
What key roles do you outsource?
Operational leadership. My Vice President drives day-to-day and leads our team. That is the core role. We are two opposite heartbeats. We have to stay in sync and connected. Public relations and design are the other two roles where I am so busy doing the work, it's hard for me to tell the story of what's happening as well. Having a great PR team or point person who can find the right opportunities and have the brand show up in ways that make sense for us and create innovative things that align with the brand identity is crucial. With design, it is incredible [to have] someone who can maintain continuity between your brand identity but also challenge you to grow and modernize.
What’s it like working in tech as an employee but also being a CEO?
The main challenges I've had are when my coworkers find out and there's that sense of envy. Or, they'll ask me rude questions like, "Why are you even here? Why would you show up every day when you're doing this and that with your own company? Why would you be a slave to the man when you have the freedom to be your own boss?" Or, they think if I do slip up on something or something is late that I'm distracted by this other thing I have going on.
On the light side, they like to brag on me as much as I like to brag on me. Microsoft loved that their top project manager was also a CEO and that I took that entrepreneurial mindset and applied that to my work. They love that I have those natural leadership tendencies. I know what it's like to lead something that personally matters to me. The opportunities that I'm trusted with are greater because of the assumptions about what my skills are. They'd love for me to bring that same excitement, passion, and drive to the mission and goals of their organization. There's a lot of recognition and opportunity for someone who has been able to do so much in such a little amount of time.
What does success look like for you?
It's so transient because there is always something more. From a brand perspective, we're growing the EDEN BodyWorks team. We're celebrating an amazing milestone - 15 years! Right now, we're in a period of gratefulness and thankfulness and really reflecting. We're really trying to take a moment to pause, reflect, and recenter and imagine what the next 15 years will be like - and how we'll change and how the industry will change. For EDEN, success will look like being able to publically share a plan of what the future looks like for us.
In tech, I'm making a pivot to working on my first non-hardware product. I've worked on Xbox, HoloLens, robots and artificial intelligence. Most recently, I've worked on Portal at Facebook. I just switched over to a team called Social Good, which is focused on making Facebook a positive force in the world. Our goal is to try to solve the problem to make sure the world has a safe and sustainable supply of blood. It's an interesting space where probably if you looked at my background, you'd be like "Why is she working in the health space?"
I was drawn to that in the same way I was drawn to start EDEN BodyWorks to make shampoo to help women understand the way you look is not a limiting factor on your trajectory in life. You can awaken, empower and change who these people think they can be or are allowed to be by providing the solution.
To learn more about Jasmine and how she's paving the way in the technology and beauty sectors, connect with her on Instagram @edensjasmine.
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Rana Campbell is a Princeton University graduate, storyteller, content marketing strategist, and the founder and host of Dreams In Drive - a weekly podcast that teaches you how to take your dreams from PARK to DRIVE. She loves teaching others how to use their life stories to inspire action within oneself and others. Connect with her on Instagram @rainshineluv or @dreamsindrive.
There are two words that Rachel Lindsay keeps returning to over and over again: Rest and renew.
The ambitious, self-described “type A” media personality just left one of her more prominent roles after three years, and instead of being anxious about the downtime, she’s finally learning to take a few moments for herself.
When we talk via Zoom in late August, Lindsay, 38, has just returned from a lunch date with a friend, the type of midday social outing she’d never had time for previously. In a week, she’ll be heading to Europe for an Eat, Pray, Love trip. It’s the first time she’s had time to go to Europe in five years.
“You ask me what I have time to do? Take care of me,” she says, beaming.
In the past six years, Lindsay has made a lot of changes. After becoming the first Black woman to lead ABC’s Bachelorette dating series in 2017, she fell in love with Bryan Abasolo, the man she chose on the show, and married him. Enamored with the world of entertainment but also accustomed to the stability that being an attorney provided her, she returned to practicing law in her native Dallas, Texas, while pursuing media opportunities on the side.
For a time, Lindsay would fly herself to Connecticut to co-host ESPN’s Football Frenzy radio show. The role was perfect for the Dallas Cowboys fan and sports fanatic who majored in sports management and once dreamed of becoming an agent. In 2019, when she finally felt she’d saved enough money and made enough connections, she made the leap and left the legal profession behind, determined to bet on her entertainment dreams.
Working as an on-air correspondent for Extra was one of Lindsay’s first big roles as a full-time media personality. In this job, she interviewed celebrities such as Halle Bailey and Anthony Anderson. She also notably conducted the controversial interview with Bachelor host Chris Harrison that subsequently led to his departure from the franchise. After Harrison told Lindsay he felt people needed to have “grace” for a contestant who had attended an “Old South” party, Lindsay publicly announced her plans to distance herself from the series.
Today, she cites changes in Extra’s leadership and her responsibilities as the reason for her recent departure after three years. “I just didn’t fit within the new regime,” she reveals to xoNecole.
Lindsay is currently focusing her energy work-wise on her two podcasts with The Ringer Podcast Network, the Higher Learningshow with Van Lathan, and Morally Corrupt. Despite the extremely different subjects – Higher Learning touches on race and politics while Morally Corrupt finds Lindsay commenting on her favorite Bravo reality shows – she gushes when speaking about both, calling podcasting “the most liberating thing you can do.”
On Higher Learning, she’s challenged by her co-host, Lathan, to think in new ways. She’s regularly in conversation with prominent figures such as Tracee Ellis Ross and Billy Porter.
Lindsay, a “Bravoholic” whose favorite Real Housewives franchise is Potomac and whose favorite Housewife is Nene Leakes, is no less passionate about Morally Corrupt, even if the subject matter is much lighter. “I’ve always loved reality TV because it was such an escape from my real world. Part of me admired people who could put themselves out there in a way that I believed I never could, until I went on reality TV,” Lindsay says.
Courtesy of Rachel Lindsay
The podcast host says she never intended to find love when she went on The Bachelor, and she was surprised when she was asked to lead season 13 of The Bachelorette. Going from viewer to reality TV star quickly opened her eyes to the demands of being a public figure. After receiving initial criticism from viewers about choosing and marrying Bryan Abasolo, she realized she wanted to become more protective of certain aspects of her personal life.
“I quickly learned that we had to protect what we had, and stop trying to prove it to other people and convince people to know what we knew to be true,” she says. “I wish I could share more of my relationship. But the moment you do that, you have to continue to provide more and you have to continue to answer.”
In many ways, Lindsay benefited from being on a show like The Bachelorette, where the contestants are confined to a limited environment over a temporary amount of time. She says she doesn’t think she could ever be on a reality show where she’s expected to reveal all aspects of her life constantly. In fact, she says if she ever had pregnancy news or updates about her relationship with Abasolo, she wouldn’t make a big public announcement.
Since walking away from The Bachelor franchise, the former Bachelor Happy Hour host says she’s been approached to participate in recent seasons, specifically this year’s season with Black lead, Charity Lawson. Lindsay says she ultimately declined to participate. “I just started thinking I can have a relationship with Charity – whose number I do have and I have talked to – outside of the show. I don’t need to come on television to put that out there for other people,” she says.
Reflecting on her life today, Lindsay is trying to learn the benefits of being still. She’s not planning to do any on-air correspondent booked for the time being, and she’s not planning to release another book, the followup to the collection of essays Miss Me with That or the fictional Real Love.
As her 40th birthday approaches in a couple of years, she’s been thinking a lot about the popular quote, “You are, right now, as young as you'll ever be again” from the FX drama Fleishman Is in Trouble. If she does start on a new creative project, it might delve into this notion, she says. “I think I could do something in that space about adulthood and getting older and maybe questioning things in life because I think we all do it,” she tells xoNecole.
Lindsay is not rushing the process, though. For now, she’s remembering to rest and renew.
“We'll see what comes out of this state that I'm in.”
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Featured image courtesy of Rachel Lindsay
Before the music business calms down as the summer draws to a close, musicians are releasing the last of their dance songs from their archives. And shouldn't we be grateful for it? This week's new music offered tracks for every aspect of the season, whether it be for the club ("Bongos"), a last-minute relaxing retreat ("My Love"), a scary movie ("Demons"), or an introduction to an autumn wind ("Uh Huh"), this week had a song for everyone. Heading into the new week, here are the latest songs in our rotation.
1.Tinashe - "Uh Huh"
The fourth single from Tinashe's studio album, BB/ANG3L, is "Uh Huh," and what a sweet offering it is. Sung in a whimsical falsetto, Tinashe portrays the ballad as an intimate confession shared with a partner during an intimate moment. In the song, she wonders if the guy she is seeing is ready for a relationship, even though it feels like they are already in one. The question isn't posed in the accusatory manner that we are all accustomed to hearing. Instead, she presents the query as a shooting, consoling lullaby. By the end, she has successfully lulled both her lover and the audience in her lovely proposition of loving another for simply being.
2.Busta Rhymes - "Luxury Life" ft. Coi Leray
Timbaland and Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" in the summer of 2006 completely dominated the airwaves with its witty and occasionally playfully cringe-inducing one-liners. Busta Rhymes and Coi Leray performed what I can only compare to the more direct rap equivalent in the summer of 2023. With its distinctive funky flow and catchy, throbbing beat that only Swizz Beatz can provide. Busta Rhymes and Coi Leray's second collaboration demonstrates remarkable chemistry between the two emcees as they bounce ideas off one another. With often finishing each other's sentences, this song generates an energetic vibe that is worth playing repeatedly.
3.Tkay Maidza - "WUACV"
You know those scary movies where a repetitive, slower-paced children's song plays in the background and gives you the impression that you're only one "based on a true story" label away from leaving the theater? As I listened to this song's start, I experienced the same sensation. So much so that when Tkay Maidza started the song, I almost didn't listen to listen. However, as I tuned in, I couldn't help but bounce my shoulders and make a stank face at Tkay's constantly shifting flow. As she quickly sped through the lines, she genuinely "woke up and chose violence." A harmony that can only be characterized as the ambulance arriving to pick up the victims of her talented smooth shifting flow screams over the hazardous matter-of-fact repetition of the chorus. This music is strong, lucid, and deserving of a download.
4.Cardi B. - "Bongos" ft. Megan Thee Stallion
After "WAP," I knew Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion would reunite, but I didn't anticipate their arduous reunion. I stopped this music at the 12-second mark when I originally started it. Why? Because I knew I would need to take a breather in that little amount of time. I didn't take notes after that since I was so engrossed in the video's pure amusement. But after concentrating, I've come to the conclusion that this was just so damn entertaining. The fact that it isn't "WAP" isn't always a negative thing. Even if the song continues to discuss sex and butts, it has its own charm and is entertaining thanks to the choreo in the video and the beach-themed elements for the final getaway of the summer.
5.A Boogie Wit da Hoodie - "Her Birthday"
Contrary to its fun title, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie's song "Her Birthday" is about heartbreak and difficult realizations. ABWDH is irritated when he meets a lady who insists on having a relationship with a gold digger after realizing he is in yet another unsuccessful relationship. However, as the song progresses, it becomes apparent that he shares some blame for the relationship's--if you can call it that--end because he knew their first hookup wasn't anything significant. And it only makes sense for them to leave things as they are after some of his dubious behaviors, including sleeping with her "best friend" out of retaliation, occur. They intentionally aim to harm one another, and they only seem to be on this rollercoaster because the long nights happen to be good.
6.Leigh-Anne - "My Love" ft. Ayra Starr
For this one, you must view the song's music video while listening to it. "My Love" is an upbeat summer bop with Caribbean-Afro beats that serve as a love letter to one's love and self-confidence. I've listened to this song so many times that I wish it had been released earlier in the summer and that more people had heard of it. I do, however, hope that it continues to catch on with its alluring, scenic, and dance-filled sensations. The English singer draws on her Caribbean heritage as she asks how much of her love can be taken with Nigerian singer Ayra Starr. They check in with their respective partners and muse on how much they ought to be prepared to invest in their relationships.
7.Tee Grizzley - "IDGAF" ft. Chris Brown and Mariah The Scientist
When a person feels fulfilled in a relationship, there is always someone else who offers to break their relationship off—usually unsolicited. They don't care and just want to spend the night without any strings attached, making it obvious that they would keep it quiet. Chris Brown and Tee Grizzley play that role in the song "IDGAF." Although Tee Grizzley is aware that the lady is dedicated to her relationship, he is still optimistic that his enticement would be strong enough to get his ex back for the night. Mariah The Scientist, on the other hand, isn't having that and scoffs at his arrogance for even phoning her. She is happy and doesn't intend to ruin either of their relationships anytime soon.
8.Nicki Minaj - "Last Time I Saw You"
I must say that I didn't anticipate Nicki Minaj to release this song. Not that she hasn't already recorded an excellent slow song in the ballad style. However, they have never been this...refreshing, so that is a positive. This song is the sensation of taking a deep breath after smelling something pleasant or after going for a while without air. It was like going for a walk in the park. When she brokenly confessed that she pushed her love away because she thought she bored her love, it also gave off a faint heartbreak-like feeling. Minaj starts rapping over a stanza, remembering the times with her former love and the end of their relationship as barriers rise to protect her somewhat in her vulnerability.
9.Doja Cat - "Demons"
Even though it's September, Halloween waits for no one. Doja Cat wonders in this song how her "demons look now that her pockets are full." She challenges the haters and lets them know that she is spending the money she has made from her achievements while ignoring their hateful glances. She wants them to know that she recognizes their envy and that she is reveling in it rather than telling them to get over it. She frequently makes fun of them, letting her "enemies" know that as long as she is successful, she will always be the demonic villain in their nightmares. Since she doesn't plan on going anywhere anytime soon, she figures she might as well play the part.
10.Citizen Queen - "Whatchu Want"
With everyone playing games, it's easy to become weary of the same old song and dance. To the point that you start doubting the intentions of your newest suitor right away. Annoyed that they might waste your time. In their newest single, Cora, Kaedi, Kaylah, and Nina question someone's motives in Citizen Queen's "Whatchu Want" and distinctly state what they want. They challenge the person to continue moving if all they want to do is screw about. The girls caution against messing with their feelings in a catchy chorus that has elements of Danity Kane's "Showstopper," allowing for a nice dance break.
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Featured image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images