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.
This post is in partnership with BET+.
Kingdom Business is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress Serayah as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams. Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believe or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Traileryoutu.be
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Sometimes, things end so that better things can come together. Singer-songwriter, actress, and director Zoë Kravitz is a true believer in the bittersweetness of endings. It was something that she first opened up about in 2021, shortly following her divorce from actor Karl Glusman.
Back then, she was talking about projects she had in the works and detailing her thoughts about the beauty of breakups in a 2021 cover story with AnOther Magazine. "I got married. I got divorced. Separations, breakups are sad but are beautiful things too. It's about the bittersweetness, that beginning and that end. It's so complex, that space, when you're in between heartbroken and mourning the loss of something and excited for what's ahead of you," she told the publication.
Little did she know what was ahead of her was her directorial debut in a film she co-wrote called Pussy Island. One of the thriller's stars would be actor Channing Tatum, whom she'd meet in 2021. And there would lie her new beginning. Rumors of the pair dating started to circulate after they were spotted riding a bike together in New York City in August 2021. Kravitz and Tatum (who was also previously married to longtime love Jenna Dewan) seemingly found love and maintained a relatively low profile during their budding relationship.
Shortly after rumors of a romance between the collaborators swirled, an interview with WSJwas published where Kravitz was quoted saying about Tatum, "When you make things with people it's a very sacred space, and when you're compatible with somebody creatively it often opens up other channels, because you're kind of sharing all of yourself." She continued, "I'm really grateful that this movie has brought him into my life that way."
Fast forward to just last week, the couple announced that they were engaged after two years of dating. Kravitz, 34, and Tatum, 43, were spotted in matching Halloween costumes as Rosemary and Rosemary's "baby," respectively, and Kravitz was spotted sporting what looked like an engagement ring. Sources confirmed exclusively to PEOPLE that the couple is newly engaged, so big congrats are in order!
Channing Tatum and Zoë Kravitz are seen arriving at Kendall Jenner's Halloween party on October 28, 2023.MEGA/GC Images
On the heels of this exciting news, here's a look back at Zoë Kravitz's dating history and the "bittersweet" endings that led her to what might be her best beginning yet.
A Deep Dive Into Zoë Kravitz's Relationship History
Ben Foster (2007-2008)
It is speculated that Kravitz and actor Ben Foster dated between the years 2007 and 2008, though neither actor has ever publicly confirmed the relationship. Despite being spotted together at different events both on and off the red carpet, whether they were an item or not was kept private. Nevertheless, Ben Foster, whom she co-starred with in the movie Birds of America, seems to be her earliest Hollywood relationship.
Michael Fassbender (2010-2011)
Dave Hogan/Getty Images
This relationship was never confirmed in the media, although the photos, which you can find through a simple Google search, can tell you that love was in the air for a time with these two. Kravitz and Michael Fassbender met in 2010 on the set of X-Men: First Class.
Their 12-year age difference might point to this being more casual than long-term, with Kravitz being 22 at the time of the fling and Fassbender being 34.
Penn Badgley (2011-2013)
Yes, that Penn Badgley. Following his split from his Gossip Girl co-star Blake Lively, Badgley entered a relationship with Kravitz that lasted two years before losing its steam. For most of the relationship, Kravitz didn't speak much about the You star. He, however, was quoted referring to the love he shared with Kravitz as one that was "earth-shattering."
In a 2013 interview with Movie Line, he spoke of the way 22-year-old Kravitz changed him and inspired his portrayal of Jeff Buckley in Greetings From Tim Buckley, saying about their relationship, "At that time I was falling madly in love in a way that was changing me and opening me up." He added, "I was kind of going through what Jeff [Buckley] was going through emotionally in the movie in the sense that the worlds of music and love and women and art were opening up to me. Honestly, I needed it. It was like this cosmic intervention where, if you're going to play somebody like Jeff you've got to at least be in love, you know?"
"And being in love, real, true, earth-shattering love – even though it sounds hyperbolic I really was going through it — helped me be as good as I could be," Badgley continued about Kravitz and her influence on his performance.
The relationship reportedly came to an end in June 2013.
Karl Glusman (2016-2020)
Kravitz met actor Karl Glusman through a mutual friend in 2016 and began a relationship with him sometime after. By now, you might notice that the actress has a pattern of keeping things about her love life private, and her relationship with Glusman was no different. The Big Little Lies star quietly dated Glusman from 2016-2018 before announcing their engagement in October 2018 with Rolling Stone. It would later be revealed that she was proposed to in January 2018. She kept the news under wraps for so long by wearing her ring around her neck instead of on her finger.
The couple tied the knot in 2019 but would split 18 months later, with Kravitz filing for divorce. In a March 2022 interview with ELLE, she confirmed that there was no bad blood about their ending, even referring to her ex as an "incredible human being."
"It really is less about him and more about me learning how to ask myself questions about who I am and still learning who I am, and that being okay. That’s the journey I’m on right now," Kravitz explained to the mag.
Channing Tatum (2021-Present)
James Devaney/GC Images
The Magic Mike star and the Batman actress have been reportedly "inseparable" since his casting for the forthcoming film Pussy Island back in 2021. Though they crossed paths before in 2017 while voicing the animated characters in The Lego Batman Movie, Kravitz and Tatum (who were also in other relationships at the time) wouldn't connect until 2021, both divorced and happily single. A common thread between the pair seems to be a mixture of mutual admiration and creative compatibility.
Tatum sang Kravitz's praises for the work she was doing behind the camera for Pussy Island in a July 2022 interview with ET. "I'm in awe," he said of her directorial debut, adding that when he was at the helm for the 2022 film Dog as co-director he "barely survived" but that Kravitz was "killing it." He also said that with his role in her film being so different from others he has played in the past, it was nice to be directed by someone who "saw me."
He continued about Kravitz, "She's got a weird gift for that. She sees right through a lot of people's stuff and really, just who they are to her is really simple. She's one of the more intentional people I've ever met in my life."
Kravitz also gushed about Tatum in a GQ cover interview in 2022, calling the actor "a wonderful human." She told the mag, "He makes me laugh and we both really love art and talking about art and the exploration of why we do what we do. We love to watch a film and break it down and talk about it and challenge each other."
Additionally, the 34-year-old Kimi actress recalled for the mag how much of a saving grace Tatum was for her on the set of their film. She said, "Whether it was making me tea or pouring me a drink or going to whip someone into shape or whatever — he really was my protector and it was really wonderful and sweet."
"I think if you can do something like that together, it's a good test. And we came out even stronger," she added.
Congratulations once again to the happy couple!
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Featured image by James Devaney/GC Images